IoDSA CEO elects to walk the talk
Friday, 12 June 2015
Posted by: Roxanne Michael
Angela Oosthuizen, Chief
Executive Officer of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) has
decided to participate in the 702 Sun International CEO SleepOut™ on 18 June.
Oosthuizen says her decision is based on her view that courageous leaders have
to act despite their discomfort.
"The IoDSA has long recognised
that our business community and our country needs leaders who are
courageous—"courageous leadership” was the theme of our annual conference in
2013, after all,” she explains. "We all fear not having a place to rest our
heads so, like many other CEOs, I decided that in order to face that fear. In
so doing, of course, I hope to contribute towards raising awareness of the
challenges facing thousands of my fellow South Africans. At a personal level,
facing what others have no choice but to face, I hope to gain some of the
insight I need to lead with courage.”
Oosthuizen says that leaders
are only able to be courageous if they are supported by courageous teams. When
she stakes her claim to a few paving stones outside the Johannesburg Stock
Exchange on what is expected to be one of the coldest nights of the year, her
resolve will be strengthened not only by her fellow CEOs in the same position
but also by her courageous team.
"We took the decision as a team
that I should participate in the 702 Sun International CEO SleepOut™, and that
team will spend the night in our offices in solidarity with me and the homeless
that night,” she says. "They are courageous individuals, and thus leaders in
their own right.”
The choice of the Stock Exchange
is symbolic. It lies squarely in the richest square mile in Africa, and so the
initiative also seeks to draw attention to the yawning—and growing—gap between
those with an excess of goods and the luxury of choice, and those who lack
The 702 Sun International CEO
SleepOut™ is so successful, she believes, because it offers leaders a chance to
demonstrate their commitment to authenticity. In the words of Bernard Fehon,
who developed the concept in Australia a decade ago, it seems wrong to hold feasts
in order to raise money for the underprivileged.
The 702 Sun International CEO
SleepOut™ also offers an opportunity for CEOs to take stock of their roles in
the broader context of society. The social context of her leadership role resonates
particularly for Oosthuizen given that the IoDSA is the custodian of the King
Codes of Corporate Governance. The King Codes are founded on the belief that
business does not exist in isolation, solely to make profit, but exists within
the context of society and, to an extent, is responsible to that society as
well its immediate shareholders.
Leaders need courage, says
Oosthuizen, to ask difficult questions, and raise alternate or unpopular
viewpoints. They need courage to stand firmly by their own values or hold
others to their organisational value; to ask for help; and, critically, to
"In business, given the
pressure for short-term profit, it takes courage to argue that the deep
ecological and social crises facing us must be considered if the business is to
remain profitable over the long term,” Oosthuizen adds.
This year’s 702 Sun
International CEO SleepOut™ supports Girls & Boys Town, a government
recognised non-profit organisation. Girls & Boys Town helps more than 20
000 orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children by providing residential care
and assisting pupils by partnering with schools.
To participate in the 702 Sun
International CEO SleepOut™, Oosthuizen must raise R100 000 for Girls &
Boys Town. Please help her to meet that target by pledging at http://www.theceosleepoutza.co.za/donate-ceo.php?id=79fd796a7fef5b23c9d04bbd8a557f4a.