As a confident, award-winning businesswoman with integrity and a high level of commitment, blessed with a naturally positive and motivational approach to life and business, I am a leader with a passion to see and help people succeed in life. I enjoy challenges that stretch me and thrive on finding solutions that bring about change and improvement, which is reflected in my results-driven attitude, proven record of success, my focus on customer service excellence, and attention to detail.
When first approached to become part of the SACBW to lead a local branch, I first declined as I hate ‘committees’, having always found them to be ‘all talk and no action’ and that is NOT what I am about! However, something the then President Elise Coetser said caught my attention as she elaborated on the slogan of the organisation “Unlocking Potential”. As someone that has a seemingly inbuilt desire to see people unlock their potential and succeed, this is what ‘hooked’ me and I said yes, and the rest has become part of history and my legacy, bringing me great fulfillment and joy and is the reason why I am still involved in the organisation.
My focus in business has not only been that of building a profitable business, but also the empowerment of women into the tourism industry by assisting and mentoring them into creating tourism-related businesses, therefore, becoming part of a national organisation that shares a similar vision, has been a perfect fit.
Married with 4 (now adult) children, I have been in business for myself for the past 30+ years, bringing my expertise from my studies at the University of the Free State and Word of Faith Bible School, where I completed my theological qualification, together with all the business and self-development courses over the years and the vast experience I have in the business, travel, tourism, events and not-for-profit space, into all that I do.
My belief is that everyone is born with a seed of greatness within them and therefore you should always be learning something new, growing, exposing those seeds of greatness within you to the right environment, surrounding yourself with success-minded people, and stretching yourself. This is something I practice daily and it is what has taken me from an “I’d rather sing than talk” person, where I would literally freeze in the middle of a word, never mind a sentence, when speaking to a group of just 4, to someone who is comfortable to now speak in front of a crowd, be it 4, 400, 4000 or more.
In my role as first Vice President for 2 years, then National President for almost 4 years, and later CEO of the SACBW, I have had the privilege of traveling across the country to meet and motivate women on all levels of business. I have had the honour of delivering inspirational talks countrywide and have been able to use my positive attitude to life, in general, to inspire and impact people from all walks of life, thereby reinforcing and deepening my desire to ‘make a difference’. I have been inspired beyond words as I have heard stories of how women have ‘beaten the odds’ and succeeded, how the SACBW has helped them expand their thinking and thereby expand their businesses!
As someone who loves to travel, it was great to be able to arrange one of our yearly leadership sessions on a cruise to the Portuguese Islands during my term as President, taking people out of their comfort zones and opening up their eyes to new possibilities and wider horizons, then take that and implement it into the SACBW.
Some of the highlights of my Presidency:
- Increased membership by 300% & established 7 new branches.
- Signed an MOU with JobClub to promote and develop entrepreneurship for the youth.
- Put the organization onto national television and radio – see one of my interviews on SABC here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLouK8b-pGE.
- Achieved all goals as set out, including the rebranding and technology goals (total revamp of the website) and implementation of a turnaround strategy.
- Re-wrote and signed a new SACBW constitution to comply with the non-profit requirements.
- Unanimously elected (yearly) as National President of SA Council for Business Women.
- 2013 – Part of the signatory team with the AHI that signed a historic cooperation agreement in the National Parliament between local governments and private businesses.
- Hosted and arranged the first-ever international speaker at one of our yearly congresses by bringing Loral Langemeier from the USA over to come and teach us her YES philosophy.
- Organised, hosted, and facilitated the 25th-year anniversary red carpet event.
My advice to women is to believe in themselves as they have way more in them than they realise and/or give themselves credit for; surround themselves with people who believe in them and want to see them succeed; take a stand and don’t ever allow anyone to treat you as a ‘lesser’ human; take a chance on YOU and step out on the limb to achieve that which you have set your heart and mind to! YES YOU CAN!
Melinda was one of the 3 national finalists in the SACBW ‘Business Woman of the Year’ in 2008 and was the national finalist and runner-up in the ‘Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business 2014’ awards in the Tourism & Leisure sector.
Presently she owns and runs 3 different businesses and through some of these businesses, she not only empowers others but assists them in creating their own businesses, leading, inspiring, and mentoring them.