The awards feature five media and advertising finalists. These are; Carla Harris (Global Access), Talita Myburgh (GREY Advertising), Craig Groenewald and Luthando Tshaya (Okuhle Media), and Asanda Sizani (Ndalo Media).

The gala dinner announcing the winners will be held at the Sandton Hilton on Thursday, 27 July and will feature Bonang Mohale, CEO of Business Leadership South Africa. Speakers include the minister of tourism, Tokozile Xasa, the keynote speaker as well as Richard Stirton, winner of The Voice 2016 as entertainment. Comedian Joey Rasdien is set to be the MC.

"We are delighted to have so many entries from across the country identifying such a broad range of corporate and public sector talent," says Laura Barker, managing director of BlackBark Productions and organisers of the Rising Star programme. "It is encouraging to see these awards grow year-on-year – it means our goal of recognising and developing talent is real."

The awards are for young employees in the 28 to 40 year age category, and form part of a unique platform where winners can go beyond just the recognition for work already done, and participate in a leadership and development programme throughout the year – after winning.

“Every year, we are impressed with the calibre of entries from our talented young workforce – and this year is no different," says Standard Bank’s global head of resourcing, Amelia Muller. "There is another excellent group of finalists going through to the last round, and the judges are going to have their work cut out for them."

The last round comprises a three-hour Q&A session in front of a panel of professionals. The panels comprise of Hennie Heymans (MD, DHL Express), Elijah Litheko (CEO, IPM), Marius Meyer (CEO, SABPP), Mark Kritzinger (head of Careers24), Poya Rasekhi (CEO, Arup), Azola Zuma (CEO, Sanlam Investments), Lorato Mogaki (executive head of HR, AngloAmerican), Johan Van Greuning (COO, Standard Bank wealth sales and distribution), S’ne Mckhize (senior VP HR, Sasol), Elsie Pule (group executive human resources, Eskom), and Humaira Mooketsi-Choonara (GM; HR, Transnet).

Barker concludes, "They have already proved they are worthy of being finalists in this tough competition. I hope to see them step up their game a final notch in the face-to-face judging round, and show South Africa why they deserve this personal and professional recognition of their drive and determination."

You can view the full list of finalists here

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