Shirley Zinn serves as Executive Director on the Board of Boston Consulting Group. Shirley is a coach, mentor, and entrepreneur who has served on the boards of several major companies, trusts, charities, and universities. She was formerly Group Head of Human Resources at Woolworths Holdings Limited, Head of Human Resources of Standard Bank South Africa, and Deputy Global Head of Human Resources for the Standard Bank Group. 

Shirley also heads her own company, Shirley Zinn Consulting, that provides consulting and advisory services in HR, transformation, leadership, and education. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences as a keynote speaker. 

In 2015, Shirley published her autobiography, “Swimming Upstream.” Since the launch of her book, she has done several “Swimming Upstream” talks nationally at corporates, schools, universities, and charities, with the hope of motivating and inspiring especially disadvantaged youth and women.


  • Doctorate in Education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education
  • Master’s in Education, Harvard University Graduate School of Education


  • Top Woman in Business and Government and Top Executive in Corporate South Africa, Topco Media, 2008
  • Top Woman in Business and Government and Most Visionary Woman in 2008, Black Business Quarterly
  • Excellence in Global HR Leadership, World Human Resources Congress in Mumbai in 2007 and 2013
  • Top 30 Wonder Women in South Africa, Wits Business Journal
  • Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government for 2016 in the SME Sector, CEO Global
  • Continental Winner in the Business and Professional Services Sector by CEO Global, 2018