As part of its commitment to inspiring and facilitating mentorship for young women in South Africa, announced in June to the media, Dawn gathered more than 100 women to empower, connect and grow.
It was a day filled with inspiration, excitement and positivity for the women who gathered at Shine Studios in Johannesburg last Saturday for the Dawn Mentor Meet-up 2017.
Most of the guests were personally selected by Dawn through an online competition where they were asked to share their personal stories via Dawn's Facebook page, discussing their ambitions and some of the challenges they have faced. Winners were chosen to take part in Saturday's event where they enjoyed panel discussions from influential South African women and role models.
Earlier this year, Dawn announced its mission to give young South African women the physical and emotional confidence to progress in their lives and careers.
"Dawn believes in the young women of South Africa and wants to empower them to progress, confident in themselves and their abilities" said Sphelele Mjadu, Unilever Africa, PR Lead for Africa, "We have committed to becoming a facilitator of mentorship and this event was just the first step. This is an ongoing journey for Dawn. We aim to create more opportunities for women to connect, learn and grow as individuals. Today was unbelievably inspiring and I know that so many of the women here today are going to go home understanding what it takes to conquer the world and reach their dreams."
Michelle Potter, co-founder and executive director of SAYes Mentoring, an NGO from Cape Town who are collaborating with Dawn on this project also spoke at the event.
She discussed the importance of mentoring to keep young people on a path to growth and personal fulfilment, while SAYes mentee, Lauren Ramos, shared what she's personally gained from mentoring on her path to independence.
"Mentoring has the power to effect meaningful and profound change, not only for mentors and mentees, but for society as a whole", said Michelle Potter, co-founder and executive director of SAYes Mentoring. "SAYes is delighted to collaborate with Dawn to promote the importance of mentoring for South Africa's young people."
One panel featured respected businesswoman Phuti Mahanyele, Chairlady of Sigma Capital and 2014 Forbes Woman Africa Business Woman of the Year. Also on the panel was Allegro Dinkwanyane, founder CEO of public relations company, Orgella Media. At the age of 27 she's created a thriving self-funded business empire that continues to grow and flourish. The two women discussed entrepreneurship and gave advice on how women can market themselves in the corporate world.
Psychologist and life coach Tshepiso Matentjie, celebrity make-up artist Merlene Williams and founder & CEO of the SA Image Institute, Doris Msibi - all successful entrepreneurs in their own right - showed guests how the right personal image and body language can make all the difference when presenting yourself in the world.
Lovedelia Mnguni, who attended the event, said: "Thank you so much for this Dawn. This event...rather I say community of amazing women, has been nothing short of amazing! Thanks for reminding me and the other ladies that #IGotThis because #YouGotThis."
Another guest, Nontokozo Ntuli said: "You'll never know how much this means to someone who needed someone to believe in them, Dawn. Thank you so much."
DJ Zinhle shared some insights and advice based on her experiences and daily life as a popular house DJ and entrepreneur. "Having a plan guides your effort. Have a plan, a vision board, write it down. Think about it all the time. Dream about it. When you have a plan, you are able to say no to things that don't fit into your plan."
Dawn announced on the day that they will be facilitating long-term mentorship of 11 young women, who will be paired with a suitable mentor for ongoing guidance and support. These women were chosen through a draw at the event from the women in attendance. They are Amu Hlabano, Eviwe Sijula, Jessica Mahlekisi, Koketso B Mokoena, Lungelo Shezi, Nokuphiwa Xulu, Nontokozo Ntuli, Nthabiseng Mokhothu, Precious Pitjeng, Rebone Maputla and Tsholofelo Kwakwa.
Rebone Maputla, one of the 11 women chosen, said, "I'm so excited about this opportunity. I am looking forward to learning from someone who's been through all the challenges I'm about to face, learning new skills and tricks of my industry. I can't wait."
It wasn't just the competition winners that benefitted from this unique experience. Event MC Thembisa Mdoda also said she felt proud to be involved.
"When you bring women together, magic happens. We inspired each other. We uplifted each other. It was truly an honour to be the vehicle for this event."
This is just the beginning of Dawn's journey where they will create a sisterhood of support and upliftment to take South Africa's young women on to the cusp of greatness by reminding them... #YouGotThis