A social worker by profession, Margie has worked for many years in the field of ageing, with a particular interest in long-term care and partnership development. She is passionate about networking, helping organisations to share their stories, and partnership development for the greater good. She joined GERATEC as their Director of Strategic Partnerships in March 2011. A member of many national working groups contributing to the development of policies and legislation in South Africa, she currently serves as immediate past Chairperson on the Board of Directors of The Global Ageing Network and is Chairperson of the South African Care Forum. She also serves on the Board of Directors of CommonAge as the representative for Africa. She is a member of the IFA.
Van Zyl, M.
Be a connector – innovate through global partnerships and impact the greater good
Background: This will be a personal, practice-based presentation on the power of collaboration and networking. I will share examples of how I have embraced networking over the past few decades working in the aged care sector nationally and globally to positively impact the greater good. I will share mistakes made, successes experienced, partnerships facilitated, synergies that have worked, networking and connecting examples. It will be a reflection on the power and richness of connecting and the value of immersing oneself in global networks in order to build constellations of relationships, which then add value to what you do within your organisation.
Discussion: You lead out of who you are; you connect out of who you are – so what I’m sharing is my personal journey.
Being a connector involves embracing a number of attributes and being involved in a process of influence, building bridges between people, having good positive energy, giving rather than getting, having generosity of spirit, joining organisations/networks and getting involved, building trustworthy relationships, focusing on inclusivity and making connections for others, coordinating, facilitating and storytelling.
My journey of connecting will be shared, starting as a social worker naively determined to change the world, looking at what Connecting involved before the days of social media and how it is today. Essential qualities for building authentic relationships will be unpacked. Examples of the value of being involved in various organisations and networks both national and global, will be shared.
The facilitation of numerous global partnerships and connections will be shared by storytelling.
Conclusion: Join global networks such as the IFA – get involved.
For global connections to work both champions and visionaries are needed. Each country needs someone who is a visionary as well as a champion. Each organisation needs a champion to keep the relationship with a global partner alive in order to add value to their work.
Connections that last, and are sustainable, are connections of the heart. This takes time and passion.
Allow your passion to ignite others and impact not only your own organisation but also the greater good. Connectors are people with a special gift for bringing the world together. Connect for a reason, with purpose and connect for real, for the long-term.