16-Ezlyn Olivia Barends_.png

Ezlyn Olivia Barends

Named as one of FastCompany SA’s Top Creative People in Business in 2016 and a recipient of the Microsoft Digital Transformation Award, Ezlyn is a dynamic visionary and self-starter. In 2011, she brought together a group of professionals to start the DreamGirls Academy, a female mentorship and empowerment organisation which has since grown to have a footprint in five provinces across the country.

Ezlyn’s key focus is on youth and female empowerment and she is specifically vested in guiding youth to incorporate critical & digital skills development in their lifelong learning to assist them to remain competitive and effectively prepare to thrive in the future. As such, she has developed robust programmes to build the pipeline and develop a hub of top young female talent who take on roles in the technology space.

Ezlyn's former roles include positions at Microsoft, Innovation Edge and she also worked in the tech startup arenas in London. Whilst based in the UK, she gained an MBA with a focus on Strategic Information Management.

Ezlyn is widely acknowledged as an effective change leader, for her innovative approaches to problem-solving and strong collaboration with business partners. She has previously been named as a Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans, Mercedes Benz South Africa's 21 Icons, Top 20 Inspiring Youth in South Africa and Spark International Changemaker of the Year.