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Our board members' backgrounds span diverse areas including banking, law, finance and accounting, education, marketing and communications, social development, agriculture, and the wine industry.
Ntsiki Biyela is the Winemaker and Director of Aslina Wines, a company named in honour of her late grandmother, Aslina. From her roots in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal, she was awarded a scholarship to study Viticulture and Oenology at Stellenbosch University and graduated in 2003. In 2016 she established Aslina Wines, inspired by the strength and determination of the biggest influence in her life, her grandmother. She is widely celebrated as an inspiration and role model within the South African wine industry and beyond Ntsiki is an inspiration to women across the world and in particular people of colour who are starting out their careers in the wine industry. Working closely with the academy grounds her and reminds of her upbringing. Whenever she engages with the students, she sees a youngerversion of herself in them.
Ruth Faro originally wanted to become a social worker and so studied People-Centred Community Development through UNISA. She was then selected for the work readiness programme presented by the Pinotage Youth Development Academy (PYDA). After that she completed the Skills Fusion programme facilitated by Skills fusion where she learnt about Plant Production amongst other wine industry skills, becoming the viticulturist for Adama Wines. “Personally, I want to create a platform for more young people to enter the world of viticulture. There are so many opportunities for advancement in this sector, there is space for young people who are fully committed and want to be the difference in their community and the
environment.” I formed part of the PYDA board in 2022 and is great journey so far. I’m a proud PYDA graduate, and it is an honour for me to be a board member as well. They’ve had valuable contribution in my journey within the industry and I fully the support the work they are doing.
They are literally trailblazers within the wine industry to create such an amazing platform for our young
people entering the industry.“I am forever grateful for the existence of PYDA”
Michele has been a PYDA Board member since 2018. After her working career spanning nearly 30 years spent in higher education, banking, local government and management consulting, she is currently independent. Her focus in recent years has been in organizational development, specifically organizational culture, talent management, leadership development, mentoring, change management and the
development of people-centred strategies.
Her passion for people and making a difference in the lives of young people, is why Michele enjoys being part of PYDA. Seeing the young graduates thrive in their respective fields of study, go on to employment or become entrepreneurs and develop to their full potential as a result of the contributions of everyone in the Academy Team, makes the efforts more meaningful. In addition, working with a dynamic Board of like-minded people is immensely satisfying. Everyone takes an active role in ensuring the good governance of the Academy. This fuels Michele’s passion in
working with great teams and being part of the change needed to improve lives.
The young talented people who graduate from the Academy are the real inspiration for Michele, as they
actively contribute towards improving their communities’ lives and ultimately the country and economy
as a whole. Michele is fully supportive of this goal and proud to be a part of it through the PYDA Board.
Juanitill Pettus is a facilitator, coach, mentor, and strategist, who is dedicated to promoting equal opportunity and to “being someone’s someone.” She has nearly 10 years’ experience working in the development sector with a strong focus on access to education, youth employment and leadership development.
As a Mandela Washington Fellow (2016) she has been recognized as a leader in the civic leadership space and she endeavours to offer a global perspective while being strongly rooted in the local context. Her biggest urgency is the creation of holistic and scalable solutions for unemployment across the whole eco-system to ensure that we truly maximize the potential of young people in Africa. She currently works as an independent consultant supporting organizations who share this mission. Juanitill was part of the founding team for PYDA in 2013 and the organization’s work is strongly aligned with her belief in giving young people holistic developmental opportunities that grows their potential, encourages agency and lead to meaningful economic opportunities. Her role as a board member is part of her commitment to see the organization grow and reach more young people.
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