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Swaady Martin-Leke speaker

Swaady Martin-Leke

South Africa

Founder and CEO of the African luxury brand YSWARA

Various leadership positions at General Electric (2001-10)

Named one of the “Youngest Power Women in Africa” by Forbes (2012)

Swaady Martin-Leke is the Founder and CEO of the African luxury brand YSWARA, the curator of precious African teas.

After a successful 10-years career at General Electric Co. (GE), Swaady decided to follow her passion for teas, African culture and heritage. At GE, she held leadership positions in several divisions across the world with her most recent posting as GE Transportation’s Director for Sub-Saharan Africa and acting-CEO for GE South Africa Technologies.

Swaady is part of a generation of Africans who has succeeded in Fortune 500 companies and who has decided to use all their valuable knowledge and expertise to help develop African companies. She chose to focus on the luxury industry because it essentially conveys a continent’s culture and identity. She believes that with Africa’s thousands of years of history and know-how, Africans can do more than producing “crafts” and “ethnic” goods. YSWARA’s mission is to unlock Africa’s potential to produce superior quality products that appeal to a local and international audience while achieving societal impact.

Swaady has received numerous distinctions and awards. Among them, she was selected as “New Leader of the Future” by the Forum of Crans Montana in 2011. In 2012, she was hand-picked to be part of the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship Programme and named one of the “Youngest Power Women in Africa” by Forbes.

As a Tutu Fellow, Swaady has been filmed over 6 months by Al Jazeera for a documentary series on the channel on the subject and been featured in numerous magazines.

Our Comment

"Swaady is a powerful, young and talented African entrepreneur who is an expert in corporate and business strategy, as well as accelerating business growth in Africa. She prides herself as a custodian of Africa’s rich culture and history, as seen with her home-grown African global luxury brand."

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