Standard Bank Top Women

Masterclass Series 

Episode 2

30 July 2020 | 10H30

Standard bank top women masterclass Topic

How to accelerate economic growth in Africa through gender empowerment – strategies for success

What you will learn 

Secrets of how to become the first female director of a multinational company – A Directors roadmap to success

Learn how to shift your mind-set to achieve your BHAG 

Lessons on how to drive innovation within a multinational company from zero to R1 billion profit in 3 years

How to become the Top Gender Empowered Business in Africa?

Diversity wins…why inclusion matters

How to driver gender empowerment in a male dominated sector? 


Karla Fletcher

Head of Marketing - Topco Media


Karla Fletcher is Head of Marketing for Top Media and Communications, the Top 500 host and organiser. Based in Cape Town, Topco researches, ranks and recognises South Africa’s private- and public-sector leaders through its annual publications, conferences and awards.   

Vanisha Balgobind

Executive Head of Human Resources, Exxaro Resources - Top Gender empowered organisation for resources award winner 2019.


Vanisha is a registered industrial psychologist with over 20 years’ experience in the mining industry. She joined the (then) Iscor Mining in 1997 as an HR graduate trainee. She was further employed at Kumba Resources as an HR business partner and within the Talent Management area between 1998 and 2006. 

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Since then she was appointed at Exxaro as the manager for the Talent Management and centre of expertise, manager for corporate projects and HR optimisation and the group manager for Talent and
Learning. She is the chairperson of the Exxaro Women in mining committee and serves on various other Exxaro subsidiary companies. Her passion lies in education and women empowerment as well as finding integration between work and having quality family time.

Mariam Cassim

CEO, Vodacom Financial Services – winner of Top Young Achiever under 40 award winner 2019


Mariam Cassim says her day starts ‘in much the same way as any other typical mom’ – a surprisingly down-to-earth revelation from a woman who transformed Vodacom Financial Services from a loss-making company of R88 million to a profit-making business of R1 billion within three years. 

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But realising an opportunity takes both grit and guts – and Mariam Cassim, Chief Officer: Vodacom Financial Services, has both But there’s no separating Cassim the hard-hitting executive from Cassim the wife and mother of two – and, indeed, she’s of the firm opinion that no woman should have to choose either side of life.

Natasha Parmanand

Managing Director Legal, Regulatory Affairs and Labor Relations, FedEx Express Sub Sahara Africa Middle East, India Subcontinent and Africa (MEISA)


Natasha Parmanand is the Managing Director Legal, Regulatory Affairs and Labor Relations, Sub Sahara Africa, within the FedEx Express Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa region. Natasha is an executive director of the FedEx Board in eight countries within Africa. Responsible for leading the Legal, Compliance and Labor Relations function in Sub Sahara Africa, Natasha, as part of her duties a member of the FedEx Board in Africa also provides strategic, commercial and operational leadership and direction. She is passionate about opportunities and empowerment for Youth and thus leads the BBBEE strategy for FedEx and heads up the Learnership Programs within FedEx in Africa.

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Natasha is an admitted attorney and trademark practitioner with 18 years’ experience in legal advisory roles across various industry sectors including logistics, healthcare, consulting, and technology in South Africa and throughout the African continent. She has extensive experience in pharmaceutical, forensic, compliance, and taxation matters of large multi-national companies.

In 2017, she received the FedEx Five Star Award, the company’s highest honor, for her work and contribution to the business.

Natasha holds LLM in International Business Law from the University of Liverpool, an LLM in Intellectual Property from University of South Africa, and a LLB from the University of Natal in South Africa. She also holds an Advance certificate in Value Added Tax from the University of South Africa.

She is a Country Winner in the 2018 CEO magazine’s’ Most Influential Women in Business and Professional Service sector in South Africa; and a finalist of the 2018 Standard Bank Top Women in Business – ‘Top Businesswoman of the Year’ category in South Africa. In 2019, Natasha was awarded Country Winner and Regional Winner (SADC) for CEO’s magazine’s Most Influential Women in Business and Profession.

The Ultimate Businesswomen Survival Guide

Rewatch the Standard Bank Top Women Masterclass Episode 2

The Ultimate Businesswomen Survival Guide

Rewatch the Standard Bank Top Women Masterclass Episode 1

Celebrating visionary organisations that prioritise gender empowerment as integral to their strategy for growth and success.

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