EVENT - Magda Wierzycka: The Story Of An Extraordinary Entrepreneur

It is with no small amount of excitement, Heavy Chef is hosting the very brave and very bold Magda Wierzycka in Johannesburg on the 10th of August.

Magda has been in the news a lot lately, primarily because she’s attempting to single-handedly tackle corruption in South Africa.

However, we’re not going to focus on her exploits in the press. Being a platform for entrepreneurs, Heavy Chef has invited Magda to our stage to talk about her journey from a Polish youngster arriving in South Africa not being able to speak English, to becoming one of the continent’s most recognisable business leaders.

Magda’s story is a fascinating playbook for all of us, and will reveal some awe-inspiring secrets to her unstoppable rise.

What you need to know:

  • Magda arrived in South Africa from Poland at age 13.
  • Before arriving, she spent a year in a refugee camp in Austria. 
  • Both Magda’s parents were medical doctors.
  • Magda’s parents were refugees from the communist regime in Poland which was collapsing economically due to political sanctions. 
  • Magda spent primary school in Poland, and then high school at Pretoria High School for Girls. 
  • Magda had to learn English and Afrikaans as she did not speak either. 
  • Magda then studied actuarial science at UCT as it was the only degree that offered a full bursary. 
  • She began her career in 1993 as a product development and investment actuary at Southern Life.
  • This was followed by two years as an investment consultant at Alexander Forbes. 
  • In 1997 she joined Coronation as a director and Head of Institutional Business. 
  • She left in 2003 to assume the position of Chief Executive Officer of the African Harvest Group. 
  • After negotiating the sales of African Harvest Fund Managers to Cadiz in 2006, Magda led the management acquisition of the remainder of the group, which resulted in the formation of Sygnia, a specialist fin-tech company based in South Africa.
  • She grew its assets from R2 billion to R162 billion in ten years, leading Sygnia to become the second largest
  • multi-management company on South Africa. 
  • Sygnia listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on 14 October 2015 (the share offer was 20x oversubscribed). 
  • Magda has headed Sygnia as its Chief Executive Officer since 2006. 
  • In addition to her corporate responsibilities, Magda has served a council member of the Actuarial Society of South Africa.
  • Magda is also currently is a board member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Africa at Harvard University in the US.
  • Magda is currently the top female on the Sunday Times rich-list and is a symbol for women in business everywhere.

Book your seat below, don’t miss out as tickets are going to fly. 

Heavy Chef is brought to you by the following fine partners and sponsors: 

  • Primedia Broadcasting - South Africa's leading radio and digital content provider.
  • WWC - a People and Tech company, unlocking potential through digital innovation. 
  • Payfast - Africa's leading online payments company. 
  • Recruit Digital - the top digital skills recruitment agency in South Africa. 
  • Backsberg - the finest wine in Africa, with over 100 years of heritage from the Cape. 
  • CBC - craft beer brewed by one of the world's top brewmasters. 
  • Sir Fruit - a range of 100% tasty and wholesome juices and smoothies, keeping entrepreneurs healthy.