Defining the characteristics of a decisive leader, advocating for accelerated participation of African Women and Youth in Africa’s Power and Energy Sector, Ms. Bertha Dlamini has set herself as a foresighted entrepreneur.
As the Founder & Group CEO of the Rito Group of Companies Pty Ltd, Bertha directs and delivers marketing communication strategies, stakeholder relations, and established centers of excellence for change management for clients in the public and private sectors.
Bertha has an impressive track record as Stakeholder Management Strategist with exceptional campaign design and execution since 1999.
Let us know more about her journey.
Making the Mark
Bertha is the founding President of African Women in Energy and Power (AWEaP) (www.aweap.africa), an organisation she founded to accelerate the participation of African women entrepreneurs in the entire value chain of power and energy in Africa and contribute towards addressing the continent’s energy poverty.
Bertha is leveraging her experience and vast network in Africa’s power and energy sector to mobilize global stakeholders to work together to remove barriers that prevent effective youth and women participation in Africa’s power and energy sector.
Bertha is an astute international public speaker, conference speaker, and moderator with a proven track record in such international events as the BRICS Business Council, PowerGen Africa Conferences, African Utility Week Conferences, ABB Customer World, International Energy and Environment Fair, and Conferences, Zambia Entrepreneurship Summit, South African Power Pool Conference, Energy Storage Conference, Standard Bank Employee Engagement seminars, and AMEU Conferences.
As the Founding Chairman of Gen X Theatre Africa (Gen X) (www.genxtheatre.africa), an initiative geared towards accelerating youth participation in Africa’s power and energy sector, she has enabled 60 young professionals and students to present abstracts of their academic papers to an esteemed team of adjudicators at international sector events.
Awards & Accolades
Bertha is currently the recipient of the following awards:
- The Inaugural South African Institute of Electrical Engineers 2019 Women in Engineering Award.
- African Queens in Energy – The Judges Award, supporting women entrepreneurs in energy and power 2021.
- Women of Stature: Finalist CEO of the Year 2022
She holds the following industry roles:
- BRICS Business Council, South African Chapter: Energy and Green Economy Working Group – BRICS Just Energy Transition Center of Excellence Lead
- University of South Africa (UNISA) Graduate School of Business Leadership: Advisory Board Member
- ABB Education Trust: Trustee
- SALGA’s Energy Reference Group (ERG): ERG Member
- South Africa, Office of the President, Women’s Economic Assembly: Energy Sector Workstream Lead
- Non-Executive Director: Energy Drive Pty LTD
Ms. Dlamini is a highly rated and trusted industry player in Africa’s energy sector.
In March 2021, at the WVL SADC Protocol@Work Summit held in Johannesburg, AWEaP won the WVL SADC Protocol@Work Climate Change 2021 Award in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the promotion of gender equity in Africa’s Energy and Power Sector.
She holds the following qualifications:
- Energy Transition Diploma: Skolkovo Moscow School of Management, Russia;
- MBA in Executive Management – Graduate School of Business – University of Cape
Town, South Africa, thesis awarded with a distinction.
- Programme for Management Development (PMD 37) Gordon Institute of Business
Science; South Africa
- Management Advancement Programme (MAP) at Wits Business School, South Africa
The Foundational Pillars
The Rito Group of Companies Pty Ltd is a holding company that comprises start-up consulting firms in management consulting and the energy sector. The group also houses two non-profit companies supporting Women in Energy and Youth in Energy. The company was created to accommodate companies and ventures that seek to make a difference in South Africa and Africa’s economy.
Rito Consulting Services is an integrated marketing communication company founded in 2006. It provides solutions for private and public sector companies. On the other hand, Rito Energy Solutions is an energy consulting company that supports utility operational performance and is interested in project development in the renewable energy sector.
African Women in Energy and Power (AWEaP) is one of the non-profit companies established by the Rito Group of Companies. It is based on the conviction that commercially viable, multi-stakeholder-driven initiatives are needed to eradicate energy poverty in Africa. AWEaP aims to ensure women’s meaningful economic participation in the energy and power sector. The organization has 11 chapters on the African continent and targets to increase this reach to 22 countries by 2024 and 45 countries by 2025. The organization constantly seeks leading women in Africa’s energy and power sector to join their growing number of Country Chairpersons to advance gender equity in their domestic markets.
Gen X theatre is another non-profit company established by the Rito Group of Companies. It creates a platform for students and young professionals to share abstracts of their academic papers at international sector conferences. This offers them a lifetime opportunity to interact with industry leaders.
Adhering to Fundamentals
Bertha believes women are strong and consistent collaborators who operate with empathy and often work from an ecosystem perspective. Bertha acknowledges that this approach fosters inclusion and drives success. She believes collaboration, compassion, and contextual appreciation of market conditions enable women to work with industry players to identify and implement superior solutions to socioeconomic challenges.
Bertha’s business motto is “Moving beyond boundaries.” She emphasizes the importance of collaboration to break boundaries and enable success in all endeavors.
Bertha highlights her work through African Women in Energy and Power (AWEaP). She utilizes the group’s technical skills to design interventions that uncover barriers to women’s participation in energy and power value chains.
In the energy and power sector, she believes that unless women know and understand the entrepreneurial opportunities that exist in the industry, they will not be able to:
- opt to participate in the sector,
- choose an area of focus (or areas that resonate with their business interests),
- align themselves with the relevant actors in the ecosystem;
- access credible market information;
- organize themselves to participate effectively and sustainably.
Thus, she has created a unique program that achieves the following:
- Orientation on the construct of industry value chains and their inherent entrepreneurial opportunities
- Fostered relationships with Electricity Utilities who share information on market opportunities.
- Partnered with technology companies that share technologies, solutions, and systems sought after by utilities and large power users.
- Collaborate with finance institutions to teach entrepreneurs how they finance energy projects.
This has profoundly impacted the industry and created more significant interest in participation from women entrepreneurs across the African continent.
Inclusive Work Culture
The group has several start-up consulting companies. Within each company, these are the values that it fosters:
An inclusive working culture: Bertha ensures that her teams are accommodated and supported based on their unique attributes and background. The organization uses an inquiry process to gain an in-depth understanding of perspectives. Critical conversations are often held to find solutions that meet the team’s needs the company’s priorities and ultimately the client’s needs.
Focus on diversity in recruitment: The organization recruits talent and ensures everyone has a fair chance to secure opportunities across its companies.
Tracking changes in the political space: The organization holds courageous conversations on changes in the political arena to surface perspectives and outlooks in a safe environment enabling its teams to participate and build superior solutions for its clients and stakeholders.
The organization prides itself on its commitment to diversity, working with different markets and people. They recognize the importance of their teams being able to integrate into other cultures easily while prioritizing respect at the core of their engagements with stakeholders. Maintaining integrity is of the utmost importance in their remote working setup, requiring that everyone works transparently with trust. One of the organization’s branding items is a feather of excellence, representing their dedication to going above and beyond what is scoped to ensure that their stakeholders derive value from their contributions.
Heading into the Future
Bertha believes that consulting is changing. Clients have become more informed and astute in their areas of business. Consultants must prove they can work themselves out of a job by implementing solutions that stick and derive value to the client’s environment for a sustained period.
She says, “We are partnering with our clients to co-create solutions. In this way, there is a shared experience of discovery, learning, and execution.”
Her goals for her organization are:
Rito Consulting Services: There is a growing demand for stakeholder relations as market uncertainties grow. It wants to lead the space by merging traditional heartfelt stakeholder relations interventions with digital communication to enable stakeholder autonomy and agency.
Rito Energy Solutions: decentralized energy solutions will soon dominate Africa’s energy system. The company wants to work with local and international players to capture a share of this market as the continent pursues a Just Energy Transition and advances universal access to electricity.
AWEaP wants to expand into 45 African markets with targeted commercially viable, multi-stakeholder-driven interventions for gender equity. Bertha wants to promote allyship and work within the ecosystem to build an inclusive energy sector.
A Valuable Advice
Bertha advises aspiring women leaders willing to venture into the modern business arena to believe in themselves. She says, “You are enough. You will always be enough. Pursue your dreams without fear. Invest in your entrepreneurial journey. Research, network, connect, collaborate, and do all this without fear.”