Mari is a globally accredited business communicator (ABC), based in Africa, specialising in development communication. She uses the power of communication to positively influence change in individuals, companies, and communities, achieving business results and social impact.
Mari and the DevCom team have won more than 45 international awards for her work as a communication professional,
including recognition as the Best of the Best by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) on four occasions.
She holds a master’s degree in Communication Management graduating Cum Laude.
Mari works with a dynamic team of fellow communicators in DevCom, the communication consultancy she founded in 2005. Research and measuring social impact are at the heart of the strategic communication science that Mari has developed into an artful skillset. As a dynamic speaker, Mari unpacked the what, the how, and the why of organisational listening at the IABC World conference in New York in 2022.
As a mom of two teenage boys, she maintains a healthy balance of work and playing addition to walking every day, spending time with friends, and participating in coaching and mentoring activities; Mari is an active member of her community.
- Working with corporates to show the value of development communication in business issues, measuring specific business results and social impact. Specifically work with Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA), Sappi Ltd and Builders Warehouse Brand in the Massmart Group, stands out as projects that achieved significant business impact with strategic communication from a development perspective.
- Implementing R14-million commercially viable community development project – Limpopo Jewellery Cluster – for the European Union, SEDA, DTI, Anglo Platinum and Vukani-Ubuntu in Polokwane, Limpopo, in 16 weeks’ time-frame, passing financial and project delivery audit without any qualifications.
- DevCom winning 41 communication awards and being afforded the opportunity to receive a Best of the Best IABC Gold Quill award (2013, 2014, 2016 and 2019). Awards include IABC Silver Quill Awards, IABC Gold Quill Awards and Bronze, Silver and Gold PRISM awards, and a Gold Loerie Award.
- Becoming the seventh globally accredited business communicator (ABC) in SA in 2010. (Since then, only 10 ABC’s in South Africa has maintained their status).
- Becoming one of the first 3 SCMP (Strategic Communication Management Professional) Certified in Africa with the new global certification.
- Being accredited by PRISA as a Chartered Public Relations Practitioner (CPRP).
- Obtaining a Masters Degree in Communication Management Cum Laude, and joining the Golden Key Society.
- Managing the relationship with Nataniël for Child Welfare SA as their Ambassador, generating more than R2 million of publicity and numerous in kind and cash donations for the organisation, and subsequently assisting Nataniël to formalise his own trust: The Nataniël Progress Project that I manage.
- Being a team leader in the social mobilisation project of the Khomanani HIV/AIDS Campaign under guidance of excellent mentors and reporting directly to the HIV/Aids Task Team of National Department of Health. Exploring South Africa (visited 68 rural, peri-urban and urban communities) and realising the impact of culture, values and individual attention was priceless experience.
- Experience in a variety of sectors including: communication & advertising agencies, banking, education, mining, jewellery & mineral beneficiation; health, specifically HIV/aids; social development & specifically child & women protection; information and technology, business development, philanthropy & non-profits, government, funding agencies.
- I am an entrepreneur. As a business woman, I have developed a number of business development skills, and I have experienced enterprise development from all angles – as an entrepreneur, as an incubation manager, as a consultant assisting to refine and expand incubators and enterprise development programmes, and as a customer of small businesses.
- Strong research skills, with a focus on communication based research and monitoring and evaluation – completed more than 90 communication based research studies to date in my career.
- Specialised in all corporate communication aspects, including internal and external communication, project management and planning.
- The ability to influence change in individuals, communities and companies through solid change management and communication strategies.
- Experience in grass root community development, enterprise development, social mobilisation and capacity building through constant involvement in community development projects in rural, urban and peri-urban organisations.
- Experience in internal communication campaigns for large (260 branches nationally), medium (10 branches) and small organisations.
- Ability to strategically develop and implement business integrated marketing and communication strategies specifically for organisations with a development agenda.
- Ability to strategically identify communication and business problems and skills to find and implement effective solutions for these problems.
- Ability to assist Community Based Organisations in moving from a position of having no corporate identity and communication strategy to having a basic strategy and corporate identity in place.
- Mentoring and coaching junior team members.
- Proficient interpersonal communication skills and group communication skills.
- Excellent organisational and planning skills.
- Public relations communication skills including government, client and community liaison.
- Computer literacy and new media communication: including basic interactive media development and publication design and development (DTP).
- Extensive research skills, report and proposal.
- Workshop and training administration and facilitation.