13 September 2013

SAACI elects new board and national chairperson

The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) has elected new national directors and executive committee members for its 2013/14 financial year.

SAACI's new executive committee. From left: Glenn van Eck, Zelda Coetzee, and Kim Gibbens. SAACI's new executive committee (left to right): Glenn van Eck, Zelda Coetzee and Kim Gibbens

The new board has just completed its first strategic meeting and we are now hard at work formulating a new business plan for SAACI, with the aim of managing it more like a business, as opposed to a traditional association. – Zelda Coetzee, SAACI national chairperson

Zelda Coetzee, owner of Imfunzelelo Conference and Event Management, takes over from Nina Freysen-Pretorius as SAACI national chairperson. Coetzee is a professional conference organiser with extensive local and international experience. She has held numerous positions in SAACI since 2003, most recently as deputy national chairperson and chairperson of the Western Cape branch.

Kim Gibbens, Springbok Altas's Durban branch manager, has been appointed vice-chairperson and Glenn van Eck, CEO of Magnetic Storm, the national treasurer.

Other board members are immediate past chairperson Nina Freysen-Pretorius (the Conference Company); Keith Burton (African Agenda); Bruce Dorrofield (Impro-Vision); Wayne Johnson (Holiday Inn Express); Crystal Kasselman (Centeq Events); Godfrey King (Contact Publications); Conrad Kullmann (3D Group); Denver Manickum (i-Cube Advertising); James Seymour (Durban KwaZulu-Natal Convention Bureau); Esmaré Steinhöfel (Cape Town International Convention Centre); Bronwen Shaw (Avis); and Andrew Stewart (PeriExpo).

Freysen-Pretorius says her years as SAACI’s national chairperson were memorable, but the time has come to inject new energy and ideas into the association.

'Zelda Coetzee and Kim Gibbens are definitely going to bring that to SAACI. They are very enthusiastic about the association and very committed, and well-equipped to take on the challenges that lie ahead,’ she says. As a board member, Freysen-Pretorius will still be behind the scenes, offering her support.

Coetzee says she is taking over the reins of the association at a time when a number of solid building blocks have already been put in place. ‘We have an effective head office and secretariat, as well as seven functioning specialist forums within the business events industry.

‘In addition, the new board has just completed its first strategic meeting and we are now hard at work formulating a new business plan for SAACI, with the aim of managing it more like a business, as opposed to a traditional association,’ she says.

She adds that the new board is very aware that membership benefits are crucial. ‘Members expect a return on their investment and we plan to give them exactly that. SAACI is already at the forefront of the business events industry in South Africa – a position that we intend to strengthen even more.’