A woman who truly personifies holistic leadership through ubuntu and a Covid-19 survivor who is not willing to just be a bystander.
If there was one piece of advice that Jacki Mpondo-Hendricks could give to her younger self, it would be that life and anything worthwhile does not have any short cuts; you have to see the process through to reap the rewards.
With more than 25 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, Mpondo-Hendricks knows that short cuts, not working smartly enough and not allowing yourself enough time to understand the dynamics informing the “rules of the business game at play” are unlikely to work in your favour.
Mpondo-Hendricks was appointed as the first black female president of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce (JCCI) in 2019, something she says is one of her proudest achievements. In her role as the head of the JCCI, Mpondo-Hendricks works closely with the team on local and international stakeholder relations, networking for market access, lobbying, training and capacitating SMMEs for inclusive global trade and investment opportunities.
The Eastern Cape-born Mpondo-Hendricks is a businessperson and social entrepreneur. She has had roles in South Africa’s creative industry, ranging from being a producer, talk show host and actress to being a founding member of the Independent Producers Organisation of South Africa and one of South Africa’s first black female television and film producers.
She has interests in various businesses focusing on global business development. Her many achievements include globally promoting trade and investment for South Africa, leading Gauteng and the City of Johannesburg through 14 000 sister chambers and strong relationships with more than 135 embassies. She hosts between three and 30 international trade events a month, and fosters funder relationships with various international donors.
She successfully implemented the SMME Global Business Accelerator Incubation Programme, which has more than 75 beneficiaries who have created sustainable businesses and employment for close to 1 000 people.
Development in Africa and inclusion in the world remain one of her goals. Although the outbreak of Covid-19 has delayed the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, which would accelerate the trading of goods and services among countries on the continent, she still believes the agreement could unlock Africa’s development potential after the pandemic.
“I want to meaningfully contribute towards the facilitation of an inclusive economy for mainstream beneficiation by all currently marginalised people, youth, women, the disabled and the elderly from rural areas and townships, and so create an Africa intratrade ecosystem through market innovation and disruption,” she says.
“[I] ultimately [want to] restore the dignity of our people through economic freedom.”
As a Covid-19 survivor, Mpondo-Hendricks has distributed 90 000 meals, sanitary pads and disposable nappies for both babies and the aged across Gauteng through a Covid-19 relief programme.
“Always show compassion, for love is the ultimate currency of life.”