Marketing & Sales Manager
During my youth years at school, I started working for pocket money during weekends, public holidays and school holidays as a waiter in a restaurant at the age of 14 going on 15 years old. I was a shy boy but interacting with customers soon broke my shyness. While all my school friends were out at Malls having fun I was earning good money. It was not just about the money but skills such as upselling were gold as it taught me how to sell. The more I sold to a customer, the more my 10% tip would be. Customer service was also another art I learned at an early age.
After school, at the age of 20, I was headhunted by a Dutch gentleman by the name of Wander de Wolde who was buying into a restaurant franchise and did not know the restaurant industry. He employed me as his General Manager and we had a great working relationship over the next four years. Not long into the franchise, I was approached by another two investors in the same franchise asking me to run their stores. At one stage, I was running three stores simultaneously, and I was lucky enough to have good Managers working under me to assist me while I was on the road. One day when I was at the store in Lynnwood, Pretoria, one of my customers working across the road at Sungardens Hospice asked if I would be interested in an events coordinator. At that stage, I was working 16 hours a day and the job offer was a Monday – Friday position and I accepted.
At the age of 25, I started working for Sungardens Hospice as their events coordinator. One year later I moved up to the Marketing & Business Development Manager position for the next 12 years. My job was to source funding from the corporate sector, organise special events and ensure the smooth running of their sustainable project which was their second-hand goods charity shops. All income from my three departments sustained the organisation and ensured all patients living with a life-limiting illness such as cancer and other terminal illnesses were taken care of free of charge as Sungardens Hospice is a non-profit organisation. Sadly, Covid-19 hit South Africa in March 2020 and this was when my whole world was turned upside down. Our charity shops (sustainable project) was forced to close during the hard lockdown in April 2020. In a ghost town with the entire country under lockdown at home, it fell on my shoulders to find R1.8m from the corporate sector. Working day and night, I was lucky enough to find funding from my corporate contacts. Out of the R1.8m budget for the month, I managed to raise R1.2m. This was not the full amount required but it was enough to pay our expenses and a percentage of salaries. Most of the other non-profit organisations I was in contact with were able to raise any money. This was the most stressful and most difficult time for me and for the organisation. Long story short, during the period when lockdown restrictions were slowly eased, a new Board was appointed and there was a change in the CEO position. At the end of September 2020, I accepted voluntary retrenchment after 12 years of service. I loved my time at Sungardens Hospice, it was like my second home. I wish them all the best for the future and continue doing the good work they do for the community.
I am currently working as an Assistant General Manager for a retirement village and a frail care facility since the 4th of January 2021.
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