Member of the Board of directors
Nationality: South African
Year of birth: 1961
Prof Zinn has been a member of the Board of directors since December 2018. She qualifies as an independent non-executive director. The Board has appointed her as an expert in human resources as well as ethics governance.
Prof Shirley Zinn is the former group head of Human Resources at Woolworths Holdings Limited. Prior to this, she was the head of Human Resources at Standard Bank South Africa and Deputy Global Head of Human Resources for the Standard Bank Group. She also registered her own company, Shirley Zinn Consulting, that provides consulting and advisory services in HR, transformation, leadership and education.
Prior to this, she was the group executive HR at Nedbank and the General Manager for Human Resources at the South African Revenue Service (SARS). She is also an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Human Resource Management, and has recently been appointed as Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Town. She is the Past President of the Institute for People Management in South Africa and is registered as Master HR Professional with the South Africa Board for People Practices.
She hails from the Cape Flats in Cape Town, started her career as a secondary school teacher of English, then moved to the University of the Western Cape where she lectured in Teacher Education. After this, she served at Southern Life as training manager and then moved to the Department of Public Service and Administration’s South African Management Development Institute in Pretoria as director. Before her appointment at SARS, she filled the role of regional human resources director for Middle East and Africa for Reckitt Benckiser, a global company listed on the London Stock Exchange.
She is the former chair of DHL: Global Forwarding SA, and currently a non-executive director on the Boards of JSE-listed AdvTech (lead independent and chair of Remco).
She also serves as a director on the boards of Tuesday Consulting, Empowerment Capital, Knowledge Resources, Business Engage, Community Chest and the Boston Consulting Group SA. In addition, she is the HR Advisers to the board of Silvertree Internet Holdings. She also serves on the Take-Over Regulation Panel Board and on the Council of the University of Cape Town. She is a trustee on the Nedbank Eyethu Community Trust, ambassador for the Orbis Africa Charity, and the former chair of Starfish Greathearts Foundation. She also serves on the advisory boards of Monash South Africa, and the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. She is the Past President of the Harvard Alumni Association South Africa and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa. She also previously served as the chair of the Institute of Bankers. She was recently appointed as the patron for South Africa Council of Business Women.
She is a coach and mentor to several women across multiple industries and has presented at numerous national and international conferences as a keynote speaker.
In 2015, she wrote her autobiography entitled Swimming Upstream, which focuses on her personal and professional journey. It has officially been announced as a best-seller. In 2016, she has done several “Swimming Upstream” talks nationally at corporates, schools, universities and charities, with the hope of motivating and inspiring especially youth and women that they can achieve despite adversity to never give up.
She holds a BA (University of the Western Cape); Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Education (University of the Western Cape), BEd Honours (Unisa); Med University of the Western Cape), EdM (Harvard), and Doctorate in Education (Harvard).
She was awarded the Top Woman in Business and Government and Top Executive in Corporate South Africa by Topco Media in 2008. She also was recognised by the Black Business Quarterly and received the Award for Top Woman in Business and Government and most Visionary Woman in 2008. She also received an award from the World Human Resources Congress in Mumbai in 2007 and 2013 respectively for Excellence in Global HR Leadership. In 2012, she was listed in the Top 30 Wonder Women in South Africa by the Wits Business School Journal. She was awarded Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government for 2016 in the SME Sector by CEO Global.