By Fiona Wakelin

 “Do not compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter twenty.”

 As an entrepreneur, leader, and tech enthusiast, Lianne has founded multiple start-ups throughout her career. Lianne’s expertise in business has led her to become the Business Network Director at YPO (formerly Young Presidents’ Organization) – a global leadership community of chief executives. In this exclusive interview Lianne speaks about leadership, start-ups, pivoting during COVID, bee hives, caring and lifelong learning.

 Please describe your role at YPO

I am a Network Director focussing on Leadership Development and Plastics (think circular economy) Networks. I work with CEOs from around the world, helping them become better leaders and better people. I assist with strategy and implementation of my network visions and feel incredibly privileged to work for impactful CEOs who are focusing on business beyond profit. I go to work daily with purpose and conviction and am surrounded by visionaries who are making the world a better place.

As an entrepreneur and tech enthusiast what are some of the start-ups you have founded?

I founded a Talent Agency called Talent Fusion when I relocated from Johannesburg to Cape Town in 2010 that focused on placements in the digital sector and later sold it in 2015. It was such a wonderful way to integrate into a new city and helped build my confidence in the start-up space. Cape Town was such a hub of activity with new ideas and many problems to solve. The community was so welcoming and I value the interactions I had with activists, government, start-ups, corporate and students.

One of my most passionate start-ups is HackOn, working with governments, creatives, corporates and communities who want to have deep discussions around real issues. My latest partnership is with the US Consulate and Silicon Cape, hosting Build Community Hackathons in JHB and CT, finding solutions to real world challenges that South African’s face i.e.: Gender Based Violence.

In 2020, I created The Future Map, a guide to help you address your wants and desires, helping you find flow through a curriculum blurring the boundaries of research, insights and inner wisdom, delivered in love with successful results. I created this to help people focus on one challenge at a time. We are living in a complex world and often get tangled in the thoughts and webs of complexity.

I am an angel investor and partner in Dazzle Angels. Their goal is to solve the radical gender inequality in early-stage investment management and deployment. They believe that 50% of early- stage funding should be managed by women, and invested into women owned or co-founded businesses.

My latest endeavour is called CareConduit. In our society we treat death as a taboo subject and I hope to create spaces for people to have conversations internally and with each other around the discussions and transitions of death. Everyone is going to die, yet it is so infrequently discussed. I believe a life lived well is a death to be celebrated. You will go anywhere if you don’t know where you are going. Helping us identify where we want to go can be the difference between just living and being truly alive.

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