Margaret Hirsch PhotoMargaret Hirsch is the Chief Operating Officer of the Hirsch Group, a multi-million rand Appliance and Electronic retail organization across South Africa.  She is a sought after public speaker and is passionate about empowering and motivating everyone she comes in contact with.

Margaret has won numerous business awards including two Lifetime Achievement Awards in business and entrepreneurship and has set up the Margaret Hirsch Women in Business Achiever of the Year Award.  She is passionate about helping young girls throughout the country who do not attend school on the days they are menstruating and has linked up with the Girls with Dignity Project (supplying 1 panty and 3 reusable sanitary pads).  This has increased school attendance from 40% to 80% “better attendance, better self-esteem = better marks”.

Margaret is passionate about working with all ages of children from 2-5 years old to students at University and believes whole-heartedly that you can change the world by helping one person at a  time.

1. Clear your mind with meditation

“I start each day at 4am with 15 minutes of quiet mediation, this clears my mind and helps me to focus on my day ahead.  Having a positive attitude is crucial and these 15 minutes enable me to clear away any negativity.”

2. Make the most of every minute

“Don’t waste your time, be selective what you watch on t.v. as it can be like chewing gum for the mind, work hard, play hard, help others.  The most successful people do not sit around or lie in bed doing nothing.  Your health is your wealth so schedule in some exercise as this releases endorphins and can act as a sort of meditation time.”

3. Believe you can do it

“Absolute belief will carry you through, so control your mindset.  Most important is to find something you are passionate about and follow your dream.”

4. Set your standards high

“Dream big and don’t underestimate the power of visualization.  Set up a vision board with your goals so every day you can see, feel, touch and think about what you want to achieve”.

5. Help others to achieve their dreams

“You can have anything you want in your life if you help others to get what they need.”


Andrea Profile PhotoAndrea Hendricks  – Business woman, mother and former convict, Andrea talks to V.C.S. about how she turned her life around from being in a dark place to becoming a successful business owner and sought after inspirational speaker.  Andrea was a 2015 finalist in the BWASA Regional Business Achievers Award (RBAA) which is aimed at recognizing women throughout South Africa for their contribution to business.

Shortly after finishing high school in the leafy southern suburbs of Cape Town Andreas’ father passed away.  The loss of her father hit Andrea hard and she found comfort in using drugs.  She became involved with the wrong crowd and before she knew it, found herself behind bars on a drug related offence.  Leaving her young son behind while she served her time was the hardest thing imaginable but luckily her sons’ father and new wife were able to bring him up in a stable and loving environment.

It took six months inside for Andrea to accept responsibility for her actions and she then decided to make the best of her situation.  By taking this step she was able to move forward and even when she was offered an early release on a technicality she realized that prison was the best place for her to heal.

After serving 4 years of her original 9 year sentence she was released for good behavior and after a short period of adjustment was able to get back into her passion which was hairdressing, something she had trained in and practiced prior to her sentence, even doing some of the Wardens’ hair while inside!  Andrea was always upfront about her criminal record when applying for work and because of her honesty and openness this was never held against her.  Andrea was determined to rebuild her life and in 2012 opened her own salon, Step Ahead in Plumstead.

Andrea is a motivated and inspirational speaker who still takes time out of her busy life to visit Pollsmoor prison.  She has been a beacon of hope to many inmates, showing that it is possible to succeed in a new life, and that it’s ok to make mistakes as long as we learn from them and move forward.  Despite being in a bad space at one time in her life Andrea is a true example of what can be accomplished with a positive attitude and by taking responsibility for your actions.

1.    Take control of your life

“Do not allow others to dictate how you feel, it’s ok not to be the “cool chick”, it’s ok to be the “nerdy one”.  Stay true to what you feel inside is who you actually are. It’s also ok to be quiet and by yourself sometimes, find that inner peace so you can recharge.”

2.    You are the sum of your experiences

“For me personally I would not change anything as all my experiences, good and bad, have made me into the person I am now, I am happy, I have a wonderful husband, a fantastic business, true friends and more compassion for my fellow man than I would have had otherwise.”

3.    Open your mouth and say when something is wrong

“When something is wrong find someone you can talk to, get someone on your side who believes your story, there are people out there who can help and will understand what you are going through.”

4.    Don’t try and fit in

“It is VERY ok to be different and stand out from the crowd, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing or saying and stay true to yourself, this doesn’t make you weird, it makes you exceptional.”

5.    Accept the way you look

“We all waste way too much time comparing our looks and shapes to everyone else, remember, people who are attracted to you because of your pretty face or nice body won’t be by your side forever.  But the people who can see how beautiful your heart is will never leave you.”