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My role model in the Built Environment by Veena Paul

I must admit it was quite a challenge to choose just one person as there are many people out there that have done so much to make a difference. I finally decided to write about Dr Judy Dlamini. I actually had the privilege to meet her and have a chat with her and what really amazed me is how down to earth and humble Dr Dlamini remains despite her many achievements both academically and professionally.

When you speak to Dr Judy Dlamini you get this sense that what you say matters to her. She comes across as real, authentic, genuine and her simplicity reeks of class. This is a lady that has a quiet dignity and refinement about her.

Wits University’s first female chancellor, founder and executive chairperson of Mbekani Group which is involved in Property Management amongst other entities, a licenced MD, she practised for many years before consulting in occupational health for various corporations, the recipient of the African Economy Builder Lifetime Achievement Award (2016) and one of Africa’s Most In­fluential Women in Business and Government Award 2016, author of “Equal but Different “and “The Other Story",, recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Economics in recognition of her economic activism, she serves on many boards and embodies the spirit of philanthropy through community outreach initiatives and holds an MBA and PhD in business leadership.

Judy Dlamini is a soft-spoken, feminine, business titan. She is a remarkably adaptive professional who has transformed herself from a family doctor into an investment banker, an entrepreneur, a non-executive board director for blue chip companies, an ardent proponent for education and an agent for social change. She is a concrete pillar of principles, with a mother’s touch… the passionate owner of a relentless work ethic which is also inculcated in her family. These are just some of her achievements and attributes – yes I am still talking about one woman – it is just mind-boggling how much she has done and excelled in. Everything she puts her mind to.

Reflecting on her new position (Chancellor at WITS) she highlighted how disheartening it was to be the first female “anything” in 2018.

“But it is what it is. The role I play is a guidance and ceremonial role, but it is also very important as I am a role model for first-year students to see the sky is the limit, and that they can reach any height if they work hard.”

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