Social Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Editor-in-Chief of Mel-J Director : MEL J (PTY) LTD
Co-Founder of H&M
Award Winning Author & Speaker
Multi-talented businesswoman and mom, Melissa Jacobs-Botes has invested much of her time towards social entrepreneurship. This decision can be attributed to the need she identified in her community, which she believed could be met through the upliftment of youth and women.
Born at Raheema Moosa (Corronationville) in 1983, Melissa lived in Eldorado Park until the age of 6, when her family moved to Lawley, South of Johannesburg.
Melissa’s love for writing was apparent at a young age, when she contributed to George Street Primary’s Valentine’s Day Booklet with two original poems.
Melissa went onto Fred Norman Secondary, where she was Monitor for two consecutive years, grades 10 & 11. Her matric year would showcase her leadership skills, as she became not only Prefect, but also Student Representative Council Representative, in the capacity of Editor of the School Paper. It was also in her final schooling year that Melissa was awarded a “Perseverance and Diligence” award, which is a true reflection of her character, even to this day.
In grades 10, 11 & 12 Melissa also served on the Peer Counsellor Committee, which was hosted through FAMSA. It was during this time that her love for social development emerged. Melissa finished her schooling in 2000 and the year thereafter volunteered and taught underprivileged children for two years through the Catholic Institution, while writing for the local newspaper.
At the age of 20 Melissa joined the insurance industry and many birthdays later she excelled inthe Industry with just over twelve years’ experience, becoming a subject expert on variousMultimark Classes – hosting workshops on Introduction to Insurance and also assisting policy holders to read and understand their policy wordings, in her personal capacity. She currently facilitates RE5 workshops, of the most difficult exams – Regulatory Exams are for professionals in the Financial Industry or those individuals who would like to pursue opportunities within the Financial Industry.
In 2012, Melissa created Mel J – under Melissa Publications. Mel J gives the necessary exposure for upcoming entrepreneurs and upcoming talent, whilst at the same time serving as an entertainment and motivational electronic magazine to her readers.
With women’s development close to Melissa’s heart; she eagerly serves as a philanthropist forprogrammes designed to develop and encourage women. She is also able to contribute to the development of others through her motivational speaking engagements with topics ranging from Work-life- Balance, Self-worth, Confidence and Positivity. No challenge is too big for Melissa who takes on each aspect of life with enthusiasm and passion. She is firm believer in theadage, “All things are possible”, which is at the core of her Motivational Speaking and enablesher to address audiences of all genders and ages. Also a firm believer in working hard and playing just as much.
Melissa resides in the south of Johannesburg with her Beautiful 8-year-old daughter, Jami. She is the third of seven children to Stephen & and Maggie Jacobs.
Melissa’s membership to Gauteng Women In Insurance (GWII) and her role in the BusinessWomen’s Association of South Africa (BWASA) is evidence of her belief in growth, networkingand investing in oneself.
Melissa firmly believes in providing platforms where women and girls can be supported through sustainable capacity building and leadership development programmes. She is a BWASA committee member, and was a mentee in the YALI & Cherie Blair Foundation programmes. Melissa was also in the 2016-2017 Lioness of Africa Incubator, powered by the Lionesses of Africa and Standard Bank.
Melissa won runner up in the 2017 Vita Basadi awards in the category “Community Heroine. TheVita Basadi Awards are hosted during the month of August by the Gauteng Legislature.
Melissa also won the Women of Valor Award in 2017, hosted by Mrs SA Finalist, Dr Karien Hendrieco. The Women of Valor Awards celebrate women who go the extra mile.
March 2018 saw Melissa walking away with the Premiers Award for Education & Skills Development, which speaks to everything Melissa stands for.
Melissa currently heads up two mentorship programmes : Mentorship 4 Women – where she gets successful women to mentor, inspire and motivate women within in her network & Mentorship 4 Girls where she has mentors for girls between the ages of 13 – 18, guiding and supporting them, as well as mentoring them. She has been running this mentorship programmefor the last three years. She’s also a co-founder of H&M where basic skills are shared in the form of workshops on a monthly basis, to develop and support women who want to run sustainable businesses.
Last and certainly not least, Melissa is the Award Winning Author of “When you get to my age” – a book she wrote in a sisterly tone on lessons learnt.