The Women’s Property Network (WPN) established in 2000, arose out of a need to recognise women in the South African commercial property industry, by creating a dynamic environment with effective leadership to enhance the development, empowerment and upliftment of its members, thereby encouraging opportunities in terms of transformation, leadership, mentorship, networking and analysis and dissemination of information.
One of the initiatives in supporting this goal and in line with strong corporate social responsibility has been the formation of the Education Trust, of which the trustees are, Ben Kodisang, Lynette Finlay and Thandi Ndlovu. The Trust seeks to actively support black women and aid junior women to grow in the industry and further their career objectives.
Amelia Beattie, WPN Chair says: “An ongoing activity of the Education Trust and the Education portfolio of WPN, has been to provide deserving female students studying towards a property related degree with bursaries to enable them to complete their studies and then enter the commercial property industry such that they can make a meaningful contribution to the industry. In order to sustain the Trust and to be in a position to offer bursaries, WPN has relied on fundraising activities and pledges by members or members’ representing companies and in 2009 in excess of R100 000-00 was raised. What this has translated into is that bursaries can continue to be offered for the 2010 year. In addition, WPN through its relationship with industry players has also facilitated the participation of two of its bursary students, Cheyeza Mkhabele and Lebogang Mangwale in the Growthpoint Properties Graduate Programme for 2010, thus releasing WPN from its obligations to these students and making it possible for a further two students to be awarded bursaries for 2010 to study further. Another student, Madre Engel, who was studying at UCT and who had been supported during her 2009 year of study by WPN, has been accepted by ERIS Property Group onto their 2010 internship programme”.
In addition to the bursaries that Mkhabele and Mangwale have received from WPN and now Growthpoint Properties, they have been receiving ongoing mentorship and will continue to do so during 2010 so that they are suitably prepared for formal employment during 2011. Mentorship is yet another initiative that WPN has offered its members, with the pilot being launched in Gauteng in March in 2009. Programmes have now been launched in Cape Town and Durban, and sets of mentors and mentees have been paired to begin a six month programme so that mentors can assist in the transfer of skills and knowledge to the mentees, such that the latter are able to gain knowledge from experienced leaders within the comfort and structure of a formal programme.