SAPOA gets its third female President

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Estienne de Klerk, the Immediate Past President of the South African Property Owners Association, right, hands over the reins to new President, Amelia Beattie, during the SAPOA Convention in Cape Town last week. Estienne de Klerk, the Immediate Past President of the South African Property Owners Association, right, hands over the reins to new President, Amelia Beattie, during the SAPOA Convention in Cape Town last week.

The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) has demolished industry stereotypes and appointed its third female President, Amelia Beattie, to lead the commercial property representative body.

Amelia Beattie becomes the third female to lead SAPOA since its establishment in 1966.

While there might not be a single woman heading a listed property company in South African Real Estate industry, the past decade has seen some progress and growth in terms of women’s representation at the top table of decision-making.

Last year SA Commercial Prop News reported on progress made by Women in Real Estate Investment in SA. And research into female representation revealed that Dr Anna Mokgokong of Robosis Property Fund and Sharon Wapnick of Premium Properties and Octodec Investments are the only two women chairing listed property companies on the JSE.

Beattie feels the role of women in the property industry remains an issue that needs focus, not only by SAPOA, but by all members of the industry. However, she points out that women have made big strides in the industry over the last 15 years and this proud progress should be celebrated.

According to Grant Thornton’s International Business Report on Women representation, it says just more than one quarter of top decision-making roles in South African businesses was filled by women.

In that vein, recently an initiative to speed up transformation in the real estate agency sector was launched by South Africa's Human Settlements Minister Connie September in Johannesburg.

Minister September said only about 10% of the 40 000 estate agents currently registered are black. The ‘One Learner – One Estate Agency’ programme, which will be administered by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), aims to change the landscape of the industry.

Although there has been transformation across a number of industries in terms of female employment and empowerment, South Africa's property and construction industry is still largely male-dominated.

Neil Gopal, SAPOA CEO, says: “The appointment of Beattie as President of SAPOA is positive for SAPOA. She is respected for her professional knowledge, highly motivated approach and has a passion for the commercial property sector. She has shown her deep commitment as a past national and regional councillor of SAPOA, as well as serving the sector in various other roles.”

Beattie is Chief Investment Officer- Direct Property Investments at Stanlib and is tasked with maintaining arguably Liberty’s proudest tradition, the Liberty Property Portfolio. This portfolio is managed within Stanlib’s Direct Property Investments Franchise which is now valued at R30 billion.

She’s been active in the commercial property sector for over 15 years and holds a BCom in Financial Accounting and Transport economics, as well as a Certificate in Shopping Centre Management.

Beattie also serves on the board of Cullinan (Pty) Ltd limited on behalf of Liberty Group Limited. She is a past National Chair of the Women’s Property Network, where she was also an executive member for 10 years and remains a Trustee of Women’s Property Network Education Trust. Beattie won the WPN Nedbank 5-star Woman award in 2008, which recognises an exceptional woman in the property industry.
Speaking at the 46th Annual SAPOA International Property Convention and Exhibition in Cape Town yesterday (June 12), Beattie urged delegates to remember to keep the “real” in real estate.

“Property is tangible, you can touch and feel it. We need to make sure our goals can make a real difference to the people in the industry,” said Beattie.

She has set out to keep SAPOA’s goals ‘real’ under her stewardship, and centred them on relationships, education, advocacy and leadership (REAL).

SAPOA will introduce relationship round-tables to cover engagements with the different member sectors, including youth and women. Its education initiative will launch a big research agenda into a skills analysis. Its advocacy will extend SAPOA’s existing ‘Meet the Mayor’ initiative to South Africa’s provincial premiers, continuing the association’s proactive engagement of government on all three tiers. SAPOA will also establish and lead an Africa committee that comprises of various industry bodies to provide leadership on issues on the continent.

Beattie’s passion for people and property will find a valuable outlet at SAPOA. She places high priority on educating and growing as many people as possible during her term as SAPOA President. “We’ll find ways to better understand where the gaps are that we need to close and ensure people understand our education opportunities.”

She adds: “The commercial property sector is able to change the lives of so many people through bricks and mortar. Property is an amazing industry, not only for investors, but we create jobs, trading environments and impact lives. I hope we can create an environment where property is a career of choice for school leavers by fostering a greater awareness of the awesome opportunities this industry offers.”

Beattie is cognisant of the myriad of challenges the property sector faces every day -- legislative, regulatory and otherwise. “SAPOA is in an excellent position to spearhead solutions. We also provide thought leadership on these issues to policymakers long before these matters start impacting the industry and the economy.”

SAPOA’s mandate includes representing the interests of the property industry, attracting skills and knowledge to the property industry as well as creating and developing skills and knowledge through education and professional development.

With Beattie as president, SAPOA’s board for the 2014-2016 period includes:

* Neil Gopal, CEO
* Estienne de Klerk, Immediate Past President
* Mike Deighton, President Elect
* Dr Sedise Moseneke
* Nomzamo Radebe
* James Aling
* David Green
* Izak Petersen
* Peter Levett
* Ipeleng Mkhari, and
* Marius Muller


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