Ann Lourens is an Associate Professor at Nelson Mandela University and Project Leader for Women in Engineering Leadership Association (WELA). Ann obtained undergraduate qualifications in Operations Management followed by an MBA (Cum laude) and DBA. Prior to a career in academia at the former Cape Technikon (Cape Town) and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Port Elizabeth/Gqeberha), Ann worked in various manufacturing industries in operations-related positions.
 As an academic, Ann lectured a variety of modules on the Operations Management, Industrial Engineering, and MBA programmes. She has a keen research interest in the development and retention of students (particularly women engineering students) and to this end has developed and managed several co-curricular interventions.

Since 2011, one such project has been the design and management of the Women in Engineering Leadership Association (WELA) focusing on developing, supporting and mentoring women engineering students. Several conference proceedings and journal articles relating to this work have been published in addition to technology strategy research articles.

As current Head of Department and member of the Industrial Engineering team at Nelson Mandela University, close links are maintained with industry and several short learning programmes have been designed to develop employees representing various industries in and around the Eastern Cape. Notably, one of these programmes includes a leadership development programme for early-career male and females in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Production (STEP).