We have been working with Aephoria to develop our leadership and managerial capacity since 2011.  What I enjoy about their work is the directness and authenticity, of their facilitators and of their developmental processes.  Time and again I hear stories of deep awareness building and life transformation from people who have attended an Aephoria programme.  And what I have personally always appreciated about Simon and Julia is their commitment to our business and their willingness and capacity to build a long-lasting relationship of trust with me over many years.

Chwayita Mareka, General Manager HR, Engen Petroleum Ltd

Aephoria has been a human development partner of ours since 2013, working with our Executive Team and other functional teams across the business.  They have also run leadership development programmes for us and worked individually with many of our directors and senior managers. The last five years has been a dynamic period for our business, focussed on growth and Aephoria has supported us in many ways during this time.  Their approach is often to challenge and front into difficult topics with the purpose of building trust as well as fostering deeper connection, with each other and with ourselves.

Managing Director, FMCG Industry Southern Africa


I have been working with Aephoria for over five years, both in South Africa and now more recently across our Middle East and North African markets.  I have personally commissioned Aephoria to run leadership programmes, team development sessions and individual executive coaching, which is testament to the rich range of services and experiences they have to offer. 

Our region and our organisation is full of diversity, certainly of race and culture but also of personality and maturity.  What I love about Aephoria’s work is that they are not shy to help us tackle some of these thorny issues that lead us into difference – they ‘call’ the behaviour in a respectful and gentle way…but they still call it!   At the end of the day, that has helped us to be better leaders and better people. 

HR Director, FMCG Industry Middle East

The UJ Transformation Women Leadership Programme made a tremendous difference to my life. First, engaging with other women leaders at this level presented incredible insights and enabled us to depart from a position of openness and vulnerability. It challenged me to take a critical look at my personal life and the presence and absence of support structures in my professional and personal life. The introduction of the Enneagram personality analysis was an eye-opening experience. I came to understand myself and others a lot better and this enabled me to engage at a much more effective level with other colleagues. Overall, I gained a lot more self-confidence and a sense of my own authenticity and I observed similar changes in my colleagues who spoke more openly about their feelings and opinions as the programme progressed. Both facilitators were approachable and encouraging at all times and we learned to appreciate their different yet complimentary approaches as individuals. We always looked forward to our engagement with them. The personal coaching was a major contributing part of the programme and I enjoyed it very much. I gained a lot of knowledge and personal confidence through this experience and I have noticed a remarkable mindshift in terms of where I want to go with my career and what exactly I need to do to get there. I would recommend this programme to any woman who is ready to take a giant leap forward.

Dr Corne Davis, Senior Lecturer, Department of Strategic Communication, University of Johannesburg

I feel that this program was a defining moment for me. I know what the kind of leader I am and what may work and may not work with my character towards the people I/will lead. This program has given me a chance to revisit my career path, I now feel passionate to lead and take opportunities to come.

A lot has been looked at by university (e.g. women in leadership, inclusivity) and there’s still more to be realized if this programme continues. I observed a lot of changes at Faculty of Engineering and hope the leadership changes and transformations are throughout UJ. Fears of failure by women in leadership positions seems to be diminishing and I believe it is the effect of programs like this one. It assisted me to look at my schedules and raise my hand where possible to participate at faculty level. I stood to be

  • Faculty Ethics and Plagiarism Committee chairperson
  • Faculty higher Degree Committee Member (FHDC)

I feel very much empowered to say from there I did not see a need to shy away from serving at Senate Higher Degree Committee (SHDC) since the committee required someone who served at FHDC. However, I must also say that during this program I appreciated the fact that my career growth at University is as important, therefore I continued publishing to also apply for Associate Professorship (which is successful).

I was personally impressed by how facilitators grappled with diverse issues, problems and challenges including strategic planning prior dwelling much in how we (participants) view leadership in academia. They gave a board overview of many issues around women in leadership across industries.  I feel that they were versatile to suit our particular situations as well as to cater for the group’s emotional complexion. (E.g. do we want to be there or not?).

Facilitators were also good in recording group’s ideas actions and information in formats that were practical, simple, useful and can be readily taken up and acted on after sessions. They provided report back after to brief the group after the event. They were easy to understand (my views) and would engage group were necessary, most importantly facilitators would change models and frame works if majority would feel a little uneasy about a particular approach.

I must say they were

  • Inclusive and engaging – helped group to reach workable agreements and allowed use of dialogues which helped introverts to voice out.
  • Dealt with dynamics the best way that the group was one
  • Made me feel that they’re action oriented – all our sessions ended with action planning and event tracking activities that ensured agreements on actions and priorities

I really feel that this was the defining moment for me and I do not regret any time spent on the program. I can talk waya-waya about this program as I noticed so much transformation at UJ – I however want to say that willingness is the key – We must be the change we want to see. Start with yourself if you want to see change in any organisation.  

Prof M. Elizabeth Makhatha, HOD Metallurgy, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg

I enjoyed every moment of my journey with Aephoria Partners in a leadership development programme initiated by the University of Johannesburg.

It was enriching to have experienced “out of comfort zone sessions” in a safe environment. Lucille Greeff is a superb facilitator who enabled me to reflect and appreciate the group, the programme and myself. Cherise Nortje provided a safe space to check in on personal growth and my reflective processes. I valued every conversation.

What I take with me from the leadership programme presented by Aephoria is 4 A’s

Awareness of myself and others

Appreciation of my own circumstances and those of others

Acknowledgement of my own voice and that of others

Alternative ways to think about everyday things.

I recommend this space for growth and continue my journey to become the best version of myself. Best of luck to the Aephoria team!

Prof Thea Tselepis, HOD Fashion Design, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg

I was trained by Aephoria Partners as part of the UJ Women in Leadership Development Programme. In the nine months of my training, I underwent a totally new overhaul of leadership. Whilst I had always known of my leadership potential, I had always doubted myself despite confirmation by various people I came across. However, being part of the programme made me realise a many things about myself that I took for granted or never really considered as strengths. One of the biggest take outs for me was the Enneagram. My personal results helped me understand myself better, thus understanding my managerial and leadership role better.  More so, it confirmed my blind spots that I had always taken as normal. The facilitators both challenged me to really have a new look at these blind spots and to start working on them to improve on my leadership role, a journey that has been tough but worthwhile. It is not yet complete as there are still speed humps and potholes on this journey, but I am more alert of them and do my best to avoid them or face them as new life challenges where unavoidable.

My own team has grown closer, but I have also learnt that as much as I have a strong advocacy and social justice voice, not all battles are worth investing one’s energy on. So as they proverb says, I have “learnt to pick my battles”. I thoroughly enjoyed the freestyle, open yet structure approach that was used by both facilitators, but more than anything I enjoyed how their character and personality complemented one another, making them a very strong team. We always think we know ourselves and the roles we play in life, however, this programme has taught me that one will always learn more about oneself, others and the surroundings to eternity, and never get to a space where you think you know it all. It is in this context that I will recommend this programme for women leaders out there.

Dr Boitumelo Diale, HOD Educational Psychology, Senior Lecturer & Educational Psychologist: Career Development, University of Johannesburg

I have worked with Julia and Simon regularly over the past few years, while heading up Learning and Development for a major mining company and in my role as a university lecturer.  The team was a hit with a diverse range of people, some of whom do not talk easily about their own personal feelings and growth.  We received excellent feedback from our Line Managers on their engagements with Simon and Julia and they also reported very positive changes in the leadership behaviour of many of their direct reports, which they attributed to the Leadership Development programme that Simon and Julia were facilitating.  When they worked on ‘Insight Discussions’ with our Executives, during a very turbulent period, I received very positive feedback on the value that Simon and Julia had added to their perspectives.  Recently, Simon and Julia facilitated a guest seminar with students on a post-graduate course in Psychology and again, I received very positive feedback from the students – who now ask regularly when Simon and Julia are coming back.  I also have to note that the Aephoria team donated their time and travelled here at their cost, to do this.  They are endlessly patient, always attentive and very skilled at what they do.

Dr Grant Freedman, Senior Lecturer Organisational Psychology, Rhodes University