Dr Shirley Zinn

Board Member on Various Boards

Shirley Zinn

Board Member on Various Boards

Dr. Shirley Zinn is the former Group Head of Human Resources at Woolworths Holdings Limited. Prior to this, she was the Head of Human Resources of Standard Bank South Africa and Deputy Global Head of Human Resources for the Standard Bank Group. She also registered her own company: Shirley Zinn Consulting that provides consulting and advisory services in HR, Transformation, Leadership and Education.

Prior to this, she was the Group Executive HR at Nedbank. Before this, she was the General Manager for Human Resources at the South African Revenue Service (SARS). She also previously served as an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Economics and Management Sciences, and also served as former Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Town. She is the Past President of the Institute for People Management South Africa and is registered as Master HR Professional with South Africa Board for People Practice.

She hails from the Cape Flats in Cape Town, and started her career as a secondary school teacher of English, then moved to the University of the Western Cape where she lectured in Teacher Education. After this, she served at Southern Life as Training Manager and then moved to the Department of Public Service and Administration’s: South African Management Development Institute, in Pretoria as Director. She held the position of Executive Employment Equity at Computer Configurations Holdings. Before her appointment at SARS, she filled the role of Regional Human Resources Director for Middle East and Africa for Reckitt Benckiser, a global FMCG company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Previous Board roles: Chair of DHL: Global Forwarding SA, and the former Chair of Starfish Greathearts Foundation. She also served on the Board of Sygnia Asset Management (Lead Independent, Chair of Remco, and Chair of Social and Ethics Committee). She also previously served as the Chair of the Institute of Bankers. In addition, she is also a former Independent Non-Executive Director at Shoprite Holdings (Lead Independent, Chair of Remco, member of Social and Ethics Committee, and member of Nominations Committee). She also previously served on the Board of Cricket South Africa. She is the former Deputy Chair of the Council of the University of Cape Town. She was also a former board member of the Afrocentric Group (Chair of Remco and member of Social and Ethics Committee) and former Board member of AdvTech (also is Lead Independent and Chair of Remuneration Committee, and member of Social and Ethics Committee, and member of the Nominations Committee).

Currently, she is an Independent Non-Executive Director on the Boards of JSE-listed SANLAM Limited and SANLAM Life Insurance Limited (also Chair of the Human Resources and Remuneration Committee); MTN-SA (also Chair of the HR, Remuneration and Social and Ethics Committee); and Spur Corporation (also Chairs the Remuneration and Nominations Committee). She is also the Chair of the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. She also serves on the Board of NPI and is Interim Chair of LRMG Performance Architects.

In addition, she serves as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and is Chair of Remco; Board member at Tuesday Consulting, Empowerment Capital, Knowledge Resources, Business Engage (NPO), and is an Executive Director at the Boston Consulting Group SA.

She is the Chair of the Nedbank Eyethu Community Trust and serves as a Trustee of the Make a Difference (MAD) Foundation. She is a former President of the Harvard Alumni Association South Africa, and a current Fellow of the Institute of Directors SA.

She is a coach and mentor to several women across multiple industries

She has presented at numerous national and international conferences as a keynote speaker.

In 2015, she published her autobiography entitled “Swimming Upstream” which focuses on her personal and professional journey. It has officially been announced as a best-seller. Since the launch of her book, she has done several “Swimming Upstream” talks nationally at corporates, schools, universities and charities, with the hope of motivating and inspiring especially disadvantaged youth and women.

She holds a BA (University of the Western Cape); Post Graduate Higher Diploma in Education (University of the Western Cape); B.Ed. Honours (UNISA); M.Ed. (University of the Western Cape); Ed.M.  (Harvard); and Doctorate in Education (Harvard).

She was awarded the Top Woman in Business and Government and Top Executive in Corporate South Africa by Topco Media in 2008. She also was recognized by the Black Business Quarterly and received the Award for Top Woman in Business and Government and most Visionary Woman in 2008. She also received an award from the World Human Resources Congress in Mumbai in 2007 and 2013 respectively for Excellence in Global HR Leadership. In 2012, was listed in the Top 30 Wonder Women in South Africa by the Wits Business Journal. She was awarded Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government for 2016 in the SME Sector by CEO Global. Her most recent award on 27 November 2018, was Continental Winner in the Business and Professional Services Sector by CEO Global.

She also completed her ninth Two Oceans Half Marathon in March 2018, and working on doing her tenth.


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