Acting Director’s Foreword: July 2022

Acting Director’s Foreword: July 2022

Acting Director’s Foreword

By Simphiwe Mntambo

Reflecting on the first half of this year, the dominant theme on all fronts seems to have been resilience and recovery. We have continued to collectively push through challenges that have impacted the business landscape, both domestically and globally, while also recovering from the many effects of the pandemic.

In our community, we’ve also recently experienced challenges which have opened our eyes to the obstacles we’ve got to overcome as we continue to work towards building an inclusive, open and safe community that is anchored in the shared values of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. Yet, even in the face of the challenges, we have had some accomplishments and milestones to acknowledge and be proud of.

The Association strives to create value and it has been encouraging to witness the difference that the work of the Foundation is making in providing Fellows with access to essential business building blocks, career development and overall wellness, prioritising mental health. I am pleased that Fellows in IVC and EA programmes are seeing growth in their startup journeys and that our masterclasses have been well attended. The feedback received on these has been positive and we are excited by the future opportunities for learning. Fellows are also making strides in their careers where they are leading in global organisations and spearheading local transformation through corporate initiatives.

Having 698 Fellows, all coming from different walks of life, boasting different experiences and strengths, as well as different vulnerabilities and blind spots, it is in this community that we find and embrace diversity. But, it can also be in an environment with diverse views and life experiences that discord and disagreement can take place. As the Association, we continue to strive to cultivate safe spaces that encourage learning, the exchange of information and the strengthening of ideas within our community.

For many Fellows and team members, the AGOF community provides a safe environment where we learn from each other, lean on one another, and support each other. As the Association, one of our biggest priorities is to build and grow these safe spaces for Fellows to share and learn openly, without fear of reprisal or censure. We will always encourage dialogues and believe that the key to learning is through receiving feedback.

While this is true, we want to encourage the exchanging and challenging of ideas in a safe and positive manner that is free of fear. We will continue to work on developing our own capabilities to do this, but we also call on Fellows who lead socio-political change through their work to engage with us. The ongoing engagement and feedback from the Fellow community has been incredibly valuable in guiding us as we urgently move to create more opportunities for meaningful and actionable engagement. We look forward to sharing more feedback on this soon.

As I conclude, I am reminded of a text by the famous Persian poet Rumi, who once wrote, “Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not Thunder.” It is in this spirit that I hope that we will all seek to use our words, knowledge, and engagements to water one another’s flower gardens, so that this community becomes an oasis for growth, knowledge seekers, and for the self-actualisation of Fellows and team members.

Lastly, it is important to note that all Fellows and team members form an important part of our community, and you should be proud of the value that each one brings to AGOF. Thank you for the role you play. I am optimistic that the second half of 2022, particularly as we gear up to our flagship event, Jamboree and our bi-annual Imbizo, which all promise to be dynamic and engaging for all involved.



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