2023 Wrapped: Association Events

2023 Wrapped: Association Events

This year was jam-packed with Association events, all unique and engaging. Below is a compilation of the highlights of the year!

  • Year Experience Connects (all year round): This year the Association held several Connects to engage Fellows with Year Experience Candidate Fellows. Some of these were held as lunches, and some as dinners, but all of them functioned as fun, interactive events to bring different branches of the Community together.  

 

  • Association Info Session (February): At the beginning of every year, the Association Team as well as the Exec host an information session for the Community, including newer Fellows as well as Candidate Fellows, detailing what it entails to be part of the Association Community, like the opportunities that exist, and the benefits to being an engaged Fellow. 

 

  • Founder’s Retreat (May): An event for EA participants, this year the retreat took place in Muldersdrift over the weekend of the 19th, and involved a range of sessions focusing on personal and business development.  

 

  • Community Dialogue Session (May): This session took a hybrid format with two in-person hubs in Cape Town and Johannesburg respectively, as well as an option to join online. The idea behind Dialogue Sessions are to facilitate critical conversations on topical issues affecting ourselves, our lives and larger society. This session was facilitated by Asanda Ngoasheng, who has extensive experience in the arena of diversity, equity and inclusion.  

 

  • Quarterly Community Townhall (all year round): Townhalls are routine, virtual meetings hosted by the Executive Council of the Association (the Exec plus the Fellow(s)-in-Residence) which aim to field Fellow queries, detail past and upcoming events and make announcements. 

 

  • Book Club (June): We held a very fun and engaging Book Club session this year. We read the Power of Fun by Catherine Price and at the session, Sandrine presented key findings from the book, followed by an interactive quiz and discussion segment. 

 

  • Forum Connect (August): This year saw the resurrection of Forums, and an official Forum Connect event. Forums are small groups of Fellows which meet regularly to discuss a variety of business and personal challenges. They create a confidential and trusted environment where Fellows can seek advice, gain perspectives and receive support from their peers. Given the diversity of Fellow backgrounds, Forums provide a platform for sharing a wide range of expertise and insights. This Forum Connect was a virtual event and included a refresher presentation of the history and purpose of Forums.  

 

  • Women’s Founder’s Retreat (September – moved from August due to taxi-related unrest): Women’s Founders Retreat initially aimed to cater to Fellows who are women and have either started or are interested in starting a venture. This year, the event also opened up to some Talent and some Candidate Fellows, making for an audience diverse in both age and background. The event involved themes of women empowerment, vulnerability and overcoming limiting beliefs. It was an incredibly inspiring event, short and sweet, in the heart of beautiful Franschhoek.  

 

  • Association 15 Year Celebration – Leadership Summit and Gala Dinner (October): This event was definitely the calendar highlight. The event took place at the Gallagher hotel in Midrand and consisted of two parts: a leadership summit during the day and then the gala dinner in the evening. The Leadership Summit consisted of a mini demo day exhibition, speeches from Wande Madikane and Charleen Duncan, a keynote address by Mbali Sikakana considering what a South Africa worth fighting for looks like, a mental health talk by Ida Achiume Shiaka as well as a really engaging set of breakaway sessions (facilitated by Fellows) that aimed to tackle a number of issues pertaining to being responsible stewards in South Africa. The evening agenda was even more fun. It consisted of panel discussion with three legacy Fellows, a commemoration of Fellows who have passed, a keynote address by Wande Madikane, a Fellow Awards ceremony and a vote of thanks by Nontando Mthethwa. The night ended with a delicious dinner and a musical performance by a Fellow. Throughout the day, Fellows were given the opportunity to catch-up with other Fellows, engage with Talent, engage with Fellow ventures at the Demo Day component as well as simply letting loose.  

 

  • Expand Your Horizon (October): Expand Your Horizons went local again this year, and this time we went to Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. EYH aims to be an educational trip that takes Fellows out of their comfort zone and this year’s theme was Sustainable Agriculture and New Experiences. The trip was exciting and filled with variety, including the following: a visit to the Lowveld Botanical Gardens, an outreach activity involving a stationery handover at John Mdluli Primary School, a visit to an organic farm and restaurant called the Plantsman Eatery, a visit to two avocado farms where we were walked through the process of avocado farming, a visit to the Timbali Technology Incubator, a visit to the Sudwala Caves, a hike as well as a group braai, where we watched the Rugby World Cup final.  

 

You can count on 2024 to bring more amazing events to cater to every type of Fellow, and we as the Association team encourage you to engage. You won’t regret it! 

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