In Search of Leadership Excellence

About Anne

Short Bio

Anne Pratt is a Harvard fellow and multi-award-winning businesswoman who met Nelson Mandela, placed his CEO,  and ran one of South Africa’s top, internationally aligned, executive search companies. A Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative fellow, selected as one of 45 top leaders worldwide. She did a second fellowship at Harvard. Anne co-founded a Global Leadership Movement for Change with international, diverse, bold disruptors, to “Transform the Leadership Crisis Worldwide.” She is an Author, Video-Podcast Host, Transformation Consultant, and Executive Coach. 

Originally from South Africa, Anne grew up in an anti-apartheid activist family, followed by state police for daring to befriend people across the apartheid color lines. She lived through South Africa’s miracle transformation, and worked closely with Nelson Mandela’s Board, Executive, and Foundation, over multiple decades. She pioneered a leading transformation Executive Search firm in South Africa, and interviewed, researched, and assessed more than 10 000 leaders in South Africa, Africa, and internationally.

Pratt completed degrees in Economics, a post-graduate degree in Psychology, she lectured in Psychology and leadership excellence in top South African Universities and leading business schools. She completed her MBA and Board Certification in Governance in premier business schools. Finance Week published her MBA thesis opinion.

Featured in the Who’s Who of South Africa, Anne is a member of the International Women’s Forum, she consulted to Government Cabinet Ministers, Global Chairpersons, and multiple high-profile Boards in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. She invests passionately in our younger generation of leaders in the USA, Africa and worldwide. In addition, Pratt frequently features in the South African and American media. 

“It always seems impossible until it is done” – Nelson Mandela

Detailed Resume


English, limited isiZulu, Afrikaans (a Dutch derivative).

Career Summary

A Harvard fellow, author, multiple award-winning, world class Executive. 20 years, uniquely qualified to work in the private corporate, governmental public sector, and civic sectors guiding high impact leadership, strategy, and culture transformations.

Worked at government Ministerial level, Boards of large state-owned entities, large global corporates, and non-profits. An integration of Strategy, Structure, People and Culture. 15 years in executive coaching, assessments, keynote speaking, and transformational leadership development at top business schools, conferences, and international fora. Plus 8 years in premium corporate multinationals in marketing.

Core Competences

Global Board Leadership and transformational strategies, Government Cabinet Ministerial consulting, large State-Owned Entities, Executive coaching, assessments, development, and strategies for sustainable growth and impact. Executive Leadership research, coaching, assessments, development, and advanced negotiations. Worked with multi-cultures, cross-racially, and across global borders in Africa, Europe, North America, including the USA, UK, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Czechoslovakia to Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Cameroon. Frequently interviewed in the media.


  • Harvard Center of African Studies, Research Fellowship, Cambridge, MA, January – May 2018
  • Harvard University, Harvard Advanced Leadership Fellowship, Cambridge, MA, 2017
    o One of 45 top leaders selected worldwide
  • University of Pretoria Business School, Certification in Board Directorship, South Africa, 2008
  • University of the Witwatersrand, M. Degree, Business Administration (MBA), South Africa, 1992
    •  Awarded the Nedcor Bank prize for the best all-round MBA student who made the ‘Most Contribution to Business.’ MBA thesis opinion published in Finance Week
    •  Elected Class Representative
    •  Awarded a Nedcor Businesswomen’s Association scholarship
  • University of Natal (Durban), renamed University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
    •  Honors degree (Psychology) and B. Degree, Social Science (Majors: Economics, Psychology)
    •  Elected Class Representative for Economics 11, Psychology 111, and Psychology Honors
    • Vice President of Mabel Palmer Residence House Committee
    •  Played on University Basketball and in the Swimming teams (first teams)
  • University of Natal (Durban), Lecturer: final year undergraduate students (Psychology)
  • ICF Accredited Executive Coaching Program, Kansas Leadership Centre, KC, USA, 20

Professional Experience

  • Current: Authoring Mandela’s Leadership Blueprint. Developed a modern leadership paradigm for the world based on the life, leadership, and legacy of Nelson Mandela, forging international alliances and networks across continents. Co-founded a Global Mandela Leadership Movement for Change with fellow African Harvard and Aspen friends and colleagues.
  • Multi-Listed Boards, Cabinet Ministers, State-Owned Entity Boards (South African Government) 1998 – 2017
    Guided and advised numerous Ministers, large State-Owned Entities, Chapter 9 Institutions, international listed Boards, and unlisted Boards with transformational leadership mandates. Uniquely qualified to analyse, understand, and guide multiple sectors in government, the private sector, and civic sectors, and the PPP (the Public-Private Sector Partnership) dynamic.
     In the public sector, worked with Ministers, State-Owned Entity Board Chairs and Boards, to guide strategic and leadership issues for Ministers and Boards. Gained the confidence of, briefed by, and negotiated with Ministers and Board Chairs, guided transformation, and leadership strategies, wrote leadership briefs, drafted Cabinet memos for Cabinet approvals of Board and Executive leadership appointments, and shaped strategies taking account of private sector partners in state-entities in times of political turmoil, conflict, failing entities, plagued by poor leadership, corruption, political manoeuvrers. Examples include CEO and Executive appointments, executive coaching, leadership development strategies for CEO’s and Executives of Transnet, Eskom, Telkom, South African Airways, DBSA, SARS (South African Revenue Services). Ministers include Minister Sisulu, Minister Gordhan, Minister Hogan.
  •  A knowledge of the leadership and workings of Chapter 9 institutions, a group of organisations established in terms of Chapter 9 of the South African Constitution to guard democracy. Examples include the Public Protector, the SA Human Rights Commission, the IEC (Independent Electorate Commission), CGE (the Commission for Gender Equal

Career Highlights

Memela Pratt & Associates, South Africa, Executive Director and Managing Executive 1998 – 2016

  • Evolved and built a pioneering business and team to become one of the country’s leading Executive Search firms with international alliances, and incorporating Assessment and Coaching
  • Gained market dominance as the first world class, globally aligned, culturally diverse and inclusive Executive Leadership firm – assessed, placed, and coached competent, diverse leaders
  • Executed innovative Executive Assessments and Executive Coaching practices, delivered a 90% retention success rate for Executives appointed in the private, public, not-for-profit sectors
  • Met President Mandela. Forged a strong relationship with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, positioning the company to reflect and to develop leaders to think, act and lead like Mandela.
  • A market leader. Guided and led powerful transformation strategies and cultures at Executive, Board and Cabinet levels, in the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors.
  • Winner of the 2015 CEO Awards for the most Influential Women in Business and Government (Business and Professional Services) in Africa, Southern Africa, and South Africa.
  • Winner of the 2014 and 2010 CEO Awards for the most Influential Women in Business and Government (Business and Professional Services) in South Africa.
  • South Africa’s Nedcor “SA Businesswoman of the Year” Awards (First runner-up and Finalist).
  • Winner of South Africa’s Businesswomen’s Association, “Entrepreneur of the Year” Awards.
  • NPR “Best Company to work for.” Served on Research and Judging panels for Nedbank Business-Women Association and Black Empowerment bodies. Published South Africa’s first qualitative “Women and Blacks on Boards” research.
  • Delivered top business school lectures, at leading conferences, to the IWF Emerging leaders.

Golden Circle Investments, South Africa, Executive Director 2003 – 2015

  • Management Consulting and Property Investments (owned 49% of Memela Pratt & Associates):
  • Built the business from scratch, increased consulting revenue streams by about 20% per annum
  • Grew net profits by 15 – 20% average per annum for 10 consecutive years
  • Grew the asset base significantly from zero, over 10 years

Woodburn Management Selection, South Africa, Managing Director 1995 – 1998

  • Launched and built the leading Management Selection and Leadership firm and team in South Africa that within 3 years outperformed our fifteen-year-old parent company in profit terms.
  •  Outperformed the top billing consultant in our shareholder London firm, Whitehead Mann listed on the LSE. Successfully executed more than double the number of consulting contract assignments and assessments with top customer ratings and 98% repeat business.
  •  Spent a month each year in our shareholder London firm, Whitehead Mann, to review and update global best practices in leadership research and assessments.

KIC Gentech (appliances), part of Altron Ltd, South Africa, Marketing Executive 1992 – 1995

  •  Led the company’s first strategy process to gain Executive Management Board consensus.
  • Established clear strategic brand positionings and guidelines for the 3 major brands.

McCann Erickson Advertising Agency, Johannesburg, South Africa, Group Account Director 1988- 1990

  • Led the turn-around of the Retail Agency with the team, in a depressed economy, to stabilize the Agency’s biggest and most profitable account. Awarded a scholarship to do a full-time MBA.

Lever Brothers, Unilever South Africa, Trade, Senior Consumer Brand Management 1983- 1988

  • Youngest ever Brand Manager to present to and gain Board approval of the annual marketing strategies and plans
  • Selected as one of 3 out of 1000 applicants in South Africa, in Unilever’s Graduate Recruitment.


A global citizen at heart, with strong African roots, visited all 7 continents. Multi-cultural experiences in more than 35 countries including childhood moments in rural South Africa. A member of the International Women’s Forum and the Harvard affiliated Adaptive Leadership Network. A love of international travel, multiple stakeholder impact, leadership, humanity, and legacy.

A passion for transformational leadership excellence and sustainable, inclusive impact to create a better world for all.

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