Stella T. Makunike | 2017 Outstanding Human Capital Development Leader of the year Winner

Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Tendesi Stella Makunike completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Zimbabwe in 2000.

From that degree, she developed an interest in industrial psychology and the impact of people on organizational performance. Her track-record is one of ambition and results, qualities that have allowed her to transcend any gender-based expectations of women at the top-level of the corporate world.

Shortly after university, she worked at CAPS Holdings in the Human Resources Department, where she first came to appreciate the importance of performance management and leadership in the work arena. From there, she proceeded to Tube and Pipe Industries where she started out as the Human Resources and Training Officer, she was promoted to Human Resources Manager, and finally as the Head of the Business Unit.

It was there that her passion for talent development and leadership was fully realized, she operated as one of very few women leaders of an industrial company in the midst of the post-2009 economic challenges.

In 2013, she joined Savanna Tobacco (Now Pacific Cigarette Company) as head of HR. She played a critical role in the transformation of the Company to a global company with operations in Southern Africa and the Caribbean.

She continues to drive the HR function further to achieve the Company’s vision to be the second largest cigarette company in Africa by 2020.
Today, she is now the Global Chief Human Resources Officer responsible for global HR operations. As a business leader, she contributes to the overall strategic and business decisions taken by the Company.

She is also an International Advisory Board Member for University of Stellenbosch Business School – Executive Development, the Chairperson of the Employers Association in the Cigarette & Tobacco Manufacturing Sector in Zimbabwe and a Graduate Employment Committee member for University of Zimbabwe.

Stella is the proud mother of two girls, and has learnt to balance her professional and family roles. She believes strongly in:

1. Vision
The will to envisage a clear future state, and the specific steps through which that vision will be attained.

2. Empowerment
The art of helping individuals realize their best selves through giving them guidance, responsibility and accountability.

3. Leadership
The ability to inspire a team through personal example, setting clear goals and expectations, and the ability to identify and nurture other people’s potential.

Stella firmly believes that these pillars are as fundamental in the work environment as they are at the personal level. With a clear and positive vision, any individual can empower themselves, actualize themselves and become leaders.

Thereafter, their primary responsibility is to develop other leaders. These are the guiding principles that Stella observes at work and in all areas of her life.