“The greatest disruptors of our time are those who dare to dream big and challenge the status quo. By disrupting existing systems and paving new paths, we can create a better future for all.”


Civil Society



S’thokoza Nhleko is an accomplished marketer with over 10 years’ experience in various industries. She joined Bayer 2019 , and was promoted to head of marketing in 2022,  where she has made a significant contribution to the company’s growth and success. Under her leadership, Bayer has launched innovative marketing campaigns that have helped to increase brand awareness and market share. S’thokoza’s ability to think creatively, develop and implement effective marketing strategies, and build strong relationships with stakeholders, has enabled her to achieve outstanding results. As marketing head for Anglo-speaking sub-Saharan countries, her duties include category development; managing budgets; delivering category plans in line with global strategy and objectives; leading a team; setting performance indicators; overseeing the execution of marketing plans; collaborating with stakeholders and managing relationships with external partners. “I must also understand consumer and customer trends to achieve category and brand objectives while inspiring high performance and professional growth among my team,” S’thokoza says. What drives her to excel is being a positive example to young girls. “By demonstrating what it means to work hard and achieve success, I hope to inspire and empower girls to pursue their own passions and achieve their own goals. It’s important to me to show that anything is possible with dedication and hard work, regardless of one’s gender or background.” S’thokoza hopes to see a South Africa that is “united and inclusive, where diversity is celebrated and everyone feels valued and heard”.

  • BA Corporate Communications, University of Johannesburg
  •  B Phil Marketing Management Honours,  IMM Graduate School

  • Best Digital Media Campaign —  Remarkable for Bayer Awards 2022
  • Being appointed head of marketing for the South Africa & South East Africa Cluster, including Nigeria.

Growing up, my father always taught me about gender equality, finding my voice and challenging the status quo. He encouraged me to speak up and share my ideas while treating everyone with respect. He also inspired me to strive for excellence and never settle for mediocrity. These invaluable lessons have stayed with me and influenced my achievements in life.

If I could give advice to my younger self, it would be to not be afraid of failure and to take risks. It’s easy to get caught up in the fear of making mistakes or falling short, but those experiences are often where we learn the most and grow the strongest. I would also encourage myself to always seek out new opportunities for learning and growth and to never stop pushing myself to be the best version of myself that I can be.

In five years, I would love to see South Africa as a country that has made significant progress in addressing social and economic inequalities. I envision a future where there is greater access to education, healthcare and job opportunities for all citizens, regardless of race or socio-economic status. I hope to see more sustainable and environment-friendly practices being implemented and a reduction in crime rates. Above all, I hope to see a South Africa that is united and inclusive, where diversity is celebrated and everyone feels valued and heard.

View previous winners from 2018 to 2022

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