Celia du Preez is Hayward’s Grand Safari Company’s secret weapon. Providing luxurious experiences for 200 VIP delegates on mobile luxury safaris across Africa, the company’s operations in themselves are a huge undertaking; yet Celia and her team continue to receive an average 98% guest feedback and satisfaction levels from their VIP guests. With the Hayward’s brand already recognised as the Best Mobile Safari 2017 by the Safari Awards, Celia du Preez was recently distinguished by Meetings magazine as one of the Top 40 woman in the MICE industry for 2017.
With the awards ceremony set to take place on 17 August 2017, says Martin Hiller, editor of Meetings magazine, The Meetings & Events Planner and founder of Women in MICE: “For the past three years, Meetings magazine has acknowledged 125 phenomenal women who have made a significant contribution to the industry. The Top 40 Women in MICE initiative has given these women a platform to tell their stories and plays an important role in providing a platform that motivates, inspires, and supports women in the industry to achieve both personal and professional goals. It also connects women in the industry to leverage their reach and resources, creating a global community of economically empowered women. Our nominees were selected for their ability to motivate those they work with and the influence they have over their peers and clients, the amount of money they generated, or simply the passion they have for the industry. These women have proved that they are the best in business events. They know that success is no accident. It takes hard work, perseverance and passion for what they do.”
For Celia du Preez, her past 11 years with Hayward’s Safaris have been both passion filled and spent focused on recreating authentic 5-star Grand Safari events and expeditions, often on short lead times and at mobile event locations in foreign countries, and often with clients based across the globe. Yet, catch her on a 5am game drive or closing up the Gin Tent after midnight and Celia always has her signature warm smile on hand: “As Executive Production Manager I am in charge of the bespoke planning of each event, working in tandem with the client in order to orchestrate the transport and unpacking of every cotton canvas safari tent, salt spoon and spotlight which must be brought into remote reserve areas; the set up and the breakdown of a 200 guest camp with en suite bathrooms; hosting of the guests together with my team; and the responsibility of ensuring the venue’s location is returned to its natural pristine state following the festivities… and I love every detail of it! But it is also wonderful to be recognised for our efforts in bringing guests closer to travel in Africa. The outdoor safari experience is about being one with Nature and we are proud of the efforts we play in eco-tourism and tourism sustainability for the continent.”
Owner and adventurer extraordinaire Peter Hayward, who owns Haywards concurs. “Celia is consistently excellent at what she does. From the quoting process through to execution of each custom-designed occasion, Celia’s leadership skills have been invaluable to our success. She provides each client with her personal traits of intense focus and listening abilities and strategic questioning to determine exactly what the client wants; enabling her to plan, direct and finely-tune events such as a grand piano classical soiree and a 200-person Chairman’s awards dinner in the bushveld with just two teleconference calls and a slew of email messages from a high-profile client based in Dubai. We have hosted royalty, celebrity, executive Chairmen – our standards are high – yet our client recommendations following every event prove our offering hits the mark. Her warm, personal approach works on all levels of interaction whether mingling with high level corporate clients, international celebrities, rock stars or presidents of countries.”
Laughs Celia, “I’m not usually star-struck, but when I met Oprah Winfrey she really made an impression on me as a woman and philanthropist.”
Celia’s love for wide open spaces began following a childhood spent in the North West Province and annual family holidays to the Kruger National Park. As an adult, her personal passion for the cultures and traditions of South Africa saw her initiate her personal brand Celia in Africa in March 2016 which features a unique range of Ndebele Beaded Bags, which supports local woman artists both financially and as Celia says, ‘to be proud of their traditions and culture’. Each custom handbag offers cultural influences, and traditional designs, and preserves the intricate knowledge allowed through the transfer of skills between generations. “It is important to keep traditions intact,” says Celia. “They are a safety net for survival and ethics of future generations.”
Meet this hit team Peter Hayward and Celia du Preez on your next custom designed 5-star Grand Safari expedition into Africa or chat to Celia about where you want your next product launch, safari wedding, private celebration or corporate event in the wild as never encountered before.