Pumela Salela is the Country Head for the United Kingdom (UK) under Brand South Africa, the custodian of the South Africa Country Brand. Her role is to market South Africa in the UK, attract foreign direct investment (fdi) into South Africa, mobilise Global South Africans (GSA) abroad and to manage the brand reputation of South Africa. Prior to serving in this role Pumela was the Chief Director for Economic Policy Development and Planning at the Department of Economic Development in South Africa.
Ms Salela is a Board member of the Global Sourcing Council, an Ambassador for Sustainable and Socially Responsible Outsourcing in Africa, and sits on the Executive Committee of the Tri-Sister City Alliance (TriSCA), the first Sister City Alliance between BRICS cities in order to create jobs for knowledge workers. She was appointed to be in the Advisory Council of the World BPO Forum, which is considered “the Davos of BPO”. Pumela also serves in the Advisory Board of the World Summit on Internet and Social Media (WSIM). She also sits in the Advisory Board of the Sable Accelerator LLC (SABLE) , a North American organisation which is dedicated to helping South African entrepreneurs, new venture start-ups, academic institutions, and companies commercialize technology innovations, promote and protect intellectual property, fund new business concepts, finance growth, as well as expand into global markets. Pumela is also an advisor to a digital finance institution called Digifin. The Rockefeller Foundation acknowledged her contribution and innovation in formulating systems which address poverty by selecting Salela to be one the 18 global recipients of the foundation’s inaugural Global Fellowship on Social Innovation –an only South African to receive the honour.
Pumela has also worked as a BPO/ITeS Consultant for the World Bank, based at the organisation’s United States headquarters in Washington D.C. and a Director: BPO and O (Business Process Outsourcing and Offshoring) and Information Communications Technology (ICT) Enabled Services at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), South Africa, where she was responsible for drafting strategies and policies to create an enabling environment for the BPO and ICT sectors in South Africa. The Director role was preceded by her position as Deputy Director for Investment Promotion at Trade and Investment South Africa (TISA – within the dti), where she was responsible for attracting and negotiating with potential foreign investors to set up BPO operations in South Africa. Pumela worked for a number of years in various marketing roles in FMCG multinationals and media organisations in South Africa and the United Kingdom before joining the public sector. She has also been a lecturer in Strategic Brand Management at VEGA, The School of Branding.
Salela studied to complete her MBA with distinction (cum laude) in England through a Nelson Mandela Scholarship. In her private capacity, Pumela is the Chairperson of the Nelson Mandela Scholarship Alumni Association and a Mentor to Graca Machel Scholars. She is featured in the 2013 issue of the book: South Africa’s Most Inspirational Women. She has also been featured in 2012 issue DESTINY magazine as one of South Africa’s Young and Powerful Achievers. In 2013 DESTINY magazine showcased her as one of the Top 40 young leaders, innovators and job creators in South Africa (2013). Ms Salela has served as an On-air Advisor to investors on an Entrepreneurship Television Show called Rize Mzansi (meaning Rise South Africa) aired in the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in 2014.