Top Tips For Becoming A Woman In Leadership with Lousie Schoonwinkel


By Optimi | 25 Aug, 2022

Louise Schoonwinkel is a chartered accountant (CA(SA)) who has been with Optimi for over 5 years. Louise believes in making an impact that matters as an Optimi Leading Lady, and is excited about the opportunities that education offers women in South Africa. Her leadership style is to be energetic, extroverted, empowering and willing to try new things. Louise shares her top tips for being a woman leader.

Does the education of future leaders need to start young?

Education is a powerful tool to bring about change and progress. I do believe that leaders are also born when youngsters watch and interact with leaders in their community, at home, at school and later in the workplace. Leadership skills are further developed when children get involved and take part in social projects, sports and arts.

How do flexible learning solutions help South Africans, especially women, reach their goals?

A big part of our population does not have the luxury of studying full-time after completing school. Flexible learning solutions give our working women (and men) the opportunity to study part-time while working, which helps them to progress further in their careers long term.

What is something you love about being a woman in a leadership role? 

Growing up, I didn’t have role models of South African women in leadership roles. It took time to shape my own beliefs on this topic. I love being there for younger women and showing them that they can be in a leadership role and have a family. I also believe that women bring a unique point of view to the boardroom table. 

What does the education sector have to offer young women? 

Education is the key that opens that door when opportunity starts knocking. Nowadays, women have the same opportunities to upskill themselves as their male counterparts. Long gone are the days when a young woman’s only goal was to find a husband that could take care of her. Women are now independent and can contribute financially to their households.

What’s your top tip for reaching your career goals as a woman?

Make sure you have a support structure in place. This could include a mentor or support at home. There is never the “perfect time” to start chasing your dreams, so start today. 

Optimi is revolutionising the EdTech industry in South Africa with accessible education. Optimi provides accessible learning solutions to over 200 000 learners every year through our four divisions: Home, Classroom, College, and Workplace. Optimi’s innovative products include cloud-based learning portals, e-book libraries, tutor platforms, and more. Optimi is dedicated to leaving the South African education space better than when we found it.