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South African women join the ranks of WISTA
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South African women join the ranks of WISTA

South Africa welcomed back to WISTA International

SOUTH AFRICA: WISTA SA hosted a networking evening to officially acknowledge being welcomed back into Women's International Shipping & Trading Association (WISTA) International in Cape Town last night.

"WISTA South Africa brings critical and important depth to our global network, creating additional connections in the shipping community," said WISTA International President Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou. "We are very happy to welcome them back to WISTA International."

"The WISTA South Africa team is excited for the opportunity to continue the great work done by founding WISTA South Africa members and previous Office Bearers since 2003," said WISTA South Africa Chairperson Clare Gomes.

"We're now committed to diversifying and expanding our membership base in the private and government sector, and providing a platform for networking, as well as engaging on workplace inclusivity and equality issues. We're inspired by the great work being done by WISTA International on a global platform and we also look forward to strengthening our connections with other National WISTA Associations and women's organisations in Africa."

WISTA South Africa is led by Clare Gomes, Strategic Planning & Communications Executive at African Marine Solutions Group (AMSOL). Ms. Gomes is joined on the leadership team by: Cape Town Representative Eva Maloi, BBBEE Transformation &ESD Manager, Damen Shipyards Cape Town; General Secretary Mandy McGuire, Training Manager, Futuro Group; Treasurer Sheena Dias, Senior Associate, Webber Wentzel; and Compliance/Public Officer Anneke Wheelan, Partner at Shepstone & Wylie Attorneys.

WISTA South Africa has focused its relaunch on Cape Town but plans to expand to Durban and Port Elizabeth in due course.

Moving forward

The networking evening hosted at Webber Wentzel facilities in Cape Town provided an ideal platform for the committee to report back on recent developments that aim to shape the organisation into the future.

Commenting on the recent recognition by WISTA International, Gomes said that it was good to see South Africa back on the map. She highlighted other gains since January which include undertaking registration as a Not for Profit organisation and the establishment of two subcommittees to address membership as well as mentoring.

Reporting back from the sub-committee working on diversifying membership, Pauline Kumlehn of Shepstone and Wylie, highlighted that a simple strategy was in place to leverage off existing networks and databases. She added that the chair would reach out to key stakeholders in the industry and engage to collaborate with existing professional bodies.

Debbie Owen of Lawhill Maritime Academy provided an update from the second sub-committee which aims to develop opportunities for training and mentoring within the association. Noting the aims to foster the professional development of members, she said that it was important to get an understanding of training that currently exists.

She was also clear on the need to develop the new generation of women coming into the industry or in tertiary institutions through relevant mentoring opportunities as well as job shadowing.

Report back on WISTA Africa conference

Having attended the WISTA Africa conference with Clare Gomes recently in Accra, Ghana, Susanne Neubert gave members a glimpse of inspirations garnered during the event.

Emphasising the immense strides that African women are making in the maritime sector, Neubert spoke highly of a number of speakers and delegates at the conference.

"We have a lot to learn from our colleagues in the rest of Africa," she said adding that the state of the Ghanian maritime sector was impressive.

For more information about joining the association and for networking opportunities, please contact wistasouthafrica@gmail.com

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