Tolerant Suzanne pays it forward
Words Fanie Heyns
Suzanne Ackerman-Berman is an executive director of the Pick ‘n Pay board and an ambassador of 1000 Women Trust.
Whilst a student at UCT, she was the first woman to chair the University Students Fund raising Rag committee and was elected vice-chair of SHAWCO.
After university, Suzanne received extensive training in supermarkets in France and the UK.
She settled in France, ran her own businesses in restaurants and nightclubs in a French Ski resort for seven years.
Returning to South Africa, she joined the family business as a trainee manager in fresh foods.
During her two decades of service to the company, she worked in various positions in the business.
In 2001, Suzanne was promoted to General Manager of Corporate Affairs and Social Responsibility.
In 2007, she was appointed Director of Transformation on the Group Executive. Suzanne has served as an executive director on the Board since her appointment in March 2010.
Suzanne is a guardian of the Red Cross Hospital Trust and sits on the board of the SMILE Foundation SA.
She is a patron of the Sunflower Fund and was awarded the Louis Volks Humanitarian Award by the Lions Club.
In April 2010, Suzanne graduated as a Fellow of the First Movers Fellowship Programme of the Aspen Business Institute of Management.
She co-authored a business book with Raymond Ackerman, “A Sprat to Catch a Mackerel”, dealing with the development of entrepreneurs in South Africa.
A passionate proponent of enterprise development, Suzanne has addressed conferences both locally and internationally on the subject. Suzanne is chairman of the Ackerman Pick n Pay Foundation, and head of the Pick n Pay Small Business Incubator.
A passionate proponent for equality, job creation and skills development, Suzanne assists many new entrepreneurs in all aspects of business and life skills through a detailed mentorship programme that ensures their sustainability as suppliers to the broader economy.
She has represented Pick n Pay and South Africa at National Retail Federation conferences in New York, USA and Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Suzanne is passionate about trying to make the world a better place, in attitude and in actions and by appreciating the beauty of nature and flowers.
The biggest influence in her life has been her parents. “They raised us with a deep awareness of the world around us, and constantly lead by example in everything they do, morally, socially and ethically.
“My personal motto is: do something to make a difference in someone’s life, every single day! No matter how small.”
Asked if there is anything that extraordinary women can do to assist her on her journey, Suzanne says: “Spread the message of tolerance and understanding towards all they meet, and live by the concept of Pay it Forward.”