CEO Today Global Awards 2022

Lilian Niemann CEO, E-Squared Education Enterprises PAGE 22

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Welcome to the 2022 Edition of the CEO Today Global Awards. Dedicated to recognising strong corporate leadership, the CEO Today Global Awards is an annual celebration of the business leaders whose tireless work has enabled them to achieve success and reach new heights of innovation and growth in their sectors. As the international business world has slowly emerged from the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic with a new model of working, CEO Today Magazine has set out to identify the forward-thinking and disruptive CEOs who have best shown their ability to adapt to everchanging circumstances. CEO Today is ideally placed to recognise these rising talents, having featured business leaders from across every region and from all key business sectors. This year’s publication features exclusive interviews with these CEOs. Award winners include trailblazing E-Square Education CEO Lili Niemann, the innovative Terrence Moorehead of Nature’s Sunshine, and Piotr Babieno, head of acclaimed video game developer Bloober Team. Also featured are Tangentflow Inc CEO Corbin Coyes, whose innovations have uplifted the global oil industry, as well as Philipp Weiser and Aliyu Abdulhameed – respective heads of AnyDesk and NIRSAL – whose management excellence has earned recognition from the CEO Today Global Awards more than once. We at CEO Today are proud to present this special publication. Congratulations to all of our winners! 5 www. ceotodaymagazine . com

Featured Winners CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2 - 8 - Philipp Weiser AnyDesk Software GmbH - 14 - Aliyu Abdulhameed NIRSAL Plc - 22 - Lilian Niemann E-Squared Education Enterprisen - 28 - Piotr Babieno Bloober Team SA - 32 - Nicole Smith Masterplan PNM LLC - 36 - Terrence Moorehead Nature’s Sunshine - 42 - John Simmonds Neuven Group

9 www. ceotodaymagazine . com Germany CEO, AnyDe sk Sof tware GmbH Tür l ens t raße 2 , 70191 Stuttgar t , Ge rmany www. anydesk. com Philipp Weiser am Philipp Weiser, CEO of AnyDesk, the remote desktop platform of choice with more than 500.000.000 downloads worldwide. As CEO, my role is constantly changing. In the beginning, it involved focusing on different implementation projects and now it has morphed into focusing on high-level strategy, ensuring continued innovation, and addressing the concerns of my management team. The AnyDesk platform is a lightweight remote desktop application that offers excellent low latency connectivity, enhanced security, and a great UI, all of which has led to our rapid rise, which has proceeded even more quickly as remote working becomes more popular. I

making sure to coordinate between teams to hit strategic objectives. You can focus on different implementation projects much better early on, whereas now when you have 200 employees, you cannot call a meeting with all your employees each week, and you cannot address all the departments in the same manner. The answer we have found is to reflect on people in the best way you possibly can. That means addressing departments individually and having a solid management team that can do the same. In terms of keeping an innovative culture, we always encourage team members to raise questions and keep as open a mind as possible to the ideas they bring up. How important do you rate international expansion for your business growth as a SaaS company? It is extremely important, and that is why when you look at our website it is clear that we are focused on multinational business. When you create a solution for a problem that exists everywhere in the world, rolling it out to additional continents and creating infrastructure comes with risk and opportunity that tends to far outweigh that risk. We have found that putting in additional effort to localise, for example, can pay off in a big way. For example, traditional Chinese has been integrated into AnyDesk from the start, and it has given us a significant leg up on the competition. As a developer of remote working technology, how has your business developed during the pandemic, and how has this development progressed since? We have seen signups in the hundreds of 10 www. ceotodaymagazine . com For our readers who have not met you before, what was the initial vision that led you to found AnyDesk in 2014? I was deeply involved in the software business and had always been interested in business strategy. In my previous company, the strategy I saw was to build features into a platform that was not built in the optimal, scalable way and had room for improvement in its core product. Still, the higher-ups failed to see it that way, so I quit to found my own company, AnyDesk. The initial vision we had for AnyDesk was to build a super lightweight, ultra-low-latency remote desktop platform before focusing on growth and then using it as a platform to grow and develop additional features. What major challenges have you overcome since then? The primary challenge is the same as most hypergrowth companies face: scaling incredibly fast while performing a balancing act of maintaining an innovative start-up culture, yet CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2 We always encourage team members to raise questions and keep as open a mind as possible to the ideas they bring up.

millions during the pandemic, and that rapid growth is continuing. Though life will hopefully go back to normal in the near future, work’s ‘new’ normal is remote and hybrid offerings that tend to save time and money and make workers happier. The new remote and hybrid work reality means companies must ensure that they are compliant with local data regulations, can offer network admins greater transparency, and provide secure connections to work information even when employees are out of office. AnyDesk ensures the highest possible safety and compliance levels and as an added bonus, it is more convenient for users who can undertake memory-heavy tasks such as video editing with greater ease than on their personal computer. All of those changes and capabilities point to a continuation of the momentum we have been experiencing. What would you say is your greatest achievement of the past year? The way we were able to transition the company to the point where it is ready to execute on the expanded vision. In essence, both the product itself and the way our organisation is organised were entirely revamped to take the next steps towards expanded product offerings. Do you have any major projects currently in the works? We have several projects underway simultaneously, from those that will expand our reach, such as a new channel partners program, to a host of new product offerings that we are not able to provide details about just yet. Building on this, can you tell us anything about AnyDesk’s goals for 2022 and beyond? Expanding both the product itself and the markets 11 www. ceotodaymagazine . com Germany

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we operate in will be our major goal for the future. We have already built a scalable product and a team that has very few silos and can work towards shared goals with unbelievable effectiveness. Now it is about offering customers more, continuing to expand and localise internationally, and even testing out new use cases in parallel markets in streaming and elsewhere. What steps have you taken towards extending your offering? We introduced users to AnyDesk 7.0, which provided more privacy protections, upgraded performance, and created a UI that users love. We also just launched a new channel partners program, expanded to the Asia Pacific region, and raised a $70 million funding round led by legendary VC General Atlantic to fuel more growth and additional features. 13 www. ceotodaymagazine . com Germany On a personal note, is there a certain thing that you feel you could not live without? Negative liberty, meaning that you are in complete control of your own life and no one can force rules on to you. What motivates you toward success? The limitless potential and excitement of building a company that is truly international and helping steer the ship to have many different teams work towards a single goal. With many users in many different markets, once you reach a certain milestone it is simply an indicator of additional potential, and that is just by achieving a small portion of the strategic objectives. If you had to give a piece of advice to an aspiring tech CEO, what would it be? Read as many different books as you possibly can. Not only fiction, but also history books, and always try to think critically. Even the motivations of the characters in a novel can teach us about interpersonal relationships, and technical books can help the reader judge if a solution in their own work, even if vastly different, is good or bad. Expanding both the product itself and the markets we operate in will be our major goal for the future. W W W . A N Y D E S K . C O M

to engage and enrich millions of smallholder farmers and other value chain actors through the participation of commercial financiers. Inspired by NIRSAL’s track record of rigour and impact, governments across Africa are giving serious consideration to the NIRSAL model. Some have initiated contact with NIRSAL and are at various levels of discussion with the Abdulhameed-led management on the possible replication of the NIRSAL model in their respective jurisdictions. Having brought a wealth of experience to NIRSAL, Abdulhameed continues to build a commanding resume for even bigger national and transnational corporate stewardship. His agricultural finance and risk management experience has been honed during these years at NIRSAL, making him a dexterous manager of investments and risk leveraging technology. As a result, the responsiveness of commercial banks to investing in the agriculture sector is growing remarkably from a bitter past of unmitigated losses. In a development that highlights Abdulhameed’s growing regional influence, he was conferred with the Grande Chancellerie De L’Ordre Du Muno Award in June 2018 by Mr. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, President of the Republic of Togo. The award came after Abdulhameed successfully led the team that established the Togo Incentive-based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (TIRSAL/MIFA) – a replica institution of NIRSAL. This is with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB). 15 www. ceotodaymagazine . com Niger ia NIRSAL Plc’s mission statement is to forge partnerships between agriculture and finance, maximising the potential of agriculture for food security, job creation and economic growth. Manag ing Di re c tor & CEO, NIRSAL Pl c NIRSAL Pl c , Pl ot 1 581 , Ti g r i s Cre s c ent , Ma i tama , Abu j a , Ni ge r i a T: +234 813 988 2220 Aliyu Abdulhameed liyu Abdulhameed, the pioneer Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL Plc), is an adept Agricultural Economist, corporate development expert and programme management specialist with varied experience in institution building, process development and operational improvement. Under his leadership, NIRSAL has grown into a vibrant, high-performing institution that has notched impressive accomplishments and gained the respect and goodwill of beneficiaries, stakeholders and partners within and outside the country. It has facilitated over $716 million into the Nigerian agricultural and agribusiness sector through its credit risk guarantees; introduced innovative index-based insurance products to improve the income of farmers and reduce credit risk and created millions of direct and indirect jobs, that are positively impacting farmers’ livelihoods and communities across Nigeria. In NIRSAL, Abdulhameed is building an avant-garde institution that is playing a key role in Nigeria’s fight against poverty and unemployment through the conceptualisation and deployment of agricultural programmes designed A

16 www. ceotodaymagazine . com Can you tell us a little bit more about NIRSAL and what you do? NIRSAL Plc, the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending, is a USD $500 million Non-Bank Financial Institution and a wholly owned corporation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It is designed to redefine, dimension, measure, re-price and share agribusiness-related credit risk. The company was incorporated in 2013 to stimulate the flow of affordable finance and investment into the agricultural sector by derisking the agriculture & agribusiness finance value chains, fixing agricultural value chains, building long-term capacity and institutionalising incentives for agricultural lending through its five strategic pillars: Risk Sharing, Insurance, Technical Assistance, Incentives and Rating. NIRSAL Plc’s mission statement is to forge partnerships between agriculture and finance, maximising the potential of agriculture for food security, job creation and economic growth, while its vision is to transform the economy, deliver inclusive growth and impact lives. NIRSAL Plc specialises in Agriculture & Agribusiness project development, finance facilitation and agricultural risk management. We optimise agriculture and agribusiness, integrate agricultural value chains, facilitate finance and investments and manage agricultural risks through innovative risk management models and original Tools, Techniques, Methodologies & Partnerships (TTM&Ps). Some of NIRSAL Plc’s products and services include: • NIRSAL Credit Risk Guarantee (CRG) to share credit-related losses with financiers and investors with up to 75% principal and interest repayment. • Interest Drawback Support to reward diligent borrower behaviour through discretionary rebates of up to 40% of interest paid, thereby reducing the effective interest rate for borrowers in good standing.. • Bespoke value chain-specific agribusiness modelling for primary production and integrated projects. CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2

• Financing frameworks developed for fertiliser, grains and mechanisation of agriculture at scale, etc. to address working capital constraints associated with specific segments of the agricultural value chain. • Index-based insurance products to protect farmers’ revenues from losses due to pests, diseases, adverse weather conditions and general drops in expected yields. • Technical assistance support and capacity building for both agriculture and agriculture finance actors. • Comprehensive field monitoring comprising nationwide boots-on-ground Project Monitoring, Reporting and Remediation Officers, remote sensing using satellite based multispectral imaging and UAS-based monitoring. • Farmer structuring through the NIRSAL Agro Geo-Cooperative® Farming Model. Can you tell us about some of NIRSAL’s greatest achievements to date? Since its creation to date, NIRSAL Plc has made considerable progress. As a result of rigorous prudence, NIRSAL has recorded less than 1% risk crystallisation or claims payout on its core transactions. The company has also paid out over $7 million in Interest Drawback in support of good borrower behaviour. NIRSAL Plc has provided training and facilitated Agribusiness clinics for more than 700,000 farmers and over 4,200 Agric-desk officers of commercial banks across the country to build capacity and enhance productivity and the flow of finance and investments to the sector. In the area of Insurance, over 1.9 million farmers have so far subscribed to NIRSALfacilitated index-based agricultural insurance products. Additionally, nine insurance companies have secured approvals from the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) for the deployment of agricultural Insurance products as a result of NIRSAL Plc’s support. In 2021, NIRSAL Plc also completed the development of Climate Risk Profiles (CRPs) for an initial six of 15+ agricultural commodities. CPRs are comprehensive guides to investing in the production of some select Industrial, Consumer and Export commodities in climatechallenged environments. This is projected to be a useful guide to our farming stakeholders for the next 40 years at a minimum. The direct consequence of NIRSAL Plc’s aforementioned finance facilitation efforts is an estimated $2.5 billion worth of economic activity through agricultural products/outputs by the company’s interventions across agricultural value chains. How is NIRSAL contributing towards the attainment of Nigeria’s food security goals? The unstructured nature of primary production (farming) activities in Nigeria has historically deprived the country of the benefits that lie in economies of scale, mechanization and commercialization of agricultural production for optimum yields and financial returns. From this viewpoint, NIRSAL has introduced several innovations to address the current suboptimal agricultural production system, which is a major threat to food security in the country. Some of these innovations include: 1) NIRSAL’s Agro Geo-Cooperative® (AGC) farming model. This is a structured approach to addressing the inefficiencies associated with prevalent smallholder farming on disaggregated plots of land measuring 0.5 to 1.5 hectares on average, based on convenience or cultural preferences. Through the Agro Geo-Cooperative® farming model, NIRSAL aggregates parcels of contiguous farmlands of up to 250-hectare sizes within mapped Agricultural Commodity Ecological Areas (ACEA) then subsequently facilitates the flow of finance and investments to them whilst linking them to the Agricultural Input and Output markets. So far, up to 4,300 of these Agro GeoCooperatives® have been formed, covering over 943,297 hectares and 679,587 farmers. We have also formed 233 virtual Agro GeoCooperatives® (for non-crops) covering 7.5million production units of aquaculture and 17 www. ceotodaymagazine . com Niger ia

poultry and over 9,000 farmers. This means that, instead of going through the drudgery of financing millions of disaggregated entities to produce less output, financing would now be sought for only 4,300 entities cultivating about a million hectares of land, and 233 aquaculture and poultry entities. The numbers are still rising as our field systems are at work every day, collaborating with institutions and communities to achieve our goal of forming 16,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives® in the near future. In addition to the creation of Agro Geo-Cooperatives® to make primary production more efficient, NIRSAL is currently forming Input, Trading and Marketing Geo-Cooperatives® which entail the aggregation and GIS mapping of actors (Agro input suppliers, traders, and marketers respectively) within specified production areas into groups to service their respective linked markets. From this closely-knit arrangement, farmers are thus linked to nearby input suppliers and nearby processors, traders and marketers. This would make Nigeria’s agriculture sector a looped conveyor belt of value, with a strong case for commercial financing. 2) Agricultural Integrated Logistics Services. NIRSAL is currently collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI), security agencies and relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to draw 18 www. ceotodaymagazine . com CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2 up a policy on a Secured Agricultural Commodity Transport & Storage Corridor (SATS-C). This innovation is designed to address the challenges and bottlenecks experienced in the aggregation and haulage of food produce from the farm gate to markets across the country. It proposes a faster, secure, monitored and controlled approach to moving produce, rid of cases of multiple taxation and stoppages. SATS-C supports the free and timely movement of agricultural products irrespective of circumstances and would minimise wastage and post-harvest loss. NIRSAL is also implementing the NIRSAL Climate-Smart Irrigation System for Smallholder Primary Production as a scalable solar energy and gas-powered irrigation technology supportive of sustainable, year-round smallholder primary production. In what ways has your work developed since NIRSAL’s founding? All of NIRSAL’s efforts in fixing broken agricultural value chains, increasing optimisation and providing adequate risk management help to increase the confidence of lenders and investors in financing agriculture and agribusiness in Nigeria. To date, NIRSAL has facilitated over $716 million to various segments of the agricultural value chain from various sources, including deposit money banks, development financiers, private equity investment firms and other financial institutions. NIRSAL has trained over 4,200 NIRSAL has facilitated over $716 million to various segments of the agricultural value chain

staff of financial institutions to increase their understanding of the agriculture sector and its inherent potentials and orientate them on how to access available risk sharing and risk management instruments at NIRSAL. In 2021, NIRSAL developed several agribusiness models and collaborated with banks and financial institutions for the development of financing frameworks and financing product papers for the de-risked financing of Agro Geo-Cooperatives®, Trader Geo-Cooperatives and Marketing Geo-Cooperatives, with other products still in the works. Additionally, NIRSAL has developed five innovative index-based agricultural insurance products to deliver real value to agricultural value chain actors, and manage credit risks for lenders and investors as against the previous mono indemnity-based product that was available in the country before NIRSAL. As a result of NIRSAL’s intervention, nine (9) private insurance companies now have the approval of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to sell the NIRSALfacilitated index-based agricultural insurance products. Over 1.9 million farmer subscriptions have been recorded for the products since 2018. NIRSAL is still developing more products 19 www. ceotodaymagazine . com Niger ia for more effective field risk management in agriculture. NIRSAL has contributed significantly to the increase in bank lending to agriculture from 1.4% to 5.2% as of Q4 2020, and has completed the development of Climate Risk Profiles (CRPs) for an initial 6 of 15+ specified, market-based agricultural commodities. These are comprehensive guides to investing in the production of some select Industrial, Consumer and Export commodities in climate-challenged environments. This is projected to be a useful guide to our agricultural stakeholders for the next 40 years at a minimum. We estimate that NIRSAL’s finance facilitation efforts have generated an additional $2.5 billion worth of economic activity through agricultural products/outputs and other value chain economic activities. NIRSAL’s Credit Risk Guarantee beneficiaries attest to 20-60% increase in capacity utilization, productivity, number of markets served and sales value, and NIRSAL has been receiving overtures from other African countries to provide consulting support for the establishment and implementation of Risk Sharing facility models in their respective jurisdictions. What challenges have you faced as head of NIRSAL during these endeavours? Some of the challenges faced in the execution of NIRSAL’s innovative solutions include: • Limitation of NIRSAL’s Risk Sharing Fund; • Difficulty in securing large expanses of unencumbered agricultural land; • Inadequate investments in land development and parcellation;

• Land access and title issues; • Failure to revive idle/dead agricultural assets (plantations and infrastructure) across LGA, state and federal levels; • Unavailability of patient capital for large scale agricultural investments; • Non-harmonised agro-logistics system; • Inadequacy of equipment, technological and intellectual capitals for agriculture. NIRSAL continues to recreate and improve its solutions through the adoption of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), to build the agility and capacity required for success in the volatile, uncertain and complex agricultural production environment typical of emerging agricultural economies of the world. Can you share anything about your plans for 2022 and beyond? NIRSAL will continue to pursue its target to aggregate, structure, optimise and facilitate finance and markets for 16,000 Agro Geo-Cooperatives® covering 4 million hectares of farmland and 8 million smallholder farmers over the medium term. We will also strengthen and expand efforts which commenced in 2021 in creating Processing, Trading and Marketing geo-cooperatives that will be mapped to production within Agro Geo-Cooperatives. In addition, we will strengthen partnerships with financial institutions in finalizing and launching financing frameworks and product papers for increased flow of finance to various commodities and segments of agricultural value chains under risk-controlled arrangements. We will partner with relevant stakeholders to take our models to scale for a wider positive impact on economic growth, employment creation and livelihoods improvement. 20 www. ceotodaymagazine . com CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2

(a private higher education institute). The organisation continues to innovate with the 2020 launch of its international online company, eCUBE Online. E-Squared Education Enterprises has secured global partnerships with Durham University, the Entrepreneurship Institute and Genius U, as well as being the only Microsoft partner in the Eastern Cape. These collaborations, together with cutting edge technology available at the Campus and a value system aligned with the 17 self-sustainable goals of the United Nations, are the core strength and focus which grounds Lili’s private education institution. Successful alumni have excelled both nationally and internationally – from soccer players in Belgium to athletes in the London Olympic Games and opera singers in New York. On top of this, Lili launched the Rara Avis Foundation out of her strongly-held belief that education should not be about teaching learners in order to make money, but instead to strive to make money in order to provide a consistent learning platform. More than 35 million rands were donated to deserving learners and students via the Rara Avis Foundation in the past 28 years by supportive partners, trusts, donors, foundations and directors of E-Squared Education. 23 www. ceotodaymagazine . com South Af r i ca E-Squared also seeks to become the world’s foremost education centre and an Institution which creates entrepreneurs who are job creators, not job seekers. CEO, E-Squared Educat i on Ente r pr i s e s 1 Govan Mbeki Avenue , Cent ra l Por t El i zabe th, 6001 T: +2 7 082 570 0448 | l i l in@e - square . co . za | www. e - square . co . za www. rara -avi s . org | www. e cubeonl ine . com | www. l i l ibouwe rni emann . com Lilian Niemann ili Niemann, founder and CEO of E-Squared Education Enterprises, is a dedicated and passionate educational entrepreneur who is driving change in South Africa via education. She fulfils many roles as a businesswoman, social entrepreneur, philanthropist, art lover, avid reader, agent of change, mother of two and grandmother of one, and beneficiary of over 37,000 students. Lili obtained an Honours Degree in Music in the late 70s and was lecturing Music at Nelson Mandela University when she had her vision to start Ed-U College Port Elizabeth Saturday School at the dawn of the new democracy in South Africa. Without any formal business degree, MBA, HR or sales and marketing qualification – but with an abundance of passion, creativity, energy and enthusiasm and the support of her family, she excelled. She has survived an extremely tough education entrepreneurship journey as CEO of E-Squared Education Enterprises for 28 years. E-Squared Education Enterprises is a worldclass education organisation that creates entrepreneurs. Today, it has educated more than 37 000 students ranging in age from 6 to 80 across its various educational entities: Ed-U College Port Elizabeth Schools (pre-primary, primary and high schools); Ed-U Options Academy (a private vocational college) and Ed-U City Campus L

and inspiring people that I ended up finding my path in life. By teaching and encouraging the learners in the township school in Port Elizabeth I realised that I could be successful and give back through becoming an educational entrepreneur,” Lili explains. Social Entrepreneurship and Giving Back Lili is a committed philanthropist and social entrepreneur. She established the Rara Avis Foundation in 1996 to support talented students and help them to achieve their full potential. This was achieved through providing gifted students with bursaries, with the financial help of corporate sponsors, for Excellent Achievements in Academics, Music and Sport. “I have always been a social entrepreneur first and a business entrepreneur second, as business was the mechanism I used to create change in education in South Africa and soon, globally,” concludes Lili. The way people access education has changed dramatically over recent years, with online learning now becoming more popular than ever. But as the new global environment becomes more competitive and knowledge-based, millions of people without online access are getting left behind. Lili Niemann has built her career on redressing the balance by making quality learning accessible to all. eCUBE Online is Lili’s latest venture, reinforcing her dedication to innovation and entrepreneurship. The new online service will eventually offer nearly 1,000 varied courses that will be available to candidates all around the world, any time, any place, through any mobile device with an internet connection. The Impact of COVID-19 on Education Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the move towards online learning is more critical than ever as the world faces the challenges of isolation and blended learning. The move towards online learning comes at a pivotal time for South Africa, which is currently facing many economic challenges and a significant jobs shortage as well as critical pandemicrelated obstacles. However, Lili and her team of passionate, dedicated educational professionals are focused on making quality education as easily accessible as possible. Her latest online educational platform further solidifies Lili’s commitment to innovation and change in education. 24 www. ceotodaymagazine . com The Motivation to Start “I had a vision. I saw this huge education centre, with people streaming in and out, day and night, talking about all the wonderful things happening inside the centre.” At the dawn of the new South Africa – the first democratic elections, 28 years ago – Lili Niemann started a Saturday school, Ed-U College Port Elizabeth, teaching extra classes for township learners. Today, E-Squared Education has educated more than 37 000 students ranging in age from six to 80 from pre-primary school to university level. Lili’s vision is for E-Squared Education to become a world-class organisation – a global provider of relevant online learning via the eCUBE online platform. E-Squared also seeks to become the world’s foremost education centre and an Institution which creates entrepreneurs who are job creators,not job seekers. Lili hopes to make education even more accessible by taking her courses online, thereby making a world-class education possible for local South Africans and the world, and to produce self-motivated individuals who are ready to tackle the next phase of their lives, whether in education or the corporate world. It Starts with Passion In 1994, while conducting research for her Master’s Degree in music, Lili Niemann began investigating the link between music and maths. After spending time at a few Eastern Cape primary schools, Lili discovered that many of the township learners were behind, especially in the area of mathematics. This situation resonated with Lili, who then decided to start a Saturday township school where she could help disadvantaged learners catch up with their peers. “It was through my passion for education CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2 Lili and her team of passionate, dedicated educational professionals are focused on making quality education as easily accessible as possible.

access to a top-notch education. All that is needed is a digital device and reliable internet connection,” says Lili. “The online programmes are developed with remote learning in mind and are structured to teach people the skills they need to become self-reliant and reach their educational goals. After they have completed their course, they will also have the skills necessary to be successful in their career pursuits.” Globalisation and technology have radically changed the way we live; transforming the world economy and connecting us in ways that past generations could never have imagined possible. This can be seen in all aspects of life, but one of the most exciting paradigm shifts has been in the education sector. The way we see access learning has changed dramatically over recent years, and it is now possible to access a quality education without ever setting foot in a classroom. For children growing up in the digital age, technology provides a powerful platform on which to play, socialise and learn. Online learning is also often a cheaper option, which also makes it more accessible to students on tight budgets, and the use of the internet has made it easier for students and teachers to collaborate and share resources and ideas. All of these combine to create an enriching, environmentally sustainable learning experience with huge potential. Online learning has created a far broader, more flexible educational environment, and it is widely considered that the future of education is online. But there is still work to be done. As the new global environment becomes more competitive and knowledge based, millions of people are getting left behind. Over 265 million children are still not in any form of education, of whom 22% are of the crucial primary age. While basic numeracy and literacy skills are improving and there are more learning opportunities for women and girls compared to ten years ago, there is still great disparity higher up the educational ladder. As noted above, Lili Niemann has built a career on redressing the balance. Having already established an exceptional educational institution that is inclusive and accessible, she is now embracing the technological revolution by offering online learning as well. The COVID-19 pandemic underscored Lili’s drive to move her education platform online. Collaboration and Philanthropy “Collaboration is an important element of our work. We have secured global partnerships with Durham University Business School, Nuffic & PUM Netherlands, University of Twente, the Entrepreneurship Institute and GeniusU.” 25 www. ceotodaymagazine . com South Af r i ca eCUBE was already in the pipeline before COVID-19 forced most educational facilities to think online and digital, and over the course of the next year Lili aims to release hundreds of new online courses based on the need and demand that she anticipates. Programmes are developed specifically around practical teaching and learning, encouraging important skills such as self-motivation to help students realise their potential as business leaders themselves. eCUBE ONLINE offers a host of Matric subjects, including the opportunity to upgrade SA Matric as well as Microsoft IT courses, because this is where Lili sees a gap and an opportunity. “Online is how most people choose to learn these days, whereas before faceto-face was the norm. eCUBE ONLINE gives anyone anywhere in the world

Perseverance is the Key to Success Finding her path was easy; the difficult part was leaving the surety of her lecturing job at the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE). “When I started as an educational entrepreneur, I had no business knowledge, an overdraft of R20,000 to fund my business, an Honours Degree in Music, the will to succeed, and the vision to create a global business in education,” says Lili. “And 28 years later, my dreams have come true. With the launch of eCUBE ONLINE, we are now a global player offering education worldwide.” Lili has also faced many obstacles over the 28 years it took to create the successful educational business she has today. “When you are an entrepreneur it’s not all smooth sailing; bad things happen, there are some very tough times and lonely times when you run your own business,” says Lili. “When you start becoming successful, suddenly people who never supported you want a piece of it. You learn very quickly who your true support system is and your strength of self,” says Lili. Strength of Character “When you first start out on your entrepreneurial journey you are excited and the opportunities are endless,” explains Lili. “However, you need to be ready to face some difficult situations and overcome tough barriers to get to where you ultimately want to be.” “If being an entrepreneur was easy, everyone would be one. To be an entrepreneur you need to have the strength of character to stay true to your goals and not take no for an answer.” 26 www. ceotodaymagazine . com CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2 Adapt to Change and Keep Going “Change is inevitable. As an entrepreneur you need to embrace your ever-changing business environment and be flexible enough to turn it into an opportunity for growth. Pivot the business, expand, grow, and innovate to stay relevant. “A good example of this which I have experienced in my career is the impact technology has had on my business – which is why I launched eCUBE ONLINE.” Lili reminds us that quitting should never be an option: “Twenty-eight years ago, I started an educational business based on my passion for teaching music and math, which turned into an education success story. All of which would not have existed today if I had stopped when I thought I had reached the top.” Future Ventures and Plans “E-Squared Education Enterprises is working steadily as part of the global GeniusU group to become a globally accessible education platform. “The CEO Today Awards 2022 will give global recognition to E-Squared Education Enterprises, which will boost our global status. I am honoured to be nominated for this prestigious award. In this coming year we will deepen our commitment to innovation and change in education via our global online growth plans.” For children growing up in the digital age, technology provides a powerful platform on which to play, socialise and learn.

Image Credit: Tomasz Gotfryd

29 www. ceotodaymagazine . com Poland CEO & Co -Founde r, Bl oobe r Team SA Bl oobe r Team SA, Cys te rsów 9, 31-553 Kraków, Po l and Te l : +48 1 2 35 38 555 | Fax : +48 1 2 35 93 934 | piot rb@bloober team. com Piotr Babieno y name is Piotr Babieno, CEO and co-founder of the Bloober Team. The company focuses on creating mature horror video games with a deep story and an eerie atmosphere, key ingredients of a chilling and memorable experience. Bloober Team is the largest European developer of horror games and creator of worldwide bestsellers Layers of Fear, Observer, Blair Witch and The Medium. In January 2018 we received the Paszport Polityki award in the ‘Digital Culture’ category, and in June 2021 we began a partnership with industry veterans Konami to jointly share technology and cooperate on game development. We would like to become a leader of horror as a whole genre in upcoming years. A selection of Bloober Team’s psychological horror best-selling and award-winning projects; Blair Witch, The Medium and Observer. M Can you tell us a little about what led you to found Bloober Team in 2008? It was the result of many years of work. Before Bloober Team there was Nibris, which was founded by myself and Piotr Bielatowicz in 2006. We were already aiming to create high-quality horror games at that time. The first project of Nibris was Sadness – a unique horror game with exceptional black and white graphics. We created a critically acclaimed trailer for the title, but ultimately the project was discarded, as we had to find funding for our next projects. Finally, we decided to work with Satus Ventures, but there was a catch: because of certain regulations we had to create another company. We called it Bloober Team, which was intended to be a transitional name as we were developing a game titled Double Bloob. As you know, it stayed with us to this day. What would you say are the greatest challenges you have overcome since those early years? There were many great challenges, all of which tested different parts of the Bloober Team’s vision. From my point of view, the most crucial

30 www. ceotodaymagazine . com thing was to find the identity of our company. For many years we were struggling as one of many small companies in the industry, being torn apart between our ideas and marketable content. We hit our all-time low in 2014 with the premiere of Basement Crawl – the worst game in the history of the PlayStation 4 (at least at the time of the console’s launch). Bloober Team became synonymous with bad games in general. The team’s morale was abysmal and we had to reinvent ourselves, find a new path. This led us back to Nibris’s vision of psychological horror. We rebounded, creating Layers of Fear and Observer. We turned failure into success and people still cannot believe how we managed to achieve it. In other interviews, you have described The Medium as Bloober Team’s most ambitious project yet. How has its reception affected your team’s priorities for future projects? The initial idea for the title can be traced back to the early 2010s. We were waiting for the day when the game would not be limited by the technical solutions of consoles. It was the biggest game budget and development-wise and it shows not only in the scale of our game but also in a new look; it was the first game maintained in third-person perspective, typical of action-packed games like Uncharted. The critical acclaim The Medium received strengthened our belief in the path we have chosen and confirmed our vision of scaling up the business. We have our DNA, we specialise in horror games and our upcoming games are expected to have much more action – the success of our last game did not change that, only sped up some processes. How did your recently announced partnership with Rogue Games come about? We have known Rogue’s team for some time now. CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2 Image Credit: Tomasz Gotfryd

We have great respect for them and their way of working. There is some great news to reveal about our future project, but not at this time…! Can you share anything about what Bloober Teammay have in store for this year? We are developing two projects. One of them is the intellectual property of Konami. Our second project is being developed in collaboration with Private Division and is even bigger than Konami’s project. Additionally, we are always looking for a way to surprise our fans, so there are other announcements yet to come. What would you say is your proudest career achievement to date? The creation of a brilliant team. Bloober Team is full of artists and exceptional people, thanks to whom we are constantly developing and creating better and better games. Our company has become one of the most important horror makers in the world, which is all the more impressive as we began our journey by creating the worst PS4 game. Past employees have come back to us after years because they claim that the atmosphere at Bloober Team cannot be found anywhere else. This is the most important thing for me, because the gaming industry is primarily people! Is there a particular motto or creed that motivates your work? Successes create ego, failures shape character. Without humility in its governance, a company will not be able to operate seamlessly in the long term. My goal as Bloober Team CEO is to create solid foundations in the company that will prevail over the test of time. I hope that in years to come when I am retired, these foundations will still exist. I hope that I am able to strike this balance between ego and character. Do you have a vision for the future of the video game sector in Poland and internationally? We should expect more and more M&A transactions – it is a sign of the maturity of any industry. Poland is one of the main players in this market. Polish companies have clear visions and projects that are attractive to Western funds and investors, who are looking for something other than EBITDA. They are coming for IPs, creative teams and future plans. Poland is one of the most creative parts of this industry. 31 www. ceotodaymagazine . com Poland W W W . B L O O B E R T E A M . C O M Bloober Team is full of artists and exceptional people, thanks to whomwe are constantly developing and creating better and better games.

33 www. ceotodaymagazine . com USA CEO, Mas te r p l an PNM LLC Lar t i sha ‘Ni co l e ’ Smi th - Mas te r p l an PNM LLC Ema i l : ni col ere 1@hotma i l . com Nicole Smith icole Smith is one of the most original talents to come to the business world. She is a trusted expert in executive leadership, business strategy and innovation who has spent over 16 years leading teams and building companies from the ground up. She delivers actionable, valuable and practical advice for leaders at all levels of an organisation. She has been helping to improve operations and drive company growth as the CEO of Masterplan PNM. She is responsible for overseeing budgets across all departments and meeting with members of executive committees to determine the viability and cost of different projects. She has been able to use her natural leadership skills and creative thought process to generate new strategies for improving project performance, harnessing the talents of colleagues on the team to improve turnaround time. She is an unapologetic entrepreneur, philanthropist, proud HBCU alumnus and lifelong advocate for those who feel they have no voice. Her love for real estate, business, and living a full, well-rounded life has moulded her to great heights. Nicole is bold, bodacious, and confident – a true entrepreneurial businesswoman you want on your team! Born and raised in New Jersey, she has learned to stay on her toes. Since beginning her journey in real estate at the young age of 13, she never looked back. Due to her being too young to obtain her real estate license she joined multiple real estate investor associations to find mentors to show her the industry and knew business was where her heart was. Masterplan PNM LLC was created in 2010 to provide businesses with her consultation services. She credits her success to her business opportunities, network, and determination. Under Nicole’s leadership, Masterplan PNM has expanded from a singular brick-and-mortar location in New Jersey to a global entity, spanning across 30 countries and giving businesses the tools they need to achieve lifelong economic independence, birthing California Select Realty. Not only has Nicole expanded the organisation geographically but delivered businesses with a plethora of creations at all points of their development cycle. California Select Realty offers a full continuum of consulting services suiting a business essentially from the inside out and uniquely positioning organisations as global leaders in diversity and business in this everchanging era. She has utilised her Big Four consulting experience to manage multimillion-dollar projects for Fortune 500 clients. Nicole’s game-changing presence is sure to cement her as one of the top rising among the business world. N Starting in real estate at 13 years old, I always had to multi-task. As I became an adult, I continued to keep a full plate.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your expectations for the future? As a professional with over 16 years of real estate experience, COVID-19 was another hill in the game that allowed for some amazing developments to transpire with a surge in remote access, allowing for growth and for business to be conducted from anywhere. I have always made sure to look forward while staying present, riding the real estate market wave to best suit our clients’ and potential clients’ best interests. What are the greatest challenges that you have faced in your career to date? The consistent hustle has always been my greatest challenge – always being too busy to even make lasting friendships and always being my own biggest competition. Starting in real estate at 13 years old, I always had to multi-task. As I became an adult, I continued to keep a full plate. I was proud to be pursuing multiple degrees and sleeping every other day. I invested myself in pursing my real estate empire, which hindered my teenage social life. While kids my age were enjoying their youth, I was building a brand. At that time, it was not the norm as it is now. Do you have an ultimate goal for the future? Yes, but I do not speak on projected goals. I just show results! What motivates you to achieve greater success? As Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” My motivation is happiness and helping our clients! Not to mention health, wealth, my family 34 www. ceotodaymagazine . com What first kickstarted your career in real estate? My career in real estate started at the age of 13 when looking at properties with my family. I was not old enough to obtain my real estate license, so I joined a few real estate investor groups and was mentored by some of the biggest players in the game at the time. I learned specifically what investors were looking for, how to price repairs, structure deals, and negotiate. The most valuable lesson was always to stay ready for the next craze, to stay relevant, and to never stick to one method or niche. What trends are you currently seeing in the US real estate sector? 8. How do you expect to see the real estate market develop through 2022? Currently in the US real estate sector the available inventory is scarce and looks like it will remain low while price points rise. Whether an individual or business is looking to buy, sell, or rent, the inventory on the market is slim and going fast. Online companies such as the expansion of Masterplan PNM – now known as DBA California Select Realty – are growing, offering services to buy and sell your house for you by taking care of all the fixing and selling it at a higher price point. Online closings are becoming a big success with the new digital trends entering the real estate sector, such as electronic signature apps and remote online notarisation. There are a lot of new real estate companies and real estate agents, yet buyers should be sure to find professionals that have knowledge in the field. Creative financing is also seeing a rise again, whether through wholesaling, rent-to-own and seller financing, which allow for more flexible terms and a win-win for everyone involved. CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2 W W W . M A S T E R P L A N P N M . Y O L A S I T E . C O M

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