Julie is a highly qualified and experienced communications and specialist researcher who has worked as national communications manager for Life Healthcare Group, executive talent researcher at Mindcor and general manager of communications at ABSA. She has obtained numerous awards for excellence in a very senior capacity and received top performance ratings.
Julie also boasts numerous academic achievements and qualifications, including Doctor of Literature and Philosophy (D Litt et Phil), MA in research psychology (Cum Laude), BA (Hons) in psychology/communication (Cum Laude), BA in communication (distinctions), diploma in leadership (distinctions), and diploma in communication and office administration.
Her genuine love for communication and devotion to the empowerment of others is a passion she hopes to maintain throughout her career.
Sumitra has a wealth of experience in the media industry having worked at several media houses in South Africa since 1998. As a professionally trained journalist, she has extensive experience in broadcasting. She covered politics and current affairs in the late 190s and now focuses on business, economics, finance and entrepreneurship.
After honing her business skills at Summit TV (now known as BDTV), Sumitra joined the SABC Economics Desk. At the SABC, Sumitra covered the Johannesburg Stock Exchange extensively, also delivering live market updates daily. Sumitra has won several awards for TV production, research and reporting in the fields of business and technology. She was also honoured by the American Embassy with the US-SA Excellence in Journalism Award.
She is currently a business correspondent for China Central Television, which has an estimated global viewership of 100 million people. Occasionally she writes for Forbes Africa magazine. Sumitra also runs her own production company, Tilt Productions, producing corporate videos and documentaries.
Media consulting, training and reputation management are also key focus areas. Sumitra has been running media training courses for business executives since 2008.
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.
Colin Ford is a journalist/editor/corporate communications expert with close to 30 years’ experience in the field. During his career he has written about the military, cars, banking, insurance, marketing, tourism, education, engineering, technology and everything in between.
He started out as a journalist, editor and production manager at a motor trade publishing company, then headed up internal communications at Hollard for five years, followed by a stint in the marketing team at Etana Insurance, before four years as head of the content team at digital brand agency Flow Communications. He’s also done a great deal of freelancing for a number of organisations, media houses and agencies.
He is currently chief word nerd at CN&CO, a Joburg-based people and brand consultancy.
On the academic front, Colin has a BA (Hons) (with distinction) in journalism and media studies from Wits, and an IMM post-grad diploma in marketing. He is currently busy with a communications-related masters degree at Wits.
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.