Despite an ever-growing body of research that confirms the positive impact that female representation at an executive level can have on company performance, the representation of women on the boards of South African corporates remains dismally low. In fact, it has been said that women make up just 17.4% of board members in South Africa, according to research by the African Development Bank.


One local company that is really going against the grain in this respect, is the latest entrant to the high-net-worth insurance market, Elite Risk Acceptances. Boasting a fully transformed, all-female board of directors, the Elite Board paints a powerful picture of both gender and racial transformation in the insurance sector.


Christelle Colman, Managing Director of Elite Risk Acceptances and member of the board, says that while driving transformation and gender parity at an executive level is something she is extremely proud of, it goes without saying that each member of the Elite Board has been elected based on their diverse skills offerings and remarkable industry experience.


“The board is made up of five highly capable and seasoned business women who represent the varied interests of Elite’s stakeholders,” says Colman, who goes on to briefly describe each member’s role on the Elite Board.


“Our chairperson, Nokuthula (Thuli) Manyoha, is Old Mutual Insure’s Financial Director, and is a chartered accountant, she is responsible for driving strategy, good financial management and operational excellence.”


Thabile Nyaba, Old Mutual Insure’s Chief Risk Officer and Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) Vice President, is responsible for enterprise-wide risk management, governance, compliance, combined assurance and forensics. She is one of the first 10 Certified Risk Management Practitioners (CRM Prac) in the country and is also a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA).


On the legal side of things, Jacqué Hurter runs the show, says Colman. “Jacqué is the Head of Legal at Old Mutual Insure. An admitted attorney with more than 10 years’ in-house experience after having spent 10 years in legal practice, she is a skilled litigator and corporate law specialist, and is passionate about future fitting in-house Legal to add optimal value to business.


“Then last, but not least, we have Karen Naidoo, the current Head of Strategic Partnerships for Old Mutual Insure. Karen is responsible for New Business Development and Deal Structuring. She is passionate about the insurance industry as well as entrepreneurial development in Africa and is often plugged into various financial services conferences,” Colman adds.


Old Mutual Insure’s Financial Director and Chairperson of the Elite Board, Thuli Manyoha, says that it is truly refreshing to be surrounded by such a diverse group of accomplished women. “The four talented women who currently sit on the board with me each bring with them a vast amount of sector experience and business acumen.


“Following our inaugural board meeting which took place last week, I feel confident that the company’s future prosperity is in capable hands,” she concludes.