The WPN relaunches took place on 14 June at a breakfast at Nedbank Corporate in Johannesburg attended by 140 people, in the afternoon a cocktail party at Marriott's offices in Durban attended by 80 people and on 15 June a lunch in Cape Town at Nedbank Corporate attended by 90 people.

The turnout was phenomenal and the exciting thing is that we had many new ladies in attendance.

But now the work begins!   The organisation cannot survive without your input and commitment.   Some of you have volunteered to work on the regional committees and some on the mentor committees, thank you; we will be contacting you shortly.   We have already had many new membership applications which will be administered once our new regional committees are in place.

Lisa Blane of KMH Architects and Tilly Gasela of Broll who represented the Project Committee, did a sterling job of presenting the new initiatives listed below to our audiences in all three centres:

Our new Vision  - The WPN vision is to actively promote the interests of women in the commercial property industry of South Africa by creating a dynamic environment with professional leadership to enhance the development, empowerment and upliftment of its members.

Membership Criteria - We welcome all individuals who are active in the commercial property industry and who embrace the WPN vision. 

Logo - In the past we have had three similar logo's with each depicting something of significance for that region e.g. Table Mountain in the background.  We needed something to unify us, something vibrant, young and trendy and from the different examples we chose the one on our homepage which we believe says it all.

Key Projects Reviewed - Some of our successful projects were reviewed and the following changes made:

Five Star Woman - We have revisited the judging criteria to cater for all women in the commercial property industry who have made an impact in their areas of expertise.  Since last year we have opened the award up to anyone who works in the industry not just to members. For the first time this year we will have regional judging before the national judging takes place. The winner will be announced at the WPN Charity Ball in Johannesburg on 5 September 2007.

Management and committees - National Co-ordinator - Diane Rhynes has offered her services in a temporary and part time capacity until a replacement can be found.

Regional Committees - These will continue in the three regions.   Gauteng and Durban Chapters' next event will be their AGM, Cape Town have just had theirs. We want to appeal to you to come forward and work on these committees.  Each person who sits on a committee will be in charge of her own portfolio and will report back at each meeting.

National Committee - The national committee will be selected with two representatives from the regional committees i.e. the chairman and one other, the national co-ordinator and for the first year a National Chairman selected by the Project Committee

Membership - Our membership is now open to any individual in the commercial property industry.  Our presence at Sapoa has already exposed us to a whole new generation of potential members.  Look out for us at the ICSC World Summit where we hope we will attract even more members. We are hoping to forge links with AWIP and SAIBPP.

Website - Our new site is up and running and will be driven by our national co-ordinator in conjunction with the regions.  The membership database, only with members' company names and company phone numbers will be accessible to all members.  So if you are for example looking for an architect in a region you will be able to see which architects are in your area.   Our databases are not up to date so this is an area of priority which we will be working on in the next couple of weeks.

New Initiatives - Womens Property Network Education Trust - We have established THE WOMENS PROPERTY NETWORK EDUCATION TRUST that will enable us to give back to our industry in particular.  We will endeavor to bring our social responsibility in line with our vision of uplifting and educating women - as they say "if you educate a woman, you have educated the whole nation"!  In the future funds raised at our charity events will be channeled into this trust for scholarships.  The research for the trust is complete and it now needs to be legally registered and trustees appointed.  This will be done in the next two months.   The purpose of the Trust is to support and encourage education of women through a number of scholarships at tertiary institutions with approved property courses in second, third and fourth years. 

Mentorship Programme - Our objectives are to give back to the industry by identifying talented young women whose skills development we can fast track.  We are in the process of formalising a mentorship programme and would like to encourage you to be a part of this initiative. 

Rising Star Award - This award will be presented for the first time in 2008 at the WPN Charity Ball and will be linked to the mentorship programme -those women who are being mentored will be monitored, and submissions will be made by the mentors on their behalf.

Advocacy - We have established a formal affiliation with Sapoa who have given WPN a seat on the Sapoa National Council to keep woman issues on the agenda. Property Charter - we will alternate a seat on the committee with AWIP to represent gender issues.