Winda was introduced to the National Council for Businesswomen in 1993 at the founding meeting of the Cape Town Branch, led by the then President, Erna Pretorius. She was elected as a committee member and became the leader of the branch in 1995. The Cape Town branch grew to a well-represented women’s organization in the Cape Town area,  with a total number of 125 paid-up members. Winda was elected as the President of the Council in 1996 and took the reigns from Theresa van der Merwe. She was assisted by two vice presidents, namely Adv. Francis Bossman and Dr. Brenda Hattingh, and held this position for three years until she was succeeded by Rita Aucamp in 1999.

In 1997 the name of the organization was changed to the South African Council for Businesswomen and the Council had representation across all the provinces with 19 branches.

Highlights from Winda’s term as president include the following:

  • Served on the National Council of the AHi and was invited to a meeting between business and (the late) President Nelson Mandela. This meeting took place at the Old Mutual head office in Pinelands, Cape Town in 1997.
  • She attended an International Conference for Businesswomen Organizations in Frankfurt and was also one of the guest speakers.
  • Whilst in Europe and meeting with a few businesswomen organizations, she attended a luncheon hosted by the South African Embassy in Brussels on her behalf thanks to the affiliation to the AHi. Afterward, she met with the Belgium Minister of Finance to discuss possible future collaboration. The same year the SACBW also had an international guest speaker at the national gala event.
  • The annual SACBW Business Women of the Year competition with categories for Professional, Corporate, and Entrepreneur was the highlight of the gala. Winda won the Western Cape Corporate Business Woman of the Year in 1996.
  • She had meetings with a number of international businesswomen organizations in the USA and was privileged to be assisted by Dr. Annique Theron in Dallas.
  • The three national gala events were very well attended and took place at Camps Bay Hotel, the V&A Waterfront, and Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.

Winda’s involvement in organized business originated with a passion to assist in the empowerment of businesswomen and to make a positive difference in the lives of our youth. Being involved with the AHi since 1996 made her realize that it is an honour to donate time to organized business in order to make a difference not only in people’s lives but also in the economy of our country.

She has been a director of the SBI for the past 7 years and is as Business Chamber President responsible to look after the interests, advice, and support of the business chamber members.  She believes that much-needed job creation and economic growth can only be achieved by the SMME segment of the SA economy, and these are the members of the business chambers. The current climate for inclusive economic growth also offers many challenges and she believes organized business can be one of the main contributors in the growth of the South African economy.

Collaboration is the key to success, and she strongly believes with unity in purpose and vision, and utilization of the synergy in our diversity, the role-players in organized business can change South Africa into a country where people can live and work with dignity, with a sense of self-esteem and confidence in the future.

Bernard Swanepoel (newly elected president), Winda Austin-Loeve (vice-president) and Christo Botes (immediate past president) at the 2017 SBI gala event in George.

Cerita Nagy, Winda Austin-Loeve & Rika Venter at the 2017 SBI gala event.

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