About Us

The overall purpose of this assessment is to identify and publicly recognize ‘Rising Stars’ as having the qualities needed to join a guiding coalition of other Rising Stars able and willing to walk the talk to help themselves and others rise to the top of their game.

Our Rising Star Network will be formed from the top 5 finalists in each of the 12 business sectors – making a network of approximately 600 (over the last 10 years) of the most talented young people in the country

We are very committed to keeping this network alive, by means of personal development and intra network education – In this way we can assist their further development benefiting them personally, the organization they work for and in turn the wider economy.

Our Vision

Raise awareness of the breadth and depth of talent in the 28-40 year age bracket. Create opportunities for young talented individuals to grow, connect and give back. Bring the leading organisations of South Africa together to raise talent on the national agenda.

Provide inter-connected, interactive group driven social and growth platforms for young talented individuals. Grow the stature of the Rising Star Awards, Summit and associated ventures to be the most recognised national initiative focusing on young talented individuals.

Meet The Team

Yusuf Seedat

Commercial Director

Yusuf has been in the event, publication and media industry since 2002. Having come through the ranks and starting off selling directory adverts for Jo’burg Tourism, Yusuf has in depth industry knowledge and extensive relationships across the corporate world. He has worked with clients in the US, Europe, India and across Africa. In Print Media Yusuf was the Associate Publisher at Topco Media, working on titles like the Top500 – SA’s Best Companies, Top Empowerment Companies and Top Performing Companies. He has also worked on International Titles at Spintelligent – (Clarion Events) such as ESI Africa and Metering and Smart Energy International with worldwide distribution and key clients in Europe, The America’s, Africa and India. He has worked on large scale expo’s in the power and utility space for Clarion Events, and within the construction sector at dmg Events, and brings his experience of having worked with two of the World’s Largest Event Companies. He is passionate about sales and is responsible for growth at BlackBark Productions.

Tanya Smalberger

Event Manager

With over 14 years’ experience in Logistics Management within the Retail sector; Account Management in the Agriculture sector as well as brief experience in the hospitality sector, Tanya has developed an unsurpassed attention to detail and an unmatched ability to relate to people from all walks of life. As Event Manager at Blackbark Productions, Tanya’s love for people is deeply satisfied through managing nominations on the Rising Star Awards as well as managing the logistics of all Blackbark Productions events.

Laura Barker

Managing Director, BlackBark Productions

Laura has over 10 years experience working in business media, both in the UK and South Africa. She has developed initiatives for clients including the British Retail Consortium and the Commonwealth Secretariat as well as having launched numerous awards ceremonies with great success – the most recent being the Enviropaedia Eco-Logic Awards. Her previous employers include the Stationery Office (formerly Her Majesty’s Stationery Office) and Caspian Media in the UK, and Topco Media and Eco-Logic Publishing on South African shores.