Skip links

2019 Winner Of Global Compact Network South Africa SDG Pioneer

Executive Director, Global Account Manager

Standard Chartered Bank

Sarah has been appointed as the company’s Diversity & Inclusion Council Chairperson in South Africa, driving the company’s agenda across various pillars including Gender and Racial Inclusion (SDG 5 and 10). Prior to the appointment, she pushed for higher female representation at the most senior ranks in the organization, facilitating high profile events and putting the matter at the forefront of the company’s agenda and garnering support from senior MDs across the continent. These were supported by her involvement with the 30% Club, where she is also in the Steering Committee. She has expanded this work to Kenya, sponsoring the launch there.


She is also on the Steerco of her company’s internal Africa D&I Committee ensuring alignment of its initiatives across the region. They have and continue to spotlight the stories of senior women both within and outside the organization and enabled dialogues to inspire aspiring younger women.


Across the various committees, Sarah supports the company’s GOAL program, which is a partnership with local NGOs taking in a cohort of young girls from underprivileged backgrounds and providing life lessons through sports activities. This is a continued interaction spanning a year or two in order to enable comradery, trust, and growth throughout the multiple sessions. This program is being run successfully in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Finally, her company has nominated mentors, including herself, to the Black Umbrellas program supporting local black-owned small businesses. They have had successful uptick in their participation as mentors, as well as improvement and growth in the majority of the businesses being mentored.


Sarah and her team have been guided by the UN Global Compact guidelines in all of their company’s initiatives. Standard Chartered global CEO Bill Winters, has publicly provided a statement of continued support for the UN Global Compact and the Ten Principles.


Some examples of the adherence to the Global Compact guidelines include: SCB’s annual report of company’s gender pay gap globally; it’s clear messaging to the market regarding intention to improve senior female representation across the global institution; the company’s global commitment to the 30% Club between the two UK headquarters; and recent position statements around encouraging sustainable financing (and creation of a new sustainable finance team, as well as the end of financing any coal-powered projects).


Sarah’s initiatives in advancing the SDGs are bringing the injustices to light and providing the company’s staff, as well as individuals across the industry, with the tools to best and most efficiently address these initiatives. Implementation of the GOAL program globally has been innovative and unique in using sports activities for female- only learning opportunities. These are short activities involving dribbling a soccer ball or a relay race, whilst encouraging the girls at the end of each mini-session to answer very serious questions around key topics including hygiene, contraception and dealing with violence, to name a few.


Prior to a formal framework of a local Diversity and Inclusion Council being in place, Sarah spearheaded the prioritization of SCB South Africa in pushing to bring the Gender Mainstreaming issue to the forefront. As a part of these initiatives, fair consideration during hiring processes as well as fair pay has been included in hiring managers’ KPIs, and the usual operations of the company have been amended in order to incorporate these considerations as a requirement. The initiatives have also harnessed the existing statistics to show that there is still work to be done to ensure fair representation and respective HR teams have as a result pushed for various avenues to level the playing field (i.e. rolling out unconscious bias training across all line managers in the organization).