We reached out to find out how the 2017 Top Women in Mice Finalists are celebrating Women’s Day this year, and what the day means to them. Here’s what they had to say…


“Women’s Month is a tribute not only to the thousands of women who marched in South Africa in 1956, but also a tribute to all the pioneers of the women’s movement in this country. There may come a day when women don’t have to be celebrated — when every day is women’s day. Until then, I am proud to play my part in uplifting the art, beauty and culture of South Africa through our grand safaris expeditions for illustrious opinion leaders, celebrities and companies to learn about Africa and its unknown ancient wisdom and to get involved in ways of making a meaningful difference to the future survival of the planet.” – Celia du Preez, Production Executive at Hayward’s Grand Safari Events & Expeditions


“For me Women’s Day is about celebrating women’s worth, the challenges we have overcome to get where we are today, the challenges we continue to face and our formidable strength and drive to overcome despite the challenges.

I am planning to spend the day at the Northbay Lodge in Durban North which is a centre for the mentally disabled. I will be taking my daughter Slindile with me. Slindile, 28, was born mentally disabled, however she is to a large extent quite independent and just so special. Spending time with the mentally disabled brings out the best in me.” – Lindiwe Rakharebe, Chief Executive Officer at Durban ICC


“I will be celebrating Women’s Day by attending the Exclusive Bridal Fair at De Hoek Country Hotel. I will be meeting all our brides who have booked to come and view our venue and will take them on a personal tour of our wedding venue. Excited does not describe how I feel right now!” – Angelique van der Merwe, Marketing Manager for De Hoek Country Hotel



“Women’s Day, to me, is about acknowledging the dynamic woman who made me who I am today as well as celebrating the joy of being a woman. I will be spending the day with my family celebrating life over a lovingly prepared, homemade meal and enjoying a glass or 2 of Spier wine.” – Angela Lorimer, Commercial Manager at Spier



“International Women’s Day is a day of celebration, a day when women can get together, celebrate being women all they’ve come through with a reminder of how much further there still is to go.” – Lerisha Mudaliar, Business Events, Marketing and Stakeholder Relations at Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau



“Women’s Day to me is the celebration of what ALL WOMEN around the world has done and can still do for their families and communities. A small difference a woman can make has a HUGE impact on the lives of so many…

I will be participating in the Total Sports Women’s Race in Cape Town as well as making up “care bags” with my daughter to donate to Beating Heart SA, which supports new mothers who give birth in Government Hospitals.” – Candice Christians, Conference Director at INCOSO


“Woman’s Day is that one day off for me to reflect and appreciate all that I have accomplished on the other 364 days – no matter whether good or bad.” – Janine Baltensperger, Events Manager at Sandton Convention Centre




“Since Women’s day is all about us girls (that one day a year!) I plan to sleep late, drink bubbly and reflect on all the beautiful women in my life with gratitude, appreciation and love.

I think that we as South African women should be very proud of the role models we have currently in SA. There are strong, courageous, intelligent woman who are taking a stand against corruption, despite enormous intimation and criticism, to demand justice for all South Africans regardless of gender or race. So hats off to those incredible women!” – Heather Beadle, Groups, Meetings & Incentives Manager at Reynolds MICE Corporate Events



“Women’s Day celebrates the strength and the power of women by recognising the role women play as life givers and anchors within society. (I unfortunately will be working this Women’s Day – but that’s part of the job!)” – Alex Buckley, Manager at Into Africa



“My daughter turns 10 later this month, and, as she is my only child, her birthday parties are a bit of a PRODUCTION every year. I’m running a spot late with prep this year, so I will be spending the day running around hand delivering the invites with her. It all adds to the excitement of the big 1-0!  As manically busy as my work life is, my family comes first and I relish these opportunities to make memories with her that will (hopefully) last her a lifetime.” – Bronwyn Hesketh, Speaker Bureau Principal at Speakers Inc.



“My mother always encouraged independence and for me Women’s Day is a celebration of that. Plus my son has promised me breakfast in bed – we shall see!” – Lisa Trenor, Director of Conference Call



“National Women’s Day is a day of celebration and solidarity of women in our country. More importantly, it’s a day that should mark the strength and beauty of women – and that collectively we can achieve so much more. As a new mom-to-be, I hope to spend the day relaxing and reflecting on what was and what is to be.” – Boitumelo Pooe, Account Executive at Scan Display



“Women’s Day is a time to remember and reflect on the important role women have played and still continue to play in society today. Women past and present have paved the way for us to be where we are today and it’s something that should not be forgotten.

My Women’s day will be spent enjoying some laughter and quality time with loved ones, being thankful for so many blessings and taking a moment’s breather before hitting the ground running again.” – Lindy Cambouris, National Business Development Manager at the Cape Town International Convention Centre


“I have invited a few close friends for lunch and we will cook some “wholesome” food in celebration of Women’s Day.

I am also a finalist in the community service category for the UNISA Women of the Year Awards on Friday, which is evident that Women’s Day or Women’s Month is not a once off occasion, but that we have a responsibility to reach out to our communities as part of our day-to-day lives.” – Dr Nellie Swart CMP, Senior Lecturer on Tourism Management at UNISA


“I plan to spend the day with my beautiful 88 year-old mother, Barbara Neall, and will treat her to a nice lunch out and about somewhere!  She is an amazing example to all women; still playing bowls, gardening, is an avid bridge player and a wonderful inspiring mum, aunt and grandmother!” – Clare Neall CMP, Managing Editor for



“For Women’s Day I plan to sleep in a little. I will then meet my future daughter-in-law at SOHO in Sandton City and we are going to treat ourselves to a lovely signature Manicure and Pedicure and celebrate the wonderful women that we are. I will be taking a bottle of champagne with me so that as we are being treated we can toast this time together. After that it will be a lunch and movies (hopefully a good chick flick!). Just a lovely, relaxing day away from the madness of the office.

I do believe that we are fortunate in South Africa to have been given this special day to celebrate Women, as we have one of the few constitutions that recognises women in their own right.” – Edith Venter, CEO at Edith Unlimited


“For me, Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the achievements of ladies from all walks of life. Whether they are high powered career woman or stay-at-home moms, each woman offers so much in their own right and adds a different dimension to our society.

I plan on spending my Women’s Day with family, enjoying food and wine at one of my favourite outdoor restaurants. I will also take my furry four-legged friends to the park for a run around too!” – Chardonnay Marchesi, General Manager for Africa Travel Week, Reed Exhibitions


“This Women’s Day I’m doing something completely out of my comfort zone! 

I recently started running (loose description of the term) by doing parkruns, and will be challenging myself by doing my first 10km race –  the Totalsports Women’s Race – in Cape Town CBD.  What a brilliant experience it will be  – a group of women motivating and cheering each other on, while raising money for a great cause, the Pink Drive.”  – Zandri Swartz, Sales Ambassador for Century City Conference Centre and Hotel


“On Women’s Day I take the opportunity to relax and spend time with my family. We are so rushed that we don’t often have time for one another. I prefer not to attend any functions as, due to the nature of our business, we are always organising and attending functions – I’d rather just relax.  

Wishing all the woman a Happy Women’s Day!” – Ellen Oosthuizen, Owner of Bebe’s Events & Promotions


“I’m planning on spending my day catching up on the week, with some quiet ‘me’ time and an afternoon lunch with extended family.

Women’s Day reinforces mindfulness around the role women play at home and in business, often balancing conflicting demands on their professional, personal and family time. As we look back to the women who fearlessly marched to the Union Buildings in 1956, we are conscious that these courageous women risked everything to pave the way for the success of today’s women.” – Katherine Gunningham, General Manager at Compex


Now in its fourth year, The Top 40 Women in MICE initiative recognises the important role women play in the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions industry. This initiative plays a vital role in providing a platform that motivates, inspires, and supports women in the industry to achieve their personal and professional goals. Click here for more information: Women in MICE Breakfast

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