Why was Rob Hetem nominated?

Mandisa Magwaxaza describes Vice Chairperson of SATSA, Rob Hetem, as a champion of transformation: “He’s been my mentor when I feel stuck, he’s always gone above and beyond to ensure that I succeed”.

Mandisa emphasises Rob’s ‘heart for giving back’, and believes that as a thought leader in transformative tourism, Rob lives by this. “From the work that he’s done with me through SATSA, to helping me navigate corporate governance, management and leadership within the Eastern Cape, Rob is incredibly generous and supportive. This is why I’ve nominated him.”

Who is Rob Hetem?

Rob’s journey began back in the 80’s, where he happened across the love of his life, interestingly, she worked in the tourism industry alongside a number of prominent thought leaders.

Coming from the corporate world, Rob was an outsider, but regardless, the world of tourism infatuated him: “I just loved this fun environment that they were all a part of,” he says.

Nine years later, Rob tied the knot with his wife Tammy Hetem, and in 1999 they embarked on an ambitious journey together, that would see them starting their own business. And as he says it, “The rest is history”. Today, he’s been in the tourism industry twice as long as any other, and doesn’t see himself going anywhere anytime soon.

How Rob is getting involved

Rob has a unique way of giving back, whilst involved in many projects, he sees himself investing a lot of his time in the pro bono coaching of small businesses in the tourism space. “It’s a space where I’ve got a lot of knowledge, contacts, and connections,” says Rob. He continues to emphasise that he’s also very blessed to be working with women in STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Math) through mentorship.

An organisation in Toronto, Canada, that works with women in STEM has of recent, caught his curious eye. He’d love to introduce a similar mentorship programme right here in South Africa, as he believes that youth and young women alike are the future of the industry.

How he feels about being nominated as a superlifter

Rob expresses his sincerest gratitude towards Mandisa Magwaxaza. “I’m very grateful towards her, it’s not something that I’d expected, so for her to put her hand up for me and put me on a list – it’s great to know that I’ve made an impact,” says Rob.

Rob believes the Superlifter campaign is a wonderful initiative. “There are so many deserving people, and if this can in some way encourage others to reach out and give a hand, or perhaps a platform in which to use their voice, I’ll be more than pleased.”

For Rob, it’s about the relationships he’s built on the journey, it’s about getting involved in the industry and doing his best to ensure the talents around him are given ample opportunity to shine and pursue their dreams.

Watch our conversation with Rob Hetem here.

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