Mandela Day: GIBS, in collaboration with LeadSA, volunteer their time to local NGOs

Posted on July 17, 2015

In honour of what would have been Madiba’s 97th birthday, coaches and faculty members of the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) will be volunteering two hours of their time on 17 July at the Illovo campus, to ensure that competent South African non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can remain effective and continue working to improve social conditions in our country. 
GIBS initially planned to offer one-on-one leadership sessions with heads of 27 local NGOs (in recognition of the 27 years Madiba spent in prison), but the demand has been such that the number rose to 41! Numerous specialist coaches have also volunteered and GIBS will match them with the appropriate NGO based on the organisation’s needs. 
‘Madiba famously encouraged ordinary South Africans to take the continued progress of the nation into our own hands,’ says Phyllis Byars, Associate Director of the GIBS Centre for Leadership and Dialogue. ‘At GIBS we seek to use one of our core strengths – business leadership – to carry Madiba’s dream forward. Supporting these leaders in their quest to strengthen society and meet the needs of the vulnerable is one means to do just that.’ 
The consultation sessions will take one of two forms depending on each organisation’s need. Faculty members specialising in a specific subject area, for example human resource management, financial planning or any number of business specialties, will offer related advisory consultation.
Separate from the advisory sessions, coaching sessions will offer a reflective thinking space where the leader of an NGO will share the organisation’s area of concern and a professional coach will help employees to think through the challenge and gain a fresh perspective. 
Coaching was chosen to commemorate Mandela Day because it creates context-friendly, leadership relevant solutions to challenges, thereby echoing Madiba’s authentic leadership style. 
Alison Reid, Head of GIBS Applied Learning Unit, explains that ‘coaching gives the leader the chance to think through the present dilemma and come to his/her own solution according to what [members] know to be true for their particular situation. On the other hand, we are drawing from a well of deep contextual knowledge to offer advice to NGO leaders who are stuck in respect of technical challenges. In using both options, we are providing support to this important community of leaders in a range of challenges they may be facing.’ 
The NGOs invited to participate are all part of the GIBS Network for Social Entrepreneurs, a pool of socially focused entities that want to enhance their offerings through continually improved business practice. 
Primedia Broadcasting Cape Town Station Manager, Colleen Louw says, ‘Nelson Mandela was one of [only a] few people to have inspired the world with their leadership ability. Every South African carries the memory of Madiba in their heart and to honour and pay tribute to this great man’s legacy, we have facilitated over 100 free leadership coaching sessions in Johannesburg, Cape Town and telephonically. We are very excited to partner with GIBS and UCT’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) on this project, which is a substantial investment in building leadership talent in our country.’
- Author GIBS News

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