3 October 2023

Women in finance

Why we believe in her leadership

As a leading Pan-African banking group, Absa is focused and committed to empowering Africa through deliberate, authentic and impactful leadership.

Absa has made continuous strides in empowering its women to lead. Absa believes that female diversity in leadership not only makes business sense, but also contributes to a better culture and more participative decision-making, which leads to more effective leadership, thereby ultimately benefitting our stakeholders.

Focusing on women is a long-term commitment, which is not only celebrated in one day or a month. At Absa, we celebrate and invest in our women regularly because we believe in Her Leadership.

Absa is already recognised as one of the most transformative organisations on the continent, with Forbes ranking Absa 36th out of 400 organisations championing women in the workplace.

As part of our ongoing investment in women within our ecosystem, we have undertaken a number of key initiatives to support our Belief in Her Leadership campaign and therefore deliberate and focused investment in women.

Mentorship and sponsorship

As part of our long-term commitment to empowering women within Absa, our leadership teams as well as our senior executive teams (both male and female) have taken the responsibility of guiding women across the bank through various phases of their careers. This includes mentorship and motivation for specific sponsorships to assist individuals in realising their full potential.


This innovative Women’s Development Programme won gold in the Best Advancement in Leadership Development for Women category at the 2022 Brandon Hall Group Human Capital Management Excellence Awards.

The model aims to empower women through its 4C model by addressing issues related to context, confidence, connection and care.

100 Women in Finance

Absa is a global corporate sponsor of 100 Women in Finance, a global organisation committed to gender equity in finance by promoting diversity, raising visibility, and empowering women to find their personal path to success with a vision for women to occupy 30% of senior investment roles and executive committee positions by 2040. This goal aligns with Absa’s ambitions to increase representation of women in senior roles, economic empowerment and drive towards achieving gender parity. Furthermore, in 2022 we sponsored their Kenya East Africa chapter launch, with a plan to continue this partnership across Africa with our mutual strategic priorities.

Women in Tech

There is a global battle for technology talent – particularly those who can integrate first-world technology in emerging markets.

Absa has recognised that it needs to be at the forefront of this trend and has invested in technology talent through its partnership with Women in Tech. Women in Tech® is the world's leading organisation that fosters inclusion, diversity and equity in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) and has the ambitious goal of empowering five million women by 2030.

Absa has recognised that women are a key part of delivering on its strategic goals, and has made deliberate investments to unlock female talent. Through these and other strategic goals and initiatives, women will take their rightful place in financial services and unlock the economic potential held on the African continent.

Women in finance


Hazel Khumalo

Managing Principal: SA Regional Client Coverage

I believe my Purpose in Life is to help others, especially women. It is my true belief that the empowerment and emancipation of women and girls will be a lasting gift to our Planet.


CPA Stella Mambo

Director - Head of Markets Kenya

Realizing self-actualization means reaching my fullest and highest potential. I will use self-reflection to understand my thoughts, behaviors, patterns, talents, and skills. I will also identify my growth areas (I will not call them weaknesses). I will seek to educate myself and increase my knowledge through research, and by engaging in meaningful discussions with others who hold different viewpoints than my own. I will use all of these avenues to improve all aspects of who I am.”

I will continuously pour into myself the tools needed to be the best at what I do. I want to have a career that improves the life of others and society in some way.


Tshepo Ncube

Head: International Coverage, Corporate Coverage

The purpose of my life is service to others through acts of humility and compassion. I believe servant leaders build stronger teams and foster a positive culture that creates great success.


Bakang Letshwiti

Head: Sector Coverage, Absa CIB Public Sector

The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers”. This is one of my favorite quotes by former activist Ralph Nader; so my focus is on instilling a growth mindset. I like spotting potential and qualities that people do not see in themselves and encouraging them to dream bigger, to grow and get out of comfort zones to become better versions of themselves.


Michelle Knowles

Managing Director: Head of Trade and Working Capital Product (Pan Africa)

My purpose is to be part of making a positive change through the work that I do and the people I meet. Being a part of the growth of Trade as a mechanism for economic growth and development in Africa is what drives me. Making meaningful and sustainable progress toward gender parity in organisations is what ignites me.


Ellen Ohene-Afoakwa

Managing Principal

I firmly believe that a life of significance is one that leaves a positive imprint on society. My commitment to fostering equality and opportunity for women fuels my purpose. I am dedicated to actively serving and advocating for a level playing field, enabling women to thrive equally. Furthermore, I take pride in my role as an inspiration to young minds, by striving to cultivate future leaders who embody empathy, compassion, and a strong work ethic.


Shirley Webber

Managing Principal. Coverage Head: Resources and Energy

Intentional living for a positive future contribution, noting that a balanced life has changed to an integrated life.


Mpume Myeza

Head of Corporate FX Sales: Inland

I want to leave everything I touch a little better than I found it. I want to impact everyone around me, in a positive way.


Cheryl Buss

Chief Executive: Absa International

Through passion and conviction, delivering purposeful value and growth to business and clients enabling Africa's tomorrow.


Narisa Balgobind

Managing Director: Head of Africa Debt Financing, Investment Banking Division

To actively contribute to the growth and development of the African continent one deal at a time, in collaboration, with my team of highly motivated and passionate individuals.


Ena-Marie Hewitt

Markets Treasurer and Snr Trader Capital & Derivatives Markets

To leverage my extensive trading background and financial expertise as a senior woman in the investment bank, my purpose is to cultivate a collaborative work platform that fosters innovation, diversity, and excellence within the markets treasury team, driving superior financial outcomes and empowering future generations of financial professionals.


Patricia Darsam

Corporate and Investment Banking Director

Help develop excellence within the business and inspire other women to achieve leadership roles.


Ellen Mtine

Head International, ARO

To contribute towards a sustainable, inclusive and transformational growth story for Africa by leading boldly, dreaming ambitiously, acting ethically and empowering others consistently.


Yasmin Masithela

Managing Executive Transactional Banking, Corporate & Investment Banking Africa

Diversity makes business sense