Prof Shirley Zinn is the former Group Head of Human Resources at Woolworths Holdings Limited. Prior to this, she was the Head of Human Resources of Standard Bank South Africa and Deputy Global Head of Human Resources for the Standard Bank Group. She is a coach and mentor to several women across multiple industries through Shirley Zinn Consulting.

Shirley is Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Human Resource Management, and recently been appointed as Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Town, as well a Council member of UCT. She is the Past President of the Institute for People Management South Africa and registered as Master HR Professional with South Africa Board for People Practice.

She holds a BA (University of the Western Cape); Higher Diploma in Education (University of the Western Cape); B.Ed Honours (UNISA); M.Ed (University of the Western Cape); Ed.M  (Harvard) and Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) (Harvard).

Her previous experience includes Group Executive HR at Nedbank, General Manager for Human Resources at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) and Regional Human Resources Director for Middle East and Africa for Reckitt Benckiser, a global company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Shirley hails from the Cape Flats in Cape Town, originally a secondary school teacher of English, she moved to the University of the Western Cape lecturing in Teacher Education. She served at Southern Life as Training Manager and then moved to the Department of Public Service and Administration’s: South African Management Development Institute, in Pretoria as Director.

She is the former Chairman of DHL: Global Forwarding SA, and currently a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of AdvTech, Tuesday Consulting, Knowledge Resources, Business Engage, Sygnia Asset Management, and the Boston Consulting Group SA. She also serves on Take-Over Regulation Panel Board. She is a Trustee on the Nedbank Eyethu Community Trust, Ambassador for the Orbis Africa Charity, and the former Chairman of Starfish Greathearts Foundation. She also serves on the Advisory Boards of Monash South Africa, and the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. She is the President for the Harvard Alumni Association South Africa and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors SA. She was recently appointed as the Patron for South Africa Council of Business Women and a Board member of the Community Chest. She was awarded Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government for 2016 in the SME Sector by CEO Global.

Amongst other publications, in 2015, she wrote her autobiography entitled “Swimming Upstream” which focuses on her personal and professional journey. In 2016-2017, she did more than 100 “Swimming Upstream” talks nationally at corporates, schools, universities and charities, with the hope of motivating and inspiring especially youth and women that they can achieve despite adversity, and to never give up. She also completed her eighth Two Oceans Half Marathon in March 2016.