THE Dionne Van Zyl Grant

Men and women must be educated, in a great degree, by the opinions and manners of the society they live in. – Mary Wollstonecraft

Dionne Van Zyl

About Dionne Van Zyl

A proven senior-level executive with over 34 years of experience leading early-stage growth companies in high technology and financial services. Held 3 CEO positions and formed numerous creative high leverage alliances and high visibility Fortune 100 partnerships such as Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC “Wall Street”), DST Systems, CSC Continuum, Financial Holding Corporation, BMC Intelligent Technologies, and industry leader clients such as ING, Aegon, American Express, Zurich Kemper Life, Hartford Life, Pacific Life, American Scandia and Linclon Life.

An articulate visionary with a refined conceptual faculty to “cut through the fog” to penetrate the underlying issues and bring clarity. A leader with a proven ability to create focused teams that deliver return on equity to shareholders. As a fiercely persistent leader possessing consummate sales and operations executive abilities, building five new businesses. Provided CEO consulting services and restructured 9 companies improving their underlying economics and business models.

Dionne van Zyl

(BSc (Engineering), BA (Theology), MBA, Ph.D. (Management)


Following his graduation from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, with a BSc (Engineering) degree, Dionne joined the South African military, where he served as an officer in the Electronic Warfare regiment.

Dr. Van Zyl completed his BA (Theology) degree while serving as a full-time pastor at the Hatfield Christian Church in Pretoria, where he became an ordained minister.  He was also one of 5 leaders who formed a national movement called Interyouth to promote inter-racial harmony in South Africa.  Some of their meetings had over 11,000 young people of all races in attendance.

In 1990, he left the church to start Silicon Systems, CC providing military defense technologies in national defense contracts and later diversified into factory automation systems as the political climate changed.  He and his partners formed a joint venture with a German company to form BMC Intelligent Technologies (Pty) Ltd to provide financial services technologies for insurance companies. BMC grew into a R20 million venture before Dionne immigrated to the United States in 1994. 

Dr. Van Zyl successfully established Exchange America (a financial services technology business) in the USA.  Exchange America was a joint venture between Dexus Technologies, Inc., DST Systems, Inc, and Financial Holding Corporation, Inc.(the largest privately held insurance group in the USA).  DST is a publicly traded company with 11,000 employees providing recordkeeping for the mutual fund industry. FHC is a privately held company with over $4.6 billion in assets. He was appointed CEO of the joint venture in January 2001 with 85 employees and an 11-member executive management team. Exchange America was one of the first private companies to sign a contract with wall street’s DTCC (Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation), which processes 90% of all financial transactions in America ($63 trillion) for 3500 banks and insurance companies.   His company built a large data center and provided internet-based new business processing for banks and insurance companies.  Their clients included 8 of the 10 largest insurance companies, including Aegon, The Hartford, Pacific Life, American Express, and Scandia.

He completed his MBA and Ph.D (Management) in 2004.

In 1998, Dr. Van Zyl and his wife felt compelled to give back to their community by starting a school for academically able students.  Leveraging a similar model in Dallas, Texas, Deo Preparatory School was started. Within 3 years, it was one of the leading academic achievement schools in Georgia, and students scored in the top 4% of the nation on the highest testing standard.

Today, Dr. Van Zyl is the founder and President of i49 Group, Inc., which provides CEO consulting services and leadership training programs for emerging companies that have experienced success and want to take their companies to the next level. His clients include emerging businesses and multinational businesses spanning a range of industries, including technology, financial services, electronic manufacturing, real estate development, online marketing, and personal development companies.

In 2002, the Van Zyl family was proud to receive American citizenship.  Dionne and his wife Bridget live in Atlanta, GA. They have four married children and two grandchildren. 

Dionne Van Zyl Grant


1. Eligibility

Application Deadline: June 1, 2023

Award Announcement: June 15, 2023

Award Amount: $1000.00

Results will be posted on

2. Required Information

3. Essay question

What is the biggest accomplishment of your life? Explain what made it successful and what you learned from it that you could apply for the rest of your life.

Deadline & Announcement

Applications must be submitted on or before June 1, 2023

The awardee will be notified via email on June 15, 2023

Awardee will have his/her name  posted on