The Women in MICE initiative held a breakfast event at Meetings Africa 2019 to launch the Top 40 Women in MICE Awards. The event, held at the Sandton International Convention Centre, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, 27 February 2019, brought together influential women from the business events and travel trade industries to talk about the role women have in tourism and how they can increase their impact in the future.
The event is set to take place in August 2019. The theme for Women in MICE this year is “Precious Metals” with the rationale being that women are like these metals, strong yet malleable.
South Africa National Convention Bureau Chief Convention Bureau Officer, Amanda Kotze-Nhlapo, believes women are the backbone of the business events industry. “The attention to detail and nurturing is so part of who we are as women that [business events] is one of the most perfect industries for us to be in.”
She added that mentorship programmes, such as the one run by Women in MICE, will allow women to grow in the industry and further their prospects. “Programmes like Women in MICE have people who are thinking of doing much more than awarding people. They are looking at a mentorship programmes. And these will help us.”
Recognising women’s excellence in MICE
Shanna Jacobsen, the editor of Meetings Magazine, which owns and produces the Top 40 Women in MICE awards, said it recognises excellence in the MICE space. “Each year in August, we invite 40 nominees for the awards to celebrate their success in the industry. It builds camaraderie among women to support one another.”
The need for more women in the MICE industry is crucial said Jacobsen as management is still dominated by men. “A lot of women say they do not get the mentorship and support that they need. So it is still important to bolster that idea towards women being strong and being leaders within the workplace. Mentoring, celebrating and growing women is still important.”
Women should support each other
Lindiwe Rakhurebe, the CEO of the Durban International Convention Centre, called on women to support each other in business and share knowledge so that they can become a pillar of strength. “Women are often referred to as mothers of a nation. The saying ‘You strike a woman, you strike a rock’ shows resilience, that we can withstand anything thrown at us.”
Johanna Mukoki, group CEO of Travel with Flair – a travel management group – said: “Women who are nurturers and creative, and MICE really needs people who are gatherers. You can tell when an event has had a woman’s touch.”
As a founder of Travel with Flair, which started in 1997, Mukoki has built up enough expertise to be the judge at this year’s Top 40 Women in MICE awards. “As a judge I am looking for creativity, originality and sustainability. I am looking for women who have been there and struggled for a couple of years but were able to overcome and sustain themselves within this industry. They must also show new ways of thinking in this Fourth Industrial Revolution and to adapt to it.”