Young Leaders Connect (YLC)

The Young Leaders Connect (YLC) is an initiative of the International Women’s Forum of South Africa (IWFSA), relaunched in August 2020 by IWFSA patron, Dr. Zanele Mbeki. The YLC IDEAL Program is dedicated to nurturing the next generation of young, ethical women leaders. By 2022, 220 mentees have benefited from the program, with an aim to support more in the coming years. The YLC is overseen by a committee which reports to the Leadership Development Committee (LDC) of IWFSA, chaired by IWFSA Board member Ms. Charmaine Houvet.

Pillars of YLC IDEAL:


Each mentee is paired with an IWFSA mentor to enhance their soft skills and provide guidance on their professional journey. By 2025, YLC aims to mentor and support 400 young women to become adept, ethical leaders in their domains.


Monthly virtual dialogues on pertinent topics are facilitated with renowned academics, industry leaders, civil society representatives, and government officials. These discussions are curated to stimulate critical thinking and equip participants with valuable insights.


YLC incubates a selection of startups and SMMEs, hosting diverse sessions, including fundraisers, information dissemination, and training events. The goal is to extend tailored training, funding, and support to 50 women-led businesses by 2025.

Board Leadership

YLC organizes dialogues with organizations such as IOD, King Commission, DukeCE, and prominent law firms on board governance and leadership. The ambition is to position and train 20 young women for board roles and provide comprehensive board leadership training, mentoring, and networking opportunities by 2025.


YLC releases a monthly newsletter and a quarterly magazine, highlighting the accomplishments of young talents and shining a spotlight on esteemed IWFSA members and other notable women leaders.

IDEAL Book Club

This initiative features quarterly sessions with South African authors, reviewing their works and dissecting the leadership lessons therein.

Strategic Alliances

This pillar's focus is to foster relationships with kindred institutions and formulate a funding model for program sponsorships.

Student Chapter

In collaboration with a university society, this pillar aims to support tertiary students with offerings like soft skills training, mentorship, and leadership development workshops.

Circle of Influence

An alumni initiative that perpetuates the YLC ethos of "paying it forward," this program engages past mentees to contribute to the growth of new YLC cohorts.

Meet the YLC IDEAL Leadership

Nozipho Tshabalala & Lerato Phelane

Co-Chairs of YLC IDEAL Program

Vuyelwa Diniso & Athi Rwexu

Pillar Heads – IDEAL Conversations

Thando Dhaza & Karabo Motaung

Pillar Heads – IDEAL Mentorship

Kati Hlaise & Lufuno Maliaga

Pillar Heads – IDEAL Book Club

Zandile Makhaya & Nozizwe Somngesi

Pillar Heads – IDEAL Board Leadership

Thobile Ngcobo & Dr. Lethiwe Nzama

Pillar Heads – IDEAL Student Chapter

Nonkululeko Radise & Thandi Dano-Ramaano

Pillar Heads – IDEAL Entrepreneurship

Mothathe Sewelo & Selapeng Maledimo

Pillar Heads - IDEAL Communications & Strategic Alliances

Contact us