Melissa Nortje mentors for Phakama Academy

Phakama Women's Academy

Melissa Nortje, First Car Rental's Executive Head of Strategy, Development & Marketing, has been invited to mentor for the prestigious Phakama Women's Academy for the second consecutive year.

First Car Rental is also the official transport sponsor for Academy, and will be driving the graduate students of 2015 to and from their lectures.

Phakama Women's Academy

L - R: Melissa Nortje (First Car Rental's Executive Head of Strategy, Development & Marketing); mentee Itumeleng Ndaba; and Koo Govender (CEO of the VWV Group) at the 2015 induction ceremony.

Launched in 2014, the Phakama Women's Academy is a VWV initiative aimed at empowering young women studying marketing-related courses by giving them the skills they need to rise up in the corporate world.

In 2015, 32 women from three tertiary institutions - the University of Johannesburg, AAA and Vega - were selected for the programme.

Mentorship forms an integral part of the Academy, with each student spending one-on-one time with her mentor throughout the programme. Graduate feedback from the 2014 programme revealed that one-on-one mentorship was an "invaluable experience" that promoted incredible knowledge transfer, and helped grow each young woman's belief in herself.

Another important part of the programme is practical skills training, with students attending modules that cover topics such as presentation skills, developing your personal brand, CV development, interviewing skills, stress and time management, and personal finance.

Phakama means 'to rise' in Zulu and Xhosa

This year, Nortje will be mentoring Itumeleng Ndaba, a third-year student studying Advertising at the Vega School of Brand Leadership.

Says Nortje: "I thoroughly enjoyed mentoring on the pilot programme last year, and look forward to getting to know Itumeleng. This pioneering programme provides talented young women with the skills and experience needed to excel in the workplace, rising to become business leaders of the future."

Says Koo Govender, CEO of the VWV Group and founder of this industry-first initiative, "The calibre of students selected to participate in the empowerment programme this year has greatly surpassed that of the first group.

'Although the first students we mentored were inspired and confident, there is something truly special about this year's young women and we are looking forward to working with them and mentoring them in the weeks ahead."

Q&A with Melissa Nortje

Watch the video below to find out Melissa Nortje's thoughts on the Phakama Women's Academy, and her own mentors.

Melissa Nortje

To find out more about the Phakama Women's Academy, click here.

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