ESTHER BENJAMIN

CEO, Monash South Africa and CEO, Africa Operations, Laureate International Universities.

ESTHER BENJAMIN.jpg

Been there: I have had the privilege of serving in the administrations of President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, thereby bearing witness to leadership at the highest levels. I also served as head of global operations for the United States Peace Corps, overseeing programmes in over 75 countries. Following my appointment as CEO of Monash South Africa since 2013, I have found myself as a leader in academia, which is traditionally a more predominantly male environment. Over time, I have learned to consider myself first and foremost to be a leader, who simply happens to be female.

Done that: Through my work in every region of the world and over 100 countries, I have seen that while we may have a long way to go in terms of the full empowerment of women, we have more opportunities available to us today than any other generations before us. The leaders, thinkers, and innovators of our world who are female will ultimately drive our progress in this regard.

Watch out: I hope to continue to drive the importance of access to high quality education in different parts of the world. At Monash South Africa, we have significant plans and ambitions to continue our mission of providing accessible and quality education to young Africans.

Quotes: In order to lead effectively, we must connect with younger generations, just as those who went before us reached out and guided us. To inspire and mentor young women who look up to us is a cornerstone for women’s empowerment.

I am inspired by people who regardless of their circumstances inspire young people and and others to become their best in meaningful ways. My parents, who emigrated to America from Sri Lanka at the start of a brutal civil war, have always set a shining example of motivating young people to dream big and to work hard to achieve those dreams.

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