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Previously Featured

Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Carol Matthyse

Carol Matthyse - Love Knows No Bounds & Agape Haven Restoration Centre

Carol MatthyseI am a 49year old house executive, wife and mom of 2 sons. I am a citizen of Cape Town, SA. I am the author of "The Preparation for my Destination" I have a passion working with women, bringing restoration to spirit, soul and body of precious women.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.

In 2002 I started working with women in our surrounding communities. Having women camps and my focus was esspecially on women living in disadvantage communities, who cannot afford to go for counceling, who cannot afford to go and sit in a coffee shop with another girl friend. I have a great passion working with women. Seeing them restored to their original design and to walk in their GOD ordained purpose for their lives. As a woman who travelled through lives very painful journeys myself, I would like to see women being lifted out of their valleys of despair, depression, abuse, hurt, rejection ect... and learning them to know their self worth as a beautiful, WOW - Woman Of Worth. I believe when women knows their self worth, they will not tolerate in being a victim of this evil cycle of women abuse. I am a voice to those precious gems (women) that cannot speak up for themselves and that is crying out in silence for help.

In 2009 I started travelling to the continent of Africa on GOD's instruction, doing women conferences, training and equipping leaders, doing outreaches to orphanages, prisons, hospitals, schools, feeding the poor and GOD rescuing a tribe (IDP's) in Kenya who was almost dying due to starvation through my obedience and passionate love for people. My mission outreaches was to Kenya(7times), Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Egypt, Israel. From 2013 onwards I started ministering(teaching) women in our Parliament of S.A. and in Tuyn Huys. In 2015 I arranged a Global Womans Prayer Day and a Spiritual March through the streets of the heart of Cape Town.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Karen Wessels

Karen Wessels - CEO & Co-Founder: SnappSales & VA Connnect

Karen Wessels XWOMKaren Wessels is the co-founder and CEO of VA Connect, Africa’s largest virtual assistant platform that provides outsourced administrative support; and is also the co-founder and CEO of SnappSales, a company that generates quality sales leads for its clients. Prior to establishing both her companies, Karen spent over 10 years in different sales, marketing & admin support roles.

This experience has equipped her with the invaluable skills required to run her multiple international business ventures successfully. To date one of her biggest achievements has been the founding of SnappSales, a highly sought-after marketing agency that focusses on finding quality sales leads for its clients.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.

My entrepreneurial journey started fulltime in 2013. One day out of the blue I quit my day job and since that day I haven’t looked back. My journey has been peppered with wins and fails, of which I am able to draw valuable lessons from in order to pave my path to greater business success. I have met amazing people on this journey and I truly look forward to where I’m headed as I positively impact the lives of those around me.

Please tell us a little more about how your companies came about.

My business partner and I saw a gap in the market when it came to the lack of quality sales leads for startups & SMEs. Coming from a sales background there is a noticeable chasm in many entrepreneur’s business armour and that is the skill of being able to sell. SnappSales was born out of a love for sales and being able to prospect in a successful manner and close the deal.

I had the privilege of starting one of my first businesses by helping a German company with their marketing. At the time I didn’t know of the term ‘virtual assistant’ yet that is what I was offering. As the offering evolved and more & more business owners & entrepreneurs come knocking on my door, VA Connect was born.

You are busy with some very interesting initiatives. Please tell us a little more about that.

I love the world of virtual assistance and really wanted to make a difference in the VA industry in South Africa. Daily I have ladies asking me advice of how to start their own VA business. I was able to partner up with 2 well established VA’s in Cape Town and my business partner of course, and together we founded Virtual Assistants Association of South Africa. We’ve had a phenomenal first year with creating VA awareness in South Africa. The goal is to up our game as VA’s and to offer all-round professional services to businesses and business owners alike. 2018 will be a year of increased awareness, but more importantly, more work creation for all VA’s. 


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Charlotte Kemp

Charlotte Kemp - Speaker & Futures Alchemist

Charlotte FB picCharlotte Kemp is a professional speaker, author, social media trainer and futurist. Coming from an experience of losing a franchise business a few years ago, and still feeling the financial after shocks, she is well aware of the implications of getting business wrong as well as the thrill of seeing one’s own work succeed and get traction. In order to explore what went wrong in her business, Charlotte wrote and self-published a book called “I’m Not Afraid of the F Word, 50 Lessons learned on the way to business failure.” The subject of this books was the content for numerous motivational talks to business owners, networking groups and even MBA students.

While using social media to market herself, Charlotte learned how powerful these platforms can be and soon responded to clients’ requests to teach them what she had learned about social media. Thus began a long and interesting career as a social media trainer and key noter covering many aspects such as marketing and PR, sales, networking, personal branding and more. She still owns the site LinkedInCoach.co.za and does in house LinkedIn training for corporates.

But it was the discover of the range and depth of the field of strategic foresight and futures studies that has really inspired Charlotte to explore these principles more in her professional speaking career. A member of the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa (PSASA), Charlotte and her husband, Past President of PSASA, Richard Mulvey, are actively involved in the speaking community. Charlotte has also served as Secretary to the Global Speakers Federation allowing her to learn from the experience of speakers from around the globe.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.

My real journey started when I lost a franchise business that I had bought, which was supposed to be my financial fall back plan. Rather than take care of my financial needs, I lost everything – my house, my car, my investments. While the experience was obviously horrible, it taught me so much that I would never have learned if everything just worked out okay. I am now more resilient and more curious and willing to experiment. And temporary failures don’t scare me as much as before. Now I work as a futurist, having conversations with people and leading programs to help people to explore their feelings about the future and to find ways to prepare themselves for the huge benefits, rather than be anxious about the potential problems.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Antoinette Prophy

Antoinette Prophy - Founder & Managing Director: 88 Business Collective

Antoinette Prophy XWOMAntoinette started her entrepreneurial journey in 2004 after leaving McKinsey and Company with the aim to positively influence how business is done in Africa. She started her first business, Afrofusion Advertising in her mother’s lounge with R200, a laptop and a pocket full of dreams and hopes for this beautiful continent. Over the past twelve years, she gained extensive experience in accessing new markets by taking her business to Uganda, Kenya and servicing clients in Nigeria. She is passionate about the entrepreneurial space across the continent and shares her expertise by mentoring emerging entrepreneurs. She launched the 88 Business Collective in 2016 and focuses on accelerating women owned businesses from marginalized communities utilizing her Growth Through Collaboration methodology.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.

Antoinette started her entrepreneurial journey in 2004 after leaving McKinsey and Company with the aim to positively influence how business is done in Africa. She started her first business, Afrofusion Advertising in her mother’s lounge with R200, a laptop and a pocket full of dreams and hopes for this beautiful continent. She organically grew the agency by pulling together a dynamic team of employees, fusing expertise from management consultants, communications specialists and graphic designers.

In 2005, the Department of Communications appointed Afrofusion to develop and implement a communications strategy. The scope of the engagements was to inform key stakeholders of the importance in complying with the PFMA and the PPPA, procurement regulations from National Treasury. She worked closely with senior management such as the Chief Financial Officer and the Deputy Director General.

In 2007, she led the creative team, who implemented an award winning through-the-line campaign for Indalo Yethu, South Africa’s Environmental Campaign. She developed the strategy, which led to the successful implementation of a holistic campaign aimed at encouraging communities to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. She played an integral part in ensuring the TV, radio and print campaign was produced on time and within a tiny budget. The TV ad won a Vuka award, which led to Antoinette being featured on CNBC Africa and SAFM and this in turn gave the client more exposure.

In 2008, a team of management consultants stationed at one of the biggest hospitals in the world, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, appointed Afrofusion to develop a communications strategy that would reach every household in Soweto. She led the team with strategy formulation and implemented Project Phenduka. The project reached a large percentage of households in Soweto and Lenasia with strategic messaging. Antoinette formed a strong relationship, on behalf of the client, with Soweto TV, community radio and newspapers. She managed the below-the-line activations at taxi ranks, churches, schools and the hospital.

In 2009, she decided to acquire a larger agency to compliment our team of 15 employees. She focused her attention on the acquisition to position Afrofusion a major player in the advertising sector. Significant top-level attention was focused on the potential merger and after a period of ten months the sellers cancelled the deal. The end result was that during this time, not enough attention was devoted to ongoing marketing and promoting the business with existing and new clients, with turnover down substantially from the previous financial year with losses incurred. She led the agency back from potential liquidation by closing the Durban office and augmenting the business strategy to focus on organic growth.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Vino Govender

Vino Govender - Managing Director: LA Consulting Engineers (PTY) LTD

Vino GovenderVino Govenbder is the Managing Director of LA Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd which is a Consulting Practice operating in the Built Environment with its primary focus on Civil Engineering Infrastructure, Project Management, and Turnkey Solutions.

All work and no play for many years and the ability to be fearless is what has contributed to my success. The lessons learnt from life's experiences enabled me to grow as a person. It has also taught me that through hard work and dedication, I could achieve my goals without compromising on my morals and values. I am a devoted mother to my 21 year old son.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.

I started off being employed as an administrator and was allowed to sit in on a strategy meeting. I was jokingly asked what my vision was for the future and without hesitation I stood up and said that I see myself as a Managing Director of a Company one day. Being surrounded by ALL male partnership/shareholders that were senior to me, I knew at that point where I really wanted to be, in an industry where women, particularly Indian women knew very little about. From that day on, I strived to fulfil that goal. It was just not a title nor was it just a job, I became passionate and worked long hours to fulfil that dream. Many days, I made numerous sacrifices and as a single mother of a teenage boy, that became a very difficult task. However, I worked tirelessly and overcame the many days of fatigue and disappointments to achieve that. The journey was long and sometimes I just wanted to give up hope but in my heart, I knew where I wanted to be. All these experiences had gotten me in the darkest phases of my life but I had to build up my courage and willpower to get out of it for the sake of my son whom I have also drawn strength and energy from. As a mother, I did not allow guilt to get the better of me, I worked with passion and love for what I did. I crossed many hurdles and did it with dedication and passion for my dream making me a successful business woman today.

My journey has been an amazing one filled with lessons of empowering not just myself but other women in the sector. Some of the highlights of my journey includes my community development programmes, which speaks to disadvantaged individuals that aims to transform their lives every year as well as empowering the youth and women.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Terena le Roux

Terena le Roux - Owner & Editor of Ideas Magazine

Terena le Roux Xtraordinary Woman of the MonthTerena le Roux started her career as a newspaper journalist at Beeld before becoming the first fulltime researcher for Mnet’s Carte Blanche. She then moved to magazines as fashion editor at Rooirose and, after a short stint as freelance stylist, joined Woman’s Value as fashion & beauty editor and, from 2001, as editor. 

After she launched décor magazines Tuis and Home, she was appointed Editorial Head for Creative Living Magazines (WV,dit, Tuis & Home) and then became publisher on these titles for 3 years, during which she rebranded Woman’s Value and dit to Ideas and Idees. Editorial was her passion though and in 2009 she returned to the Ed’s chair at Ideas/Idees.

When Media24 decided to close the title at the end of 2016, she took over the trademark and became owner-editor of the magazine. 

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.

I am a hard working (helpful), hard headed (not always so helpful) and extremely loyal (often overrated) journalist and single mother.

I’ve been fortunate all my life in the sense that I was often in the right place at the right time. My decision years ago to move to Cape Town as a freelance journalist and stylist was mostly because I thought it would be good for my then 6 year-old son, but it happened to be an excellent decision for me and my career. And with some nice benefits for him as well.

Cape Town was the right place for me to become editor of a main stream magazine (Woman’s Value) at a time when it spread its wings into the Afrikaans market with the launch of DIT (Die idees-tydskrif) and also later to become editorial director and publisher of Idees, Ideas, Tuis and Home and the baby titles in the group.

A combination of my intense dislike for publishing and the onset of the 2008 recession brought me back to the creative environment I love, but this time with a few bows in my arrow I did not have before. I approached my job differently and when Ideas/Idees was closed at the end of 2016, I had the experience needed to risk taking over the magazine.

And so our story as a Media24 magazine ended and our journey as entrepreneurs began. As the person at the helm of our new adventure I had to learn how to negotiate and to delegate without staff to delegate to. We needed to venture into a world without office space, without IT and without a finance department. And in between we needed to bring out a rejuvenated product that could warrant an almost 100% price increase. But it’s a journey I would not exchange for any other.

You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us a little more about that.

I am currently mostly busy with getting Idees/Ideas out of the starting blocks as an independent magazine. We do however always try to stay in touch our readers’ needs; publishing is after all about your readers. So we’re working on our first special edition, a DIY wedding guide and, as a lot of our readers were also loyal readers of our sister title Leef that was closed at the same time as us, we’ll also be publishing a special edition of Leef in December.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Marlene le Roux

Marlene le Roux - CEO: Artscape Theatre

author-marleneLMeet the first woman of colour to take the helm at Cape Town’s biggest theatre since its inception in 1971.

Marlene is a tireless advocate for the rights of the disabled and the youth. Stricken with polio when she was just 3 months old, Marlene was found freedom on the stage, captivating audiences with her pitch perfect voice.

Hands-on, result-focused and a visionary leader with an extensive track record in Culture, the Performing Arts and Education, Marlene is focused and inspired to take Artscape to new heights in the coming year.

Joining Artscape fourteen years ago as Director of Audience Development and Education, and CEO for the past year, Marlene has made a significant difference to the lives of thousands of people through Arts and Culture who have visited the Artscape Theatre Centre.

At the same time she has empowered and supported disadvantaged groups in finding fulfilling careers. Her outreach projects are legendary, taking complete productions to the rural areas and communities where education and workshops are included. After matriculating at Bergrivier Secondary School, Marlene graduated with degrees and diplomas at University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape and University of Stellenbosch. Her dissertations included - Policy and Development, Education, Music, Management and Leadership.

“I realized that I need to educate, and I must drive myself, and I’m not going to sit in a corner and say ‘ag shame this has happened to me’. I am going to make it.” — Marlene le Roux, CEO - Artscape Theatre

“You can’t talk about the empowerment of artists and decolonizing spaces like Artscape, but you don’t talk about having arts education which is subject-based matter in our schools, because then you don’t address the systemic challenges” — Marlene le Roux, CEO - Artscape Theatre.

What is your personal motto?

Life owes me nothing!

What advice would you give a woman wanting to follow her dreams?

Support another sister. Never use the words I Told You So. To help me not to be so hard on myself.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Tarryn Tomlinson

Tarryn Tomlinson - CEO: Tarryn Tomlison Consultancy/ CEO & Founder: Bambini Dream Foundation

Tarryn 2Like you, international life coach and inspirational speaker, Tarryn Tomlinson, has had struggles in life which brought about a deep yearning for understanding, peace and joy.

Mostly it brought about a yearning for understanding why she developed severe Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of eighteen which left her wheelchair bound. In a bid to heal herself and her life she read countless books in the fields of; natural health, psychology, religion, spirituality, philosophy and quantum science.

After years of searching and developing new understandings she came across a modality of thinking that was at once so simple yet answered all her complex questions and helped her launch one of her biggest dreams. In a short space of time she achieved, using what she had learned what most would believe to be impossible.

She has taught many people this way of thinking via her private coaching, inspirational speaking and writing. She has a background in marketing and writing and is the founder of the Bambini Dream Foundation. She has been interviewed for a number of television, radio and written publications (newspapers/magazines) both locally and internationally.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.

My journey has been one of coming home to myself and helping others to do the same. Letting go of the negative and limiting perceptions I have of myself and life. Having gone through a lot of emotional pain growing up and then physical pain due to arthritis I have always been someone who has searched for meaning. Though I come across as carefree and joyous (which I am) my mind is filled with things that matter, things of a deeper nature.

It is because of my own pain and struggles that I have come to such a great understanding about life and why my life’s work is to help people. Whether it be the children of my foundation, my clients or people who surround me. I am passionate about helping people find their power by letting go of thoughts that do not serve them as those are the only thing standing between us and the lives we wish to live.

You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us a little more about that.

Aside from the work I do as a speaker, life coach and charity work I have stepped into a new arena as a travel ambassador. I have recently started working with Opulent Living Travel as one of their Brand Ambassadors. We are working on some interesting projects which could see me travelling around SA more writing reviews. - well, the sky’s the limit and I would not say that this may lead to complete career change because I love what I do but just that the ambassador role adds to the work I am doing.

What are you passionate about?

Hmmm, I am passionate about so many things I would sum it up by saying I am passionate about living. I bring passion into what I do because I am a passionate person. I am passionate about people, experiences, mysteries, love, beauty and creativity. I am passionate about connection.


Xtraordinary Man of the Month - Ronald Bownes

Ronald Bownes - Founder of DreamWorker

Ronald in officeIn June we celebrate Father’s Day and Youth Day. Xtraordinary Women have dedicated June to celebrating men making a difference in our community. We, therefore, have an Xtraordinary Man of the month for June. We honour a very special man making a difference in our country.

Born and educated in Plumstead, Cape Town. I played many sports and was active in numerous extra curricula activities, one of which was the Interact club. This is where my desire to make a difference in community and society was born. Tried to chase the girls but after zero success settled for the soccer, cricket and badminton teams. After my compulsory 2-year sabbatical with the Defence Force, I completed the CIS business qualification which launched me into the corporate world. I gained varied and valuable experience across many management disciplines namely, finance, human resources, training and marketing. One of my highlights was to design, implement and project manage the first customer care programme for 8000 employees for one of the largest financial organisations in SA. After a brief spell in management consulting, I teamed up with my wife, Tania and founded Inspiration Sandwich, a design and advertising agency. After 7 years of growth and success we sold it to explore other entrepreneurial endeavours. I then developed and implemented internal brand building programmes and worked with medium and large companies in the insurance, retail and medical services fields.

Please tell us a little more about The DreamWorker Group and how it came about. 

Tania and I were given the opportunity to rebuild an NGO based in Hout Bay that was placed to help the unemployed find work. After successfully rebranding and rebuilding the business model over 2 years, provincial government asked us to create similar services in the greater Peninsula. Thus DreamWorker was born and became the wonderful vehicle through which we could pursue our lifelong dream of helping communities empower themselves. My desire has been to grow the DreamWorker brand across South Africa and build a prosperity consciousness across the nation. To-date DreamWorker has helped over 21 000 unemployed people, facilitated over 3,1 million days of work which has put over R394 million worth of wages back into the hands of the previously unemployed. Nine years later we believe we have only just begun.

You are busy with some very interesting initiatives. Please tell us a little more about that. 

DreamWorker is a 24/7 business but we are creating some new and exciting initiatives. One project is the development of our database systems to help TVET colleges around South Africa. Once through the pilot programme it has the potential to help economically empower tens of thousands of students annually. The other project is my new baby which is to use all current technology and create an empowering eco-system to help unemployed people help each other through self-employment. We envisage millions to use this site in the next few years. Other than that, I take long naps and do standup paddling in my spare time.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Vanessa Lynch

Vanessa Lynch - Executive Director of The DNA Project & Deputy Chair of National Forensic DNA Oversight & Ethics Board

Vanessa LynchHaving graduated from Law School at UCT in 1993 I pursued a legal career for the following ten years. In 2004, after the brutal murder of my father, I founded the NGO “The DNA Project” in an effort to alleviate crime in South Africa through the use of a National Forensic DNA Database. It thus became my mission to help establish infrastructures and laws in South Africa which would ensure that forensic DNA technology was used to its best advantage. To that end I have assisted with the drafting of the new DNA Act and have been commended for the contribution I have made to law reform in this regard.

I have driven the development of a specific career path in Forensic DNA both in science and law and was appointed by the Minister of Police as the Deputy Chair of the National Forensic Oversight and Ethics Board in January 2015, a position which I currently still hold.

You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us a little more about that.

As Deputy Chair of the National Forensic Oversight and Ethics Board, I am currently overseeing the implementation of the DNA Act in SA and the growth of the National DNA Database - when I read about cases such as this one published just today, I am filled with hope that we have done a good thing! I am also involved with various University Master’s programs on Forensic DNA and the Law, as well as for Officers of the Court. I am about to start studying again too, which I hope will culminate in a PhD in Forensic Law and then - well, the sky’s the limit and I will probably have a complete career change!

What are you passionate about?

My health! Without our health we have nothing - look after yourself first and you can change the world thereafter! Neglect your health and that becomes a lot more difficult to achieve… the greatest wealth is actually your health!


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