Lerato Motsamai

Founder & CEO, Petrolink, South Africa

South Africa

Lerato Motsamai is a mother of two young and independent children, and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the Founder & CEO of Petrolink, a South African manufacturer of high-grade automotive and industrial lubricants, oils, greases and specialty chemicals that she founded in 2012. She has 12 years of corporate experience in the Downstream petrochemical sector, and has been listed by IOL’s August 2017 Business Report as one of the three women influencing the energy sector in South Africa. Lerato is regularly invited to speak at industry and international conferences, and she sits on various industry bodies, which she uses to advocate for the inclusion and the economic advancement of women in the energy and associated industries.

Lerato is also fondly known for her passionate activism and philanthropy in the education and economic empowerment of African teen girls, and in 2014, founded Girlignite Africa Academy and its flagship Girlignite Africa Summits. The annual three-day summits are a spiritual, leadership and entrepreneurial bootcamp that host up to 150 teen girls from marginalized communities.  Girlignite Africa Academy is a non-profit organization and a youthful brand that uses Servant Leadership, Entrepreneurship and STE(A)M Education for social impact. Through this platform, Lerato hopes to provide African teen girls with the opportunity to sustainably bring change in their communities and shape Africa’s future. Lerato is a 2015 Spark Changemaker, a 2016 Graca Machel Women Advancing Africa partner and in 2017, became an SE Board Member at the iconic African Leadership Academy where she is regularly invited as a guest facilitator. Most recently, Lerato was appointed as the Brand Ambassador of the South African Bureau of Standards Design Institute, a landmark South African institution with a historic background that dates back to 1969. Lerato lives by her belief that “women don’t just build businesses, they build nations!”

Mentor: Elizabeth McCombs, Vice President, Research and Development, Ethicon; Nikkia Miller-Blake, Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Technology