What the 2019 SAWIPA finalists have to say ....

Young Achiever Award
• Clare Comins – Professional Architect, SNAPP Architects (Western Cape)
• Palesa Moloi – CEO & Co-founder, ParkUpp (Gauteng)
• Nompumelelo Xulu – Founder and Managing Director NS Xulu Attorneys Conveyancers (KwaZulu-Natal)


Entrepreneur of the Year Award
• Jutta Berns-Mumbi – Founder & Managing Director, Ecocentric (Gauteng)
• Michelle Michael – Director, Dlamini Michael Inc. (KwaZulu-Natal)
• There were no nominees from the Western Cape in this category


Professional of the Year Award – Private Sector
• Susan Turner – Co-founder & Director, Knight Frank South Africa (Western Cape)
• Tia Kanakakis – Partner, MDS Architecture (Gauteng)
• Saloshini Gounder – Executive Real Estate, Massdiscounters (KwaZulu-Natal)


Professional of the Year Award – Public Sector
• Kathy Michell – Associate Professor & Head of Department Construction Economics & Management, University of Cape Town (Western Cape)
• Lerato Peu – Executive Director, Economic Development Merafong City Local Municipality (Gauteng)
• Fathima Khan – Senior Manager, eThekwini Real Estate (KwaZulu-Natal)


We spoke to each of the finalists to find out more about their careers and what makes them excited about the commercial property sector in South Africa.


SAWIPA Young Achiever Finalist, Clare Comins, is a Professional Architect at SNAPP Architects…


What inspires you about South Africa's commercial property industry?
It is inspiring to be part of an industry that is in a state of constant in shift. The results are innovative, and a hybridisation of functionality and form.


What would you like to achieve through your career?
My ultimate aim is to create meaningful physical interventions in the space in which I live. I’d like to contribute to the growth and change that is so needed, every day, in this country.


What would be your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
Now is the time to participate in the creation of female-centric support structures. Now is the time to build each other up, and now is certainly the time to be pursuing the dream career in whatever sector you choose.


SAWIPA Young Achiever Finalist, Palesa Moloi is CEO & Co-founder, ParkUpp…


What inspires you about South Africa's commercial property industry?
I am inspired by the large number of opportunities and challenges that face the property industry, which could be solved by technology.


What would you like to achieve through your career?
Our goal is to build a global company where we are helping people monetise empty parking bays by sharing it with those who need it. Parking is a global issue and we have strategically positioned ourselves to play in different geographical markets.


What is your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
Never stop learning, put yourself out there and trust in the journey even if it scares you, or takes long. Remove the psychological barriers associated with being a women, show your strength and add value. People will eventually see what you bring to the table.


SAWIPA Young Achiever Finalist, Nompumelelo Xulu is the Founder and Managing Director of NS Xulu Attorneys Conveyancers…


What inspires you about South Africa's commercial property industry?
My inspiration comes from the fact that the commercial property industry has not been penetrated enough by young black women; we are still so fearful to enter the industry due to the status quo. Having lived in an era of women such as the late Dr Thandi Ndlovu, we honestly have no excuse not to contribute to the industry.


What would you like to achieve through your career?
I strive to be a trailblazer for young black women in the property law and conveyancing space. There so few of us, yet the commercial property sector in South Africa is worth trillions and contributes significantly to Growth Domestic Product (GDP).


What would be your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
My favourite quote: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky.


SAWIPA Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, Jutta Berns-Mumbi is the Founder & Managing Director, Ecocentric…


What inspires you about South Africa’s commercial property industry
There is enormous scope for innovation in traditional commercial spaces: creating healthy, sustainable, attractive and resilient spaces that are catalysts for driving sustainability.


What would you like to achieve through your career?
Through my work, I want to have a genuine, sustained, scaled and fast impact on reversing global climate change, which the built environment has the potential to do.


What would be your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
Throughout my career in the green building space, I have noticed that this sector attracts and retains an incredible number of female professionals from all sectors. From within and outside the traditional built-environment sector, which continues to motivate me enormously.


 SAWIPA Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, Michelle Michael is Director of Dlamini Michael Inc…


“I take every opportunity that knocks on my door, because I have learnt twice that life is short. My experiences have shown me that we all have that indomitable spirit of survival and can overcome any challenges thrown at us,” says Michelle.


“I have three full-time attorneys (including myself), two consultants in my three law practices, with eight support staff as a sole practitioner. Property.co.za has three offices in Ballito, Berea and Umhlanga, with over 70 agents and growing. I say this not to brag, but I’d like to think that every time I was faced with an adversity that seemed insurmountable, I found the strength to thrive. I try not to be distracted by the things I cannot change but change myself to adapt,” Michelle continues.


SAWIPA Professional of the Year – Private Sector finalist, Susan Turner is Co-founder & Director of Knight Frank South Africa…


What inspires you about South Africa's commercial property industry?
The commercial property market is resilient, exciting, dynamic and constantly changing to meet the demands of a growing economy and almost daily technology advances.

What would you like to achieve through your career?
To help build Knight Frank to be one of the best recognised and respected property brands in South Africa, with a good succession plan for the future, which will enable and empower my staff to achieve their personal goals and ambitions.

What would be your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
There is nothing you cannot achieve through hard work, perseverance, self-belief honesty and integrity.


SAWIPA Professional of the Year – Private Sector finalist Tia Kanakakis is a Partner at MDS Architecture...


What inspires you about South Africa's commercial property industry?
I have had the privilege to work with many professionals in my career and what inspires me about the commercial property industry is that we generate developments and design buildings as South Africans and Africans that can stand proud with the most outstanding international properties globally.


What would you like to achieve through your career?
As a working Professional Architect for almost 30 years I have achieved many of my goals in my career, however, I believe that no matter how much experience one has gained, one is never too old to learn and to raise the goal posts.


What would be your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
A woman must at all times believe in herself. Confidence is developed by setting goals and driving towards achieving them. Success is not necessarily about talent, it is about hard work and being consistent.


SAWIPA Professional of the Year – Private Sector finalist, Saloshini Gounder, Executive Real Estate, Massdiscounters…


What inspires you about South Africa's commercial property industry?
I was privileged to join our industry peers on a recent retail tour to the US. I can confidently say that, following this tour, what inspires me about our property industry in South Africa is the innovation, vision and respect for the customer. This comes through in our design, tenant mix and retail experience. Our South African shopping centre industry can rival any international standards.


What would you like to achieve through your career?
There are two things I would like to achieve through my career as a retailer specialising in property. First, I wish to empower women and minorities, debunk stereotypes of traditional roles and promote inclusion and diversity. I would also like to leave a legacy of sustainable development.


What would be your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
Your voice is powerful; it can shape strategy, it can influence decision making, it can inspire. Your voice needs to be heard. Don’t be afraid to take a seat at the table.


SAWIPA Professional of the Year – Public Sector finalist, Kathy Michell is Associate Professor & Head of Department, Construction Economics & Management at the University of Cape Town…


What inspires you about South Africa's commercial property industry?
The opportunities in this space for women are plentiful. Being involved in both the public and private sector through my research and social responsiveness portfolios, it is exciting to know that the strategies you put in place, the decisions you make, the developments you do, the properties that you manage all contribute to making our cities sustainable and our urban areas a space for all.

What would you like to achieve through your career?
To know that I have made a difference in the lives of my students, my staff and the communities with whom I undertake real research that attempts to solve the significant challenges that we face in our urban areas.

What would be your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
In the words of Sheryl Sandberg – start by asking yourself “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?”


SAWIPA Professional of the Year – Public Sector finalist, Lerato Peu is Executive Director, Economic Development Merafong City Local Municipality…


What inspires you about South Africa's commercial property industry?
It is encouraging to see more commercial developments within both township and rural parts of the country. This means that people no longer have to travel long distances to their major towns for shopping. It is even more exciting because the township/rural commercial hubs also provide economic opportunities for communities.
What would you like to achieve through your career?
South Africa is blessed with endless opportunities and the pie is big enough for everyone. Within the government space, where I am currently operating, it is my vision to design and implement policy frameworks that allow for the marginalised, especially youth and women, to enter the commercial property spaces.


What would be your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
We need to stop dreaming of economic transformation and start being agents of economic change. We all have a part of to play in our respective professions and careers to ensure that the little light that currently burns becomes a fire.


SAWIPA Professional of the Year – Public Sector finalist, Fathima Khan is Senior Manager at eThekwini Real Estate…
What inspires you about South Africa's commercial property industry?
It is a creative and robust industry. As a city, we need to instil confidence and certainty in order to stimulate growth and investment. Businesses must work with the city to drive policies that encourage investment in the commercial property sector that creates jobs.
What would you like to achieve through your career?
I would like to see change in government policies and that will attract smaller developers. This will impact on transformation in the property industry and address the missing middle i.e. affordable housing between R350 000 to R750 000 for the working class.
What would be your message of motivation to other female property professionals in SA?
Women in South Africa, and especially black women, are still reeling from the effects of past legislation like the Administration of Black Estates Act, where only the eldest son could inherit property. While the Act was abolished years ago, women have been denied ownership and their rightful inheritance of property. My message to women is to stand together to fight against the injustice.





ARE YOU READY TO JOIN OUR NETWORK?