Prof Denise Zinn is the HELM Programme Leader for the Women in Leadership Programme. Previously she held the positions of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Learning & Teaching and Executive Dean of Education at Nelson Mandela University, and Executive Dean of Education at Fort Hare University. After completing a Master’s and Doctorate in Education at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education in the USA, she worked for the past 3 decades in Higher Education institutions at several US and SA universities. Her own research has been in the arena of humanising pedagogies in the educational arena, and has published several articles and book chapters on teaching and learning.

Dr Birgit Schreiber has worked across the higher education sector in South Africa and in senior leadership positions in Universities in South Africa for the past 25 years and has served and read at universities in Europe and the USA, including University of California, Berkeley, KU Leuven, and some others. Her PhD is in Psychology and she has practiced in private and managed psychological services, has led large student affairs divisions, and is currently serving at HELM at USAf South Africa, an umbrella body serving the Higher Education sector. She is a member of the Africa Centre for Transregional Research at the Freiburg University in Germany. She is serving on the executive of various national and international professional organizations including the International Association of Student Affairs and Services (IASAS), for which she served as the Africa Chair and now as the Vice President. Birgit has published over 50 articles and chapters on topics of social justice, student affairs, student engagement and higher education policy. She has presented papers and key notes at national and international conferences. She was the founding member and is the editorial executive of the accredited academic Journal for Student Affairs in Africa (JSAA), on the board of the Journal for College Student Development (JCSD) and she is the column editor of the Journal for College and Character (JCC). She is the senior editor for a 2-volume reference book on Global Student Affairs for UNESCO, which she is very glad to have completed.

Michelle Buchler holds a Master of Arts in Development Sociology, and a Higher Diploma for Educators of Adults, both from Wits. After working in academe for 8 years, Michelle worked at two leading NGOs in middle and senior management positions; both NGOs focused on education and training research and development, policy analysis and policy influence and advocacy. Michelle’s specialisation is in higher education, and she has conducted research inter alia in access issues (including RPL and adult learning in higher education, and articulation between TVET and HE), HIV/AIDs and graduate competencies, teacher development, as well as monitoring and evaluation of HE projects. Michelle has served a term on the council of the Durban University of Technology as a Ministerial appointee and has chaired a Ministerial Task Team on RPL.

Dr Oliver Seale is a leadership development specialist, lecturer and researcher. He is the Director of the Higher Education Leadership and Management (HELM) programme, at Universities South Africa (USAf). Prior to that Oliver was the Director of Executive Education at the Graduate School of Business Leadership in UNISA. Some of his other former positions include, acting CEO at Universities South Africa, Director in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office at Wits University, and Deputy Director General for Training Delivery at the Public Administration Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA). Oliver has extensive experience in strategic planning, change management, business development, programme/project management, relationship and stakeholder management in various organisational environments. He holds a PhD in Leadership Development from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and has published various academic papers on university leadership, management, deanship and leadership development.

Brightness Mangolothi is a Director for HERS-SA, which specialises in Women Leaders Development in Higher Education. A former Head of Department at Nelson Mandela University, Head of Programme Faculty of Arts IIE – AdvTech and PRISA Board Member. She has more than a decade of lecturing experience at public and private universities. She has supervised post-graduates and presented and chaired national and international conferences. She is a Standard Bank Rising Star Finalist and the African Civic Engagement Academy Fellow at the University of Georgia.

Molatelo Clara Motswe is currently the HELM programme Administrative Officer. She joined USAf in 2019. She brings with her, project administration experience from the Centre for Education Policy Development, which she joined in 2008 and served it until it closed down in 2017. A stint at the Wits University’s Centre for Researching Education and Labour, where among other projects she co-ordinated the student leadership programme, broadening her exposure to the higher education sector. “I enjoy devising solutions to challenges arising from planning an event, be it a conference, a workshop or a social gathering.” In her spare time she enjoys reading political leaders’ biographies (local and international) and outdoor activities.