ABOUT KZN WOMEN IN BUSINESS
KZN Women in Business is a support structure for women and a forum for fostering relationships, building networks, exchanging business knowledge and, ultimately, helping our members grow their businesses.
KZNWIB brings businesswomen together at monthly breakfast meetings, in a friendly, structured environment, to build business relationships and supportive friendships.
It’s not just about monthly meetings; it’s about creating a successful community of businesswomen to engage and connect with other committed, successful and inspiring women.
Members include established entrepreneurs, corporate executives and small business start-ups from a wide range of business sectors.
Formed in Durban in 1995, KZNWIB is one of the longest-standing businesswomen’s organisations in KZN.
We’re a non-profit voluntary organisation, managed by a committee of volunteers and a part-time administrator.
What’s in it for you?
You get the perfect opportunity to network with like-minded businesswomen, sharing business ideas and experiences. KZNWIB provides a wonderful balance between motivational and business-oriented speakers throughout the year. Speakers at the monthly meetings ensure that members can learn new skills and keep up to date with current business practice while developing business alliances and leads to grow their businesses.
KZNWIB promotes the interests of its women, advocates for women in business, and fosters the recognition of women in business.
With a database of 1 800 women that continues to grow monthly, KZNWIB is an extensive network of businesswomen and executive decision-makers in the Durban area and throughout KwaZulu-Natal.
KZNWIB has selected Tafta as their charity to support in 2023 following a nomination and voting process open to all members. All profits made during the financial year are donated to the organisation, as well as individual contributions of time and expertise by members.
The Chairmanship of KZNWIB changes after two years as this is the usual term of office. This regular change of leadership is a particular strength of KZNWIB and has, no doubt, contributed to its longevity and continued freshness and relevance to our members. Over the last 26 years, each chairman has left her unique mark on KZN Women in Business and infused it with freshness.
2020-2021: SENTA DUFFIELD
Senta Duffield assumed the helm of the organisation in January 2020. Senta lead the organisation and it’s members through not only the global COVID-19 pandemic, but also the devastating local riots in 2021. She went far beyond the mandate of her position and used her natural empathy and deep listening skills to provide emotional support through weekly online sessions for members. Senta was “born for such a time as this” and her vision of bringing deeper connection between members was fully realised during a time of world-wide isolation.
2018-2019: CHRYSTAL AUSTIN
Chrystal Austin assumed the helm of the organisation in January 2018. During her time as Chair, she was instrumental in the formation of a past chairpersons advisory council.
2016-2017: MEL GARD
Mel Gard assumed the helm of the organisation in January 2016. Mel came from a strong entrepreneurial and marketing background and was instrumental in forming the digital communication of KZNWIB. Under her stewardship, the organisation became a registered NPO and made the largest single donation to its elected charity since the organisation's inception.
2014-2015: TINA CARTWRIGHT
2012 – 2013: EMMA DUNK
Members happily reaped the benefits of Emma’s philosophy of “Work hard, play hard and live life to the fullest!” Under Emma’s chairmanship, KZNWIB grew substantially, from meetings of about 50 ladies to 80 and upwards, a new constitution was drawn up and implemented, a new website for the organisation was launched and Sanlam was secured as the 2014 sponsor for the organisation. As a testament to Emma’s fair-mindedness and commitment to inclusiveness, the 2014-2015 Committee, Vice-Chair and Chairperson were democratically elected by the membership for the first time in the organisation's history.
2010 – 2011: CHARMAINE SCHWENN
Charmaine has earned several accolades and awards in her legal career and was awarded first place in the legal category of South Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards during her term of office as Chair of KZNWIB. Charmaine’s sharp mind and wonderful sense of humour brought a unique flavour to the meetings. Charmaine sadly passed away in 2020 but her legacy will continue to live on through her involvement with KZNWIB. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
2008 – 2009 ALICE LEAH
Lucille Ball said, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.” Alice is a perfect illustration of her favourite saying, as she accomplishes so much, and still has the energy to remain passionate. During her tenure, she developed a lot of the meeting formats that are still used today.
2005 - 2007 KAREN BROKENSHA
“I said, "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realised I am somebody.” (Lily Tomlin)
Karen remains the youngest serving Chair of KZNWIB to date. She served as Chair for three years and credits KZNWIB for the knowledge she gained at meetings and the encouragement from members for giving her the courage to start her own business after having been retrenched in 2004.
2002 – 2003 BELINDA DAVIES
Belinda’s interest and expertise in strategic leadership and organisational performance make it no surprise that she introduced a more professional structure within KZNWIB. As a result, the organisation has a structured committee with designated portfolios and a vice-chair.
1999- 2000 SHARON EMMERICH
Sharon led a small committee of only 6 women and articulated very clearly a principle that is still true today. That is, there is always room for new members at KZNWIB. Sharon’s legacy is evident in the KZNWIB logo that she introduced. Sharon firmly believes that “we are all women of substance and, like the necklace logo, there's always room for another link". Sharon credits KZNWIB with giving her the confidence to start her business, and thanks to the organisation for “giving me the life I have now.”
1995 – 1998 BEVERLEY-ANN FINK
Founding member and first Chair of KZNWIB, Beverley-Ann remains an active member of the organisation today. As the original Chair, Bev played a significant role in laying the foundation of KZNWIB and clearly remembers how she used to “beg, borrow and steal” venues in which to meet before corporate sponsorship of meetings allowed for a fixed schedule of meetings as we have today.
Bev’s advice to all women is twofold: “Two things to remember: Take care of your thoughts when you are alone. Take care of your words when you are with people.”