Prof. Shirley

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She qualifies as an independent non-executive director. The Board has appointed her as an expert in human resources as well as ethics governance.

She is also an extraordinary professor at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Human Resource Management, and was also appointed as Adjunct Professor at the University of Cape Town. She is registered as Master HR Professional with the South African Board for People Practices.

Prof. Zinn is currently a non-executive director on the Boards of JSE-listed ADvTECH where she fulfils the role as LID and Chair of the Remuneration Committee. She also serves as a director on the Boards of The LRMG (Pty) Ltd, Tuesday Consulting, Empowerment Capital Investment Partners, MTN SA, NIP, Knowledge Resources, Business Engage, Community Chest and the Boston Consulting Group SA and the Spur Group. In addition, she also serves on the Takeover Regulation Panel Board. She is a trustee on the Nedbank Eyethu Community Trust, and Roeland Greaver Leadership, and the former chair of Starfish Greathearts Foundation.

Prof. Zinn was recently appointed as the patron for the South African Council of Business Women. She is a coach and mentor to several women across multiple industries and has presented at numerous national and international conferences as a keynote speaker.


Prof. Zinn started her career as a secondary school teacher of English and then moved to the University of the Western Cape where she lectured in Teacher Education. After this, she served at Southern Life as Training Manager and then moved to the South African Management Development Institute’s Department of Public Service and Administration in Pretoria, where she served as Director. Before her appointment at SARS, she filled the role of Regional Human Resources Director for the Middle East and Africa for Reckitt Benckiser, a global company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Prof. Zinn is the past president of the Institute for People Management in South Africa as well as for the Harvard Alumni Association South Africa. She previously served as the chair of the Institute of Bankers. She is the former chair of DHL: Global Forwarding SA and also the former Group Head of Human Resources at Woolworths Holdings Limited. Prior to this, she was Head of Human Resources at Standard Bank South Africa and Deputy Global Head of Human Resources for the Standard Bank Group. She also registered her own company, Shirley Zinn Consulting, which provides consulting and advisory services in HR, transformation, leadership and education. Prior to this, she was the group executive: Human Resources at Nedbank and General Manager for Human Resources at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Prof. Zinn was awarded the Top Woman in Business and Government and Top Executive in Corporate South Africa by Topco Media in 2008. She was also recognised by the Black Business Quarterly and received the Award for Top Woman in Business and Government and most Visionary Woman in 2008. She also received an award from the World Human Resources Congress in Mumbai in 2007 and 2013 respectively for Excellence in Global HR Leadership. In 2012, she was listed in the Top 30 Wonder Women in South Africa by the Wits Business School Journal. She was awarded an Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Award for 2016 in the SME Sector by CEO Global.

In 2015, she wrote her autobiography entitled “Swimming Upstream”, which focuses on her personal and professional journey. It has officially been announced as a best seller. In 2016, she gave several “Swimming Upstream” talks nationally at corporates, schools, universities and charities, with the objective of motivating and inspiring especially youth and women to help them achieve success despite adversity to never give up.

Prof. Zinn is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa.


Prof. Zinn holds a BA Degree (University of the Western Cape), a Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Education (University of the Western Cape); BEd Honours (Unisa); MEd (University of the Western Cape); EdM (Harvard), and Doctorate in Education (Harvard).