Nicola is a business leader and social innovator. She leads the Yellowwoods Group's efforts to drive economic inclusion and sustainability through its portfolio of businesses in financial services (e.g. Hollard Insurance), restaurants (e.g. Nando's) and eco-tourism (&Beyond) businesses - and through multi-sector partnerships in sub-Saharan Africa focussed on digital skills and youth employment, impact sourcing, nature-based carbon and financial inclusion.
Under her leadership, Yellowwoods has also incubated a portfolio of African social enterprises, including the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator for which she won the Skoll Award in 2019. She is a McNulty Prize awardee for her work in the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and most recently won the Schwab Foundation award for Social Intrapreneurship. In South Africa, Nicola works closely with Presidential Youth Employment Intervention and served as a member of the South African Ministerial Task Team on Post School Education and Skills in the context of 4IR. She sits on the Advisory Board of Africa Leadership Group, and was recently part of the team that established the Solidarity Fund to drive South Africa's national response to the Covid Pandemic.
Nicola’s diverse career prior to Yellowwoods spans management consulting, senior executive positions in television broadcasting, policy and regulation and in education, being a business entrepreneur, and a documentary filmmaker and an anti-apartheid activist. Nicola was a full-bright scholar and holds an MA from New York University.
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Yellowwoods is a private investment group headquartered in Europe. The group has a portfolio of investments, primarily in the Financial Services (mainly insurance) and Restaurant sectors. The business footprint extends across 30 markets globally, with a focus on Southern Africa, the United Kingdom, North America, Australia and the Pacific Rim.
The Yellowwoods purpose is to grow people and businesses, acting in ways that make us proud, so as to be a catalyst for significant and enduring positive change.
This is achieved through the group’s core commercial enterprises, strategic social investment, and active leadership and advocacy. Yellowwoods’ strives to be an example of Positive Business, going beyond simply being "a responsible corporate citizen" to being "a catalyst for significant and enduring positive change" – a proactive contributor to a more inclusive economy and sustainable world. This stems from a belief that businesses provide one of the most powerful platforms to address the world’s protracted and stubborn social and environmental challenges.