A ripple effect is defined as ‘a spreading effect or series of consequences caused by a single action or event.’ Ripples affect families, friendships, careers and negatively impact hundreds of lives in countless ways. Every action has a reaction and how one handles it, is a story of its own to tell.
With the above mentioned, Gauteng Women in Insurance (GWII) invited members to an event themed “The Ripple Effect” at The Venue in Melrose Arch were a guest panel of speakers including Connie Mashaba (CEO of Black Like Me), Leeann Naidoo (owner of Concordia Coaching), Caro Smit (Founder and Director of South Africans Against Drunk Driving (SADD) and Kim Gallus (Senior Client Development Manager at O’Keeffe & Swartz Consultants) shared their stories and the ripple effects thereafter.
Marsh Africa and Camargue were the main sponsors of the event and additional sponsors Guy Carpenter and Oak Tree Intermediaries.
Stories to tell
“I was the epitome of no work life balance. I was a workaholic, a control freak and fiercely independent until I experienced a back injury that resulted in my sacro-iliac joint dislocating, impacting my spinal column which in turn left me unable to walk for over a year. That was my ripple,” said Naidoo.
“My 23-year-old son Chas was killed by a drunk driver in 2005. With the loss of a child by a drunk driver that was the ripple effect in my life. I was fueled by anger to drive change in South Africa,” said Smit.
“During pregnancy, at our first gynaecology appointment, I was told we were having twins however, the one baby had no heartbeat. At 20 weeks it was confirmed our daughter Kayla did not have a left hand. I believed in miracles and expected Kayla to have the mandatory 10 fingers and 10 toes. It certainly was a very difficult time especially post birth but with the support of my husband, family, work and my best friend insisting I seek help, I pushed through. When Kayla reached the age of 12 she started asking for a hand. A conversation with my friend Tracy Feakes resulted in Tracy offering to raise money for our organisation Touch, so that we could sponsor Kayla a hand. We have been able to raise close to R200 000 for Touch and use some of the money to help three recipients receive prosthetic legs,” said Gallus.
“My life has been the life I am destined to live. I am who I am because of my past. Looking back from where I came from (rural village) and the circumstances and hardships I found myself in, to where I am (Johannesburg), made me look at things differently. You can change your situation if you are determined. The situation you find yourself in does not have to be the determining factor,” said Mashaba.
The need for support
Women need support and so many women accept and give up - the strength it must have taken these ladies to keep going especially with what they have dealt with is inspiring. When asked what was the key they had to in order to get through their experiences this is what they had to say.
“People want to help so ask if you need it. You will either say yes or no. Be honest with yourself and realise it is ok not to be ok. These situations are seasonal, and they too shall pass,” said Gallus.
“I had to stop, listen, think, feel, prioritize and figure out ‘who am I and why am I here?’ I had to learn to use my brain differently – I had to learn about my body, to heal my body, I had to learn about my brain to make better and more deliberate decisions in life so that I could live a fulfilling life. Don’t wait your whole life for the end of your life which is the worst time of your life to have the best time of your life,” said Naidoo.
“What got me through is determination and never accepting the word “No.” Putting my grief on a back burner, having high energy, working day and night and becoming an expert on road safety in South Africa. You are stronger than you think, and you too can change the world,” said Smit.
“We all have ripples in our lives. There is a reason for everything that happens to us. I live by these words: become a blessing to yourself and those around you. Be kind, be generous and if you cannot help someone, please don't hurt them,” said Mashaba.
Like a pebble thrown into water, let your ripples positively affect the people around you.
A charitable cause
Members were asked to bring along a R50 cash donation for the nominated charity, SADD Association (South Africans Against Drunk Driving). SADD’s mission is to stop drink driving, to protect families from needless deaths and to make a difference.
We would like to thank each one of you for your donation.
A few lucky ladies walked away with prizes donated by sponsors. We would like to thank the sponsors who contributed to the prizes.
- Centriq donated two prizes. The first prize was De Villiers chocolates with a couple spa voucher at Woodlands spa to the value of R3000 and the second prize was De Villiers chocolates with a R500 Woolworths voucher.
- Concordia Coaching & Leadership Solutions offered one lucky lady a development course voucher with Leeann Naidoo worth R3000;
- Constantia Insurance offered one lucky lady a Sorbet voucher to the value of R500;
- Crawford & Company donated a Tree necklace valued at R900;
- ELB Engineering spoiled one lady with a handbag and scarf;
- Excel Recovery Services donated a salad set from Carrol Boyes;
- Gen Assist Insurance Brokers offered two lucky ladies ‘dinner for two’ vouchers boasting three course meals with a complimentary drink at the Maximillien restaurant at the Da Vinci Hotel;
- Hollard Travel donated two back packs each with a scarf and umbrella;
- MUA Insurance donated two pairs of Swarovski earrings to the value of R500 each;
- Standard Bank donated one hand crafted African basket, branded orange notebook and orange Pods pen;
- Oak Tree Intermediaries donated two snack packs filled with yummy treats;
- O’Keeffe & Swartz donated two Amarula gift sets - one with a purse and one with a ladies scarf.
GWII would like to thank the main sponsors Marsh Africa and Camargue, as well as the additional sponsors Guy Carpenter and Oak Tree Intermediaries for their sponsorship and support for this event. Without them this would not have been possible.
We would also like to thank Road Trip and Digicall for taking care of travel needs by sponsoring the Drive Me Home service for our members and interns. GWII is a big advocate of safe driving. As MasterDrive SA emphasised, with the effects of impaired vision as a result of drinking the consequences are big and the impact is big. You can have an active role in changing people's behavior.
A big thank you also goes out to Insure Group for once again sponsoring our photographer and SHA Specialist Underwriters for carrying our insurance.
And lastly, to all GWII members remember… in difficult times you are stronger than you think you are. There is a reason for everything that happens. You are not in control of life and life is not perfect. Women need support, in difficult times many women give up - it is ok not to be ok.