Providing job opportunities in a rural community while promoting sustainable agriculture was the goal of our 13th Capability Program to South Africa. Gary co-founded a beekeeping social enterprise in the township of Orange Farm. The organization produces honey and honey-related products and sells them to corporate offices in Johannesburg. Applying what he learned from his experiences in his job life, has led Gary to win numerous company awards and recognitions such as a member of the Employee Committee.
Together with a team of professionals from around the world, Gary (in red t-shirt) co-founded a social enterprise in South Africa.
Gary, tell us 3 facts that people should know about you.
I have 2 beautiful children, a wife and a dog.
I am scared of flying.
In my free time, I love watching movies and eating Tim Tams.
Why did you decide to participate in the Capability Program?
One of my favourite quotes and something I try to adhere to every day is from Albert Einstein:
“Only a life lived for others, is a life worth living.”
My main motivation for participating in the Capability Program was that it would give me the opportunity to help others in a way that I could have never imagined was possible for me. To be a member of an international team working towards a goal that would benefit a disadvantaged community in a country on the other side of the world sounded nothing short of an adventure, an adventure I was ready to take.
The program stood out to me because not only would I be getting a chance to help others, but along the way I would be learning leadership skills, gaining new perspective and experiencing something completely different.
Although the Capability Program sounded exciting, I knew it would take me out of my comfort zone and would be a big challenge, delivering professional and personal growth.
Gary and his team on the 13th Capability Program.
What do you remember as a highlight of the program?
For me the whole program was a highlight – I will always be truly thankful for having had the opportunity to be part of BOOKBRIDGE.
One of my favourite moments, and something I will never forget, was our second night in South Africa. Most of our team was sitting in a circle on the floor of a room in our accommodation, laughing, drinking, eating and planning in more detail the days ahead. As I looked around at everybody, I was flush with emotions. I realized that I was part of something truly special.
The feeling of being in South Africa, sitting in a room with people from all parts of the world – including Australia, Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland and Denmark – finalizing the plans of a project we had been working on for the community of Orange Farm will be something I will hold with me forever.
What impact has BOOKBRIDGE had on your private and professional life?
BOOKBRIDGE has had a huge impact on my life. The confidence I gained from the experience is massive. Not only did the program in itself teach me a range of skills, but I also learnt a great deal from working alongside so many talented individuals and having such a great and inspiring business coach.
Applying what I learned from BOOKBRIDGE has led me to win numerous company awards and recognitions since the program ended. Recently I applied for and was elected to be a member of my company Employee Committee, which I would never before have had the confidence to put myself forward for.
In 2019, Gary was awarded first place in his company's Customer Service Representative competition.
Now, whenever I set myself a new goal, I think back to the program. I am reminded that like a roller coaster, there will be ups and there will be downs, but as long as I stay the course I will eventually get to what I set out to achieve.
Thank you Gary for sharing your experience and your learnings with us. We are proud that you are part of our BOOKBRIDGE Family!