About Lesley

Lesley is the CEO of Wit’s University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, an international public speaker and dialogue moderator. She is also the founder of Impact Hub Johannesburg. Her focus is on social entrepreneurship and taking African digital innovation to global markets. She breaks barriers by creating common ground between corporates, government, international developments agencies and entrepreneurs to work together.  A career highlight was moderating a dialogue on Nelson Mandela’s legacy and the Future of Africa between President Barack Obama and Graca Machel at the African American Museum in Washington DC.

“I believe that living your full potential is a basic human right and strive to create this opportunity through all the work I do.”


Lesley has over 18 years of experience in the Impact Economy, you may find an overview of her career as follows:

  • Chief Executive Officer of Tshimologong Precinct, a digital innovation and skills precinct that realises African digital innovation for global markets
  • Owner of Lesley Donna Williams Consulting (Pty) Ltd, primary focus on dialogue moderation and process facilitation
  • Associate of the Research Institute of Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS): primary role is to co-design an innovation ecosystem for the South African mining industry
  • Founded Impact Hub Johannesburg in 2010, the first one in Africa and now one of over 100 Impact Hubs in major cities around the world:  a co-working space and accelerator for social innovation and profitable social ventures
  • Convener of I AM AFRICA, a movement to facilitate ordinary people to take action in transforming Africa – born out of the 2015 Xenophobia attacks in South Africa
  • Facilitator for the Health Systems Trust’s Wellness for Effective Leadership Programme
  • Co-founder of Africa++ in London and Johannesburg with monthly networking events that took place in London, Johannesburg and Lagos providing education on sustainable development in Africa and linking opportunities for trade for both the African Diaspora and friends of Africa
  • Creator of the first ever Amazing Race that addresses team dynamics, sparks innovation and promotes cross-cultural integration by incorporating social entrepreneurs & NGOs as beneficiaries at every stage of the value chain and contributing to job creation
  • Previously Director of Pioneers of Change; an international community of practitioners and learners of systemic change
  • Previously worked at the Gordon Institute of Business Science for a unit called Policy, Leadership and Gender Studies where she created Young Professionals Forum under the leadership of Prof. Gill Marcus (previous Governer of the South African Reserve Bank)


  • UNDP, Impact Investment in Africa: Task Force member
  • Social Economy Working Group, South Africa
  • The David & Lucille Packard Foundation, Climate Strategies Accelerator (CSA): CSA Scout

Board Experience:

  • Impact Hub Global Association
  • AIESEC – University of Johannesburg
  • Secretariat of the South African Business Club, London
  • Young South African Women in Dialogue, national steering committee member (founded by the former South African First Lady, Mrs. Zanele Mbeki)