Lesley Stones is a former Brit who is now proudly South African.
She started her career by reviewing rock bands for a national UK music paper as a teenager, then formally trained as a journalist and qualified with the UK’s National Council for the Training of Journalists.
Lesley worked for various newspapers before spending four years in Cairo, where she ended up editing a ComputerWorld Middle East, a monthly IT magazine in English for the Arab world.
In 1996 she moved to South Africa, where she spent six months as the editor of Computing SA before becoming the Information Technology Editor of Business Day. The job involved sourcing news, covering events, and writing news articles and features about trends, financial results and regulatory issues in the IT and telecoms sector.
After 12 years Lesley quit to go freelance, specialising in travel and leisure writing and being opinionated about life in general. She also still covers some ICT issues, and her work appears regularly in Business Day, Brainstorm, the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Independent, Longevity and The Daily Maverick. She has won more than a dozen awards for her writing, mostly in the field of ICT.
Retha Groenewald co-founded G3 Business Solutions in 2005. As part of the G3 team, Retha has during the past 12 years worked with a select portfolio of public and corporate clients (BHB Billiton, the Auditor General of South Africa, all the SA subsidiaries of the Anglo American Group, Wesizwe Platinum, MTN Group, National Department of Transport, Liberty, National Department of Social Development, Parliament, Sasol, Sanlam, Santam, ABSA, MultiChoice, Tiger Brands, Massmart, Woolworths and others) to assess the social landscape, research stakeholder perceptions, and develop and implement robust solutions for effective communication and stakeholder engagement.
From 2003 to 2005, Retha worked with Digital Management AG, based in Zurich, to document best practices and benchmarks in communication management. In 2006, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management endorsed this work as the global standard for communication management.
Retha holds a Baccalaureus Commercii (Communication Science) degree (cum laude and with Academic Honorary Colours) from the North-West University, and a Magister Commercii in Communication Management (cum laude) from the University of Pretoria (1998). She started her career lecturing at the School of Communication Studies, Potchefstroom University for CHE (1995), and then moved to the Department of Marketing and Communication Management at the University of Pretoria where she lectured three years.
Shenanda Janse van Rensburg is a communications consultant with over 19 years’ international experience specialising in reputation manage¬ment, strategic communications and crisis communications. She has a successful track-record of protecting corporate and individual reputations and leading teams for JSE-listed companies. Her intimate knowledge of best practice and ability to drive excellence was gained during many years in senior and executive-level positions for local, multi-national and listed firms including South Africa’s first National Lottery operator, Uthingo, Cell C, Altech and Altron.
She started her career as a public relations account executive in London where she worked on two of the UK's most significant campaigns at the time, including a public awareness and education campaign driven by the UK Government on Y2K and a Public Relations campaign to increase international ticket sales and visitors to the Millennium Dome in London. Other clients included the Royal Bank of Scotland and The UK National Lottery.
During her career, Shenanda has built personal credibility as a reputation management, public relations and communications expert because of her intimate understanding of business and her ability to anticipate how stakehold¬ers will react to events. She is known for being diplomat¬ic and perceptive with the ability to articulate views with clarity and impact.
She holds a B.Com degree from the University of Johannesburg.