Illovo: 6 Countries. 30,000 employees

Having embarked upon a new Leadership and Employee development programme, Illovo Sugar (Africa’s largest sugar group) turned to Lumina Learning for support.

Illovo is a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, an international food, ingredients and retail giant with sales of £15.8bn, 138 000 employees and operations in 52 countries across Europe, southern Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia.

The Challenge

Beginning with the executive team in Malawi followed by the South African Executive team and the HR Executive team, Angela Eustache set to work with a will.

It was soon plain to see that Lumina Learning had much to offer Illovo Sugar and so it was decided that Lumina Spark would henceforth be its chief tool for enhancing leadership, team effectiveness and performance improvement in the 6 Countries in which it operates: Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Eswatini and Zambia.

Thus far, a not unimpressive 420 leaders have been through the Lumina process and the improvements in self-knowledge, understanding colleagues and boosting productivity has been little short of remarkable.

Illovo Africa embarked upon a programme to level-up leadership development and to improve teamwork.

After a major restructuring, Illovo Africa embarked upon a programme to level-up leadership development and to improve teamwork. Aimed at all leaders in the middle management level upwards, it sought to improve:

  • Leadership
  • Self-Awareness
  • Collaboration

Lumina Spark proved to be the perfect fit in this endeavour.

The powers that be were of the opinion that a pilot team would be the best way to proceed and the Illovo Malawi Executive Team was to be the ‘guinea pig.’ A new cosmopolitan team, it is and remains committed to personal and team development.

Working alongside with the Managing Director and the Business support team under the command of Carryn Tennant, Lumina Learning’s Angela Eustace mapped out a ‘development journey.’ To what end? Quite simply, to build a team of irreproachable excellence.

The first step was to find ways in which to improve communication and team dynamics. The executives were unanimously agreed that Lumina much the best method for doing so.

The first session went remarkably well, while the team’s subsequent sessions afforded further opportunity to shake up team’s thinking and approach.


Angela Eustace wove Lumina Spark into the Illovo’s people strategy by devising modules solely devoted to Team Effectiveness. To this end, she worked with all members of the executive teams before moving onto more junior employees in the business.

She arranged several Lumina Spark Team Viewer sessions as part of a new year goal setting exercise, all of which proved most useful to all concerned.
They then set about earmarking the most promising Employees (the crème de la crème of Illovo Africa) and had them fill out a “Lumina Spark’ portrait coupled with a tailor-made ‘Leading Self and Leading Teams’ module.

Its purpose? To make Lumina Spark the common language, a lingua Franca in the organisation. This in turn would make the complicated business of fostering an inclusive, agile and high performing culture much, much easier.

And it had to be scalable and sustainable-no small undertaking. That is why no fewer than 4 internal Lumina Spark facilitators were accredited to cope with demand.

In the short term, the chief aim was to deepen the self-awareness of every leader in Illovo Africa. And in this, Angela Eustace has been successful, training 200 leaders.

Long-term, the idea is to introduce Lumina Spark to the whole business. At present, the Lumina Spark Leadership Journey has reached a not unimpressive 420 leaders across the entire business in Africa.

It was hoped that Illovo would see greater engagement in its annual engagement survey and indeed this proved to be the case. There has been a marked improvement in personal and team performance. Leaders have aced their annual performance appraisals. In addition, Lumina Spark help been instrumental in helping the leadership team achieve its annual goals.

Working with the rhythm of the business and weaving the Lumina way into the business has materially assisted Leaders and Team working more productively and this in turn has had a beneficial effect on the bottom.

Nor does the appetite for all things Lumina show any signs of abating. Angela Eustace has now introduced the digital Spark Coach to squeeze every drop out of the Lumina Learning experience.

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