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The Team

Learn more about our team

Karien Cloete

Executive Member, ex-officio as the CEO of TSIBA Ignition Academy

Karien held Exco positions in both Operations and Business Development in the ICT sector until she joined TSIBA in 2016. She holds an undergraduate degree from UNISA with Contract Law and Language majors, as well as an Advanced Diploma in Labour Law.

Ross Faragher-Thomas

Non-Executive Member

Ross is the Board Chair of TSIBA Ignition Academy. He has spent almost twenty years leading Virgin Active South Africa and was instrumental in spearheading its expansion and growth within the health and wellness sector. He has worked closely with long-term branded investors such as the Virgin Group and various private equity and investment holding firms, which completes a valuable set of skills and insights. He is now applying these skills to assist in the growth of companies within the Capitalworks portfolio.

Gia Whitehead

Founding Director, TSiBA Education

Gia Whitehead, born in Johannesburg, a founding director of TSiBA Education, which begun in 2004 and opened doors for its first students in Cape Town in 2005. She held the role of Sustainability and is still responsible in a consulting capacity for fundraising through all areas of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) codes including Corporate Social Investment and Enterprise Development, Individual Giving and building TSiBA’s endowment through the TSiBA Education Trust. Along with fellow directors is responsible for innovation and replicability of the TSiBA model; operations; marketing; entrepreneurship; curriculum design, website design and of course student development. She also consults other NGO’s on strategy, fundraising, BBBEE and business implementation. And has experience running “for-profit” businesses. She is married with three children and this is a huge achievement and passion.

She previously represented TSiBA on the Board of JP Morgan Chase through an Empowerment Deal, and was on the Board/Trustee of Lucca Leadership South Africa. She has a Bachelor of Information Technology and completed her Postgraduate studies in Enterprise Management at UCT. She has worked for CIDA City Campus managing strategic projects and funding. Gia was recognized as one of South Africa’s 100 Brightest Young Minds in 2002. Gia was awarded Top Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 (Topco Media).

Kieno Kammies

Non-Executive Member

Kieno has been a commercial talk show host and music radio presenter with more than 20 years in the broadcast industry, developing good networks and personal relationships of value. This forms the cornerstone of his consulting business KK Strategic, the primary aim of which is to build bridges between big business and SMMEs, and to demystify the role of AI in the world today.

Juan Smith

Operations Manager

Juan Smith is an Operations Manager at TSIBA social collective, a non-profit organization focused on youth development and education in South Africa. He joined the organization in 2017 as a program coordinator for the vocationally-based Business Administration certificate program at the TSIBA Eden Campus in Knysna. In 2018, Juan played an instrumental role in the development of the various learnership programs that formed part of the newly established TSIBA Ignition Academy product offering.

Juan’s academic qualifications include a BA in Psychology and a BAHons in Theology, both from the University of Pretoria. Prior to his work with TSIBA, Juan served as a Minister of Religion in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa until 2013, after which he transitioned to become an Education, Training, and Development Practitioner. From 2013 to 2016, Juan worked at the SA Maritime College before joining the TSIBA family.

With a passion for people and their potential, Juan is committed to helping others achieve their goals and dreams. Having worked extensively within impoverished communities in Ekhuruleni, Cape Town, and Ethewini, Juan understands the importance of youth development, education, and training, as well as social justice. His personal and professional values motivate him to guide and empower individuals to find meaning and value in their lives.

Jasmiena Latief

Skills Development

Jasmiena has worked in the Skills Development and academic space for more than 20 years. Throughout the span of her career, she has spent time developing course material and curricula, guiding and supporting learners, and facilitating the transfer of knowledge in the classroom. Coupled with training, lecturing and facilitation, she also performs various quality assurance roles and is a registered Assessor and Moderator for various SETAs including the Services Seta, ETDP Seta and MICT SETA. In her current role as Training Lead for the last 18 months, she manages the implementation of all skills development projects offered to clients by TSIBA Ignition Academy which includes Learnerships and short skills programmes.

Elsa Marman

Skills Development Facilitator and Learner Liaison

Elsa Marman is a passionate Skills Development Facilitator and Learner Liaison who is passionate about empowering all lives through education and entrepreneurship.

“I grew up in Elsies River; a poverty, substance abuse and violence infested community where having a career and good education was taboo. These unfortunate circumstances and the trauma I incurred during my childhood was my greatest motivation to strive for the best and to be an example of true leadership to not only my family but that of my community. I continue ploughing back into the young lives in my community by participating in various community development projects with the dream and goal to one day open up a TSIBA Ignition Academy training and development hub in Elsies River.” 

Tanya de Gouveia

Enterprise Supplier and Development Project Lead

Tanya is the Enterprise Supplier and Development Project Lead for our Business Essentials Programme. Tanya is passionate about social impact at large, specifically being part of organisations and projects where education and opportunities are made accessible to deserving individuals. “My studies in Psychology and Communications have enabled me to exercise my genuine passion and care for people with my project management strengths and skills”. Her experience in project managing various social impact projects across industries has allowed her the opportunity to pave a career that merges her commitment to her values with her curiosity for Corporate Social Responsibility in South Africa.

Katleho Macheke

I am a dynamic and ambitious individual who is passionate about empowering and uplifting South Africa’s youth.

I am responsible for developing and implementing innovative programs that promote entrepreneurship, leadership, and social innovation.

Through my work and personal endeavours, I remain committed to creating positive change in South Africa and empowering the next generation of leaders. I thrive to be a true embodiment of the TSIBA values of purpose-driven leadership, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility.

Michelle Mahlwele

Junior Systems Administrator

I’m the Junior Systems Administrator. My journey with Tsiba Ignition Academy started in 2022 when I began an amazing learning journey with them. I strongly believe that everyone should have a chance to learn, and I’m proud to help a company that’s striving to make education reachable for deserving people.I have a national diploma in IT: Multimedia from Tshwane University of Technology, and I see technology as a tool for good changes. As a Junior System Administrator, I’m focused on looking after the inner workings that drive our programs, making sure both learners and teachers have a smooth experience.

Thabit Samodien

Instructional Designer

As a qualified Graphic Designer, I have worked and specialised in the field of e-learning for the past 16+ years. My extensive work in the field has granted me the opportunity to lead teams in crafting immersive online courses, and designing innovative and effective digital learning solutions. With the mindset that e-learning should be accessible to all regardless of background or abilities, I strive to ensure that the learning journey for each student will be a unique experience that will add value and give them the tools needed to help shape their future