Frere Hospital CEO Rolene Wagner has been named the country’s and the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC’s) most influential woman in business and government, writes Arethha Linden.
Wagner received the award at this year’s Africa’s Most Influential Women (MIW) awards, after she was nominated and went through three rounds of judging, which included assessments and interviews by independent judges.
The annual event, founded and hosted by CEO Global media company, was held on Thursday the week before last in Johannesburg, and sought to recognise the important role African women play in the development of society.
About 4 000 people from 57 African countries were nominated in different categories.
Wagner said it was an honour and a privilege to receive the award, especially at a time when the citizens of the country and the continent were demanding performance-excellence and accountability from the public service.
“This award also comes at a time when society is pushing back against the atrocities and prejudices women face on a daily basis.
“So receiving the award for me is not about only the personal recognition of my professional journey, and all who have contributed to it, but also about me having to exercise my responsibility to be an example, to South African and African citizens, of civil servants and women leaders in government who are competent, capable and making a difference in the communities we serve,” said Wagner.
This is not the first time Wagner has received recognition for the work she does. In 2014 she won a regional woman-in-government award at the Business Women’s Association awards, and in 2016 a national award at the same awards.
Apart from being hailed for bringing positive change to Frere Hospital, Wagner is also a motivational speaker who supports endeavours such as “Take a Girl Child to Work” that empower women and girls from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.
As the country celebrates Women’s Month, Wagner has encouraged other women who want to bring positive change to the lives of others and their surroundings to “take a leap of faith and get on with it”.
On her MIW award, Wagner thanked her parents and teachers, who she said laid the foundation for the values that underpin her life.
She also thanked her colleagues in government and at Frere for affording her the privilege to serve others as a “servant of our communities”.
The SADC regional winners will go on to be adjudicated by a fourth panel on September 11 to identify the Africa Continent MIW winner.