Keep your reputation intact this festive season

Managing your personal reputation this time of year is twofold. 2018 may have been your year of achieving your big ambitious goals, targets or a hard earned promotion. Don’t throw this away with a lapse in behaviour over the holiday season. Beginning the new year with a healthy reputation could be your competitive advantage in the office.

we start to wrap up the work year, it is also a time where many of us take a
look at the year that has passed to see how well we have done with achieving
our career goals. How have you measured these? How has your reputation helped
you achieve your goals?

reputation research model, the Repudometer®, is very adaptable,” says Chris
Bischoff, research analyst at Reputation Matters. “Even though our research
model is used to measure reputation at a corporate level, I find that the
various reputation elements can be adapted and applied at an individual level
too.” The Repudometer measures ten different elements that make up
a reputation. Keep them in mind while you are on holiday; don’t let a lapse in
judgement ruin your reputation and stump your career growth. Even though you
might not be seeing your boss and colleagues each day during this time, you are
still representing the company you work for.   

Strategic intent is one of the first elements that we look at. It gives the direction of where you want to go. What is the vision for your future? What values drive you to make decisions to achieve this vision? Your values are also a reason why your company selected you to work with them, not just because they thought that you could do the work really well, they thought you were a good cultural fit based on similar values. Identify these values and lean on them. Your personal and work values should be aligned, this will allow you to be authentic in the work that you do. “I personally find vision boarding and setting myself massive goals at the beginning of the year really helps to keep me focussed,” adds Bischoff.   

Corporate  governance links to leadership “With your goals in mind, be your own leader,” says Bischoff. “Your determination should be matched with diligence. Deliver at a consistently high standard that you set yourself, a standard that is also in line with what the company expects from you.”

Corporate Capital looks at the human element of a business. Simply put, does a company have the right people to do the job in the best way possible? What are you doing to empower yourself to continually grow and bring more Strategic intent your position and the company? Chief Executive Officer of Gazelle Inc. gives the mentioned during a Bloomberg What values in order to stay relevant, reading is crucial; to grow a company (also a) exponentially, you need to grow your knowledge exponentially. they thought is a good way to spend some of your off time this holiday season. “good cultural Matters we are encouraged to read at least a book a month.”

ValueOffering measures the perceived value of a product or service.“Thinking about your work as your brand is a great way to manage your reputation,” says Bischoff. “Ensure that your work, to whomever you deliver it to, provides high value for that person; this is how you build trust, which is also the way many brands become successful.”

Strategic alliances refers to the company that you keep, are your friends helping you to achieve your goals; like attracts like, make sure that you surround yourself with people that are positive, encouraging and share the same values that you do?

The glue that ties all the reputation elements together is communication, including both internal and external dialogue.

Looking back at this year, how have you motivated yourself towards  achieving corporate capital? Does your internal dialogue contribute to a positive attitude Strategic intent? How you talk to yourself largely determines how you talk to others, gives the be face-to-face, telephonically or via social media. Before posting What values media think about the message that you are sending out and how it also a your reputation, keeping in mind that some recruiters do use they thought platforms to help them make a decision whether or not to consider good cultural a position. Even though it is holiday time, you still need to face be authentic and clients in the board room in January.

As the year end functions and festivities begin, remember that you still represent the company that you work corporate capital. “What you apply to manage your reputation atwork should also be applied outside of work,” says Bischoff. “Keep your goalsin mind and a healthy personal reputation will help you achieve them.”

Let us know what values are most important for managing
your reputation

Strategic alliances information about Reputation Matters and their reputation research tool, the Repudometer® visit

Empowering entrepreneurs and communities one computer course at a time

Over the last six weeks, eleven small business owners and 13 members from the Saldanha community on the West Coast attended a basic computer literacy part time course at the West Coast Business Development Centre (WCDC). The course formed part of Reputation Matters’ Awesome AfriCAN initiative and was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship received from the Sea Harvest Foundation.

There were two groups that participated in this pilot project. The first group consisted of eleven small business owners, apart from sharpening their skills with basic computer skills, additional skills such as invoicing and reporting skills, including basic business English were incorporated into the course. The second group was attended by 13 members from the community who had never had an opportunity to learn how to work with a computer before. Their course included basic Word, Excel and PowerPoint skills as well as job readiness skills and CV writing.

“We are delighted that three of the community members have already landed themselves a job as a result of the additional skills that they have learnt,” said Welmarie Coetzee, chairperson at the WCDC and procurement manager at Sea Harvest.

Valencia Solomons is one of the community members that attended the classes and proudly said, “As a result of this course, I will be starting my new career as a supervisor next week. I now know how to do a quotation and how to set up a roster, something that I had no idea how to do before the classes started.”

Katrina (Katie) Jeremiah, business owner of Shalom Baking in Vredenburg is one of the entrepreneurs that attended the course, “I worked for a corporate organisation for many years, before starting my own business. It was very frustrating having years of experience, but then when venturing out on your own, you can’t really get anywhere because you don’t know how to.

“I was very scared to use a computer, and felt ‘disabled’ when it came to having to work on a computer. I have walked out of this course with pride and confidence, I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity because I am no longer afraid of a computer. Now I can work out my own quotations and do something to help my business to grow. Thank you so much to everyone for making this opportunity possible.

“Thank you too to the great facilitators Claudine Fredericks and Ashwin Jooste for their patience with us, and getting us skilled up in such a short period of time!” added Jeremiah.

Regarding the Awesome AfriCAN initiative, Regine le Roux, managing director of Reputation Matters says, “At Reputation Matters we specialise in reputation research. We often need to conduct fieldwork and depending on the research assignment, we also need to manually capture data. We saw this as a great opportunity to involve members of the communities in which we work.

“On the one side of the spectrum, our lives are being driven by artificial intelligence (AI), on the other side, many of our community members have not had an opportunity to learn basic computer skills yet; so before we can start with data capturing, we needed to take a step back and get people trained up to be confident in front of a computer,” adds le Roux.

The Awesome AfriCAN initiative looks at empowering community members. The computer course in Saldanha was the second pilot that was completed, the first one was recently completed in Imizamo Yetho in HoutBay, Cape Town. The vision is to expand the initiative that focusses on basic computer skills, data capturing, entrepreneurship development and job readiness, not just in the Western Cape, but the rest of South Africa and even the rest of the continent! “We have an amazing continent, we need to empower our people to get into the job market, which will stimulate the economy on a micro level and ultimately, the bigger picture, to stimulate the economy across the continent.” continues le Roux.

The course has been offered at no fee to the SMMEs and community members thanks to the generous contribution from the Sea HarvestFoundation and private sponsors to make the pilot a reality and to train up these dedicated 24 participants.

If you would like to get involved in this initiative, please contact Regine le Roux on | 083 302 1528 for more information on the West Coast Business Development Centre, visit

To continue the reputation management discussion,
visit We are also on Facebook and Twitter @ReputationIsKey

Global business directory, Hotfrog appoints South African Licensee

Moboom Ltd, owner of the global business directory Hotfrog, is pleased to announce the appointment of Reputation Matters to operate the Hotfrog platform in South Africa under license.

Australian based company, Moboom, has revolutionized how websites can be mass produced at a high quality and rendered across all devices seamlessly. Global business directory, Hotfrog, operates in 32 countries in 15 languages, and since its inception in 2006, has grown substantially to host 101million small business listings across virtually every business category.

The appointment comes ahead of the planned release of Hotfrog Digital, a complete rebuild of the directory on the patented Moboom platform.

The upgrade will ensure that Hotfrog’s small business subscribers will enhance their online presence by being part of a super-fast loading directory site, with accurate data securely hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The new Hotfrog site will provide South African subscribers with a range of upgrade options. Hotfrog will create a website for every business listed on the site at no charge; if the business wishes to keep the site, they will pay a nominal fee for hosting. This will ensure that every South African business listed has the opportunity for a professional web presence at a low fee.

In addition, through a partnership with Yext, a digital knowledge management platform, Hotfrog subscribers will also be able to easily publish their business details to many leading search engines and authoritative websites. This will ultimately boost their chances of being found online, particularly on mobile devices as at least half of the South African population owns a smartphone*.


Regine le Roux, managing director at Reputation Matters, says, “I am delighted to partner with Hotfrog to help deliver a cost-effective web presence to many South African small businesses.

“This initiative forms part of our Awesome AfriCAN initiative whereby we are firstly providing members in our communities with computer literacy skills, and secondly with entrepreneurial skills. We have the most amazing entrepreneurs who need just that little bit of support and guidance to help them take their businesses to the next level.

“We need to help our entrepreneurs to build reputable businesses from the outset. In the long term this will positively contribute to job creation, poverty alleviation, and ultimately positively contribute to the reputation of our country and continent, stimulating economic growth,” adds le Roux.


Reputation Matters will be training up community members to help build the websites, in so doing creating more jobs and at the same time helping entrepreneurs with a greater opportunity of marketing themselves.

“We aim to partner with many leading banks, charities and corporate organisations who share the same values and want to invest in our informal traders. Ultimately, we want to assist in having South African sole traders and small business owners get their business on the map and be found by consumers and helping them to grow,” says le Roux.

Gavin Burnett, Moboom Chief Executive Officer (CEO), says, “It was an easy decision to appoint Regine and her company, Reputation Matters as our partner in South Africa. She is passionate about helping local South African business operators grow their businesses and she recognizes that having a quality, cost-effective web presence is a critical component.

“While there are alternative solutions, none have the ability to scale and keep pace with the ever changing landscape of devices. Only Moboom can programmatically create stunning websites for tens of thousands of businesses and provide seamless upgrades without the client having to do a thing,” concludes Burnett.


The new South African Hotfrog site will be released in December 2018.

For more information on Reputation Matters visit




About Moboom

The Moboom platform has revolutionized how websites can be mass produced to a high quality and render across all devices seamlessly. In partnership with AWS, Moboom has created one of the fastest loading, most secure platforms in the world which provides outstanding SEO benefits for its clients.


About Hotfrog

Hotfrog is a global business directory which operates in 32 countries in 15 languages. Founded in Australia in 2006, it has grown to a size of 101million small business listings across virtually every business category.

About Reputation Matters

Reputation Matters has been providing customised reputation research and management solutions since its inception in 2005. The company is 100% woman-owned and a level four, exempted micro enterprise BBBEE contributor.

Reputation Matters believes that if you treasure your reputation, you will measure it and are very proud of their proprietary reputation research tool, the Repudometer®. The model scientifically measures and quantifies organisations’ reputations based on an assessment of ten elements. The Repudometer® assists organisations in understanding who their stakeholders are, what perceptions each stakeholder group has of the organisation, and how to implement results-oriented, research-based communication solutions that helps take their reputations to the next level.

Reputation Matters’ vision is to be Africa’s go to reputation research and management partner for sustainable organisational growth. The values that drive this vision are authenticity, growth, and respect.

Reputation Matters have offices in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

For more information about Reputation Matters, visit call +27 (0)11 317 3861 (Jhb) | 021 790 0208 (Cpt). Reputation Matters is also on Facebook and Twitter@ReputationIsKey.

Look after your employees and they will look after your reputation

Employees play an important role in building the reputation of any organisation. Their sentiment towards the company is what they will be communicating to their nearest and dearest. This is important to consider as friends and family will have a perception of the company which is based on what employees say, rather than what a fancy advertising campaign might say. Reputation Matters, a proudly African research company specialising in reputation research, has developed its Organisational Climate Survey (OCS) research model to assess what exactly contributes to employee morale, productivity, employee motivation and behaviour, and job satisfaction. These are all crucial elements when it comes to an organisation’s reputation.  By looking after your employees, you are looking after your reputation.

“We have developed our OCS based on our reputation management model, the Repudometer® to extend our reputation research scope. Employees play such a big role in driving companies’ reputations, it is therefore important to understand the collective perception of employees: what influences their motivation and behaviour; what are their operational needs and communication preferences; and how do they perceive their roles in relation to the organisation’s vision and roadmap?” says Chris Bischoff, Research Analyst at Reputation Matters. Organisational climate has a more in-depth focus on how the organisation is experienced by employees on a daily basis. It should however, not be confused with organisational culture, which relates to the “why” things happen.

Nowadays an average workforce consists of three generations, namely Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials; each of which have different communication preferences. Reputation Matters’ OCS model helps to gain greater insight into the different generations to increase engagement amongst all employees through their preferred channels of communication. This helps improve and build stronger relationships with employees.

“The climate of your organisation also has an impact on the calibre of new recruits that you attract. So it is important to have the foundation in place so that you attract the right people,” says Bischoff. “A healthy organisational climate will also positively contribute to employee retention.”

An organisation’s leadership team plays an important role in establishing the climate. The leadership team will bring certain values, goals and structures to the table and this has a great influence on the overall organisational climate and how employees interact with each other. “As a person in a leadership position, you need to realise that your employees are your company’s most valuable resource; look after them, help them to grow in their position, in turn they will contribute to overall company growth,” says Bischoff.

By having a positive organisational climate, companies will see better performance and functioning of the business. Employee motivation and job satisfaction is also impacted, which ultimately contributes to the business’ bottom line.

Reputation Matters is hosting a reputation management master class in Cape Town from 12 to 16 November 2018. Join some well-established industry experts as we discuss some of the most important reputation building blocks any organisation should have in place. Click here for all the event details.

Empowering communities one computer course at a time

Graduates from the Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg communities in Hout Bay proudly pose with their Microsoft® Office Training certificates that they have received on Friday, 19 October 2018 after completing a basic computer course at the Sijonga-Phambili Community Learning Centre in, Hout Bay. The course was facilitated by accredited trainer, Life Manuwe, founder and director of Lyfe Computer Technologies.

Over the last eight weeks, 43 community members from Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg attended a basic computer skills part time course at the Sijonga-Phambili Community Learning Centre in Hout Bay.

Life Manuwe, facilitator and director of Lyfe Computer Technologies says, “There is a massive need in our communities to learn basic computer skills. The interactive computer lessons are a couple of hours a week, where we teach basic Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook skills; skills that many people take for granted. We want to help our community members to be more employable and through this we are playing our part to get people into the job market and ultimately to help with poverty alleviation.”

The course forms part of Reputation Matters’ Awesome AfriCAN initiative. It is currently in a pilot phase to work towards empowering our community members with computer skills.

“At Reputation Matters we specialise in reputation research. We often need to conduct fieldwork and depending on the research assignment, we also need to manually capture data. We saw this as a great opportunity to involve members of the communities in which we work,” says Regine le Roux, managing director of Reputation Matters.

“Many members in our communities have not had an opportunity to learn basic computer skills yet; so before we can start with data capturing, we needed to take a step back and get people trained up to be confident in front of a computer,” adds le Roux.

The Awesome AfriCAN initiative looks at empowering community members, not just in Hout Bay, but also the rest of Cape Town, the Western Cape, South Africa and even the rest of the continent! “We have an amazing continent, we need to empower our people to get into the job market, which will stimulate the economy on a micro level and ultimately, the bigger picture, to stimulate the economy across the continent. We are currently busy with a similar project in Saldanha Bay,” continues le Roux.

The next part of the computer training is to incorporate coding, as well as sessions such as job readiness sessions, for example, how to write a CV, how to prepare for a job interview, and of course data capturing. The initiative will also look at incorporating a course on entrepreneurship development, a key component to job creation in our communities.

“The course has been offered at no fee to the community members. To be able to continue with offering these classes we need funding. We are incredibly grateful for the generous sponsorships that we have received to make this pilot a reality and to train up these dedicated 43 participants,” explains Manuwe.

Le Roux adds, “We did not want to start a new non-profit organisation, there are more than enough in Hout Bay! Instead we are working with Rotary to help manage the funds we receive from sponsorship, because we know that the funds are 100% accounted for each project it is assigned to. Also, as we expand into Africa, Rotary is one of the most credible organisations with a footprint across the continent.”

Sponsoring an individual will cost R 550.00 per person for a four week course. Classes are dedicated to 15 people at a time and the classes run from 09:00 to 12:00; 13:00 to 14:00 Tuesday to Thursday.

If you would like to get involved, please contact Regine le Roux on | 083 302 1528 or Life Manuwe on

To continue the reputation management discussion, visit We are also on Facebook and Twitter @ReputationIsKey

Delegates share solutions toward a zero-waste future at WasteCon 2018


Delegates share solutions toward a zero-waste future at WasteCon 2018

IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                     19 October 2018

Key role players in the waste and environmental management industries gathered at the Emperor’s Palace in Johannesburg for the 24th biennial WasteCon conference and exhibition which took place from 15 to 19 October 2018. WasteCon is the flagship event of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), and this year speakers and delegates were encouraged to engage around the conference theme of “Implementing the Waste Hierarchy”.

“Presentations and workshops sparked numerous discussions on how we can find solutions for the waste management problems we collectively face by focussing on waste avoidance and reduction, re-use, recycling, recovery and ideally, as the last port of call the treatment and disposal of waste,” says Leon Grobbelaar, President of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA).

Some highlights from the event include:

Connecting the Waste Hierarchy and a Circular Economy

In his keynote address Doctor Ad Lansink, the Dutch founder of the Ladder of Lansink, suggested that a fundamental requirement in the roadmap to a Circular Economy is to be risk averse, seeing that we face so many environmental risks globally. Some of the most impeding risks being population growth, raw material scarcity, and political and economic stability. According to Dr Lansink some of the key challenges to implementing the Waste Hierarchy and transitioning to a Circular Economy are:

  • Closing loops in several sectors and on various levels of the waste management industry.
  • Developing new technologies.
  • Creating shared financial and behavioural values and principles.
  • Establishing shared responsibility between producers, consumers, and government.
  • Creating extended (specifically global) support.
  • Decoupling the economy from the environment.
  • A firm transition towards renewable energy.

“A transition to a Circular Economy can reduce emissions by 56% by 2050,” explained Dr Lansink.

Waste: The Ugly Reality Facing Africa

“Standing in front of you today, I realise that my first professional presentation was on the WasteCon podium 20 years ago. This led me to ponder whether the waste management industry has changed, or whether we are still stuck in old ways of thinking and implementation when it comes to waste management practices in southern Africa and the rest of our continent,” said Professor Linda Godfrey, Manager of the Waste Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap’s Implementation Unit of the Department of Science and Technology. “How do we fast track the change to a Circular Economy?”

Prof Godfrey was part of the research and development of the Africa Waste Management Outlook (AWMO) conducted under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC), and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The report was published on World Environment Day on 05 June 2018, and the initial need for such a report to be conducted on the African continent arose from the lack of waste management data that can be scaled down to a regional level. The AWMO report addresses:

  • Where are we, as Africans, in terms of waste management?
  • What are the governance issues?
  • What are the impacts of waste on the continent?
  • Possible tailor-made opportunities and solutions to move from our current state to the desired state of waste management in Africa.

“Some of our findings point to challenges such as the existence of inadequate measures to manage new and changing waste streams, and inadequate transport infrastructure which has a huge impact on the quality of food by the time it reaches the end consumer,” she explained. “In response to these challenges we often see a “knee-jerk” reaction to ban products due to these and other challenges, rather than implementing measures to address the challenges. As an example, we see Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and containers being banned which, in the context of freshwater security across the African continent, can have detrimental impacts on communities,” she continued. Prof Godfrey further suggested that the sad reality is that “many African dumpsites are filled with reusable materials and no plan for diversion because of a lack of the will to do so.”

She reiterated that by no means is the African picture all “doom and gloom”, as she highlighted many wonderful examples from Africa and southern Africa which showcase the inherent entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of our continent’s people. Among these examples are the We Cycles project which originated in Nigeria; and the Rethaka Foundations’ Repurpose Schoolbag Initiative, Bio2Watt, and Agri Protein, which are three South African based projects. Ultimately, waste management solutions that are relevant and sustainable within the African context will be key to realising the vision of a Circular Economy on our continent.

A Namibian Case Study

Gys Louw, CEO of the Namibian recycler and waste management company Rent-A-Drum, is one of the current pioneers of zero waste to landfill and shared with delegates an impressive video showcasing Namibia’s first Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) facility. It is projected that this facility will provide up to 12 000 tonnes of RDF annually for use in manufacturing processes at Ohorongo Cement, one of the most modern cement plants in the world.

Walking the Talk in terms of Green Conferencing

The IWMSA is proud to share that they implemented the following initiatives to reduce WasteCon 2018’s waste footprint:

  • The use of 100% recycled paper for the conference programme.
  • Conference presentations were loaded onto a complimentary memory stick for each delegate, and sponsors and exhibitors were recognised in the conference’s unique mobile app instead of on printed paper.
  • Each delegate was supplied with their own glass water bottle that they could refill at designated water stations around the venue.
  • No conference bags were supplied, and delegates were encouraged to bring their own bag.
  • Food waste was pre-processed on site, at Emperor’s Palace, and then removed from the venue for further composting.

To bring the message that waste is in fact a resource closer to home, the leftover food from the conference was collected, measured, and shared during the closing sessions of the event. A total of 64% of the food waste generated during the conference was pre-processed and thereafter removed for composting.

The conference officially concluded with three technical tours on Friday, 19 October 2018. “We are glad that we were able to provide delegates with the opportunity to experience waste management practices in action at the Tufflex Plastic Products, Geocycle, and Mpact operational sites,” said Grobbelaar.

“We hope that the content and benchmarks shared at WasteCon 2018 will be carried forward by delegates to ensure that we win the war against waste one day at a time and secure a sustainable environment for generations to come,” he concluded.

For more information visit the WasteCon 2018 website. To find out more about the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa visit You can also follow IWMSA on Facebook ( and Twitter (



Released by Reputation Matters

Media contact:

Nadia Nel

Mobile Number: 081 439 3912


List of references:

  1. Dr Ad Lansink. 2018. [Presentation] Challenging Changes: Connecting the Waste Hierarchy and Circular Economy.
  2. Prof Linda Godfrey. 2018. [Presentation] Waste: The Ugly Reality Facing Africa.
  3. Gys Louw. 2018. [Presentation] Striving towards Zero Waste to Landfills in Namibia.
  4. Sally-Anne Käsner. 2018. [Presentation] Waste Hierarchy – Circular Economy: Design waste out?

On Ethics and Activism: South Africa’s Nene Moment

Revelations by former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene on his meetings with the controversial Gupta family sparked outrage among South Africans and was met with calls for his axing. In his testimony to the Zondo Commission on State Capture, the former Minister was faced with the stark outcome of his ethical decisions. His resignation and replacement as finance minister by former South African Reserve Bank Governor, Tito Mboweni was unavoidable for a country grappling with rebuilding its reputation.

For managing director of Reputation Matters Regine le Roux, the question of ethics in leadership in any organisation boils down to the practice of instilling ethical behaviour into the DNA of an organisation. “The leadership of an organisation (or country) sets the example of how things need to be done.  When measuring corporate reputations among South Africa’s private and public organisations, we look at ten core building blocks; corporate management is one of the first elements interrogated when it comes to assessing an organisation’s reputation.”

“To rebuild the reputation of our country we need to laude President Ramaphosa for taking quick action in this matter; continuing to fight against corruption needs to remain top of his priority list as he indicated during his state of the nation address, walking his talk on this issue is crucial,” adds le Roux

The other key element that played a crucial part in this saga is strategic alliances; your reputation is impacted by the company you keep. Even though there is no evidence of any wrongdoing from the meetings conducted at the compound between Nene and the Guptas, but purely by association and lessons that we have learnt from other similar meetings, the worst case scenario is automatically assumed.

Why are reputations so important to treasure? “As a leader your organisation and in this case, country’s positive reputation has a direct impact on the bottom line and a country’s foreign investment opportunities.”

Taking a look purely at a corporate level, if your business has a positive reputation, people will want to work for you and buy your service or product. You will attract top talent, which in turn will impact the level of service or products that people will be willing to pay a premium for, so that they can be associated with your brand.

At Ethics Monitor, Managing Director Cynthia Schoeman believes we all have a built-in radar of right and wrong and has coined the term “Ethics Activism” when referring to the role organisations should play in managing ethics within a company.

Schoeman adds, “Ethics are non-negotiable. It warrants that ethics is included as an important goal that is actively managed, supported and recognised. Expecting on-going ethical conduct without such meaningful engagement with employees is frankly wishful thinking. Given the range of challenges and improper personal agendas that can arise, regular engagement is necessary to ensure employees’ understanding and to maintain their commitment to ethical practices.”

le Roux maintains that an organisation needs to be ruthless about looking after their reputation especially because of the impact it has on the health and bottom line of an organisation (or country). “Simply put, leaders set the example and values need to be non-negotiable”.

Reputation Matters is hosting a reputation management master class in Cape Town from 12 to 16 November 2018. Join our well-established industry experts as we discuss some of the most important reputation building blocks any organisation should have in place. For more information visit

World Mental Health Day: Eliminating the stigma around mental health issues

Wednesday, 10 October 2018 is World Mental Health Day and a chance to reflect on what mental health means to society. “One of the greatest challenges we need to address is the stigma around mental health issues,” says Shona Sturgeon, Executive Committee Member of Cape Mental Health and Past President of the World Federation for Mental Health. As a member of the Rotary Club of Claremont’s Inner Wheel, she works closely with mental health organisations in the Western Cape to help people with these illnesses.

Mental health issues include both psychiatric problems and intellectual disability. “The stigma around mental health is huge,” Sturgeon explains. “It includes the assumption that all people with mental health issues are violent and dangerous, which is absolutely not true.” The stigma also refers to the perception that people living with mental illness cannot hold down a job, can never improve, and cannot be trusted. “A factor that plays into it is that mental health issues are sometimes accompanied by ‘weird’ symptoms like tremors or sleepiness that are caused by medication, not even by the illness itself.”

The stigma hampers the ability of people living with the illness to live full lives. “These individuals say that the stigma causes more disability than the condition itself,” remarks Sturgeon. It affects the way they are treated, and their ability to get a job and accommodation. Many of them dare not tell anyone about their condition, so that mental health issues remain hidden. This results in a lack of pressure on government to ensure that they are accommodated in hospitals and the community. It also affects their self-confidence and quality of life. “Mental health service users are so often the disadvantaged of the disadvantaged,” states Sturgeon.

To overcome the stigma around mental health issues, it is necessary for people to know as much as they can about illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and to speak openly about it. “Because of the stigma, people don’t talk and because they don’t talk, the stigma remains,” Sturgeon comments. A realisation of how common mental health issues are would also help: one in four people worldwide struggle with mental illness. “Mental health issues are a lot more common than we realise, and we can address it simply by treating mental health service users as human beings, with dignity and understanding, as we would treat other people with chronic illnesses.”

Claremont Inner Wheel has engaged with and donated to Cape Mental Health for many years. They contribute to counselling initiatives, social support opportunities, education initiatives, and professional support and upskilling for health service users in Cape Town and beyond.

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit

Laughter: the secret ingredient for a better reputation?

 [Caption: Participants enjoying a Laughter Workshop session hosted by Laughter Coach, Bronwyn Kilroe]

“Everything you want is because you think you will feel happier if you had it. So why don’t you go straight to feeling happy by just laughing more because laughter instantly makes you happy.” ~ Bronwyn Kilroe

This is the lesson that Cape Town’s Laughter Coach, Bronwyn Kilroe wants participants to take away from her Laughter Workshop. Based on the concept of ‘fake it till you make it’, the Laughter Workshop encourages participants to laugh ‘without intellect’ and teaches people the skills to achieve sustained hearty laughter without involving cognitive thought.

“Laughter assists with stress management, health promotion and happiness development, enabling teams to perform at high levels, maintain their composure in a crisis and take better care of their organisation, leading to long-term business success,” says Kilroe.

A Forbes study[1] indicates that for business success, laughter is an asset with happy employees reportedly being up to 50% more productive. Regine le Roux, Managing Director at Reputation Matters notes, “an organisation’s productivity and employee engagement are dimensions that we take into consideration when measuring an organisation’s reputation. Both play an important role in the overall reputation of an organisation..

“A workplace that feels fun and friendly increases team morale and engagement levels and reduces absenteeism caused by illness. Finding humour in everyday situations is an excellent antidote to stress and encourages teams to work together to ultimately contribute to the bottom line and improve the company’s overall reputation,” says le Roux

Employees are the greatest contributors to a company’s reputation and Kilroe wants to help build happy and productive teams. “I want to help people find their smiles again,” adds Kilroe. The science based methodology of the Laughter Workshop empowers teams with practical stress management techniques which can be employed at work and home.

“Seeing the transformation in the business and corporate teams I work with, before and after a Laughter Workshop is pure bliss for me,” says Kilroe. “They arrive stressed, anxious, depressed and then to see their frowns turn into smiles of joy and happiness, and to hear the roars, shrieks and chuckles whilst doing some good belly laughs together is a pure delight.”

Laughter, whether real or simulated, releases endorphins and serotonin into the bloodstream and encourages ‘real laughter’, which is hard to stop once released. These happy hormones trick the body into bypassing the intellectual system, which normally acts as a barrier to genuine laughter.

“Isn’t it funny that something as simple as laughing could be the secret ingredient to take your business’ reputation to the next level, creating a win-win scenario for the company and your colleagues’ general health. You could say that with the help of Bronwyn, you could be laughing all the way to the bank!” concludes le Roux



Forward-thinking inventors recognised at the SA Innovation Summit 2018

[Caption] Allan Goldberg of Off Grid Innovations, inventor of the iHarvey “Power Anytime”, is the winner of the Inventors Garage at the 2018 SABC Education SA Innovation Summit (SAIS). He walks away with bragging rights as the best inventor from the 20 finalists that participated, and R 30 000 from Adams&Adams to assist with safeguarding his intellectual property. [Pictured above (L to R) are Steven Yeates, (Partner at Adams&Adams), alongside Carmen Hooper and Daniel Custodio from Off Grid Innovations]

iHarvey (pictured below) is a thermo-electric generator which produces power by converting heat into electricity, powering three high quality LED lamps and charging a USB device simultaneously. “With about 600 million people in Africa alone still not having access to basic electricity, there is an urgent need to offer products that re-imagine fuels in a way that is clean, safe and more efficient. We have to use what is available now, innovating existing technology to accommodate the situations and produce high quality solutions,” says Goldberg.

The runner-up in the Inventors Garage competition is Murray Bredin with the Pivot Optimiser, an internet-of-things monitoring and control system for agricultural irrigation centre pivots and pumps. It performs local control functions and transmits all measured data to a web server. In third place is Steven Blake with BioPay, a mobile application that allows customers to pay for goods and services at the vendor or online using their fingerprints, so that it is not necessary to carry cash or bank cards.

For more information on the 2018 SABC Education SA Innovation Summit, visit, email or call +27 82 708 1960.

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