The 2020's Most Influential Women to Watch


Women, in general, influence our lives in various ways. But the business paradigm, with their influence, has seen a brighter and innovative side.

2020 | Volume-5 | Issue-1





Editor’s Desk

2020 | Volume-5 | Issue-1





Today’s Women

inuencing Tomorrow

hat does it take to be influential? How

Wdo you define your existence in this life

on a larger scale? The answer to these

questions is quite simple, by making a difference.

Whatever you do, may it be in personal life or a

professional one, and the way you stand out sets a

potential stage for you to showcase what you have.

What you can give to others and contribute

positively makes you influential.

An influential person sets an example for others to

follow or carves a path for others to walk on their

own. Such a person helps in uplifting the ones who

are lacking in some way or the other by sharing

knowledge, expertise, and experience in the best

way possible.

Being influential is a journey on its own. It does not

have a singular stretch or a predetermined course of

action. It is a process that involves a series of

exceptional targets and the efforts put in to achieve

them. It can differ from person to person. How one

can create and drive value to others in terms of

ethics, brands, businesses, and personal choices

build the character for becoming influential.

A person can be influential in a lot of areas. But

spreading the influence in business is a whole new game.

Functionally, the person who built the business holds the

key to it. Its growth, operations, and future prospects are

driven by nothing but the efforts made by the person

involved. Now the person working not only brings value

to the business but also ensures its expansion while

paving the way to becoming an influential factor in its

overall functional spectrum.

The new-age businesses are driven by exceptional and

fierce leaders who are influencing the market trends with

their unique ideas and approaches. With all the things

considered we cannot rule out the active role played by

women in dynamically influencing the business world.

Women in the business are not only taking the stage but

creating a whole different platform while raising the bar

in terms of creativity and smart work approach.

Businesswomen are taking the leadership status to a

whole different level. They are not only contributing to

society through entrepreneurship but also enabling

opportunities for fellow women to take their stand on

any and every issue while supporting them in being more

than capable. Women, in general, influence our lives in

various ways. But the business paradigm, with their

influence, has seen a brighter and innovative side.

Women influencers are taking the global business

spectrum to new heights and motivating the next

generation to follow their passion and dreams. They are

contributing towards a better tomorrow by working very

hard today. We at Insights Success wish to applaud and

appreciate their efforts and have decided to showcase the

stories of women who have been an inspiration to many.

This edition titled 2020’s Most Influential Women to

Watch highlights the tales of a few significant

businesswomen who are influencing, inspiring and

invigorating others with their zeal to strive for success.

Additionally, this edition also features articles authored

by industry experts and our in-house editorial team,

which provide valuable insights into different markets.

Bon Appetite!

Darshan Parmar

Darshan Parmar


16 32

Leader’s Desk

Building an


Ecosystem for Women

Expert Talks

The Fuss about AI




Expert’s Advice

The Glass Ceiling E ect:

Another Perspective on

Women and Leadership

Insights’ Special

8 Most E ective

Leadership Styles for



C o

10 12 18

Ellen Voie

An Entrepreneur

Breaking Stereotypes

Jerusha Govender

Blazing a Trail in the

Data Science World

Lindsey Myers

A Communications

Expert Driving

Growth Solutions




Mona Yousuf Nicole Rodrigues Stacey Brewer


Transforming the

An Endeavor

An Entrepreneurial Public Relation Industry


Spirit Illuminating with Sedulousness with a Humanitarian


the Family tLegacy

e n



Editor-in-Chief Pooja M. Bansal

Senior Editor

Managing Editor

Publishing Control Team

Quality Assurance Team

Anish Miller

Darshan Parmar

Shruti P. Jambhale

Abhishaj, Sneha

Visualiser David King

Art & Design Head Amol Kamble

Art & Design Assistant Deepanjali Jena

Co-designer Paul Belin

Art & Picture Editor Asha Bange

Business Development Manager Sherin Rodricks

Marketing Manager Sophie Smith

Business Development Executives Anna Lee, Karen Holland, Jenny Jordan

Sales Executives Kelly, Michael,Sapna

Technical Head Jacob Smile

Assistant Technical Head Amar Sawant

Technical Consultants Pratiksha, Aditya, David

Digital Marketing Manager

Assistant Digital Marketing Manager

SME-SMO Executives

Research Analyst

Circulation Manager

Alina Sege

Prashant Chevale

Gemson, Uma, Manoj

Eric Smith


MAY, 2020

Corporate Ofce

Insights Success Media Tech LLC

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In the quest for gender equality, we

can see advancement in most

sectors, even in careers still

dominated by men. Regardless of the

job, most of us can agree that barriers

are being removed. In the late sixties

and seventies, the scenario was quite

different, as many careers were

assigned for girls or boys. At that time,

girls studied home economics and boys

took industrial arts courses.

It was uncommon at the time for a

woman to pursue a career that was

male-specific according to the social

norms. But, Ellen Voie, the Founder

and President of the Women In

Trucking Association (WIT), has a

different story to tell. Since her

childhood, Ellen was more interested

in learning the hands-on skills the boys

were learning. With her mother’s

encouragement, she opted to take the

shop class instead of home economics.



An Entrepreneur Breaking Stereotypes

Ellen learned woodworking, welding,

drafting, and auto mechanics. Title IX

of the federal civil rights act had been

recently adopted to create an equal

level of education for both girls as well

as boys. This legislation meant that

girls and boys could have a level

playing field when it came to school, as

well as the opportunity to play in


Ellen likes to relate the story about

sharing the family station wagon with

her older brother. When she wanted to

use the car, she relied on her auto

mechanics lessons to make that

happen. She would disconnect the

distributor cap so the car wouldn’t start

for her brother and then replace it

when she was ready to use the vehicle.

The Pilot to her Career

In 1978, Ellen accepted a position at a

steel fabricating plant in central

10 | MAY 2020

Wisconsin. She started out working in

the drafting department, designing the

material handling equipment such as

steel pallets, bins, and racking.

Continuing to break barriers, Ellen

accepted a position in the traffic

(shipping) department as the Assistant

Traffic Manager. Although she wasn’t

familiar with the trucking industry, she

immediately took the challenge. The

company supported her by sending her

to school to obtain her training in

traffic and transportation management.

She was later promoted to Traffic


In this role, Ellen was responsible for

the inbound shipping of the steel

materials as well as the outbound

shipping of products as varied as

material handling equipment,

fireplaces, and jacks. From bringing

the raw materials into the plants to

shipping the completed products out to

the customers, she managed the traffic

We represent

all women

who work

in the trucking

industry. Our

goal is to


YOU, our



The company also had three trucks of

their own, and Ellen was in charge of

hiring and managing the three drivers.

Because tariffs determined the rates,

customers often tried to sway her with

the promise of gifts (bribes). Staying

true to the company and her own ethics

was never an issue for her. But, Ellen

doesn't deny that the journey was


A New Chapter in Ellen’s Life

Ellen had started her career at a very

young age. Later, in her twenties, she

met her husband, who was a

professional driver. They started their

own small trucking company, and

during that time, Ellen and her (then)

husband started a family. While

raising her children, she obtained her

Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in


Ellen wrote her Master’s Thesis about

“The Complex Identities of Women

Married to Professional Drivers.” She

was asked to write about the trucking

life for numerous magazines,

ultimately leading to a book with her

most popular articles called, Marriage

In the Long Run.

In 2000 Ellen was hired as the

Executive Director Trucker Buddy

International, a pen-pal program for

professional drivers. In 2006, she was

recruited by a large Midwest carrier as

their manager of recruiting and

retention programs.

While working at Schneider, Inc., Ellen

was completing her pilot’s license and

was a member of an organization for

female pilots. That is when she realized

there wasn’t a similar group for women

in the trucking industry.

In 2007 Ellen initiated the formation of





the Women In Trucking Association.

Their goal was, and still is, to support

women employed in the trucking

industry. She surrounded herself with

a strong team that shared her passion.

Ellen never imagined the success the

group would experience in the thirteen

years since its inception.

Journey with WIT

The goal of WIT is simple; to increase

the number of women employed in the

trucking industry. From driver to board

member, diversity was the challenge.

Although women are still a minority in

trucking, the association has been

creating positive momentum.

The Women In Trucking Image Team

was created to showcase professional

female drivers, safety managers,

recruiters, and trainers to share their

stories with p outside of the industry.

In order to monitor the increase in

women employed in trucking, the

association has created the WIT Index

to track the numbers on an annual


Envisioning the Future

Ellen’s goal is to listen and then act on

the information. Ellen says, We want

to hear from our members, and we

want to make the association better

based on that feedback. An important

area of focus is member value. Why do

people join? The number one reason

people join is for the opportunity to

network and to meet other women (and

men) who have a similar passion for

gender diversity in the transportation

industry. One interesting fact... six

percent of our members said they

joined because ‘Ellen motivated them’

to become a member! Regardless of

their reason in joining, the Women In

Trucking Association works hard to

provide a voice to its members (and

potential members.) 2020 MAY | 11

Jerusha Govender

Blazing a Trail in the Data Science World

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, in her book, ‘Women who

run with wolves’ quotes, “A woman must be able to

stand in the face of power because ultimately some

part of that power will become hers.” And in today’s world,

we have witnessed some extraordinary women who have

stood and fought in the face of power for what they believe

is right and man, did they win? They did more than just

winning, they ruled and inspired.

The time has come for the world to embrace the greatness

of women leaders. Their boldness, self-confidence,

intuition, integrity, compassion, and creativity are now

challenging them to question conventional or social norms.

Undeniably, the rise of women leaders in this era has been

due to their past pain. This pain has led them to find their

purpose and they are using it, as fuel to lead changes. Here

is where empathy comes in play. What women leaders do is

not just for themselves, but for the minority who can

become the majority. The positive legacy that they leave

behind is for others to walk- in/on, inspire and take bold


Alike many other women leaders, Jerusha Govender’s

climb to the top was fraught with obstacles. However, what

she does with her power and influence is incredible. Her

journey to the top as the Founder and Managing Director

of Data Innovator will teach women to change the game


She believes that waiting around for others to represent

your problems is of no point. And hence, when she

observed that the industry did not represent or value her

skills, she changed it. In spite of having an academic

background in health science, Jerusha chose the less

traveled road and shattered the stereotypes of women in

innovation. Here’s how she did it and why, in her own


Redefining The Non-Traditional Career

“I qualified with degrees in Biochemistry, Biotechnology

and Pharmacology. But after many long and lonely days in

a lab, I felt that it was not for me. I needed to do work

closer to people and wanted to make a different contribution

to society.”

“Then after completing a Masters in Public Health, I started

my career as a Monitoring and Evaluation intern at a local

NGO. I spent my days visiting public health facilities and

tracking HIV and AIDS data.”

“I realized I loved working with data and saw the social

good in using it in the right way. I continued working with

other national and international development organizations

for about 8 more years as an M&E professional. I worked in

6 African countries with various NGOs. In between, I

experimented with ‘side gigs’ – none successful.”

“During this, I realized there was a gap not in the data but

how data was used to understand and improve how

organizations worked. I also found an opportunity to

creatively experiment with ways of using data differently.”

“While my career progressed, I also became a mother of

two children. At the end of my last employment, I was sent

a letter which summed up “thank you but we will not be

extending your contract” during my maternity leave and

found myself unprepared for unemployed parenthood.”

“It is at this point that I chose to start Data Innovator. I used

it as an opportunity to build a business that allowed me to

be more creative but still work with data, and create a

flexible lifestyle.”

I would like the company to

be seen as a global leader in

social conscious models and

creative analytic services.

12 | MAY 2020

Jerusha Govender

Founder & Managing Director

Data Innovator

Photo Credit - Miker Turner 2020 MAY | 13





change such as HIV/AIDS, climate change and other


“However, as we have observed the investments have

barely moved the lever in real changes. This is because

there is no appropriate data that documents challenges and

has no entry of changes being made or not made. Even if

one manages to collect the data, it is complex and hard to


Photo Credit - Jayshree Govender

Tenacity is the key

The proverbial, “Smooth sea never makes skillful sailors”

clearly states, how struggles are a part of life, but what

matters the most is a never-giving up attitude. Let us hear

from Jerusha, how she overcame the initial trepidations and


“In the industry, I am one of the few black females running

such a business. It means often meeting new clients is met

with unintended bias, but we deliver high quality and help

shift these biased mindsets.”

“I also faced challenges in finding and retaining good staff.

Few individuals bring both strong technical and creative

problem-solving skills which mean that once I find them

they are also sought after by other competitors. This

challenged me to find new strategies to retain staff for a


“Appropriate data allows influence-rs and change-makers to

bring a difference. The industry has many great experts who

talk technical data but few that can make real sense of it.

This is the gap that we fill at Data Innovator. We consider

ourselves ‘infomediaries’, creating a bridge between data,

tech and insights.”

Changing the Industrial Dynamics

What happens when we have such fierce leaders at the helm

of the company? The very foundation of business gets

shaken. Jerusha’s actions are resulting in major shifts in the

industry and in general.

“I have grown the team from a 1-woman show to a core

team of 5 staff (all black and majority female) and up to 10

consultants/consultancy partners,” she quotes. It would be

enthralling to see what this team of brilliant influencers will

do in the future.

When asked about her plans for the future, she replied, “In

the future, I aim to grow a team of Data Innovator

ambassadors across the globe, who scale the company in

other developing countries. We are also building our online

learning products to increase our product-focused revenue.”

“Introducing creative approaches such as data visualization

in very traditionally technical sectors was not always

welcomed. Some of our approaches go against the

traditional methods, but it makes more pragmatic sense to

the users. Through a lot of sensitization of our target market

at conferences and online dissemination, slowly views

changed and now the sectors demand creative data

collection, analysis, and visualization.”

Against the Tide

“Data Innovator helps organizations tell stories with data.

We do this through consultancy services in evaluation, data

communication, and analytics and out Data Artistry training

programs. Our work is targeted towards the development

sector. In these sectors, there is a high investment in social

Photo Credit - Miker Turner

14 | MAY 2020

Just today I had a young and enthusiastic women call

me up asking for advice and maybe some pointers on

how to bring her vision to life. During the call I could

almost see her deflating while I piled up the list of

challenges that came with fundraising, developing tech

products and gathering the right team. I know exactly what

that feels like because I, myself, have experienced it many

times before. The mountain of work that faces an

entrepreneur is sheer unfathomable, and that’s probably a

good thing: who knows how many companies would still be

out there if the founders had known what awaited them!?

That feeling in mind, I did leave the call on an uplifting

note (I hope), but what I also did was send her a list of

female founder groups as well.

Having a female led and populated ecosystem that can

absorb some of the pains any female entrepreneur has to

face can be the difference between succeeding and giving

up. I choose the words ‘giving up’ on purpose, because we

can all fail, but it should be for technicalities all start-ups

face, and not because we are lonely, overwhelmed and

unsupported women.

From experience I have recognized three sorts of female

ecosystems that are important for different challenges

within the journey, each adding their own individual value,

and I am grateful for each and every one of them:



The Community: these groups are more motivational

and empowering than having an actual impact on your

business. Especially at the beginning of founding a

company they are important. You get to meet other

women, hear their stories, recognized that it’s not only

you and make friends along the way. I think these

groups are very important for your mental health,

especially when your new company also means a

change of lifestyle. You can meet other women and have

a tea or a drink without feeling like you should be

working because you ARE. Panels with talks, meetups

and even workspaces distinguish these groups from

strictly social events. My favourite one: Blooming


The Educators: these groups offer talks, workshops and

one-on-one’s with highly successful men and women in

the start-up world. Here you need to bring your pen or

laptop and stay on top of what is being said because the

lecturer/guest speaker will dump large amounts of

wisdom on you. Sometimes there are drinks afterwards,

Ecosystem for



but the emphasis is on learning from and networking

with the speakers. I have made the best out of them by

targeting events with speakers that could be important

for my business and that I would otherwise have

difficulties accessing. To my greatest sorrow many

events are early morning breakfast meetings at 7 or 8,

where I pretend that it’s a normal hour to be about for

me. My favourite one: SheWorx

The Platformers: These groups offer mostly awards and

events. While on the surface you often don’t win

anything tangible like prize money, the award itself ads

huge value because it is highly respected in the field and

opens doors. During the events you get to network from

a privileged position which is invaluable for companies

that are fundraising. It is also one of the few visible

social markers that all your hard work, blood, sweat and

tears has been acknowledged and rewarded - something

you can show to your painfully neglected friends and

family. My favourite one: TechWomen100

During the development, the fundraising and the pivot of

my digital mental health company with our emotional

fitness game, eQuoo, there have been multiple times that

these groups were there at the right time and place, offering

me support, information and a platform. Women are still

vastly underrepresented in the tech world, and while the

#MeToo movement has unearthed many of the people

abusing their power against women, it can still be a hostile

environment if you’re unlucky. And statistically speaking

you will be unlucky a few times.

The VC world is slowly starting to understand that a

mentally health founder is a productive one and having

communities that support us is a vital ingredient to our


It takes a village to raise a child? Well, it takes a city to

build a start-up.

16 | MAY 2020

Leader’s Desk

About the Author

Silja Litvin is the Psychologist, Founder and CEO of PsycApps

Digital Mental Health, a company that uses AI, gamication and

psychology to help people help themselves. She is a developer of the

multi-award winning eQuoo – the Emotional Fitness Game.

Silja was born in Germany but moved to southern California early in

her life. Exposed to many diverse cultures early in life, she developed

an insatiable curiosity for the human condition leading to her pursuing

a degree in psychology. During her 17 years of international

modelling she began her Masters at the Ludwig Maximilian

University in Munich, graduating in Clinical Psychology and

Systemic Family Therapy in 2013. Alongside her education

as a Systemic Family Therapist in 2015, she

began her PhD in Clinical Psychology.

A child of the digital generation, Silja was

looking for ways to use apps and social

media to help people suffering from

mental issues. She went on to create a

psychological mobile app that helps

users identify and self-manage

depression. With this idea, she undertook

her PhD thesis, thus ensuring it to be

evidence based and ethically sound.

Now she is venturing into the world of AI,

gamication and chatbots to nd a way to be

able to help people help themselves,

launching her emotional tness game eQuoo

in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. The

game has been featured in major news

outlets such as Forbes and TechCrunch

and she won multiple prizes with

PsycApps such as THE EUROPAS Pitch

Awards and Pitch@Palace on Tour.

Silja Litvin

Founder & CEO

PsycApps Digital

Mental Health 2020 MAY | 17





I’m a believer

in the law

of attraction

and I like to

make sure

that we are

putting out

those things

which we

most want

to manifest,

both for


and for

our clients

18 | MAY 2020


Leadership consists not only of

work efficiency but also

effective communication and

many other factors that enable a job

well-done. A leader is recognized when

the people operating under his/her

guidance, appropriately comprehend

the procedures explained, while

inculcating the same when it’s time to

apply the said instructions, in order to

carry out their tasks. So, the important

part of being a good leader is to be

effective in communicating and

relaying information in the most

suitable and efficient manner.

Insights Success introduces one such

leader, Lindsey Myers – Founder of

Concrete Blonde Consulting. She

founded the company in November

2016, to pursue her passion for

building reputations and revenues

through business development

marketing strategies. The company has

since been named one of the ‘Top 15

PR Agencies in New York’ by The

Manifest and one of the ‘Top 10 Best

PR Agencies’ by Web Surf Media.

Myers provides profit and growth

solutions and thrives as a consultant. A

communications expert and

entrepreneur, she has over twelve years

of experience serving various

industries. The portfolio includes

consumer products and services, tech,

lifestyle, hospitality and nonprofit

companies in NYC and the Hamptons


A Communications Expert Driving Growth Solutions

luxury market.

She graduated from Boston University

with a BS in Communications and

concentration in Public Relations. She

began her career at WordHampton

Public Relations, a firm headquartered

in East Hampton, NY and ranked by

Jack O’Dwyer’s as one of the country’s

‘Top 100 Independent PR firms’. In

2013, she was made a partner and was

chosen to launch the company’s NYC


Recognized as a strategic leader, she

has earned a track record for

counseling clients, including Fortune

500 companies such as NAPCO

Security, Inc., to increase profits,

manage brand reputations and gain

market share. She’s continually driven

by her enterprising spirit and innate

understanding of consumer influence.

She takes ownership of the business

she supports and partners with clients.

Professional, confident and wellrespected

by her peers, Lindsey has

also been a guest lecturer at several

universities including Hofstra

University and Saint Joseph’s

University, possessing a presence

people often find unforgettable.

Her leadership and expertise have

earned her numerous accolades

throughout the career including; PRSA

Big Apple Award, PRSA Bronze Anvil

Lindsey Myers


Concrete Blonde Consulting 2020 MAY | 19

Award, eight MarCom awards, nine

Fair Media Council Folio Awards,

Communicator Award, SABRE Award,

and an Excellence in Communications


Lindsey has shared some of her

insights with us through a series of

question and answers as below:

What was your source of

motivation? Who is your role model

or the person that inspires you the


My motivation comes from an innate

love for business and an inner drive to

want to help entrepreneurs get their

message out. I meet so many people

who want to start a business and the

most common reason they give for not

pursuing their passion is a fear that

they won’t be able to sell themselves. I

want to help people conquer that fear!

Oprah has definitely been a role model

for me. Both her ability to grow her

brand and really provide value for her

audience that too on a spiritual level.

Kindly make us aware of the

challenges you faced to withstand

the complexities of the industry.

I believe the challenges I’ve faced are

not necessarily industry-specific. For

me, setting boundaries, not over

servicing clients and negotiating

contracts have always been the aspects

of my business I struggle with the

most. I want to help people and

balancing that with self-care and

ensuring profitability is always an area

where I strive to do better.

Kindly describe your company and

its services/products.

Concrete Blonde Consulting is a fullservice

consulting and marketing firm

in NYC. We specialize in providing

custom marketing solutions for profit

and growth. By examining your

business development pipeline, we are

able to identify new areas for growth,

while also creating strategies to

amplify current opportunities. In

addition, we provide a competitive

media analysis, streamline marketing

campaigns and build additional sources

of revenue. We service various

industries including consumer products

and services, tech, lifestyle, hospitality,

and nonprofit companies.

Brief us about the industry scenario

from your perspective.

Communications is a rapidly changing

field and our firm is continually

transforming to harnesses the powers

of both influence and interaction. We

offer clients a variety of tools from

third-party PR endorsements to social

influencer campaigns to reach

consumers and drive business.

We believe every client is unique. We

partner with them to unearth their core

business goals. Then we create

bespoke strategic marketing plans with

benchmarks to chart our progress and

target our methods. We feel a sense of

responsibility to our clients and we are

responsive not only to their needs but

also to the ever-changing world in

which they operate.

State some of your company’s

achievements under your leadership.

We’ve racked up numerous accolades

in the past three years, but the

achievements that I’m the proudest of

are the ways we’ve been able to score

for our clients. From a game-changing

feature in the New York Times for one

of our hospitality clients to some of the

non-profit counsel, we’ve provided to

help make the world a better place.

Kindly share with us a quote that

best describes you and your

company’s vision.

“Success is liking yourself, liking what

you do, and liking how you do it.” –

Maya Angelou.

I am constantly checking in with

myself and my soul to make sure that I

am in alignment and that our firm is in


Enlighten us with your vision of the

future as well as the company’s plans

in the coming years. Tell us about

your future goals.

I believe that the gig economy and the

ability to work remotely is going to

have a drastic impact on corporate

culture. Combine those structural

changes with the millennial focus on

experiences and work/life balance and

I believe the landscape of how we do

business and how we work is about to

change for the better. I also see more

and more entrepreneurs placing

importance on sustainability and a rise

in conscious capitalism.

Our future goals are to continue to

service our clients and also to attract

entrepreneurs with similar values so

we can build a network of people who

utilize our services and who may also

be able to service each other. I’d like

our company to be an epicenter for

entrepreneurs to create strategic

partnerships and for us to help foster

that community.

20 | MAY 2020

The Glass Ceiling Effect:

Another Perspective on

Women and Leadership

24 | MAY 2020

Expert’s Advice

he glass ceiling is a barrier so subtle that it is

Ttransparent; yet so strong that it prevents women

from moving up the corporate hierarchy”


Morrison, American Author

The term “Glass ceiling” can be defined as an

unacknowledged upper limit in corporations and other

organizations, above which it is difficult or even

impossible for women to reach out to the highest

ranks.“Glass ceiling” is a popular metaphor widely used

for the hard-to-see informal barriers that prevents women

from getting promoted or achieving further opportunities

in leadership positions. The metaphor of “glass ceiling”

has also been used to describe the limits and obstacles

faced by racial minority groups.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s 1991 definition of glass

ceiling is “those artificial barriers based on attitudinal or

organizational bias that prevents qualified individuals

from advancing upward in their organization into

management-level positions.” (Report on the Glass

Ceiling Initiative.)

Famous American actress cum author Ann Morrison

defines the concept of the Glass Ceiling as:

“The glass ceiling is not simply a barrier for an

individual, based on the person’s inability to handle a

higher-level job. Rather, the glass ceiling applies to

women as a group who are kept from advancing higher

because they are women.”

The Elements behind the Glass Ceiling:

It is pretty obvious that women are facing a lot of hurdles

to break through the glass ceiling and reach to the

highest leadership position throughout the ages.

Preventing both women and organizations from reaching

their full potential, the invisible “Glass Ceiling” denies

us all of the maximal benefits of gender diversity in

leadership. Some of the most common barriers are

highlighted below:

Job isolation:

Women are offered the same kinds of job roles like staff,

public relations or occasionally finance specialties that

rarely lead to the more powerful management positions.

Over time, women are eventually excluded from jobs in

the mainstream of business, the route taken by CEOs and

presidents. 2020 MAY | 25

Old-boy Network:

There are many instances when men gets the managerial

powers in an organization who manages greater numbers

of people, enjoys more freedom of hiring and firing, and

controls the company’s assets directly while women are

deprived of such authorities and powers. It is the “Oldboys”

of the organization that makes all the policy;

where the women are kept virtually absent.

Sex Discrimination:

In a recent survey, working women were asked about the

greatest obstacle they had to overcome to achieve

success; “simply being a woman” was the most frequent

response. In another survey by the Wall Street Journal,

women leaders quoted their most serious obstacle in

their business careers to be “male chauvinism, attitudes

toward a female boss, slow advancement for women, and

the simple fact of being a woman.” These instances are

enough to prove the prevalence of sex discrimination in

the workplace.

Sexual Harassment:

Sexual harassment remains one of the biggest barriers

for women in managerial roles. A corporate environment

that tolerates sexual harassment intimidates and

demoralizes women executives. Even after the adoption

and enforcement of numerous laws against sexual

harassment, women do not feel sufficiently encouraged

and empowered to speak out for fear of compromising

their work.

Benefits of Women in Leadership:

Studies found that inclusion of women in business

leadership has significantly improved such factors as

firm value, financial performance, economic growth,

innovation and social responsiveness and philanthropy.

The additional benefits of women in corporate leadership

include stricter monitoring and supervision and fewer

legal infractions such as fraud and embezzlement. A

better balance among women in leadership positions can

create a more diverse team of leaders with different

perspectives and a greater ability to contribute new ideas

and thus enhancing the profitability. The

transformational leadership style often used by women

tends to be a good option for contemporary

organizations, as it encourages employee morale,

motivation and performance.

Overcoming the Barriers: Strategies

Women’s progress up the corporate ladder is still limited

by the “glass ceiling” despite the myriad of Government

policies and programs which have been introduced to

ensure that their talents and skills are recognized and


Women can help themselves to overcome this career

hurdle by:

Acquiring appropriate business skills and know how;

Taking up line‐management positions rather than

management service roles;

Gaining the necessary experience through

“apprenticeship” and “acting positions”;

Seeking career counseling;

Volunteering for leadership and executive positions;

And lastly, acquiring the ability to measure their

operating effectiveness in the workplace.

An awareness of the emergence of new barriers to their

progress is also worth considering. The current

socio‐economic situation is creating different “glass

ceilings” in the form of the downsizing of organizations,

new differentiated and self‐directed career paths, the

advent of the contractual worker, and the care of aged




Since the latter half of the 20 century, women have

made great paces in increasing their representation in the

work force. However, a considerable gap remains in

achievement of leadership positions across different

fields. Renowned feminist Gloria Steinem stated it best:

“Clearly no one knows what leadership has gone

undiscovered in women.” It is far past time we strive to

find out and finally shatter the glass ceiling.

26 | MAY 2020


An Entrepreneurial Spirit Illuminating the Family Legacy

28 | MAY 2020





ahrain over the past few years has grown due to its

Bliberal economic policies and the clear roadmap

which aims to achieve prosperity for the society. Its

economy continued the upward growth trajectory in 2018,

with a real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated at

1.8%. The country concluded the year with pronounced

accelerations in headline growth, with its Q4 2018 real

GDP estimated at 4.6%. This healthy growth pace

continued into 2019 and showed no signs of slowing down.

In fact, the Bahraini economy is projected to grow by 2.3%

in 2019 and 2.7% in 2020.

Working along with the growth trajectory of Bahrain and

contributing to its rapid expansion is a company called Y.K.

Almoayyed and Sons. The firm initiated its operations in

1940 when the Founder, Yousuf Khalil Almoayyed opened

his first shop at Tijjar Road. A one-man trading outlet in

Manana’s main market has now turned out to be a multifaceted

organization. Today, the company represents

prestigious international brands that include Nissan, Infiniti,

Ford, Renault, Toshiba, Sony, Bose, and Kodak, etc. Yousuf

Khalil Almoayyed and Sons have big aspirations and

continue to prosper and grow exponentially.

The company’s aim is to encourage more Bahrainis to join

the organization so that they can prosper and grow together.

Y. K. Almoayyed and Sons are fortunate to have found

some impressive young Bahraini nationals through their

training program who can add value to the company in the

future. Management remains in close touch with employees

at all levels. Female rights are supported, and job

promotions are made irrespective of background or gender

in the firm.

Being a multi-faceted and service-oriented company in the

industry, the directors of this mercantile organization ensure

that its team works hard to adapt as per the needs and

challenges of the 21st century. It allows Y.K. Almoayyed to

further develop with commercial vision and integrity. “We

have achieved much of what my father wanted over recent

years and are proud at having settled this impressive

enterprise at the top of everything we have aimed for,” says

the Managing Director of the firm Mona Yousuf


The Story Extraordinaire

Mona was born in Manama, Bahrain and went to a

government school for education as there were no private

schools around that time in the country. The government

facilitated free schooling for all the children there which

proved to be beneficial for her as she liked mixing with

different Bahrainis. After completing secondary school,

Mona’s father insisted that she finishes her education in

England as there were no Universities back then in Bahrain.

She felt lucky enough to go on her own to the boarding

school in England because she made a lot of new friends

from different nationalities. “I studied Business

Administration and graduated in 1974,” shares Mona.

After graduation, she entered the family business as a part

of its furniture division. Mona’s frequent visits to furniture

shows across Europe and the US enabled her to improve the

furniture collection of the company. In the early 90s, she

got promoted to the automobile business domain of the

company. Her turning point in life was when her father,

Yousuf passed away and she had to handle the mantle of the

Managing Director.

“My father was the biggest influence in my life and in the

Healthy and



are your top



Take care of

your employees,

and they will

take care of

your business.

It’s as

simple as that 2020 MAY | 29

business as well,” reminisces Mona. She was fond of her

father’s negotiation skills and liked his character a lot. “At

times, he was very tough, but at the same time he was very

honest,” she further recalls. Yousuf considered a firm

handshake as a binding contract of a signed agreement

which inspired Mona a lot. He also used to settle his debts

without any delays which helped Mona in realizing the

power and responsibility of commitment. Even though her

father was a very busy man, he was a loving and caring

person. “One of my happiest childhood memories was when

my father took us to Lebanon on holiday in 1957 and it was

my first trip abroad,” describes Mona joyfully.

From her mother, Mona learned that family values are also

an integral part of life. “My mother’s generosity and care

for the poor and the needy has taught me my first lesson

towards charity work and the society,” states Mona. Her

mother was a perfect housewife. She used to cook, clean

and stitch Mona and her siblings’ clothes while taking good

care of the whole family at the same time.

Business Dynamics

It was not easy at the beginning for Mona. “We are talking

about women in the 70s. People don’t expect you to rise

above basic jobs like operator and accountant,” she

informs. It was very hard for her, especially when her

children were young. She remembers missing a few

important meetings during those times but her father and

the whole family supported her decisions. They realized and

recognized that being a woman, Mona had additional

responsibilities. Once the children were old enough to take

care of themselves, she placed extra efforts in strengthening

the business. She had to work hard in order to gain the

confidence of the customers and employees at the

automobile division. “In business, there are many obstacles

and losses, it is not a smooth ride all the way,” explains


As the company is approaching the third-generation era,

Mona is planning to update the policies and procedures

along with bringing in the expertise of professional

management. Family members are involved only on the

board level. “We have appointed a consultant to meet all



members of the 2 and 3 generation and come up with

corporate governance principles and review our family

constitution,” says Mona. She wants to protect the family

business and wants to retain it for many generations to

come. “We are continuing to improve our business in

Bahrain in different sectors and are now concentrating on

consolidation,” shares Mona. She has introduced a lot of

measures to make the business more efficient.

30 | MAY 2020

The Fuss

about AI

Ihave been a strong advocate of conversational

technology (VoiceTech/NLP) and AI and have pitched

for it in various conferences, Guest Lectures at leading

business institutes and to corporates and I am often being

asked what will happen to our jobs? So this is true that

Artificial intelligence seems like a big untameable monsters

to most, and everyone is little anxious about future.

And that could be true sitting in 2010, but past few years

new old research and young progressive companies and

devision of enterprises are willing to make it their sole

purpose that the infuse digital transformation in their

company and provide assistance to others. But, with the

prevailing reputation that comes at a cost of educating

everyone, really everyone.

They see it as a risk and any have burnt their hands trying

to tame novice early stage AI models. But thats fine, thats

how we grow. I believe that we are intellectual beings with

curious minds, why would we want to do repeatable jobs

which machines can do with greater efficiency. We can

delegate these chores and teach the machines to help us

better and imitate human decision making, innovate at

personal level and “Democratise Artificial Intelligence”.

Democratising AI through platforms for like voice

technology - Natural Language processing so the technical

algorithms can stay with specific user base while use of the

AI algorithms can be made as simple as conversing with

machines. Thats a sure shot way to upskilling resources for

example: Team of Analysts can train dashboards and

Business Intelligence tools to map business KPIs and

generate Compelling Business Stories and Insights in

natural language for everyone in the organisation to benefit

from, and then keep building the training over it through

machine learning. We are personally running trials with

Fortune 50 companies on this, so when I say you need to

start looking at ways to incorporate new technologies I

mean it.

For enterprises there are certain imminent crisis that

demand that they change rapidly and market is not at all as

forgiving as it was a few decades back, someone is

constantly rooting for you to make a mistake.This is leading

enterprise to transform under the integrated environment of

Digital Transformation.

Voice Technology has lately become a stable AI process and

would completely change the way we interact with

technology in the future. Visualization will remain at the

heart of it however with conversational technology, we can

expect a shift to more verbal ads, like radio, but more

personalized and actionable, but still to make a decision on

which product to buy you would want to see it visually.

Also search will become more specific and hyperlocal,

where we will be prompted to give verbal feedbacks, that

would amount to popularity of products and places, how it

happens with mobile applications today.

Siri, Cortana, Alexa have brought conversation technology

to people for some time now. They come bundled up with

smart phones and can be used to do basic searches, to look

up certain things, cue up songs etc. Speech technology has

come much further than that. With its advancement we can

now control our oven, tv and other house hold devices, can

search complex data from cloud or can make phone calls

for ourselves. It can change the way we function in our

daily lives, our time with our family, services we receive

and the jobs we do. It can eliminate learning curve of

devices, repeatable chores, and compiling excel sheets. And

it will not happen eventually, it’s happening now.

Developers will innovate to create more audio centric user

interface, there will be discovery period for them to find out

how to minimally prompt user to give inputs and implement

32 | MAY 2020

Expert Talks

About the Author

Preksha Kaparwan is the Co-founder, CMO, V.UX Designer of Realbox.AI .

The versatile IHM Pusa graduate initially served as the chef but got inclined

towards technology and business analytics and founded RealBox in 2015.

Within three years of its inception, they have raised $300k for Realbox and,

their customers include fortune 50 and big 4 enterprises. As a thought leader

she has been part of TEDTalk talk shows. She was awarded 'The sparks 2018'

by your story for tech services for her exceptional contribution

as a Tech Evangelist.

voice modulated visual commands. We can see

speech approaching a point where it would

become so reliable that we can just use it, like

how we do it with other humans, and not even

think about it.

I am personally inspired to bring acceptance for

conversational technology globally and I believe

that the real success for this would not be when

big corporations and industries would be using it

but when every small and medium business and

every household would be using it and help us to

get a hold of our receding grip on reality from

visually attractive and distracting screens on our

tv, on out laptops and our smart phones.

Preksha Kaparwan

Co-founder & CMO

RealBox Data

Analytics Private Limited

We have seen this kind of a shift with automated

technologies and processes which has led to

reduced laborious work, efficiency increased and

averted accidents. Smart phones brought

technologies closer to the end user. So, I took

side with Artificial Intelligence and Machine

Learning technologies, that will aid seamlessly

while co-existing in our realities. And impact is

not just on us in our personal capacity but for

businesses too and professionals who spend

endless nights collating data and make pretty

ppts to show to the bosses.

I believe that spreading the word on changing

technological demography is not our

responsibility or our burden. But you know why

I make it my purpose??

Because it is a major step in evolution of

technology and I know we need to harness it,

shape it now, before someone else does it

for you. 2020 MAY | 33

Nicole Rodrigues, Founder and CEO of NRPR Group, Inc.

Nicole Rodrigues

Transforming the Public Relation Industry with Sedulousness

36 | MAY 2020


NRPR is different from other agencies

in the industry because we have very

high standards for ourselves because

we want prospective and existing clients to

feel they're getting the best possible team.


sustain and thrive

in today’s

competitive market,

every company needs to

have a positive image. Thus,

organizations across all industries

seek out PR (Public Relations)

professionals who strive to build and

maintain a positive image for the company

as a brand. PR professionals focus on building

solid relationships with influencers so that they

will share information that conveys the right image

for the company.

Unfortunately, there are some Public Relations agencies

that engage in cookie-cutter pitching to media

professionals who do not cover or care about their client or

the industry which is being pitched. This doesn’t help the

companies to get the exposure they desire and can ruin

their brand image in the long term. Hence, Nicole

Rodrigues, Founder and CEO of NRPR Group, Inc.,

sets a high standard for professionalism and quality for

agencies and their CEOs. Nicole is transforming the PR

industry in order to maintain a reputation of credibility and






With a

drive to

pursue a career

in Public Relations

since childhood, she

has made her mark in this

industry. Through her NRPR

Group, Nicole continues to serve

her clients and help them maintain a

positive image in their respective


Her Journey

Nicole believes that Public relations was tailor-made

for her and meant to be her career. In her junior high and

high school, Nicole campaigned for and held leadership

offices. She participated in and won marketing

competitions. When asked about choosing a career in PR,

Nicole said, “I wanted to find a career that involved public

perception development, writing, event planning, and more.

Thankfully, my college journalism professor saw my

interest and potential and encouraged me to check out

Public Relations courses. The minute I did I was hooked.”

Nicole’s first professional job was at an enterprise software

company. She decided to leave tech to pursue an internship

with the Oakland Raiders, which is where she learned

consumer, sports and entertainment PR strategy. After that,

she worked in a few different roles, including an in-house

PR manager role at MOBITV, and Senior PR Manager at

Voce Communications until recruited by Demand Media as

a Director of consumer marketing. Nicole served as the VP

of digital entertainment at Bender/Helper. In 2014, she left

Bender/Helper to start NRPR Group.

Her Source of Inspiration

Nicole’s mother has always been her biggest source of

motivation. She acted as her strongest pillar and inspired

Nicole to take charge of her life. “I was born when she was

16, but she never let being a mother get in the way of

getting what she wanted. She’s been a business owner since

I was young and her go-getter personality is always

something I try to emulate. My mother always told me that

I could do or have anything I wanted as long as I was

willing to work for it. I was the first in the family to

graduate college and worked hard in high school to earn 2020 MAY | 37

About NRPR

NRPR is an award-winning,

exclusive Public Relations and

Marketing Agency which serves

game changers and disruptors

around the world.

Headquartered in beautiful

Beverly Hills, California, with

other team members in the San

Francisco Bay Area, New York,

and Las Vegas, the agency is

staffed by exceptional writers,

communicators, thinkers, and

doers who understand the value

of relationships.

NRPR supports its clients,

friends and media who are

passionate about their

respective mission by creating

lasting relationships that

produce ongoing buzz and

recognition. From startups to

Fortune 500 companies within

consumer tech, fintech,

healthtech, enterprise, mobile,

digital entertainment, lifestyle,

sports, and consumer products

industries, NRPR delivers its

state-of-the-art services that

positively impact its client’s

bottom lines.

scholarships. I held three jobs during college to pay for my

education,” Nicole asserts.

Triumph over Adversities

When asked about how she developed the courage to

overcome the obstacles in her life, Nicole notes, “The

biggest challenge came when I was criticized early in my

career for being an upbeat woman who just so happens to

dress well and take care of herself. The criticism came

primarily from women. Also, early in my career, I was told

by men that I was ‘too pretty to be smart.’ These challenges

propelled me to bring my A-game to meetings because I

wanted to be taken seriously by negative women and sexist

men who thought I could not succeed.”

Always Get Back Up

Nicole states that Rocky Balboa the movie character has

had quite an impact on her entrepreneurial journey. One of

the favorite quotes from the movie:

“It doesn’t matter how hard you hit. It’s about how hard

you can get hit and keep moving forward... That’s how

winning is done.” - Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa),

inspired her to keep on moving forward. She says, “It

reminds me not to make excuses. Just keep going! As a

business leader, things do not always go as expected

whether the issue is employee-, client-, budget- or business

climate-related, the failure is not in the errors made or the

change in circumstance, but lies in the failure of not

learning from one’s mistakes or worse yet, dwelling on

them, allowing mistakes to make us feel bad about

ourselves and our successes. Instead, we need to take the

hit, evaluate if anything could have been done differently,

and do better next time.”

A Promising Future

NRPR continues to set the example for what PR agencies

of the future should be. The agency’s newest division,

opened in January 2020, NRPR Productions, offers clients

a full-service production company, which will be an added

benefit for them. Nicole positions her agency as one that

develops new tools that will keep the agency ahead of the

curve in what it can offer. Under Nicole’s exemplary

leadership, the agency will continue to work with clients to

extend their visibility and bring their stories to life.

38 | MAY 2020

Insights’ Special



E ective


Styles for



An effective leader is the first and foremost condition for a

successful business. The hugely successful leaders adopt a

combination of multiple leadership styles or just one selective


As a fluid practice, leadership is always changing and improving the way the

company grows. There are different types of leadership styles exist in a work

environment. The culture and vision of an organization determine which one

is the most suitable style.

40 | MAY 2020






Inspires the staff through effective

communication and collaboration


welcomes views & suggestions from

the employees




allows the employees to make their own decisions


establishes a clear chain of command implementing

a carrot & stick approach to management activities




have significant control over the staff, seldom

considers any suggestions from staff


encourages collective decision-making




follows a strict set of rules and policies


charms the staff with individual charisma

08 2020 MAY | 41





One of the most effective leadership styles is the

transformational leadership style.

Transformational leaders inspire their staff through

effective communication and collaboration and

thus initiating the path to success. They set

challenging goals and higher expectation from each

employee eventually achieving a greater result.

These individuals are often blue-sky thinkers. For

the successful implementation of their strategic

visions, the organization might need more detailoriented


Democratic leadership is another highly effective

leadership style. Often known as Participative

leadership, in this style the leaders often ask help

and collaboration from their subordinates.

This leadership usually reports higher levels of job

satisfaction and the company can benefit from

individualistic creativity. However, this style

involves more than one individual in the decisionmaking

process which makes the process slower.






The term ‘laissez-faire’ literally means ‘let them do'

in French. In leadership, this is typically translated

to ‘let it be’. In this leadership style, the leader

allows the employees to make decisions. Laissezfaire

leaders are known for their hands-off

approach which is often criticized for poor role

definition for managers.

Such leadership style is effective in creative jobs

and workplaces with experienced employees.

However, active monitoring of performance and

effective communication regarding the expectation

from the leader’s end is must to get the most out of

this style of leadership.

Transactional leadership is basically focused on

group organization, establishing a clear chain of

command and implementing a carrot-and- stick

approach to management activities. According to, transactional leadership includes:

clarifying what is expected of followers’

performance; explaining how to meet such

expectations; and allocating rewards that are

contingent on meeting objectives.

42 | MAY 2020



05 06

As the name suggests, the

autocratic leadership style is

the extreme version of

transactional leadership.

Autocratic or authoritative

leaders take control of the

staff and rarely accept or

consider employees’views or

suggestions. Ruling with an

iron fist is rarely appreciated

by staff, which can lead to high

turnover and absenteeism.

Autocratic work environment

rarely has any flexibility.

Strategic leadership is a commonly effective

leadership style. This leadership style involves a

leader who is essentially the highest authority of

the organization. Strategic leaders are not,

however, limited to the top authority of the

company. They include a wider audience at all

levels who want to create a high- performance life,

team or organization. This is because of this

approach this is one of the most desirable styles of






Bureaucratic leadership models are most suitable

for highly regulated or administrative

environments, where adherence to the rules and a

defined hierarchy are important. In this leadership

style, the leaders set a strict set of rules,

regulations, and policies which they follow

precisely, and they expect their teams to follow the


A tinge of resemblance is evident in

both charismatic and

transformational leadership. Both

the leadership styles rely heavily on

the positive charm and personality

of the leader.

However, this style of leadership is

seldom considered to be effective

because the success of projects and

initiatives are closely linked to the

presence of the leader 2020 MAY | 43





Stacey Brewer

Co-founder & CEO

SPARK Schools

44 | MAY 2020

Stacey Brewer

An Endeavor Entrepreneur with a Humanitarian Approach

Education plays a vital role in building a nation’s

economy. It is of paramount importance that a

country makes quality education one of its top

priorities. Quality education is not the sole responsibility of

the nation. Every individual should proactively engage in

obtaining and facilitating at least basic education in order to

grow as a responsible citizen.

On an individual level, there are a lot of things that can be

done to figure out the lacking points in the education system

of a country and take essential steps to countermeasure the

limitations and come up with viable solutions. While

inculcating valid methods, factors like affordable and

voluntarily accessible education also need to be taken into

account as the requirement of both is crucial for an

economy’s growth. The socio-economic gap in the society

of a particular country also determines its strength and

stability in terms of literacy and a skill-based workforce.

Hence, again the individual efforts by every person on a

micro-level of every stratum of the society narrowed down

to a community also count as a successful approach towards


One such person working with this approach in the most

humanitarian way is Stacey Brewer, Co-founder and

CEO of SPARK Schools. She has a Bachelor of Science

degree in Human Kinetics, Ergonomics and Organizational

Psychology from Rhodes University. She also obtained an

MBA in Entrepreneurship cum laude from the Gordon

Institute of Business Science (GIBS). At GIBS, she

channelled her passion for education into her thesis. The

thesis was focused on a sustainable financial model for

economical private schools in South Africa. This research

served as the foundation for the establishment of SPARK


It is a network of low-cost schools operating in South

Africa. “We launched our first school in January 2013 with

160 children and 20 staff members,” says Stacey. Currently,

it operates 21 schools, educates over 13000 children, and

employs more than 1200 staff members altogether. “We aim

to continue to open schools across the country,” she further


She is one of the leading supporters of high-impact

entrepreneurs around the world. Stacey is recognized and

awarded a myriad of accolades. Here are a few of the


1. ELLE Boss 2015

2. Mail and Guardian Top 200 South Africans in 2014

3. Glamour Business Women of the Year 2019

She is also a Mandela Washington Fellow 2015 (Barack

Obama’s Flagship Fellowship) and a Tutu Fellow too.

Tackling the Struggles

As an entrepreneur, Stacey’s journey has had many

challenges while building the business. To raise angel

investment or seed capital in South Africa was quite a

challenge for her, as the country is very risk-averse. “In our

early stages as a start-up, it took some very progressive

angel investors to invest in SPARK Schools,” shares Stacey.

People’s views and opinions on becoming an entrepreneur

were not very appreciative or kind. “I often received

feedback from people asking if I was starting a company

because I could not find a real job,” explains Stacey. Also,

looking for a team to join a start-up is a big challenge as per

her experience. Most people find it safe to work for the big

brands of the corporates rather than joining an organization

where it is riskier at the early stages.

As one builds and grows a company, there are a huge

amount of challenges and complexities along the way.

There is a large focus on personal development to become a

more effective and stronger professional. “This was the

hardest, but the best thing that I have ever done, it is 2020 MAY | 45

As you let your

own light shine,

you unconsciously

give others

permission to

do the same

essential to work with strong and committed team members

as well as have a strong support system at home,” Stacey


To face these challenges head-on, her source of motivation

has always been solving big problems and do things that no

one else wants to do. “I have a great sense of responsibility

in creating a better South Africa and I am currently aimed

at doing this in the education sector in South Africa,” adds


The country spends most of its budget and GDP on

education and yet it is not ranked up to the mark across

different competitiveness reports. Still, education in South

Africa is in a dire situation. In the most recent Progress in

International Reading Literacy Study ( PIRLS) assessment,

it stated that 78% of the Grade 4 students cannot read for

meaning which is very disheartening. “At SPARK, we have

an opportunity to change this and ensure that we can

provide access to a high-quality education that is affordable

to the country,” describes Stacey.

Ode to a Sparkling Future

SPARK schools offer to learn from Grade R to Grade 7 and

recently opened its first high school, and welcomed its first

Grade8 class, in January 2019. Its innovative blended

learning model, globally competitive curriculum, and focus

on core values along with social-emotional learning traits

enable the network to lead the South African education

sector. “SPARK scholars are persistent, responsible

achievers who seek to better their country through service,”

shares Stacey.

The school was invited to the Skoll World Forum 2013 to

present alongside Salman Khan (Khan Academy), Sandy

Speicher (IDEO) and Debra Dunn (Stanford University) on

the panel, Blended Learning: The Proof and the Promise.

Other awards and accolades received by SPARK Schools


1. 2016 All Africa Business Leader Award (AABLA) -

Innovator of the Year

2. 2017 EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women

3. 2019 Glamour Women of the Year (Business Category)

The vision of SPARK Schools is for South Africa to lead

Global Education. Its aim is to transform the education

sector in South Africa which will provide all children with

an opportunity to access high-quality education. The school

strives to help South Africa become a leading global player

in delivering innovative learning models that facilitates

great student achievement and is more cost-effective than a

traditional model. “Our next big goal is to open another 28

schools over 5 years starting from 2021. We aim to operate

49 schools by 2024 and will be educating over 30000

children,” concludes Stacey.

46 | MAY 2020

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