Image supplied: CEO of PETROLINK
Image supplied: CEO of PETROLINK
File Image: CEO for the Green Building Council
File Image: CEO for the Green Building Council
Image supplied: Valerie Geen, Senior Advisor and Implementation Specialist - Energy Department, Industrial Energy Efficiency Division in the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.
Image supplied: Valerie Geen, Senior Advisor and Implementation Specialist - Energy Department, Industrial Energy Efficiency Division in the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.

CAPE TOWN - Grant Thornton’s 2017 report recently revealed, only 28% of senior management roles in South African businesses are held by women.

Grant Thornton’s International Business Report entitled Women in Business: New perspectives on risk and reward, is based on its annual survey of 5,500 businesses in 36 economies is based on its annual survey.

Last year’s report recorded a 23% of women in SA’s high business management roles.

CEO for Green Building Council South Africa said that in the energy sector “there’s a male predominance within the energy and green building environment with a steady growth trend for women”.

Here is our list of influential woman in the energy sector

Lerato Motsamai

Image supplied: CEO of PETROLINK


Founder and CEO of PETROLINK

Founder of Girl Ignite Africa Academy

She was once a homeless mother who converted her car into mobile a home with her 2 children. Lerato has been in the energy space for 15 years. She is disseminating her skills in different industry bodies and often featured in as a panelist, moderator and a keynote speaker at private and public sector conferences. Attesting to her activism for women’s economic advancement, she founded ‘Girl Ignite Africa Academy’ in 2014. Among her achievements, she has recently been selected to receive a Global Business Leadership Award in New York through the Centre for Economic and Leadership Development later this year. From grassroots, she she started PETROLINK in 2012, the South African based manufacturer of high grade  industrial and automotive lubricants, oil and grease. “Access to the market and financial intervention are key challenges that are faced with women trying to breakthrough this business,” said Motsamai. She feels that the industry is still dominated by white males, and there’s a huge gap in terms of gender balance. “Women with grit can survive in the industry and prosper” she concluded.


Dorah Modise

File Image: CEO for the Green Building Council


CEO for Green Buildings Council

She  officially took the reins as the CEO from February 2017. According to GBCSA news, Modise’s skills set and 17 years experience in sustainability sector makes her a good match for the managerial position she occupies. She served as an Executive  Director of City Sustainability at the City of Tshwane. She holds an MBA from the University of Pretoria, Master’s degree in Environment and Development from University of Sussex in the UK, a Post-graduate Diploma in Environmental Diplomacy from University of Geneva and a first degree in Environmental Health from the Tshwane University of Technology. Modise says there is a move and noticeable trend of women entering the energy sector industry, but a lot has to be done still. “When entering a boardroom and notice that there’s only three women, this must change”, Modise said. She finds the sector very stimulating and encourages women to commit to what want and face challenges head-on.


Valerie Geen

Image supplied

Director on the  Board of the Southern African Energy Efficiency Confederation. Senior advisor and implementation specialist - Energy Department, Industrial Energy Efficiency Division in the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. These are the titles that Valerie Geen assumes. She has helped lead a national programme called the Private Sector Energy Efficiency Project which reached over 1000 medium sized companies in energy audits and identifying opportunities to use energy more efficiently and implement energy saving interventions. Geen says the Energy sector is  still very male dominated, though numbers of women coming into the industry are slowly increasing. “There is a need to set more stringent targets for the appointment and inclusion of women in the Energy sector” she added. She points out the perception that this sector is a men’s sector and that networking is for men alone, as a biggest challenge. Word of advice to young business women,”For those who are squeamish about getting their hands dirty with machinery or in mining operations,  energy offers many other opportunities and requires a multidisciplinary approach,” she said. She concluded that Energy business requires awareness raising, marketing, communicating, procurement, financial management, human resource management and broader people skills. McKinsey and Company, at the Women in Energy Business Summit in 2016, once advised companies to ‘make gender a top priority for the organisation’.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE