30 Sep Acting Director’s Foreword: September 2022
Acting Director’s Foreword
By Simphiwe Mntambo
FELLOWS LEADING FROM THE FRONT
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.” Steve Jobs.
The power in networks lies in the value that individual members bring for the benefit of the whole, that’s why networking and other community events can only be as successful as the participants. As we conclude InnovaJam, I’ve found myself reflecting on the significance of this flagship event, and I’ve not only felt very much in awe of the progress that our Fellows have made towards their entrepreneurial pursuits, but I am also proud of how so many Fellows in our community heeded the Foundation’s call to show up and take part in InnovaJam in various ways.
One of the key goals of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation (AGOF) is to groom and grow high-potential individuals who will go on to use their skills in their professional and entrepreneurial spaces to create meaningful impact in line with the AGOF values. And as we continue to build our diverse and dynamic community, the Foundation team constantly seeks opportunities to engage Fellows in the various ways in which they can become active collaborators and contribute to the growth of our community. Being the flagship event of the Foundation, Jamboree presents a natural platform to engage with and include Fellows at the various stages of our project implementation and programme participation.
In preparation for the InnovaJam 72-Hour Challenge, we approached several Fellows to come on board as volunteer assessors for the pitches we were expecting. The quick rise to action by the Fellows has been awe-inspiring, not simply because of their contributions as assessors, but for making use of t using the entrepreneurial knowledge and skills gained from the participating in entrepreneurial Association (EA) programme to pay it forward to other members of our community. That these Fellows didn’t think twice about volunteering their time and experience to serve the community is commendable and illustrates that each of us has the potential to contribute to the growth of a strong, purposeful, and impact-driven community body.
In our previous newsletter, I touched on the topic of community building and the notion that meaningful learning and progress cannot occur without the involvement and engagement of members of the broader community. As cogs that keep the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation machine moving, every member of this community has something of value to offer. Fellows have participated in the various programmes presented by the Foundation at various levels and thus, as the torchbearers of the Foundation, can pass on institutional knowledge, information, and skills, and to guide and mentor the incoming Scholars and Candidate Fellows following behind them. Through the constant and open engagement with Fellows over the past few months, we have witnessed Fellows taking initiatives in forming contributions to Foundation policies that they hope to change or adjust. I believe these efforts will help to maintain an environment that encourages a self-regulating community that is still tethered to the Foundation and its values. Such Fellow led initiatives and activities echo the Foundation’s belief that there is value in every conversation.
Fellows in the professional space can offer skills development, masterclasses, or services to the wider community, either in their individual capacity or through their employer’s or startup’s programmes. A recent example of such a partnership occurred when a Fellow, Phetha Mchunu took initiative and approached her employer, Bowman’s Law, to offer a legal workshop and legal services to the startups in the Fellowship community through their pro-bono programme. Following engagements and a formalization of this partnership, we hosted a well-attended legal workshop, and continue to facilitate Fellows’ access to pro-bono legal services from one of the top firms in our country. This successful initiative illustrated just how Fellows in the corporate space can pay it forward by opening their networks and providing access and assistance to Fellows who are pursuing entrepreneurship. This is the kind of collaboration that proves just how impactful we can all be if we are open to offering more of ourselves to service our Foundation community. We encourage more Fellows to reach out with additional opportunities for learning, growth, and support for our community.
In closing, Spring brings with it the spirit of renewal and rebirth, with a promise of new beginnings. As we enter the final quarter of the year, I encourage all Fellows to learn from the lessons of the last few months and to seek new opportunities to improve or start over. I hope this season inspires or reignites the spirit of community in every one of our Fellows, and that you all continue in your commitment to approaching life, work, and entrepreneurship with the intention of creating impact, as is the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation way.