The Black Management Forum (BMF) has announced that it has elected Dr Sibongile Vilakazi as its new President, who becomes only the second woman to lead the organisation since its inception in 1976.
Vilakazi takes over the reins from outgoing President Andile Nomlala, who served in the position since 2018, and is the first female in 17 years to lead the BMF since Nolita Fakude held office between 2003 and 2006.
Vilakazi joined the BMF in 2009 and most recently served as its Gauteng Chairperson and also chaired the Social and Ethics Committee on the organisation’s board, where she developed a reputation of zero tolerance for unethical behaviour.
“I am very honoured and humbled to have been elected to lead this great organisation. By electing a woman president, the BMF has reaffirms its commitment to supporting and advancing the interests of women in business and leadership – a cause that I have personally long cherished and championed,” says Vilakazi.
“During my tenure, I will strive to restore the gravitas that will enable the BMF to continue driving the agenda that is close to its stakeholders’ hearts.”
Vilakazi notes that the recent developments around black economic empowerment (BEE) in the country, call for the topic of empowerment to once again take centre stage.
“A strong focus on socio-economic transformation remains an imperative for us as the BMF, considering the extremely high levels of inequality that still persist among previously disadvantaged demographic groups,” she explains.
“We will remain focused on the development of managerial leadership and the creation of managerial structures that are reflective of the demographics and values of the broader South African society.”
Vilakazi completed her tertiary education at the University of Pretoria, Wits Business School and Thabo Mbeki School of Leadership. She completed an MA: Research Psychology, BSOC SCI HONS: Psychology and BSOC SCI: Psychology, a PhD in Organisational Development and Diversity Management and Introduction to Leadership for Africa’s Renewal Qualification.
Her career in the private and public sectors is characterised by her passion for collective leadership and winning together as teams.
This has been demonstrated in her previous roles at Kantar as a consultant, deputy director for the MBA Programme and faculty member at Wits Business School, Head of Group Customer Experience at Alexander Forbes, as well as Senior Segment Manager and Market and Customer Insights Manager at Nedbank.
Vilakazi’s work in business has attracted high-profile recognition. In 2021, she was named Top 20 Modern Leader of The Year by Tribe Business Magazine. She was also nominated a finalist in the Top Women in Science category for the 2020 Standard Bank Top Women Awards.
“I am inspired by honest, hardworking and principled ordinary men and women who give of themselves with no expectation. Ultimately, I am a leader driven by justice and fairness and I believe that each of us has a contribution to make to overcome our challenges,” Vilakazi concludes.