Sanctor man in line for Accenture Rising Star award
His passion for youth development and capacity building has led to Sanctor resident Wayde Groep being selected as one of the five finalists in the public and private service category of the Accenture Rising Star Awards.
The awards recognise people under the age of 40 as inspirational and exciting leaders of the future who have a capacity for achievement and success, and who contribute in an inspirational manner to the future of our nation.
Groep, 28, who is the capacity building and knowledge manager in the youth and after-school programme office in the Western Cape government, said progressing through a rigorous selection process with about 600 remarkable and talented applicants had been a reflective learning journey and one of the highlights of his professional career.
“One of my colleagues put the awards on the team’s radar and my boss then initiated the nomination,” he said.
“The awards process is rigorous and consists of various parts.
“I found myself in the middle of running the orientation programme for a new project we were piloting, but I focused and ensured that I completed my nomination.
“I am anxious and excited, but I also feel honoured to be a finalist in my category with four remarkable individuals.
“I am looking forward to my finalist interview at the end of the month and the announcement in October.”
The older of two children to Wayne and Charmelle, Groep is no stranger to leadership roles.
He attended Triomf Primary School in Salsoneville and was the deputy head boy.
He went on to Gelvandale High School, where he was the head boy.
While at Gelvandale, he attended a People to People Leadership Summit at Harvard in the US.
This was also his first trip abroad.
“I initially pursued a qualification in the natural sciences, but as a result of various personal life events and decisions ended up in the community development field,” Groep said
He openly speaks about his battle with depression and underscores the importance of reducing the stigma related to mental illness in our communities.
“Far too often, young coloured and black people struggle in silence and this should not be the norm,” he said.
“My life purpose is to create and contribute to meaningful and impactful change.
“Maybe part of why I ended up in this space is my commitment to leaving the world a little better than I found it.”
Groep said the role of caring and inspiring role models had been invaluable to him.
“I was encouraged and motivated by teachers who invested in me.
“One teacher who played a significant role in my life was Felicity Stuart.
“She was my accounting teacher, but her drive to get Gelvandale High pupils in the Herald Quiz, public speaking competitions and debating was where I found some of my passions come alive.
“The role of caring and inspiring adults in the lives of young people can positively influence their trajectory.
“Part of my work is focused on showcasing the value and importance of after-school programmes as a sector which continues to close the opportunity gap between the haves and the have-nots.
“It’s a space to unlock the potential and passion of pupils, and Mrs Stuart saw that.
“I am so grateful for those opportunities.
“I am investing in supporting practitioners with the necessary skills and tools to run impactful programmes.”
He said he was also deeply invested in contributing to creating meaningful work experience opportunities for young people, building their personal and professional skills and supporting their pathway and progression journey.
“Young people should believe their story is important.
“You have the power to create a life of meaning for yourself.
“Find things that make you come alive and questions that make you lie awake at night.
“Then act. Find the answers,” Groep said.
“I guess the last thing is something my parents always shared with me.
“Be careful of who you choose to associate with. They can build or break [you].
“They can inspire and motivate or they can keep you in a negative spiral.
“They can help open doors or keep you from them.
“So choose wisely.”
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