09_hh_trees_snowcMother Nature has waved her snow wand and seemed to have dusted South Africa in snow!  Today Table Mountain looks like Old Van Hunk and the devil have had an enormous pillow fight and the pillows have all burst, covering the mountain in puffs of clouds that look like bruises against the deep blue winter sky.  Oh yes, winter is in full swing and we have had some lovely refreshing rain.  Rietvlei has filled up and flamingos and pelicans are once again making the most of the wonderful and weird weather.  I say weird because I didn’t realise it but really, the winters in the Cape are like riding on a weather roller coaster.  You dip down into the cold then rise high into the warm, only to swoop swiftly downwards again.

We have had days when driving through the wine farms towards Stellenbosch, you see the majestic Hottentot Holland Mountains rugged peaks sprinkled with snow, sparkling and glistening in the sun.   You think to yourself ah, great, time to wear that snazzy winter jacket and those comfy boots, winter is here.  Then of course, the weird part is the temperature doesn’t agree.  It starts to rise.  It gets higher and higher.  The snow melts.  The valley’s heat up.  The birds start chirping excitedly thinking spring’s here!  Only for it to once again drop and dip down towards the naughts… bringing the chill back into the air and freezing toes.  That is weird. For it to be so cold one day and then temperatures rise incredibly high (into their twenties) only for the next day they drop again by at least 10 degrees.  It is fun guessing what to wear!

I’m not complaining, I love it here.   Cape Town is especially lovely in the winter.  Farm fields and evergreen trees seem to glow emerald green.  However, we do need more rain, the dams are only 40% full, so we continue to cross fingers and hold thumbs and pray to Mother Nature to wave her rain wand here.

VCS have been busy and time is flying by.   As most of you know, VCS More Time for YOU is a team of virtual executive assistant experts with a wealth of experience who can provide any professional person or business the virtual assistance they require to build, improve and manage their business operations.  Finally, it seems people in South Africa are becoming more aware of how using a virtual assistant is the way forward.

ocean_waves_ventura_california_usa_20120704Recently we have been riding a wonderful wave of meetings and have met some brilliant people too.

VCS Partner, Rachel, met up with two very busy professional women to do an interview about “5 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self.”  Margaret Hirsch and Andrea Hendricks both took time out of their busy lives to give Rachel some enlightening and interesting information for the articles, available in our newsletter.

The VCS team met up with Carmen Mulder of Lighten Up (www.lightenup.co.za).  Lighten Up are a professional organising and consulting company.  Carmen is inspired by creating order out of chaos and believes that the less clutter you have, the freer you feel.  VCS can relate to this.  VCS deal with so many busy professionals who just don’t have the time to de-clutter their lives or spend time on those tasks that take up their time.  VCS provides a range of professional virtual client services to resolve those tasks that get in the way of your family or career.  VCS give you back your most valuable commodity – TIME.

The fascinating Melanie Hawkins of Lionesses of Africa (www.lionessesofafrica) is someone who we at VCS have recently had the honour of meeting.  I say honour in that this motivated professional lady took time out of her incredibly frenetic schedule to meet us in Cape Town, sit with us for a very thought-provoking hour.  Lionesses of Africa is a community passionate about Women’s entrepreneurship in Africa and supports the start-up dreams of all women on the continent.  This is so exciting as Africa is definitely the place to be for entrepreneurs.  In fact, it was Bill Gates who recently tweeted “Africa’s start up scene points to incredible potential…” and there are so many exhilarating things happening on this continent, it is wonderful to be a part of it.  Read the VCS “Start-Up” story on the Lionesses of Africa’s blog page.

Melanie put us in contact with the very obliging and wise Westleigh Wilkinson (www.open.co.za) at Workshop 17, who, together with the now charming and astute Community manager Nicole Chalkley, have been so welcoming and positive towards VCS. They were very interested to hear about VCS and how we help professional people and businesses by providing professional administrative assistance tailor-made to suit their needs.  VCS work virtually and clients only pay for the time we spend on their tasks – saving them time and money!  Personally I think Workshop 17, a collaboration of Open, is one of the best kept secrets in Cape Town (www.workshop17.co.za).

Based in The Watershed at 17 Dock Road (opposite the aquarium) in the V&A Waterfront, Workshop 17 is an exciting hub that exists to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship for a positive social and economic change.  It is now the work place of more than 240 entrepreneurs, innovators and professionals and 80 companies.

Corporates, government and civil society use the space daily for meetings, teachings and events.  The public drops in for informal work and meetings in the café.  The community buzz is felt every day and it is exhilarating and uplifting!  VCS are so excited about working together with Workshop 17 to offer ongoing virtual assistant and support to their members.  When you’re there check out our VCS advert showing on the CloudOne.mobi’s digital screens in the café area.  If you’re interested in advertising check them out on www.cloudone.mobi.

From Workshop 17 our wave of meetings then rolled to the “Masters and Mentors” event held a couple of weeks ago at Workshop 17 by Standard Bank Incubators.  We met some remarkable men and women mentors there.  Mentors were Jayshree Naidoo (Standard Bank), Nwabisa Mayema (Nnfinity) Westleigh Wilkinson (OPEN), Nathan Heller (Spinstreethouse), Charles Maisel (Innovation Shack), Karen Eksteen (Technology Innovation Agency), Zachariah George (U-Start), Nicola Tyler (BRG), Brendon Williamson (Paygate) and Yehuda Raff (iPartnersafrica).

One of these amazing women is Nwabisa Mayema, who along with her partner, Nicci Stewart, run Nnfinity (www.nnfinity.co.za) NnFinity exists to ensure the sustainable growth of female entrepreneurs through relationships, networks and business knowledge sharing.  If this sounds as exciting and interesting to you as it does to us, get hold of them now!   Nwabisa is one very extremely busy lady and realises how brilliant it is to have a company like VCS to assist with those tasks that just never get done because she is so occupied with work.  Nwabisa is also a director of The Collective Genius (www.thecollectivegenius.co.za) and phew is she busy!

Oh there’s been so many interesting meetings.  Karen Eksteen of the Technology Innovation Agency took time out of her incredibly busy schedule to meet with us and hear how we at VCS provide experienced personal assistance and office management. TIA is a national public entity that serves as the key institutional intervention to bridge the innovation chasm between research and development from higher education institutions, science councils, public entities, and private sector, and commercialisation. TIA’s vision is to be a world-class leading technology innovation agency that stimulates and supports technological innovation to improve the quality of life for all South Africans. TIA’s mission is to facilitate the translation of South Africa’s knowledge resource into sustainable socio-economic opportunities. So very motivating and you can see more about TIA on www.tia.org.za.

We have spent quite a bit of time in the V&A Waterfront, which is based on the edge of Cape Town’s historical harbour (www.waterfront.co.za).

poi_western_cape_v_a_waterfrontIt is exhilarating to see how this once deserted harbour (oh yes I remember those days when there was just one pub called The Ferryman’s and some raves in old warehouses) is now a thriving and buzzing entity in its own right.  The V&A Waterfront boasts over 80 places to eat, loads of shops, entertainment and a host of leisure activities (ranging from helicopter rides to supping – stand up paddling on the cana