MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN 2016/17
On a Personal Note
Annelize Wepener grew up in Vereeniging, South Africa and attended the Vaal University of Technology. She began her career as a secretary in 1981 but it was when she joined Avroy Shlain Cosmetics that she began to make a name for herself. She went from success to success and became the youngest Regional Director in South Africa. With a passion for business and an eagerness to meet a demand in the market she launched CEO Communications.
Annelize has many titles; to employees and colleagues she is the CE of CEO Global, the boss, to family: mother, ‘ouma’ and wife, to others: an entrepreneur, top businesswoman and role model. Regardless of the position she is a passionate woman with a past, present and future.
Annelize’s surroundings as a child played a crucial role in the shaping of her business views. She recalls: “From a young age I always wanted to be a successful businessperson. As a result, successful business people always intrigued me and I enjoyed observing and learning from the business people I came into contact with. I grew up on a farm watching my parents raise livestock and grow produce, which gave me a good appreciation for how one can take raw materials and add value through processing and packaging.”
In her current position she must keep her skills sharp while still adapting to an ever-changing market. “As a chief executive you always need to ensure that your products and services meet the expectations of clients. However, I think the real challenge for any CE is to ensure that the emotional connectivity between your products and your markets and your staff and the work that they do is properly aligned. If you can achieve this you will unlock passion amongst your team for their work and your customers will be passionate about your product.”
Of her many accomplishment she says her biggest success in life thus far is, “My family. Building a cohesive, loving family unit is always a challenge at the best times. In fact, I think it is even more challenging today than ever before. My husband and I are proud grandparents and when I look at and hold my granddaughter, I realise that the sacrifices and the challenges I have had to overcome to build a strong family unit have been absolutely worth it.” The mother of two explains that her secret to staying grounded and encouraged while juggling a successful business and a growing family is that she keeps the Bible at the top of her reading list.
Still to Come
No one can say for certain what the future will bring, but for the entrepreneurially spirited Annelize “the sky isn’t even the limit” and in the next 10 years she says: “we are on a drive to expand our reach – watch this space, you will definitely see more of us!”