This month, every day, we will be tracking some of the lives of the extraordinary women who have attended this school. Meet our thirteenth inspirational woman - accomplished businesswoman and leader, Nosiphiwo Balfour.
In 2000, when Nosiphiwo Balfour delivered her Valedictory speech as head girl of Wynberg, she commented that she was “not one to reminisce." That "she believed in looking to the future”. And, indeed, that is so much of who she is: one who shapes, redirects, transforms - with rigour. She has always been insightful, wise and clear thinking, a fierce advocate for women empowerment, and today is recognised as a leader in the property sector.
She is a property practitioner and Commercial Property Director with more than 14 years’ experience. In her most recent role, she was the former CEO of Texton Property Fund, a public listed Real Estate Investment Trust with property assets, located in the United Kingdom and South Africa, valued at ZAR 5.5 billion.
Graduating with a BSc Honours degree from University of Cape Town, she began her career in 2005 at Standard Bank Property Finance, involved in their portfolio of commercial-to-residential conversions. She later joined Investec Property Group and assumed business development responsibilities on retail and institutional portfolios investing into listed property. She moved to Investec Asset Management in 2010, where she was a Sales Manager and Property Specialist in the institutional business development team. Completing at the same time a Post Graduate Diploma in Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management at the University of Johannesburg, she was responsible for new business and managing a number of significant relationships with retirement funds, investment consultants, state-owned entities and public sector funds.
She has worked strategically with Investment teams to build businesses and grow investments that are not only conscious of their environment and good governance, but have delivered returns for stakeholders.
She currently performs strategic advisory work and serves as an Independent Non-Executive Director on the Board of Communicare Social Housing NPC, holding the position of Vice-Chairperson of the Board between 2015 and 2017. She has also previously held directorships in Texton Property United Kingdom and Inception Reading S.A.R.L, a Luxembourg-domiciled company that owned properties in the United Kingdom.
With an active focus on female empowerment in property throughout her career, Nosiphiwo was a 2018 Honouree of the Seven Percent Tribe, an organisation which recognises female executives in leadership. She was also a nominee for the 2018 SA Women in Property Awards under Professional of the Year: Private Sector Category. She has a track record of effecting change and challenging both gender and demographic representation of companies within this sector,
In 2000, on the occasion of their Valedictory Service at Wynberg, she left her peers with some inspiring words from Ben Okri’s poem, To An English Friend in Africa:
Live while you are alive.
Learn the ways of silence and wisdom
Learn to act, learn a new speech
Learn to be what you are in the seed of your spirit
Learn to free yourself from all things that have moulded you
And which limit your secret and undiscovered road.
Remember that all things which happen
To you are raw materials
Endlessly yielding of thoughts that could change
Your life and go on doing for ever.
When you look at Nosiphiwo’s achievements, she internalised this a long time ago. Effecting significant change, with focus and precision, she is an exceptional businesswoman and achiever.