Wepener, who started her business with little financial assistance but a lot of zeal and determination, is, today, the proud champion of a thriving business. “I became aware of my entrepreneurial spirit when I was still very young. I believe that this spirit is a gift from God. When other children my age were playing house and using dolls; I on the other hand, would have an imaginary block of flats or a shop, with imaginary customers coming in and out; paying for this or that product as I give them change. All this was my business make-believe world which today has become a reality,” Wepener says humbly.
Wepener who grew up on a farm as a poor child, never allowed her physical environment to influence her thinking. This businesswoman, passionate about enriching the lives of others, is the brains behind the MentorMe24/7 programme, which is designed to develop young African women to become confident in whichever leadership path they are following, be it as a career based or entrepreneurial based individual. Being mentored by leaders in society will allow these women the unique opportunity to gain all the benefits that a formally structured programme offers; as they go out and contribute to the growth of South Africa. The MentorMe24/7 programme has received M-Net’s endorsement and support.
The industrious Wepener, who relaxes by either talking leisurely walks on the beach at Fish Hoek or by reading a book, insists on closing the business every year during the festive period to ensure that all her employees take time out to relax and unwind as they recharge their batteries in readiness for the year ahead.
“I believe people are the most important asset. Therefore I create valuable time to spend with my husband, my mother, my children, my employees and my clients. Being busy is not an excuse because prioritising one’s tasks is what makes a difference,” says Wepener whose hands, clearly, are always full.
The next milestone for Wepener it to extend her vision into the rest of the African continent. “I want to conquer Africa and share with the African community the good work that organisations are currently doing for the development of this beautiful continent,” says Wepener.
Wepener, together with her Executive team have just returned from a working trip, which mostly covered Kenya and Zambia. This trip was packed with back-to-back meetings to discuss client needs and present CEO’s offering to the continent.
Wepener and her team cannot wait to tap into these markets by offering innovative platforms that will connect the people of Africa.
A succession plan for her company is another milestone that keeps Wepener’s mind busy. “The business environment keeps changing, I am looking forward to having a younger, more energetic and hard-working team who can take the reins and run with things as I drive the business from a different level - this team has to work extra hard and be willing to invent smart and exciting solutions for the market because that is what the market and clients require,” highlights Wepener. “And of course I am excited and looking forward to my daughter’s wedding, which will be taking place in March 2013,” concludes Wepener.
Focus on Excellence
Wepener, a dynamic lady who started her career in the cosmetics industry at Avroy Shlain Cosmetics before venturing into the media publishing space; goes further to say that success and excellence are actually closely linked. “Bringing together that which someone wants to stand for; and then going on to achieve it, is excellence. Organisations do that by setting goals and objectives and working towards achieving these goals, whereas individuals do this through crafting a personal brand,” says Wepener.
Wepener credits her success to delivering an excellent service. This, she admits is an area that requires a lot of attention and on-going development. “It upsets me when a client does not receive satisfaction with a product or a service. I always strive to exceed client expectations,” Wepener says passionately.
This petite-built yet influential business woman ventured into the world of media publishing in 2001 by launching CEO Communications to Celebrate Excellence in Organisations. Today, her company has a staff complement of about 30 full-time employees and has given birth to three more successful publications: South Africa's Most Influential Women in Business and Government, Women in Motion and TITANS - Building a Nation.
Driving a Vision into Africa