LINDIWE RAKHAREBE, the CEO of the Durban ICC, is affectionately known as the "mother of the house" by her team.
Lindiwe holds a bachelor's degree in management leadership from the University of the Free State as well as other qualifications in marketing management and management development. Over her 30 years in the corporate environment, Lindiwe has repeatedly proven her ability in strategic management and leading high-performance teams. She has served in a management capacity for all four of South Africa's major banking institutions.
Consequently, the forward momentum of the Durban ICC has been propelled by Lindiwe's strong background in corporate management as well as her passion and dedication in growing the KwaZulu- Natal economy. Lindiwe said, "I am driven to achieve excellence in every way in my duty and delegation."
Since its foundation, the Durban ICC has made an immense contribution to both the provincial and national economies. During the past financial year, R6.3-billion was added to South Africa's GDP and no less than 14 000 jobs were created and sustained as a result of the Durban ICC's activities.
A Concerted Effort
Lindiwe said, "I believe our continued success is a result of a concerted effort between the Board, our staff, our strategic partners in the City and Province and the loyal support of our clients. This effort coupled with our balanced strategy and diligent management at all levels of the organisation all help to contribute to the overall success of the Durban ICC."
Lindiwe strongly believes that the Durban ICC has an important role to play in promoting sustainable economic growth for eThekwini, especially in the area of job creation. "For every individual attending a conference or exhibition at the Durban ICC, either as an exhibitor, delegate or visitor, there are positive economic spin-offs for local businesses. I would like to see continued meaningful enterprise development for SMMEs taking place at a grass-roots level."
Under her leadership the Durban ICC has won several awards including the World Travel Awards as Africa's Leading Meetings and Conference Centre and a KZN Premier's Service Excellence Award in 2018. The Durban ICC is ranked in the top 1% of all convention centres globally and is the only convention centre on the African continent to make that list.
Exceed our clients' expectations
She says, "Whilst we celebrate all the good strides we have made in business, we must be mindful that there is still a lot more that needs to be done. The most important thing in remaining Africa's leading conference centre is that we exceed our clients' expectations and provide an exceptional experience for each and every event we host. We need to make sure that when we open the doors to our customers that they experience the warmth and the great service that we have at the Durban ICC."
Empowering others to achieve their highest performance by instilling confidence in all of her team is an important part of Lindiwe's daily activities. "I believe I have an ability to bring the best out of people, enabling them to perform at their optimum. My staff tells me that I lead with love and respect, which motivates them to give their best effort and this ultimately benefits the organisation," said Lindiwe.
A woman influences everything she touches
As a staunch advocate of gender-equality and women empowerment, Lindiwe has made a personal and professional pledge to making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Her passion for women's empowerment issues has resulted in her serving on the board of the KwaZulu-Natal Network on Violence Against Women..
In addition, Lindiwe is well aware of the challenges of a being a woman leader in the often male-dominated world of business. She commented, "As a woman, you are gifted; you are a natural life-giver and whatever you give life to will increase and grow. So whatever challenges you face as a woman, you know how to manoeuvre, whether it's leading a company or propelling a cause. I believe a woman influences everything she touches."
Companies must put strategies and action plans that are measurable and sustainable in place to advance women. Only when people are held accountable to these plans will their full impact truly be felt," she said.
Serve a higher purpose
Lindiwe is a self-confessed perpetual learner who places a high value on education and imparting knowledge in order to uplift the lives of others. "We are born with different skills-sets and have been put on earth to serve a higher purpose in life. The extent to which your unique skills are used to uplift others is the extent to which your fulfilment will be found," she said.
"Treat others the way you would like to be treated. As a champion of equality, I have a vision for a world in which all human beings are comfortable with cultural diversity and where uncompromising respect exists for one another. It all starts with teachings at home."
The mother of four and grandmother of two, says nothing supersedes the value of being a mother and the importance of belonging to a family. Lindiwe places a premium on the importance of work-life balance.
Lindiwe said in the quest for success, it was important to respect yourself and have your feet firmly on the ground. "Humility is an important quality. Believe in yourself and love what you do. Be open to learning and make the best of opportunities that are available."