This article first appeared in The African Power & Energy Elites, 2019. You can read the full digital magazine here, or subscribe here to receive a print copy.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has made a grand entrance in the power and energy market, revealing the champions of Industry 4.0 as a force to be reckoned with. The Internet of Things (IoT), virtual communications, e-commerce and e-finance are some of the streams revolutionising the way these champions are doing business and engaging with electricity and its resources.

Digital solutions and innovations are contributing to Africa’s capacity to leapfrog developmental stages, enabling communities to access clean and affordable power solutions that wouldn’t have previously been an option.
Developing models and restructuring organisations that are resilient enough to withstand and adapt to these changes is critical to preserving the longevity of any business. This takes vision and determination, coupled with strong leadership and team support.

What leadership role do you play in the energy transition?

Have you thought about your role as a leader in an era when speed and change are overtaking the traditional modes of business transactions and technology design? What is your motivation for getting up each day and following your chosen path? While capitalism, power and greed govern many aspects of life, emphasising the ‘why’ is what gives us a reason to persevere in achieving our goals.

Having worked on this project for the past four years, I have been able to gain invaluable first-hand insights from many of Africa’s energy experts at the helm of sector transformation. Speaking to each project leader has enabled me to better understand the high-pressured environments in which African project developers and investors work – demonstrating their determined personalities and will to see a project reach fruition.

Managing the relationships, roles and responsibilities that we have in life is a pressure that many of us face on a daily basis. Being a working woman seeking a path of success, as well as a supportive partner and homemaker, comes with its own challenges. Having interviewed the leaders showcased in this book, it is clear that there is no perfect balance or secret ingredient in a successful career.

Maintaining a well-balanced lifestyle inclusive of a good diet, exercise, managed-stress and positive relationships is the best we can do.
As a leader, you may have already defined your leadership style or perhaps you are still in search of an approach that best suits you and your working environment. In the first few pages of this book you will discover the leadership approaches of ten industry movers and shakers who each have a unique frame of reference and outlook on what makes a genuine leader.

Additionally, a pool of projects making a difference to Africa’s energy map is showcasing their unique attributes, challenges faced, and community benefits…all contributing to end Africa’s significantly low electrification rate and uplift impoverished communities.

This year’s advisory board members have committed time and effort to selecting the top 2019 candidates. It is with their insight, experience and daily industry engagements that their expertise has played a pivotal role in the selection process. Having spent over a month reviewing each nomination, I know that this publication would not be of the standard that it is without their generous efforts – I thank them.

As our previous generations took strategic risk, coupled with much perseverance – and probably a little bit of faith – to lead us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is important to continue to practise
calculated risk-taking in order to grow and discover new frontiers.
Take a journey through this book, which was written with you in mind, to gain insight into what some of your peers have to say about where they see the market moving toward; and potentially areas that may not see much more growth due to the shift in the global energy blueprint. Treat the book as your personal guide for some key points on your next project and get to know your peers’ inner drivers and quirks.

From myself and the ESI Africa team, we wish you a fruitful 2019 with the confidence that when opportunity knocks you will be open to explore new directions and paths.

Wishing you great success in 2019.

Ashley Theron-Ord | Senior Content Producer | ESI Africa: The African Power & Energy Elites

This article first appeared in The African Power & Energy Elites, 2019. You can read the full digital magazine here, or subscribe here to receive a print copy.