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Get Your Small Business Ready For The New Year

Operations managers are a thriving business’ secret weapon. They are the people working (mostly) quietly in the background – keeping the wheels oiled and the business running smoothly.

Come the end of the year, holidays, deadlines, and the chaos that comes with the festive season have a huge impact on small businesses, and that can spill over into the new year if they’re not managed efficiently. This is when the operations manager needs to step up their game to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Why operations management is so important

Small business owners often make the mistake of thinking they can ‘do it all themselves’. But if you look at the pillars of efficient operations management, you’d wonder where they find the time. In reality, they probably don’t.

Taking a broad view, an operations manager will oversee the processes involved in converting business inputs (raw materials, labour, and technologies) into outputs (goods and services delivered to customers to generate revenue). By managing the ‘back office’ activities, operations managers are essential to a business’s success.

Drilling down, they’re responsible for several key functions that all fall under the operations umbrella: project management, operations strategy, team leadership, human resources, financials, and data analysis. They ensure consistent production and service delivery and that resources are used efficiently, while waste is reduced by tightening up processes and procedures.

Together, these components give small businesses a competitive advantage, especially when there is a lot of competition in the market. It enables them to reach their business goals, mitigate risks, streamline business practices, and increase profitability.

End-of-year business pitfalls

Many factors could affect a small business at the end of the year, and an operations manager will have to juggle them all. Think of supply chain disruptions as businesses shut down for the festive season, inflation, labour shortages, and the knock-on effects of a shift in consumer spending. Operations managers can mitigate these risks by ensuring stock, people, and sales processes are in place to handle them, along with increased volumes of customers. This support to management and marketing will enable businesses to create and meet demand without dropping the ball.

Get ready for the new year

Considering the varied functions that fall under operations management, these are important ones for small businesses to prioritise as they wrap up the year and prepare for a fresh start:

  • Review IT systems, security, and digital assets
  • Renegotiate contracts with vendors and suppliers
  • Check and service all machinery and equipment
  • Evaluate staffing requirements, salaries, resignations, and new hires
  • Assess insurance coverage
  • Take stock of all inventory
  • Ensure workplace safety procedures are adequate
  • Reach out to new clients with automated marketing

Is Operations Management the right job for you?

You’re halfway there if you are a behind-the-scenes person who can multitask, solve problems, handle stress, and manage people and processes. Then, ask yourself:

  • Do you want to analyse, reorganise or redesign business processes that drive operations management?
  • Are you an employee who wants to have a bigger impact at work?
  • Do you want to become a business operations management authority in your workplace?

Then operations management is an excellent career path for you! And, getting started isn’t far out of reach.

MasterStart is proud to offer the Operations Management Course in partnership with the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS). In just eight weeks of studying online, you can learn all the tricks of the trade and acquire the skills to strengthen business processes. Visit the Operations Management course page to learn more.

Closing the skills gap in banking

The South African banking industry has identified major gaps in the skills needed to continue as one of the most advanced and well-functioning in the world. As local banks continue to expand their hiring initiatives and hard-to-fill vacancies, they are also facing the challenges of relevant skills development, accelerated digitalisation, employee retention and recruitment.

With a recent survey stating that nearly a quarter of South African adults are expected to bank with a digital-only bank by 2023, our local institutions are on a mission to lead the way.

So how can they stay on top?

As South African banks add services to their portfolios to include the likes of retail, insurance and business sector banking, the need for tech and data skills increases too. Many local banks have implemented upskilling and recruitment policies to ensure that their teams are up to date in their fields and can confidently lessen the impact of absent skills

The focus for which skills to develop based on the needs and gaps are:

Cyber security
With cybercrime posing an imminent threat to the banking sector, there has been an uptake in the demand for cybersecurity skills and the need to protect data, networks, and systems from possible threats. Needing specialised and sought-after skills, the banking sector can look to manage and mitigate potential risks and threats with specialised skills offered in programmes for FinTech, Digital Transformation, Risk Management, Data & AI Training, and Artificial Intelligence.

Digital literacy
Navigating an increasingly digital landscape has been a challenge, and as South Africa accelerates what we do online, it is key that employees fundamentally understand how banking continues to grow in a digital age. Employees and teams alike need to confidently navigate and keep up in a world that is fully integrated with diverse technologies, clearly and effectively communicate online, innovate and share ideas virtually, as well as manage teams digitally.

By establishing work readiness programmes, banks are focusing on scarce occupations and skills gaps, and employers will have the opportunity to upskill or re-skill workers whose positions have/will become outdated as a result of digitalisation. Employees will need to continue to gain fundamental power skills, such as adaptability, problem-solving and time management, enabling them to keep pace with rapid advancement in the workplace.

Managers and functional roles can close the skills gap by upskilling and reskilling in the key areas of Operations Management, Coaching for Performance, and Business and Management Development.

Data Analysis
As one of the first adopters of data analytics, financial institutions rely on implementing the right tools and technologies to collect, analyse, and draw fair conclusions from the data they gather. Whether this is to identify threats, track customer trends or verify information – data is key to ensuring banks can create innovative solutions to persistent issues and cater to their existing and future clients’ needs. Learn more about customers, forecast growth opportunities, better manage risks, improve the customer experience, and remain competitive with the latest data and AI skills.

Experiencing a significant “brain drain” in recent years, a trend likely to continue in the South African economy as skilled resources consider emigrating to secure employment and educational opportunities elsewhere, international companies are increasingly interested in poaching the skilled South African workforce, renowned for its strong work ethic. It is key to highlight the opportunities within our local economy and what businesses can do to stimulate economic growth and meet the skills gap challenges head-on.

Masterstart can help your organisation close the skills gap, through our content and course delivery, centered on workplace applicability, supported by industry experts and our university partners. If you’d like to learn how we can help in tackling your organisations learning and development Masterstart NEXT our a skills advisory company focussed on minimising an oganisation’s training spend and increasing their Return on Learning Investment (ROLI), is looking forward to your call.

Risk Management in the Real World

Risk management has been a buzzword in the world of (big) business for some time. But, in a competitive and ever-evolving world, it has become equally essential for small businesses to incorporate risk management strategies into their daily operations.

As Gary Cohn, Vice Chairman of IBM, famously said, “If you don’t invest in risk management, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, it’s a risky business.”

He’s right. Learning how to manage the different types of risk your business is exposed to – and implementing the appropriate processes, structure, and governance to detect and deter them – is vital if a company wants to survive and thrive.

What is risk management?

At its core, risk management forecasts the potential for negative consequences and predicts how these might impact a business or situation. These risks are both internal (operational, financial, human resources) and external (natural disasters, supply chain, market disruptions, government compliance).

During this process, managers identify, analyse, prioritise, monitor, and respond to risks. Depending on the business’s tolerance levels, management can accept the risks or deny them and choose an alternate approach.

Applying risk management to all businesses, big and small

Common risk in business

Whether you are a one-person operation, a small start-up, or a large enterprise, risk management applies equally.

Personal business

The biggest risk to a personal business, such as a financial advisor, freelance worker, or private contractor, is key person loss. This happens when the owner cannot work and the business grinds to a halt. The subsequent loss of income puts them at substantial financial risk as well as operational risks and business interruption.

Small business

One of the biggest threats to small businesses is the financial risks brought on by uncertain economic and market conditions. This affects everything from business continuity to cash flow, payroll, debt repayment, and purchasing power. Strategic risks come from a lack of planning for each stage of the business life cycle and not considering shifting external environments, like technological advancements and a changing competitor landscape.

Enterprise businesses

The larger the enterprise, the more risks it is exposed to. The primary risks, however, are related to the financial, strategic, and operational sectors. Financial risks include increased costs, a decline in revenues, and business disruption due to natural and political disasters and major macroeconomic shifts. Some businesses take strategic risks knowingly, such as higher-risk, higher-reward ventures.

An important risk to have on your radar if you’re part of an enterprise is the SA government’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) initiative. A lack of certification creates reputational and financial risks, impacting contracts, licences, funding, and tenders from government and private companies.

Prioritise Managing Risk for a Secure Business

If you find risk management as fascinating as we do, now’s the time to secure the hatches with our Foundations of Risk Management course. We’ve partnered with Wits Business School to provide an accessible online course in the essentials of risk management. With a maximum time investment of just six hours per week, you can protect your business and avoid unnecessary risks. To learn more about the Foundations of Risk Management online course, read more here, and start tackling business risks today.

Defining success with Shaleenah Marie Samsunder

Meeting up with Shaleenah

Heading up the Learning and Education portfolio at Siemens, Shaleenah is a certified coach and NLP Practitioner with a Masters in Science Degree in Coaching and Behavioural Change.

Her passion, contribution and commitment to the empowerment of women in South Africa led to her being selected as the “Top Women First Runner up” in Topco Media Top Women Awards in 2012. She was also nominated as one of 3 young achievers under 40 in the Oliver Empowerment and Transformation Awards in 2013. The Oliver Awards aim to identify and acknowledge true empowerment, leadership and innovation.

The opportunities that change you

Shaleenah studied at the University of Durban Westville where she received the Faculty Medal for Academic Excellence. Leaving South Africa when she received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. With her experience gained in the USA, she returned to South Africa to contribute to the development of human potential here and enrolled for post-graduate studies in Human Resources and Organisational Development.

Women’s empowerment and development

As the chairperson of the Siemens African Leadership Organisation of Women, Shaleenah positioned this initiative as a women’s empowerment and development initiative targeting women in her organisation and beyond. The purpose and vision of ALOW are to inspire, motivate, empower, develop and connect women. Through ALOW’s activities, opportunities were created for individuals to view leadership in powerful new ways and enrich their own sense of possibility.

Shaleenah was also instrumental in establishing the ALOW Business Book Club, a leadership, networking and educational program that transformed the solitary act of reading into a powerful opportunity not only to engage in powerful conversations with other women but also to develop leadership competencies. The Business Book club was used as a platform to raise awareness around female leadership and support and promote South African authors.

Empowering individuals for Shaleenah goes beyond career advice and her initiatives ensure that individuals are empowered in all aspects of their life from wellness topics to business and life skills. The rationale for introducing these empowerment initiatives is to ensure that individuals live their most empowered, professional and personal lives.

Setting up future skills

She recently established SieMent which is a Siemens mentorship programme. A critical factor which impacts employability is the job readiness of graduates. Graduates often do not have the necessary skills required to be employable. In order for students to become more employable, the gap between academia and industry needed to be bridged. SieMent is bridging that gap between academia and industry by closing the disparity gap between the expectations of industry and the work readiness of graduates in South Africa. The Mentorship model SieMENT, which Siemens is driving will ensure benefits for the graduating students who will find their transition into industry roles smoother.

Using your power to change lives for the better.

Empowering individuals in the workplace

In her words, “Our collective experience and skills are our most valuable resources. We need to inculcate a culture of lifelong learning that includes the sharing of knowledge, experiences and the transfer of skills. We need to actively promote mentorship because having a mentor can mean the difference between career stagnation and progress for many individuals with untapped potential. Empowering others with the knowledge, skills, and the ‘know-how’ is not a choice we have but a social responsibility we have as individuals in society”.

Take the time to make an impact on those around you

Shaleenah is the Group Mentor at SieMent where students are mentored and offered valuable insights into the dynamics of the workplace. Shaleenah is also a Global Siemens coach where she works with individuals to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, achieve their development objectives, unlock their potential, and leverage their strengths.

Shaleenah Marie Samsunder brings to the table both her passion for the development of people and her passion for designing learning programs that create an effective leadership culture which fosters innovation, emotional intelligence, responsibility and high performance.

In her words “ I try to live my life by always committing myself to excellence and never associating my name with mediocrity, this is best encapsulated by the quote “Everything you do has your name on it. Autograph it with pride”.

MasterStart’s Women’s Month Webinar – Creating an asynchronous and agile team with Dr. Regina Cordes

On Tuesday, 23rd of August 2022, MasterStart held their first Women’s Month Webinar with special guest speaker Dr. Regina Cordes.

An internationally recognised professor and expert in organisational behaviour, leadership, and services management, Regina shared her own experience in creating an asynchronous and agile team and the importance of employee satisfaction and wellness.

Watch the full recorded webinar below

Celebrating your success

Leading Women in Business – Learning and Development Series with Elmarie Cronje

As Head of Learning and Development at EOH, Elmarie Cronje has supported the Learning and Development of thousands of their employees, helping others to understand their impact on a business. Her passion for developing people, their talent, future and capabilities through constant change and growth are abundantly clear in her role and her joy in what she does. We sat down with Elmarie to find out more about how she got here and what inspires her. 

Tell us about yourself

“I started studying politics with big plans of working at an embassy overseas and realised that it was all about government acts and policies and it wasn’t for me. I shifted to teaching, and this is where everything started for me. I was an educator for 6 years and then moved into adult learning, teaching everyone from the tea lady to the CEO how to use their phones.”

Elmarie then did a course to be a skills development facilitator, starting her own business that would go on to support companies in developing their teams to achieve their strategies and goals. She was acquired by EOH in 2010, stepping in to be Head of Learning and Development.

Reframe and start again

“I had been working at a place for 4-5 years and applied for a higher position and the process went great, it made sense for me to apply for it and then I didn’t get the position. When I asked why, after I had given everything to getting that position, a man filled it.

You cannot stay in a place where things like this happen. It motivated me for my future. I realised that my self-worth is linked to this, and I will not spend the rest of my time here. I didn’t sulk; I said no, reframed, and left, and the rest of my life started that day. Had this not happened, I would not have reframed and looked for a new opportunity and I might have stayed and been unhappy. This was an opportunity. “

How do you stay grounded?

“I take time out. As a knowledge gatherer, it is very difficult for me to take time out – I like to look at the news from all sides, and it is important to stay balanced and take a break when you need to. Taking time out and quiet time gives me the space to focus on my family and gives me the space to make sure that the connection, trust, and understanding are always there with them. I try to be present and try not to overthink. Sometimes you need to learn to just leave things behind, leave work behind, spend it with who you love, and come back later if you need to. “

“Learn to leave it at the table – there are specific times for specific purposes.”

The power of learning

“EOH has close to 100 legal entities and every year to keep learning and development going and growing is a phenomenal achievement. Every year that a new programme ends and starts, you see the energy and opportunities that you create. It’s about taking more time to celebrate how many people get qualified and skilled, staying abreast of new opportunities, and knowing the part that you play in creating opportunities for other people. It is easy to say, I want to study or do a skills programme, and to realise it is a massive effort and investment that you make in yourself. I have so much respect for people who want to do this. So every year, seeing the people who want to do this – that for me is amazing.”

Learning in a changed world

“We have gone through a massive digitisation change and created the Rise Up academy and just created a digital platform of eLearning programmes and it’s the whole process of how we kept people learning, even through COVID. Going full scale digital in 3-6 months – we had to move and go on while the whole team was at home.

This has also shifted how we can share information – you can download a book or a podcast and share it with anyone. Share knowledge and life-changing information!”

What advice would you give women?

“I have a lot. You always have to be inclusive, not just with race and gender but with age and understanding the level that people are at. You must be empathetic to others, encourage free-thinking and understand that your team is everything – you need to look after them. Never forget that you are part of it, even if you are a junior – make that count.”

“The way that you show up must serve you.”

Let your challenges motivate you; be strong in your communication; keep your ego intact; and broaden your emotional intelligence. Learn to read the room, the people, and the situations. These are skills that you can learn. Try to lead by example. Whether you are a manager or not yet, in every piece of work that you are doing, you are leading. Be the master of the area that you are in.”

It is necessary to delegate

You have to delegate. If you don’t delegate, apart from it saving you time, you are taking away the experience of others to learn and grow. How will they learn and how can they pull from your experience if you do it all yourself? This is how you grow your team. It is not about you not doing the work. When things are tough – you have to work through it. Switch “I don’t know” to I don’t know yet.”

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I love Ted Talks. I follow different people for their points of view and their systems. They have different lenses that they use in the world. I read a lot, which builds the energy and wisdom that I can fall back on when I don’t know what to do.

My values might mean I want to help people or other things – and I realised purpose is not a destination. You have goals in that time frame and that keeps you moving forward. As I set more tangible goals, my life gets more meaningful.“

Encouraging women to take the leap in their lives and careers, Elmarie reminded us “You might walk in alone, but you are never alone.”

Do everything with intention

Leading Women in Business – Learning and Development Series – Getting to know Seipati Moloto

This National Women’s Month, our team at MasterStart has been connecting with phenomenal women who are making an impact in business today. We had a virtual conversation with Seipati Moloto, the Senior Manager of Learning and Development at the Liberty Group South Africa. Seipati spoke about some aspects of her career journey, and about always being present, and intentional in who you are and what you do.

About Seipati

“I was born in a small location in Soweto, Johannesburg, in a family of community workers – growing up in a space that was all about giving. “Witnessing the struggles within South Africa at the time, the 1976 student uprising encouraged my parents to enrol me in boarding school from primary school to matric.” Seipati reflected on this opportunity with great humour, understanding, and gratitude for the new doors that would open for her.

Tell us more about how you began your career

“Initially striving to be a social worker, I registered at Wits University and failed, and then decided to change my qualification.” I enrolled at Peninsula Technikon to study Analytical Chemistry, going on to work in the lab as a Laboratory Technician for a pharmaceutical company, and then as a Senior Technician. We had issues in the Quality Assurance Lab, and I went into the factory, started asking questions, and realised that people were given a recipe and the steps of manufacturing without really internalising their value in the production process and society at large. I had the advantage of language and used that to help people see meaning in their jobs, I started teaching people basic chemistry in isiZulu.”

This would ultimately inspire her next course of action, unintentionally creating learning opportunities for factory workers, Seipati asked to formalise her role in training others and “the training bug bit and never left.” She then decided to study part-time and completed her BCom and Honours in Industrial Psychology.

“We teach people what to do, we don’t teach them why they are doing it.”

Taking the chance

Gearing up to take the next steps in her career, Seipati remarks, “I was ready, but my CV wasn’t” and it was a woman who said, “I have a feeling about her!” and took the chance. “Embracing this opportunity, I ran with it.” Creating a beautiful, lifelong bond of women empowering other women.

The proudest moment of her career

Working at a bank in the early 2000s, “I was coming in on my first day and doing orientation to establish a training department, and I had never been so scared.” As I got to know people, I realised that this was an opportunity to do something meaningful with a positive social impact. I was asked to develop and teach people who were semi-literate about electronic banking. Not an easy task, but I realised I had to show the benefit to the recipients.”

“My proudest moment was with a widow, whose husband had recently passed away and sitting with her on the pavement and teaching her how to use an atm in IsiZulu, I literally drew what the atm looks like and what to do. ” An experience that was new, intimidating, and had not been widely accessible to many within South Africa at that time, “the next time I saw this woman, she came up to me and told me how happy she was that she now knew what to do. This was the most fulfilling moment of my life.”

How do you stay grounded in the chaos of the world?

“Family. I am very invested in my family, and every Sunday my sister, her family, my son, my grandchildren, and even my ex-husband meet at my parent’s house for lunch. This tradition grounds me – if I don’t go home on Sunday, I feel it on Monday, I feel like something is missing. We also have conversations that are way outside of my understanding of the world, and it is a purposeful grounding. “

What is your advice for other women who want to step into leadership roles?

“One of the things I have always said to myself is to always make sure that I am present. Do things with intention.”

“Don’t try to be someone else, be yourself. I make a point of asking myself these questions before I start anything: Why are you doing it? What would you want to achieve by doing it? How I want people to experience me as a brand, whether putting up a social media post or attending a meeting – I always try to be intentional. This can be difficult, but you don’t have to be intimidated by others. Consistently be yourself and be proud of who you are as a woman.”

An impressive woman to engage with, Seipati is always finding opportunities to do what matters, her love for nurturing, mentoring, and supporting others, and is currently pursuing her studies to become a coach. “Everything about me is about creating opportunities to enable others. I was very lucky to align my purpose, my gifts, and my job – and it’s not always like this for other people. It is about understanding who you are, how you want people to experience you and being intentional about it.”

“Sometimes I don’t progress simply because I don’t follow the crowd, and I am absolutely okay with that.”

She can still be found sharing her time at the children’s centre her father established and has shared her favourite quote with us.

“Thought without practice is empty, and action without thought is blind.”

Kwame Nkrumah

Coaching in the workplace

A manager plays many important roles in an organisation’s environment, including their role as a key driver for employee guidance, development and morale. Companies rely on managers to share critical information and complete projects – so how can one person do all this, sustainably and productively? 

As the workplace has undergone and continues to undergo major changes, with shifts around flexibility and employee wellbeing – employers and organisations are beginning to plan beyond the uncertainty of the peak of the pandemic period, and highlight that the importance of effective leadership is becoming more apparent in contributing to a brighter future.

Coaching is changing the conversation
As we continue to adapt and change, or as our industry expert and Coaching for High-Performance course lead, Gareth termed it, we continue to experience a Generation of Shift, the balance of power between employees and employers has fundamentally changed.

In stark contrast to traditional ways of business, the Covid-19 pandemic saw a pivot across the globe for businesses to put their employees first. This somewhat liberated employees to uncover their personal core values and give them the choice to reconcile these re-discovered values with the organisations they work for. What this resulted in were record high employees voluntarily leaving their positions due to a variety of factors including mental health, burnout and general unhappiness in their roles.

How do businesses address this?

Control vs coaching 
Traditionally, management has wielded control – with authoritative team member/s directing and driving their teams to reach specific outcomes. Although coaching and management share the same objectives, coaching focuses on helping each employee develop their own critical thinking abilities through increased learning.

The effectiveness of coaching has seen an increasing number of companies finding the need to employ or outsource coaches as they adapt to new technologies, hybrid work models, mental health and industry changes. 

The role of coaching 
Coaching enables people to adapt to changing circumstances and grasp opportunities more effectively and efficiently. Those in business can benefit from coaching by breaking through barriers, focusing more strategically and achieving goals more effortlessly. As the pressures have increased on employees over the last few years, how do managers influence their teams, protect their psychological safety and not create additional stress on their already stressed out employees? 

Connecting and coaching 
Chatting to Gareth, his insight into the changes in the workplace and the power balance was truly eye-opening. Shedding light on how the pandemic and variations of remote work, hybrid work and in-office setups has forced managers and businesses to listen and create connections with their employees – we have connected to their home lives and connected as human beings, placing emphasis on the importance of creating work environments and communities where people want to come to work and give their best every day.

In traditional business setups, many would apologise for their human behaviours instead of embracing them.  

As time goes on, we will see more employees wielding negotiable power and cultural influence at work. The new benchmarks have been set, including flexible work schedules, support for mental health and evidence of positive social impact.

Employees currently facing burnout, unhappy working environments, political stress and mental health are seeking more adaptable, empathetic and agile leaders. Poor leadership simply won’t last in the workplace. 

It is in these moments of connection and conversation that we further understand and continuously steer our ethos here at MasterStart into a world that is not only sustainably minded in what we do, but also one that looks at the larger picture and finds the why in our courses, partners and place in the world. 
Cultivate performance, profit and business growth and connect with Gareth Chick on our 7-week Coaching for High-Performance online course – Read more.

MasterStart and Wits Business School partner to unlock leadership potential and promote sustainable business development in Africa.

Cape Town, [06 April 2022]: MasterStart, a rising South African edtech business, has further expanded its partnership portfolio to offer industry-leading courses focused on sustainability and the ESG agenda alongside Wits Business School. The collaboration puts humanised online learning at the heart of its programmes and connects learners with industry champions to apply the course content to relevant, real-world business challenges. With phase one of the launch beginning in early March, students can embark on a Coaching and Mentoring course or learn the essential skills included in the Project Management programme.

Participants have the opportunity to gain knowledge and proficiency through contextualised course material, validated by Wits Business School. As the world has seen massive digital and business shifts over this pandemic period, employers are increasingly looking for employees who possess the human skills to thrive in fast-changing industries and also business operations with a greater consideration of sustainability and responsible governance. MasterStart and Wits Business School programmes will have these considerations at their heart. 

MasterStart CEO, Ben Pike, says of the collaboration “Our partnership with Wits Business School gives us the opportunity to improve access to their world-class academics and combine it with the leading voices from the industry. It will ensure we connect our learners with key concepts of sustainable leadership from wherever they are in the world.” 

With a recent Quarterly Labour Force Survey painting a bleak picture of current youth employment opportunities in South Africa, the partnership announcement is particularly timely as the two organisations aim to ensure students are industry-ready and can thrive and adapt in a fast-paced business environment. Maurice Radebe, the Head of Wits Business School, said: “This partnership with MasterStart speaks to our vision to develop conscientious business leaders with a solid grounding in sustainable leadership, responsible governance and committed to making a  long-lasting difference on a local and global scale.”

Executive education caters to working people at various levels of an organisation; focussing on the key skills and competencies needed to manage oneself, others, and a successful business. 

“Complacency is the biggest threat to professionals and their careers” according to Leoni Grobler, Director of Executive Education at Wits Business School. For this reason, she says lifelong learning is necessary for those wanting to succeed and remain relevant.

With the launch of the initial two programmes, Ben Pike concluded “We have a vision of humanised online learning that includes the best of industry and academia and this partnership will allow us to take a significant step forward towards that goal. The programmes that MasterStart and Wits Business School are bringing to market will go a long way towards unlocking leadership potential in Africa and developing a new generation of sustainability-minded leaders.”

Leading the course experience. Edtech startup appoints Dr Alexia Cox as Chief Learning Officer.

MasterStart, a growing edtech with bases in Cape Town and London, has added Dr Alexia Cox to its top leadership team as Chief Learning Officer to drive the learning experience.

As part of its commitment to providing the best online experience for its learners, rising edtech company MasterStart has appointed Alexia Cox as Chief Learning Officer to its growing leadership team.

An expert and consultant in corporate Learning & Development across highly competitive European and Australian markets – Alexia has designed and authored over fifty short learning courses alongside various business schools, as well as spent time in notable positions as the Dean of Teaching and Learning and Executive Dean of Strategy and Innovation for one of South Africa’s largest private education companies.

Alexia is committed to creating meaningful, memorable, and impactful career-focused programmes by drawing on her impressive career experience and industry knowledge, ensuring that learners progress with the confidence, knowledge, and skills necessary to succeed.

As the world has experienced great disruption throughout the pandemic period, MasterStart has continued to develop its humanised online learning methodology, integrating user-friendly technology to help improve programme completions and positive outcomes – an approach that is validated by its 90% course completion rate.

Alexia’s thoughts on her role within MasterStart: “It’s such an exciting space to be in at the moment. There is a need to fill a gap that connects learners to each other and those that support them through their learning journey. That’s what I want us to create. Groundbreaking, lightbulb moments that impact the learner, wanting them to come back for more. I also want to create powerful courses that engage and excite our learners through to the completion of their course.”

Ben Pike, CEO of MasterStart says: “Dr Alexia Cox brings global education, academic and learning industry experience to MasterStart’s executive team. Her deep expertise in programme design and development is a significant step forward as we utilise a human connection to increase the impact and effectiveness of online learning.”

Expanding its partnership portfolio globally during 2021, MasterStart has created a digital learning environment that is well suited to offering accessible and industry-leading education across borders that will continue to grow throughout 2022 and beyond.

Ben concludes: “Alexia’s passion to put the learner experience at the very heart of our programmes is super exciting and we are already seeing the positive impact of this on our teams and our learners.”

MasterStart is well-positioned and on its way as a competitive online learning provider on a global scale, greatly benefiting from Alexia’s expertise. Find out more: www.masterstart.com