Helen Nicholson – CEO (Chief Excitement Officer)

Helen Nicholson has been called “The Networking Queen” by many of her clients. Helen began her career as an accountant after studying at Wits University and has since evolved into a passionate entrepreneur. She is the director of The Networking Company, specialising in teaching people to Master the art of networking. She has recently published the business best seller: “Networking- How to get your black belt in business success”

Helen lived in the Middle East for five years where she developed and sold her own successful business in Dubai before returning to South Africa. She also gained international corporate experience in the IT industry, co-ordinating the marketing Middle East operation for Novell.

On her return to SA, Helen consulted and lectured at Wits Business School. Helen has a bi-monthly regular column in the Star Newspaper on the power of Networking.

Helen is a passionate South African and thrives on the meaningful work she does as a consultant in the area of leadership development. Her clients include FNB, Standard Bank, Citadel, Investec, Ernst & Young, RMB & Old Mutual. Helen is a mentor at Shanduka Black Umbrellas for aspiring black entrepreneurs and is a founding member of the Professional Speakers Association of South Africa. She is a single mother of identical twin girls, and is an avid reader and runner.

Helen completed the New York Marathon in 2011  and said it was one of her life highlights.

The author of “BrandOvation™: How Germany won the World Cup of Nation Branding”, and the sequel “The Hero’s Journey: Building a Nation of World Champions”, Dr Nikolaus Eberl holds a PhD from the Free University of Berlin and a Postgraduate Diploma from The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Dr Nik headed the Net Promoter Scorecard research project on South Africa’s Destination Branding Success Story during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, and he is the co-author of the World Cup Brand Ambassador Program ‘Welcome 2010′ and chairperson of the FAN World Cup™.

Dr Nik is the author of “The Seven Secrets of IziCwe: Conquer Life!”, a uniquely South African Life Skills Program, and “a must for anyone who wants to overcome career and personal challenges!” (The Business Day). The sequel, “The IziCwe Code: Internal Branding” was introduced to the international media at the Global Leaders

Summit 2006, sharing the platform with leadership gurus Tom Peters, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Porter, and has become recommended reading for government leaders at national, provincial and local level.

Dr Nik’s 2006 FIFA World Cup™ book, “BrandOvation™: How Germany won the World Cup of Nation Branding”, was featured extensively in the local and international media (CNBC, Carte Blanche, Business Day, The Star, The Mercury, 702, SAfm, MetroFM etc). Based upon the Brand Innovation Lessons from the 2006 FIFA World

Cup™, BrandOvation™ is a Novel Concept of Brand Leadership, merging the disciplines of Internal Branding and Touch-Point Innovation. Dr Nik’s work has received acclaim from a number of eminent South African leaders.

From May 2007 to August 2010, Dr Nik authored the Business Day’s World Cup Column as well as co-anchored CNBC’s weekly Business 2010 show (as the resident analyst). His forthcoming book “Nation of Champions: How South Africa won the World Cup of Destination Branding”, is measuring South Africa’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Brand Advocacy and the Civic Pride Index (CPI) of South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.

Abdullah Hassen Verachia is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa and holds qualifications from some of South Africa’s leading academic institutions.

Abdullah has served as Executive: International at Rand Merchant Bank (a division of FirstRand Bank Ltd) and also served on the management board of FirstRand India. Rand Merchant Bank has won numerous awards as a leading Emerging Markets Investment Bank and was recently recognised as the 2014 Investment Bank of the Year in Africa by The Banker – Investment Banking Awards.

Abdullah is the Chief Executive Officer of MVA Strategy Consulting t/a The Strategists – a leading strategy consulting firm. He also currently serves as the Executive Chairperson of The Collective Genius as well as a Director of Education Africa.

Abdullah previously served as a co-founder and partner at Frontier Advisory –   a leading capital advisory, strategy and research firm, which was ranked as the no 1 analyst firm for Africa and other emerging market research by the Financial Mail.

Having presented in over 60 cities globally Abdullah Verachia has been recognised as a leading dealmaker, strategist and thought leader on company competitiveness, trends and strategy and on Frontier and Emerging Markets. He has presented around the world to leading listed firms, international organisations and governments including in Beijing, Shanghai,  Shenzen,  Mumbai,  Bangalore,  Delhi,  Singapore,  Kuala  Lumpur,  Hong  Kong, Accra, Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Frankfurt, Munich, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris, London and New York. He has been asked to present at some of the world’s leading institutions including the School of Public and International Affairs at Colombia University in New York, the Said Business School at Oxford University, the OECD in Paris and Casa Asia in Madrid amongst others.

He has provided business strategy solutions on behalf of listed and multinational clients in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. Abdullah has also initiated and advised on some of the largest Asian investments into Africa.

Abdullah serves as a faculty member as well as the founding director of the FirstRand India Africa Business Network at the Gordon Institute of Business Science. The Network provides South Africa with the region’s only comprehensive base from which to educate about and promote Indian business subjects whilst raising the profile of Indian business in South Africa and the region.

Abdullah has also previously lectured at the University of Stellenbosch Business School where he was a visiting faculty member as well as the Da Vinci Institute for Technology Management. In this position     Abdullah designed, conceptualised and introduced South Africa’s first ever Masters (MSC) Programme in Managing in Frontier and Emerging Markets. He also serves on the Gauteng Vision 2055 task team.

Abdullah is currently co-authoring a book on the commercial corridor between South Africa and India.


Abdullah has been recognised as a visionary young leader who has played an active role in South African society for a number of years. He has been selected as the Mpumalanga youth leader of the year and a finalist for the South African youth leader of the year. He was also selected to be a part of the Brightest Young Minds in South Africa as well as an honorary member of the Golden Key International Honour Society.

As a young leader and a son of Africa Abdullah has a passion for developing young leaders and conceptualising and designing numerous initiatives to provide vehicles for young people to participate in. He works with leading corporates and government departments in advising them on their youth strategies and in designing interesting, unique and cutting edge vehicles to reach out to young people. Abdullah plays an active role in corporate social investment and has headed up flagship CSI programmes for over 12 listed South African and global multinationals.

Abdullah also serves on a few boards including The Collective Genius, Edutrust, the Model United Nations of South Africa and Education Africa. Companies and organisations have found Abdullah’s unique blend of legal, business, emerging market, academic and youth experience to add incredible value to their strategies.


Learning Solutions for Business Results

The Consultant Powerhouse team, managed by Vanessa Bluen, has established a credible reputation with leading corporate clients for the design and implementation of integrated learning solutions that have a significant impact on building competency and business results. The Consultant Powerhouse is an accredited partner of IOWEU International training methodology which has successfully assisted people, teams and organisations in over 26 countries to improve the trust they have with their clients.

Why clients choose The Consultant Powerhouse

The Consultant Powerhouse has challenged long-held training and development paradigms where companies send people on training programmes and the learning has little relevance to their day-to-day realities. Instead, The Consultant Powerhouse focuses on highly customised learning solutions tailored to client context and challenges – using the learning environment to achieve critical company and department outcomes.

Learning solutions are offered in the areas of:


  • Personal branding and professional presence
  • Impact and influencing skills
  • Developing a professional business image
  • Time management
  • Stress management
  • Personal mastery
  • Conflict management & assertive communication
  • New business writing
  • Impactful presentation skills
  • Meeting management
  • Email and telephone etiquette – global standards


  • Professionalising service touchpoints
  • Service as a sales strategy – for sales and key account teams
  • Aligning teams to a client-focused service culture


  • Smarter Selling – increase sales through building trust – the IOWEU approach, implemented in over 26 countries.


  • Cultural fluency – building a culture that values difference and strengthens inclusivity
  • Team building
  • Living the values as brand ambassadors


  • Next-Generation Relationship Management – building trust-based internal and external partnerships
  • Key account management
  • Consulting skills – partnering collaboratively with internal and external clients


  • Call centre excellence – sales focus
  • Call centre excellence – service focus
  • Office professionalism skills for secretaries and PA’s
  • Telephone skills
  • Frontline and reception management


  • Leading through relationships
  • Leadership presence
  • The Team Leader powerhouse programme
  • From technical specialist to manager – bridging programme
  • Performance management: growing people’s potential – the ‘how to’


  • Professional skills for new graduates – fast-tracking career advancement


Joni is the MD of The BizComm® Group

Joni started out in Marketing & Sales working for: Unilever, Kimberley Clark & Bristol Myers Squibb. She then left the hustle and bustle of the corporate world to establish her own leadership training / skills development business in 1996.

Joni currently facilitates, coaches & speaks locally & internationally (literally from Cape to Cairo as well as other funky places like Columbia, Mexico and good ‘ole New York!)

She is truly passionate about partnering with Leaders and Teams to ignite personal growth, team cohesion, performance and sustainable transformation. The Enneagram, Personality System, is a passion of Joni’s . She facilitates to enable individuals (& teams) to understand …

  • what makes each of us “tick” ?
  • how do we each play to our strengths, to maximise effectiveness in our ‘time-poor’ lives?
  • how to harness the complexity of interpersonal relationships … both at home and at work!

Joni’s Enneagram world…

  • Founding member of the Enneagram Institute of South Africa in 2005 (linked to New York)
  • Member of the International Enneagram Association (USA)
  • Principle Member of The Nine Domains Group, LLC (USA)
  • Executive Coaching using the Enneagram
  • Team Facilitator (Change , Performance and Growth Workshops)
  • Non-profit work for budding entrepreneurs and NGO’s.

Joni’s ‘E4R’ world : Energy-for- Resilience

  • Joni collaborates with Celynn Erasmus (Dietician), delivering Key Note Talks and Workshops, pragmatically offering a 3-pronged approach for energy and resilience. Feeling FABulous requires Fuelling and Activating our bodies correctly as well as Being, to ensure that we live a real, meaningful and authentic life.

Joni ‘pride’ and source of tremendous joy: her two gorgeous teenage girls, and 3 whacky (& very demanding) dogs . She keeps herself active travelling and exploring both SA and aboard, and keeps physically fit …literally ‘running wherever she goes’. She’s grateful, on many levels, to say that 2014 is her third year running both Two Oceans and Comrades.


Social Entrepreneur, Speaker, MC, Facilitator and Change Agent 

Ntsiki is passionate about working with people to inspire, connect and empower them to discover their purpose, and then implement practical methods for personal and business success.

Ntsiki works with Joni Peddie at The Resilient Energy Center as a Key Note Speaker empowering individuals, teams and organisations with pragmatic, science-backed tools and techniques, in order to be resilient in this VUCA world.

Why? Team members are sick, stressed and near burn-out. How? Personal and organisational resilience is needed in this ever changing & complex world. What? The FAB Quotient™ framework for resilience is : Fuel for sustained energy + Activate for brain fitness and to reduce stress + Behave for better self awareness & more effective collaboration.

As Miss South Africa’s 2nd Princess in 2015, Ntsiki focused on coaching on personal branding, living on purpose and personal development. She is the Co-Founder of The Princesses Foundation; Director at Pamanda Properties, Pamanda Farming and eKasi Entrepreneurs; Presenter and Content Producer for Basic* on MyBigStartup.com; Presenter on CareerConnect for Business DayTV as well as Host of That’s 20’s Podcast. Ntsiki believes in service and developing others and volunteers as a mentor at Phakama Women’s Academy and Hadithi Wethu.

Ntsiki is the author of her soon to be published book: My Hall of Mentors: Lessons Learned Along the Journey of Success. In addition she writes regularly on the topic of: Living on Purpose. She holds a B.Com Marketing Management and B.Com Honours Logistics Management from the University of Johannesburg, where she is also the Ambassador for their
Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.

“I struggled with my weight all my life and had to learn how to dress my body to hide my flaws. My friends could not believe I was the weight I was and were always amazed that I still managed to look good and dress well. I began writing down my tricks and trade secrets, and when I saw it all on paper I realised I had something to offer in the area of personal image consultancy. Then, at the same time a friend of a friend called me and asked me to help her through a difficult time. Her husband was having an affair, she had 2 girls to take care of and she desperately needed a change. She had a small shopping budget, but I couldn’t wait to see what I could do within her means. I completed the shop and revealed her new look and wardrobe to her. It affected her in a way that I can’t describe in words. I saw how her self-image and confidence went through the roof. That was a real turning point for me, and that day a shift happened. I knew I had a talent for shopping for women and a personality that was identifiable, and seeing how using my skill renewed and inspired a friend was all I needed to motivate me on a new path. I hope to share some of my experience and passion with you, so that you too can become ALL that you are.”


Juliette is the director of the Dynamic Voice Company, and as a NLP Master Practitioner has extensive coaching experience. As a trained actress with 12 years experience as a Performing Artist and Professional Speaker, Juliette has created a unique, powerful blend of communication training techniques, for speaking with impact on Professional and Leadership levels.

Her skill as a theatre actress, director and voice artist gives Juliette a potent understanding of how to communicate effectively. Her programmes translate this vital capacity into the business world, enabling professionals to communicate with authenticity, influence and build compelling personal brands.

Juliette, an expert on creativity and business innovation, has developed the Art in Leadership Series, art-based learning seminars, as a means to generate high performance thinking. Her clients include Investec, FNB, Telkom, Standard Bank, Nedbank, Budget, BHP Biliton, Business Connexion, Annique and UNISA.

Juliette is also the mother of a little girl, a passionate indigenous gardener and aspiring cook.


Using her extensive qualifications and 20 years of experience, Karin has owned and managed a number of Biokinetic practices. Currently she is based in her private practice within the Melrose arch virgin active. Using her educational talents, she has also guided numerous Biokinetic interns into running their own successful practices.

Furthermore, Karin is a specialist in orthopaedic rehabilitation and a strong proponent of illness prevention. She prides herself in treating patients holistically.

Karin frequently presents papers at conferences and has lectured at the University of Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand. She has been published in journals and the medical chronical.

In 2014\2015 she was awarded the top Biokineticist at Virgin Active in South Africa.

She is married with 18 year old boy/girl twins, and loves people and a challenge.

Areas of Expertise

  • Author
  • Executive Coach and Mentor
  • Business and leadership Consultant
  • Training and People Development
  • HR Consulting
  • Change Management
  • Talent and performance Management
  • Business process Management


Training and people development is my passion and strength. I have been in Consulting since 2001. In this period, I have published two books and both are available online and in bookstores.

Educational Background

Formal qualifications include MBA (GIBS/ University of Pretoria and a Post graduate Qualification from the internationally accredited College of Executive Coaching, California, USA, ICF accredited. Business Coaching (GIBS)

Italia Boninelli is Executive Vice President: People and Organization Development at AngloGold Ashanti, an international gold-mining company with 20 operations across North and South America, 8 countries in Africa and in Australasia and which employs more than 63,000 people.
Prior to that, she has held executive positions in the Human Resources functions of Gold Fields (mining) and Netcare (hospital group) and was both HR Director and Marketing Director at Standard Bank.
She is a registered industrial psychologist with a Masters in Psychology from the University of the Witwatersrand and a post-graduate diploma in labour relations from UNISA. She is a founder member of the National Human Resources Research Initiative of the South African Board for Personnel Practice.
She has previous board experience in the gold mining sector and is currently on the advisory boards of two universities. She continues to lecture and teach at business schools and universities, and for national bodies such as the Institute for People Management. She is passionate in her support for women’s leadership development programs and has been an executive coach to many successful executives. She is also the author of numerous publications including three books and numerous articles.

Natalie Hinde has over 20 years’ experience as a facilitator and coach and is passionate about developing people.

Before joining The Networking Company, Natalie spent time in the corporate environment working for both local and international organisations. It was during this time that she spent in people-management positions that she developed her ‘people first’ philosophy which is underpinned by the belief that empowered, motivated individuals are the foundation of successful organisations.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree, a post-graduate qualification in Business and Executive Coaching as well as an Occupationally Directed Education, Training and Development Practitioner (OD ETDP) accreditation.

Natalie loves being outdoors and is an avid traveller and foodie.

Rebecca Kanoerera has over 20 years of experience in the ICT industry. She held various leadership position, supporting clients and teams in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Turkey.  She has worked for global organizations including IBM Corporation. Her passion for mentorship, coaching and training has seen her participate and contribute her expertise on multiple talent leadership development programs. Rebecca serves on various boards and is actively involved in charity organizations.  

Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

David Wentworth has been a senior research analyst in the human capital field since 2005, previously with the Institute for Corporate Productivity and joining Brandon Hall Group in early 2012. His focus has always been on emerging technologies, with a current concentration on social and mobile learning. He has contributed to several reports published by ASTD, including authoring Mobile Learning: Learning in the Palm of Your Hand, The Rise of Social Media: Enhancing Collaboration and Productivity Across Generations, and Instructional Systems Design Today and in the Future. His work has also appeared in Compensation & Benefits Review, T+D Magazine and CLO Magazine. David is also responsible for survey development and data analysis at Brandon Hall Group.

Brad Shorkend is an agitator & thought provoker, and the co-founder of Still Human… he works with business leaders around the world helping them to be constantly innovation ready and to create exceptional employee experiences that translate into kick-ass innovation, constant relevance, and significant revenue.

He walks his talk as a leader, entrepreneur and innovator and is currently an active shareholder in 8 businesses across numerous sectors.

His professional career kicked off with him founding and building his own architectural practice and specialising in architecture for business for over 15 years. It was here that he discovered his love for entrepreneurship, leadership, people development and the “thinking” space and he successfully diversified into more than 20 exciting business ventures in technology, telecommunications, real estate, retail, beauty, fashion and building construction to name a few.

Brad has been coaching, mentoring and facilitating across all industries working primarily with CEO, MD, Exco, leadership at all levels of organisation, high potential individuals, teams and entrepreneurs.

His clients are an exciting array of many of the top blue chip organisations in South Africa and globally as well as exciting early stage start-ups.

Brad is an accredited Consciousness Coach (2007), Results Certified Workplace Coach (2009), Accredited Professional Trainer (2008), Multipliers Master Facilitator (2014), Design Thinker Accredited Facilitator (2013), NBI brain Preference Practitioner (2015), Evolved Coach Certified (2011), Evolved NLP Coach Certified (2011), Evolved NLP Practitioner Certified (2011), 9 Conversations in Leadership Accredited – Level 1 (2009), Purposeful Teams Accedited – Level 1 (2009) and Heart of Leadership Accredited – (2010),  to name a few… he is also adjunct faculty at GIBS.

Andy Golding is an employee experience specialist and co-founder of Still Human. Her main focus is the impact of employee experience on innovation readiness and business capability. She works with companies and leaders in businesses across all sectors to become places where the best talent wants to be, chooses to come to, and chooses to stay at.

Andy has personal experience working in awful work environments as well as awesome work environments across various sectors. She grew fascinated about the difference in performance, retention and dedication that these different spaces create and foster for their people. This fascintation lead her to a massive research exercise that included spending time inside some of the best companies to work for both locally and abroad. The findings, combined with her personal experience working in different environments, led her to starting a business focused on company culture and employee expeirence that later merged into Still Human.

Andy is driven by helping companies better understand the experience that their people are having on a daily basis and how this impacts business capability and the ability to innovate. Working with businesses she helps them leverage and maximise the effectiveness of both of these assets to create better employee experiences and vastly improved business outputs. She has worked with and spent time inside of companies of all shapes and sizes, from fintech start ups to established, century old organisations.

A keen researcher and blogger, Andy has written for and continues to contribute to many publications at the forefront of Human Capital.

Niven Postma is a Triple Strength Leader who works at senior and executive level in business, civil society and the public sector. Her career has seen her constantly move between strategy development and execution, working with diverse people, in diverse contexts, to pioneer strategies and deliver results. She consistently does so in a way that builds strong and effective teams; teams that in turn, successfully build the reputation and capacity of departments and organisations.

She is currently consulting independtly having just completed a contract position as Head: Leadership and Culture for the Standard Bank Group, the largest bank by assets in Africa. Prior to taking up this role, she was the Head of the South African Reserve Bank Academy, responsible for the delivery of learning and development across the Reserve Bank. She was initially appointed to the Reserve Bank, the central bank of the country, in 2010 as the organisation’s first Head of External Strategy.

Before joining the Reserve Bank, Niven worked for a number of years as an independent consultant, designing and delivering leadership, systemic change and innovation projects in the social sector. From 2005 to 2007 she served as the first Chief Executive Officer of NOAH (Nurturing Orphans of AIDS for Humanity). NOAH was one of the largest children’s NGOs in South Africa and franchised community based models of orphan care in over 110 communities across the country until it transitioned the majority of its projects to the Department of Social Development in 2014. From 2002 – 2004, she was the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the Businesswomen’s Association; the largest association of business and professional women in South Africa. It has run the Businesswoman of the Year Award since 1980 and under Niven’s leadership, inaugurated an annual South African Women in Corporate Leadership Census which remains the leading study in the country of women in business leadership positions.

Niven started her professional career as a consultant with the global strategy consulting firm Monitor Company. After three years at Monitor, during which time she worked on cases in South Africa and overseas, she founded Spanner and Wench, a company that offered classes for women about how their cars work and some practical maintenance “how to’s” such as changing a tyre and jumpstarting a car. Prior to undertaking her BA degree (cum laude) from the University of Stellenbosch, Niven backpacked around the world for 4 years. She completed her EMBA at the UCT Graduate School of Business in 2012
and her PG Dip Futures Studies (cum laude) at the University of Stellenbosch Business School in 2014. She was an inaugural Fellow of the International Women’s Forum Leadership Programme and a 2007 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow. She has addressed conferences on 3 continents and lectured to, and facilitated, a range of events at the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg.

Niven enjoys reading, running, hiking and travelling and lives with her partner in Johannesburg

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