The Pursuit of Excellence Network Gala A prestigious evening Powered by Mercedes-Benz East Rand

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The Pursuit of Excellence Network Gala – 1 enthralling speaker. 4 outstanding panellists. 80 distinguished guests.

Just over a week ago, The Corporate Canvas, together with premium car dealership Mercedes-Benz East Rand, hosted The Pursuit of Excellent Network Gala. What took almost 5 months of planning, strategizing and marketing amassed into a powerful evening of building substantial networks, having critical conversations about our future as young corporates and business people, and listening to speakers and panelists who quite literally had us all re-evaluating our lives within mere seconds…

It was towards the end of April 2017 that our jaws literally dropped to the floor when we received a call from premium car dealership Mercedes-Benz East Rand – who expressed that as an aspirational, luxury brand who had had their eyes on our platform for quite some time – wished to align themselves with the TCC platform and its community of determined and successful young individuals. Thereafter, months of hard work, planning and documenting took place. Working with Mercedes-Benz East Rand was not only a dream materialized, but also such a wonderful learning experience. As a brand, Merc truly believes in growing with its customers (and potential customers!).

It was important to TCC to stay true to its foundation and create an event that was reflective of its daily mission: to empower and elevate the lives of the young corporate player. With this at our core, the process of deciding who would be our guest speaker and panelists began – and might I add, we couldn’t have chosen better individuals to spark the fire that resides in every TCC reader.  To keep the guests in suspense, we took the decision not to reveal our guest speaker until the night, whom we are so proud to say, was the formidable Zanele Modiba.


A joint The Apprentice South Africa winner, marketing authority, olive farm owner, speaker and philanthropist, Zanele Modiba had the audience completely captivated by sharing a few worthwhile points:

“When you remove yourself from the realm of competition, to a space of feeling and practising compassion for others – amazing things start coming into existence for you”

“Your life expands and contracts in direct proportion to your courage. Be courageous.”

“Although it is inevitable that you will find yourself in a work environment or having a boss that wishes to dehumanize you, do not ever dehumanize yourself further by engulfing yourself in the feelings that they work so hard at forcing you to feel’

I stand to be corrected when I say, there was not a single individual in the room who did not receive some form of awakening during Zanele’s talk.

Zanele’s talk was followed by 45 minutes of enjoying the divine dinner catered by Jem Exclusive Catering and Events, and networking. Guests were advised to stretch themselves and truly endeavour to seek a new network partner who would propel their career in some form or other.

Upon completion of the 45 minute network interval, the most anticipated moment of the night commenced – the Panel discussion. Our Panellists were handpicked as some of the most hard-working and influential corporate climbers and entrepreneurs in Johannesburg, and their profiles may be summarised as follows

Ekene Onwu: Armed with a Masters of Management in Entrepreneurship from Wits Business School, 20-something year old Ekene Onwu is currently the Head of Digital at Econet Media whilst also lecturing at the Stellenbosch Business School where he is presently also completing his Phd.

“If you learn to be effective, strategic and smart with your time, you can accomplish impressive feats beyond your belief”- Ekene Onwu

Olwethu Leshabane: Presently the holder of the illustrious Mrs South Africa 1st Princess 2017 title, Olwethu is a digital entrepreneur and the founder of The Red Wings Project – a foundation which addresses the issues of lack of sanitation for South African women.

“A clear, resilient mind–set will take your further in moments when your belief flounders. Remain mentally strong and determined’ – Olwethu Leshabane

Ofentse Monyela: After leaving a successful career in investment banking, Ofentse is the co-founder of the premium furniture store, Setters Contemporary Furniture. As a company that prides itself in its quality products and services, Setters presently has a store in Randburg, Johannebsurg with a second store soon to open its doors in Pretoria.

“Entrepreneurship means nothing without clear, distinctive goals. If you plan to leave corporate to pursue your passions the formula is simple: set a date.” – Ofentse Monyela

Keorapetse Chakela: Keorapetse Chakela is the co-founder of Tidnic IT, a successful 100% black-owned company with respected and renowned clientele such as the Gauteng Province Economic Development Department, the Construction Sector Charter Council and the Mpumalanga Provincial Government. He also has a strong presence in premium beauty parlour, Le Looks Beauty & Hair.

“Investing in your business does not necessarily mean possessing and acquiring the funds to do so, but it can also refer to the investment of time; for if you invest time in your business, you are able to amass significant success.” – Keorapeste Chakela

The night was filled with young people who came dressed for success, open to learning, filled with humility and thirst for knowledge and of course exclusivity and prestige.

The Corporate Canvas wishes to give a very special thank you to our phenomenal guest speaker, the prolific panellists, our wonderful readers and guests and of course Mercedes-Benz East Rand, without whom none of this would have been possible.

We are so pleased to announce that due to the wonderful turnout and impressive content of the event, Mercedes-Benz East Rand has advised that yet another Network Gala will take place next year. If you couldn’t attend this year make sure to book your seats early as next year is sure to be a feat!

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Bedfordview | 2 Viscount Rd | Bedfordview

Catering: JEM Exclusive Catering and Events |

Photographer: Ignatius Mathibela | Nqobile Photography | 081 754 6603


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