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The authority on gender empowerment in business for nearly 20 years.

Reimagining the future

Written by Staff Writer

April 21, 2020

On 1 July 2019, Shirley Machaba became the first female CEO of PwC Southern Africa. In this role, diversity and inclusion are very close to her heart, and she has voiced her commitment to growing the numbers of female professionals in the firm and in the industry.

“I also have a particular interest in how business is led and organises itself within the context of what feels like continual change,” she says.

“Being appointed to the PwC Southern Africa CEO role is a privilege, and I’m proud of our partners’ confidence in me. Our local practice forms part of our wider Africa region, and I work very closely with Africa CEO Dion Shango to implement our Africa strategy.”

“As the first female CEO of PwC Southern Africa, I believe that I have a personal responsibility to grow our firm and ensure its diversity. This responsibility takes many forms, from supporting the development of skills in our youth, to our recruitment practices and internal policies and procedures.”

Shirley has been a partner in PwC’s Assurance services division for over 15 years. She is a Chartered Accountant (CA) and Chartered Director Southern Africa (CD (SA)), and has over 26 years of internal and external audit, risk management, compliance and governance experience within the private and public sectors across all industries. She also served as a member of the PwC Africa Governance Board and as Chairperson of the PwC South Africa Governing Board from October 2012 to June 2018.

Machaba has received several accolades. Among them are: In 2013 she was a finalist in the ‘Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government’ awards. She was honoured by African Women Chartered Accountants as ‘Audit Partner of the Year’ in 2016.

She was honoured by the South African Professional Services Awards as the ‘Big 4 Professional of the Year’, as well as being named the overall ‘Woman Professional of the Year’ in February 2018. 

“At PwC, our livelihood is dependent upon a diverse set of talented people; six people with different ideas are more valuable to us than sixty people who all think the same. This perspective is crucial, and is behind our firm’s drive – globally and locally – to ensure that our people have the opportunity to build a rewarding career. And we provide the tools and flexibility to make this a reality.”

These include mentoring schemes, networking programmes, flexible working models and innovative developments such as reverse mentoring, bias awareness training and coaching including executive coaching.

“My vision is to build the undisputed number one professional services firm in the country in terms of quality clients and quality people. If I can achieve this, I will have succeeded in creating a legacy of having nurtured and developed a cohort of young, up and coming leaders for the future – both male and female,” she concludes.

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