Michelle Odayan is an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and a social entrepreneur with vast multisectoral experience in leading and supporting justice sector reforms, institutional change and transformation efforts in Africa. She is a strategist and enabler (from under trees to boardrooms) in advancing human rights and social justice as a key lever for good business, ethical governance and active citizenship. Over the past 24 years, she has led diverse teams with multimillion-rand project portfolios supported by international donor and government investments in Southern and East Africa in areas of social and economic development, sustainability and integrated reporting, high impact skills development and entrepreneurship, democracy and governance, and access to justice. Post 1994, she was instrumental in the planning and execution of public-private partnership projects, institutional mergers and rendered extensive technical assistance to various state entities in South Africa. Between 1999 and 2013 she spear headed the restructuring of the lower courts of the criminal and civil justice system and contributed to the vast court leadership, management and case flow reforms that are institutional features within the Office of the Chief Justice. She is currently the Executive Director at Probono.Org in South Africa and serves on the Boards of Legal Aid South Africa, the Fibre, Process & Manufacturing Sector Education & Training Authority and People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA). She is a vociferous champion for women’s rights. In 2012 – 2013 she was a ministerial appointee to the National Task Team on Sexual Offences Legislation that collectively crafted a robust strategy for the Re-Establishment of Sexual Offences Courts and also served on the Presidents Working Group on Women from 2005 – 2007. She has held formal positions with ACCORD, Olive OD&T, Business Against Crime, Agenda Feminist Media and the National Centre for State Courts (USA) and is the co founder of the Indiba Africa Group.
Michelle Odayan will participate in the World Justice Forum working session Scaling Pro Bono to Increase Access to Justice.