Face to Face with Success

Meet Shirley Zinn: The expert putting "human" back in HR

Growing up a woman of colour, in a working-class household in the depths of apartheid, there was little for Shirley Zinn to look forward to.

In 1979, when she was a matric in South Peninsula High School in Diep River, two of Zinn’s teachers sat her down to have a conversation that changed her life and set her on the path to success.

Sometimes we need to accept that people believe in us before we believe in ourselves.

Professor Shirley Zinn

Now, Professor Shirley Zinn holds two Masters Degrees and a PhD from Harvard. She has written a book,Swimming Upstream, and is living proof that grit, resilience and hard work do pay off.

But it has not come easily. Financial difficulties almost saw her drop out of Harvard, and in 2003 she suffered a devastating personal loss that almost broke her.

"Life has a way of teaching you lessons on a scale that you can’t even begin to understand," she says, crediting her mother for teaching her the value of humility even at the height of success.

Many of us are beset by all sorts challenges every day. We all have our own story to tell, and often we don’t seek the healing - we don’t get the help we need.

Professor Shirley Zinn

In this week’s Face to Face with Success, Professor Shirley Zinn shares the lessons she has learned on her path to academic and business success.

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
To play the (success) game well, get your game plan from the experts

To play the (success) game well, get your game plan from the experts

Ever wondered what the man who started Sorbet and a mathematical genius have in common?

Meet Kopano Matlwa Mabaso: Best-selling author and dedicated doctor

Meet Kopano Matlwa Mabaso: Best-selling author and dedicated doctor

At 21, she wrote a best-selling novel while studying medicine. Today, she's a doctor, a mother, and has three novels to her name.

Meet Helen Rees: Champion of public health

Meet Helen Rees: Champion of public health

Meet a champion fighting for the health of our nation!

Meet Maggie and Malebo Mokotedi: Queens of holistic healthcare

Meet Maggie and Malebo Mokotedi: Queens of holistic healthcare

Mother and daughter team Maggie and Malebo Mokotedi are making a difference with state-of-the-art healthcare in South Africa.

Meet Adri Williams: Changing lives, one cookie at a time

Meet Adri Williams: Changing lives, one cookie at a time

Khayelitsha Cookies is more than just a biscuit brand - it's the product of an inspiring journey of social entrepreneurship.

Meet multi-skilled rugby star Siya Kolisi

Meet multi-skilled rugby star Siya Kolisi

Growing up disadvantaged in the Eastern Cape, becoming an international rugby star was the furthest thing from Siya Kolisi’s mind.

Popular articles
KPMG SA’s new CEO opens up about the future of the disgraced auditing firm

KPMG SA’s new CEO opens up about the future of the disgraced auditing firm

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews KPMG South Africa CEO Nhlamu Dlomu.

Ocean View activist speaks: We have had 20 murders in 2017 alone

Ocean View activist speaks: We have had 20 murders in 2017 alone

Sharone Daniels, a community activist in Cape Town's Ocean View says they need police intervention to end gang violence.

Civil engineer devises plan to use stormwater in Cape Town

Civil engineer devises plan to use stormwater in Cape Town

Civil engineer and Ph.D. researcher John Okedi speaks to CapeTalk host John Maytham about his plans.

Zuma is the ANC. The ANC is Zuma, the two inseparable - Kgalema Motlanthe

Zuma is the ANC. The ANC is Zuma, the two inseparable - Kgalema Motlanthe

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe sat down for a lengthy and candid interview with 702 and CapeTalk anchor, Eusebius McKaiser.

[WATCH] Day-Zero for water running out fast approaching?

[WATCH] Day-Zero for water running out fast approaching?

A government employee emailed John Maytham about what he or she believes is the real state of play with the Cape water crisis.

Sasfin CEO opens up about dumping KPMG

Sasfin CEO opens up about dumping KPMG

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Sasfin CEO Roland Sassoon.