In a year of dramatic change, brought about by the onslaught of Covid-19, the annual Conscious Companies Awards, in partnership with Primeserv and Sanlam, have gone into cyberspace. The awards will now take place as a live virtual event on September 3rd, at 12 noon.

The Conscious Companies Awards trigger a chord in most business leaders who want to make a meaningful impact, define their companies and do things differently. The creative brainchild of Brenda Kali, CEO and founder of Conscious Companies, the Awards are a precursor for visionary leaders to create a workplace of meaning and productivity and transform and uplift society, without losing sight of performance and profit.

Kali says: “Against the severe socio-economic and health challenges we currently find ourselves in, we have a profound opportunity to cultivate a deepened understanding of conscious leadership. The finalists have all been exceptional in navigating the current economic morass with

humanity, care and  a new way of being in a changing  world.” 

The decision to go virtual ensures the permanence of the gala evening that comes at a time when true leadership around the globe is floundering and in a state of flux. There is an ongoing battle in a number of countries between science and economics, as infections rise and the death toll continues to increase globally. The call to do things differently is no longer an option.


Merrick Abel, CEO of Primeserv Group Limited, states: “As a  provider of Integrated Business Support Services, we are passionate about supporting our clients with excellent service delivery whilst always striving to create shared value and increased prosperity for the communities in which we operate. As a group which continues to value the role of human capital, our differentiator lies in people, productivity and performance. It always has and always will be, especially against the backdrop of the current crisis we are all faced with. Our partnership with Conscious Companies and its commitment to conscious and ethical leadership is very close to our hearts and we strongly believe in the transformative power of conscious leadership in South Africa as well as around the world. We are heartened by the level of consciousness evident in the inspirational work done by the finalists and would like to congratulate each and every one on their selection.”

CEO of Sanlam, Paul Hanratty, says, “We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the finalists and thank them for their visionary leadership. We are proud to partner with the Conscious Companies Awards. Rewarding purpose-led leaders who foster shared value absolutely aligns with our ethos. For over 100 years, we’ve prioritised doing well by doing good. As a pan-African business, for us that means investing in potential and entrenching resilience by building positive financial futures for generations to come. Right now, we can all make a tangible impact. This starts with strong leaders coming together to act decisively, lead with empathy, and motivate coordinated action to really move the needle.”

Professor Mervyn King is the Chairman of the Judging Panel who, with his team, faced the taxing task of choosing the Top Ten organisations (Including NGO’s) from the hundreds of nominations received.

A Special Conscious Leadership Award this year is going to an organisation for its exceptional contribution in answering the call to action during the current Covid-19 malaise.

The Conscious Companies Awards 2020 finalists are remarkable in shaping their companies and culture to create value beyond the bottom line.

They are two categories: Business and NGO’s.

The Finalists in the Private, listed and unlisted Business category are:

  • Webster Mfebe – Chairman of Eco-Industrial Solutions:

Mfebe is a strategist and human rights activist who views leadership as wakening the senses to the realities of co-existence that says “without others we are nothing, but with others we can be a formidable force for change and inclusive prosperity.”


  • President Ntuli- MD of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) SA:

Ntuli is passionate about innovation and sustainability and believes that technology and innovation enables a platform to disrupt traditional business models and is also instrumental in improving the lives of all people, irrespective of socio-economic standing.

  • Isaac ShongweFounder and Chairman of Letsema:

Shongwe structured his business in a way that was good for society. He believes if business is done right, is inclusive and has a social conscious, it can be a positive force for good.

  • Mike Brown – CEO of the Nedbank Group:

Brown heads the Nedbank Group, Nedbank Limited and is also the Chairman of the Banking Association.  He firmly believes that organisations and businesses are not separate from society but are organisms within society. “The culture of an organisation is determined by the behaviour of the leadership group,” he says.

  • Cecilia Van Rooi – CEO of Dow SA:

Van Rooi is a dynamic young woman who shattered the glass ceiling after occupying a number of roles within the company. Her humility and ethos of servant leadership holds her in good stead in a world that is normally the domain of men. She says, “Through innovative technology we are globally seen as a company that reduces waste in the environment.”

  • Stephen McCartney – CEO of Turner & Townsend:

McCartney is a man with a mission and purpose. In the two years he has led the company in SA, he has stepped up to the considerable challenges and now believes that the organisation is changing for the better. “Today, more than ever, people are looking for conscious leaders who are authentic, honest and candid,” he says.

  • Marcus Balzereit and Svetlana Glavic – Kuehne + Nagel (South Africa):

Progressive leadership, with a strong focus on people development, is the ethos of the company. They describe the company culture as entrepreneurial and sees their leadership style as more of a coaching and facilitating approach rather than a command and control one.



Finalists in the NGO category are:

  • Dr Monica Stach – CEO of Cotlands:

Stach was inspired to innovate the organisation after she had completed her thesis on the role of toy libraries in the provision of play-based learning opportunities for young children. Today, Cotlands has re-invented itself to create early learning playgroups in vulnerable communities. “I am passionate about giving children the opportunity to play and love the science of early learning.”

  • Colleen Larsen – CEO of Business Engage:

Larsen is a visionary disrupter who saw the lack of gender transformation in boardrooms and decided to tip the balance by creating a pipeline of young women through mentorship, networking and training. Her vision that women should not be fitting into the economy but rather shaping it, positions her as one of the leading voices for the sustainable advancement of women in the corporate space.

  • James Donald – CEO of Tomorrow Trust:

Donald, has seen a significant shift in the way their programmes have impacted young people. He believes education is critical to a more conscious society and for it to become a healthy one. “Compassion, growth and social justice are our driving values that inform all the work we do,” he says.


ENQUIRIES: Peter Feldman: Cell: 082 600 6568

About Conscious Companies


The ethos of Conscious Companies is to create a socio-economic and political environment galvanised as an authentic expression of ethics and consciousness. The Counsel of Conscious Leadership is designed to affect attitudinal and behavioural change of the nation’s leadership in business, government and the citizenry, providing an opportunity for leaders to influence, guide and shape thinking, behaviour, purpose and responsibility.

Through various platforms, Conscious Companies calls on the leadership of government and the business sector to initiate and deepen conversations and actions to address societal imbalances, increase productivity and efficiency, maintain transparency, accountability and apply a rule of just and fair laws.

A number of initiatives have been developed to build conscious leadership capacity to escalate the principles of morality, values and ethics, while safe-guarding productivity and profit. These include the annual Conscious Companies Awards, The Conscious Leadership and Ethics Summit, Conscious Leadership CEO Retreats and the Conscious Leadership and Ethics Dialogues.