01 & 02 June 2023

Meet Stellenbosch

Meet Stellenbosch is an initiative by Visit Stellenbosch and CECO, Stellenbosch University’s Central Events and Conferencing office in order to highlight Stellenbosch Town and Campus as a Business Events Destination.

Welcome to Stellenbosch

Welcome to the warm-hearted town of Stellenbosch, the answer to your business travel needs. Located just 40km from Cape Town International Airport in the postcard-perfect Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch offers not only a magnificent backdrop for your business travel but world-class facilities and a diversity of experiences to enjoy.


About Us

Meet Stellenbosch is an initiative by Visit Stellenbosch and the Stellenbosch University’s Central Events and Conferencing Office in partnership with Wesgro and Stellenbosch Municipality  in order to highlight Stellenbosch as a Business Events Destination. 

Meet Stellenbosch 2023, under the umbrella theme, ‘driving confidence for the Stellenbosch business events industry’, will focus on understanding what the destination needs are as we set the course for rebuilding meetings, incentive travel, conferences and business events within Stellenbosch. 

Event Information

Join us for an exciting two day programme where you will experience some of what Stellenbosch has to offer for our business events tourists.

Date: Thursday, 01 June 2023
Time: 08H30 – 17H00
Venue: Neelsie Cinema, Langehoven Centre, 7 De Beer Street, Stellenbosch

Date: Friday, 02 June 2023
Time: 08:00 – 15:00

Register here for your FREE delegate pass


Day 1

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Arrivals and registration, Coffee, Teas, and Snacks
Introductions, House Rules, Program Outline by Master of Ceremony, Natalia Rosa, Chief Executive Officer at Big Ambitions
Welcome to Stellenbosch by Ms. Gesie van Deventer, Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality
Keynote Address, Navigating the Turbulence – Remaining Resilient in an Ever-Changing World by Stephen McGown, Inspirational Speaker, Author and Longest Held Captive of Al Qaeda
Digitalisation and Information Technology – Collaboration between Digital & Traditional Media: Effective strategies and tactics for boosting visitors traffic & engagement by Neil Piper, Head of Marketing and Content at Messe Frankfurt South Africa
Eventing for the Future – Current Trends and Opportunities: A Deep Dive into the future of the Business Events landscape, by Devi Paulsen, National Chairperson of AAXO (Association of African Exhibition Organisers)
Destination Innovation & Sustainability Positioning a Business Tourism Destination – Panel Discussion – Moderator: Monika Iuel (Chief Destination Marketing Officer at Wesgro), Panel Member 1: Glenton De Kock (Chief Executive Officer at the Southern Africa Association of the Conferencing Industry), Panel Member 2: Corne Koch (Head of Division: Cape Town and the Western Cape Convention Bureau), Panel Member 3: Jeanneret Momberg (Chief Executive Officer at Visit Stellenbosch)
Speed-Marketing Session by Stellenbosch Establishments in Accommodation | Experiences | Wine | Art | Venues | Outdoors | Group Dinning and Experiences
Closing Remarks and Vote of Thanks by Chief Executive Officer at Visit Stellenbosch, Jeanneret Momberg and Manager of the Stellenbosch University: Central Events and Conferencing Office, Catherine Channing

Day 2

Venue site visits & excursions

Stellenbosch University VenueTimeDate
Adam Small Theatre Complex07:30 till 09:0001 June & 02 June
Jan Mouton Teaching and Learning Centre07:30 till 09:0001 June & 02 June
Van der Sterr building07:30 till 09:0001 June & 02 June
Conservatorium07:30 till 09:0001 June & 02 June


Advocate Gesie van Deventer

Executive Mayor: Stellenbosch Municipality

Topic: Welcome to Stellenbosch

Mayor van Deventer studied Law and worked as an advocate at the High Court of South Africa. She also studied Viticulture at the Elsenburg Agricultural College, and also qualified as a winemaker and cellar master at the same college. From 2011 to 2016 she was the Executive Mayor of Drakenstein, and from August 2016 until the present is the Executive Mayor of Stellenbosch Municipality.

Not only was she successful in the field of law but also achieved the Farmer of the Year award in 2003, and the Female Farmer of the Year award in 2022. She is also a successful entrepreneur, with a very successful wine farm and wine exporting business.

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She is a born leader, with immense experience in local government, agriculture, rural development, community development and law. She is also a wife, mother and proud grandmother.
She lives by the saying of Zig Ziglar: “Life is like a ladder and no one has ever climbed a ladder with his hands in his pockets”


Glenton De Kok

Chief Executive Officer: Southern African Association for Conference Industry

Topic: Destination Innovation and Sustainability

“Promoting positive community and economic growth in our neighbourhood” is an objective that drives Glenton daily.
Glenton’s public and private sector strategic management skills came in handy during the pandemic. His active role within the Business Events industry in South Africa and the Africa has aided his role as CEO of the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI). With the pivotal role he played for the association and specifically with the formation of the South African Events Council, he was aptly placed in working across the public and private sector the past few years on behalf of SAACI members.

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Having honed his tourism and hospitality skills during his tenure as Managing Director of Tourism Buffalo City (covering East London, King Williams Town and Bhisho) where he oversaw the development and implementation of the destinations USAID Funded Tourism Master Plan, as Chief Executive Officer of Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth, Uitenhage and Despatch) he refocused the organisations operating model, and as Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Cape Tourism Board, which is now The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) he drove the implementation of the provinces international partnerships program.

As an Associate Director at KPMG he led the Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism Unit for Africa and South Africa before moving onto Grant Thornton in a similar position. His position as Project Manager at the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber ensured that Business embraces its civil society role by driving a holistic approach which enables business within the Metro to work towards long-term sustainability, though projects such as the Nooitgedaght Low Level Water Scheme and the re-activation for the much needed Addo Road refurbishment.

Glenton’s business management experience cuts across various sectors, such as Tourism Hospitality, Petro-chemical, Mining and all spheres of government to name a few. He provides strategic input into his family footwear manufacturing business which employees 60 people and is run by his sisters.

As active citizen, Glenton acts as an independent advisor to the Nelson Mandela Bay Consultative Christian Churches, The Nelson Mandela Bay Civil Society Coalition, and the Northern Areas Education Forum and occasionally when time permits mentors businesses within the ICT and Services Sector.

He also serves as a board member for the Tourism Business Council and is a regular moderator on industry platforms.

Glenton is Chief Executive Officer for the Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI).

In his spare time, he is the President of the Nelson Mandela University Football Club and is a budding golfer.


Stephen McGown

Keynote Speaker: Inspirational Speaker, Author and Longest Held Captive of Al Qaeda

Topic: Navigating the Turbulence – Remaining Resilient in an Ever-Changing World

In 2011, Stephen McGown, a tourist on a motorcycle, was abducted by Al Qaeda up in North Africa. He was taken beyond his will far into the Saharan desert for the following 6 years to be either negotiated out of captivity or executed.

Hidden from the Malian and Western military force and all their military hardware, he was forced to change camps regularly. He faced food shortages, water shortages, the severity of living outdoors in the Saharan climate and the overwhelming anxieties and securities of whether he’d survive to ever see his family again.

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With no contact with his family nor the outside world, he had to take control of himself, step up and adapt mentally and physically. Six years later he was released to return home to his family.

As a normal guy whose life was thrown into disarray, he has become a much sought after speaker with his self-taught methods of adjusting, being resilient and making the most of what life throws at us.

As we all live in the real world having our own challenges, he was living in another world. Although there were many different challenges to what we experience, he faced many challenges that we do relate, such as working in a diverse team, breakdowns in communication, dealing with disappointments and the need exercise self-control and discipline. The only difference was that his was a “life and death” situation. Stephen’s story can be directed towards many specific areas of interest.

His talk promises to inspire and leave his audience questioning their own attitude and dilemmas.

Stephen wrote a book which was published in December 2020. It became a best seller within the first five weeks and won the 2021 Adult Non – Fiction category at the South African Book Awards. The book has subsequently been released globally and there is interest from various international media houses to create a film, series and documentary.

Stephen is from Johannesburg where he went to school and attended university. Having spent 7 years in the UK prior to his abduction, he and his wife are now back in South Africa where he has gained a huge following as professional speaker, both locally and internationally.

He has also embarked on a project setting up a NPC on their family farm in the Karoo to help with various types of addiction and mental health problems.


Neil Piper

Head of Marketing and Content: Messe Frankfurt South Africa

Topic: Digitalisation and Information Technology – Collaboration between Digital & Traditional Media: Effective strategies and tactics for boosting visitors traffic & engagement

With over 30 years of experience in events, media, marketing and sales. Neil Piper is a seasoned professional who holds a Master’s Degree in Business Leadership. A strategic thinker with a results-orientated mindset and a track record of leading successful teams that can adapt to changing consumer behaviour by embracing new technologies. As the current marketing lead at Messe Frankfurt South Africa, he develops content and marketing strategies to drive visitor and exhibitor engagement for a range of consumer and B2B events. Previously, as a Director at Ramsay Media, he successfully published market-leading brands and developed events and conferences around their core focus and specialisation.

Devi Paulsen-Abbott

National Chairperson: Association of African Exhibition Organisers (AAXO)

Topic: Eventing for the Future – Current Trends and Opportunities: A Deep Dive into the future of the Business Events landscape

Devi Paulsen-Abbott has vast experience in media and event management, having been in the industry for over two decades. She was a key member of the executive team that concluded the acquisition of Spintelligent by Clarion Events, and was also the driving force behind the sale of Hypenica’s transport and built environment portfolios to dmg events five years after co-founding the company.

Devi currently serves as Chair of the Association of African Exhibition Organisers, working to create and deliver platforms to drive economic and investment development in Africa. With her deep understanding of emerging markets, Devi has successfully conceptualized and developed hundreds of international specialist event products. Devi is a family-oriented individual, being mother to 13-year-old Olivia and wife to Jeremy.

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She will be joining Energy Capital Power as CEO from 30 May 2023. Previously she was at  dmg events, where as Vice President, she has been responsible for developing and managing the company’s event portfolio in Southern Africa and has been pivotal to developing strategies and visions that showcase the continent’s opportunities in core sectors such as mining, transport, infrastructure and trade. 
Devi is also a passionate advocate for the growth and development of women in the industry/continent. 


Monika Iuel

Chief Destination Marketing Officer: Wesgro

Topic for Panel Discussion: Destination Innovation and Sustainability – Positioning a Business Tourism destination

Monika has a long-standing passion for Southern African tourism, a deep knowledge of the international marketplace, and strong industry relationships at home and abroad. She has extensive experience in the industry, spending the first half of her career in the inbound tourism industry, including 13 years at Tourvest Destination Management.
Monika then spent 4 years at South African Tourism, initially as Regional Director for the Americas and ultimately as General Manager International Marketing, supporting all international SA Tourism offices in Europe, Americas and Australasia. Returning once again to the private sector, Monika served for 5 years as CEO of Private Safaris, a Destination Management Company operating from offices in Cape Town and Windhoek. At the helm, she successfully steered the business to its new owners, Fairfax Financial Holdings (based in Toronto) in 2017, and together with her team, led the resultant reinvention of the business.

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Deepening her love for her country and ready to promote the Western Cape province to the world, in March 2021 Monika joined and accepted her role as Chief Destination Marketing Officer at Wesgro, the Official Tourism, Trade, Investment and Film Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, where she leads an inspiring team of place marketers and aims to make the region the top choice in Africa for tourism or business.


Cornė Koch

Head of the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau: Wesgro

Topic for Panel Discussion: Destination Innovation and Sustainability – Positioning a Business Tourism destination

Cornė Koch is Head of the Cape Town and Western Cape Convention Bureau at Wesgro (the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape). She is a passionate promoter of the importance of business events for economic growth and responsible to position the Western Cape as the top destination in Africa to host a meeting.

After commencing her formal career at the South African Chamber of Commerce, she enters the destination marketing sector in 2003 – 2008 as the Gauteng Tourism Authority’s Business Tourism Manger. Leaving the sector for a short stint to pursue her other passion, that of strategic communication, she took on the role of Communications Manager at the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa before re-entering the sector in 2011 as Trade Development and Partnership Manager at Gauteng Tourism Authority. In 2014 she relocated to Cape Town joining the Wesgro team in the Destination Marketing Organisation.

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Corne currently serves as a member of the Board of the International Congress and Convention Association, as well as the Cape Castle Control Board and is past Chair of the BestCities Global Alliance.


Natalia Rosa

CEO of Big Ambitions

Master of Ceromonies

Natalia Rosa is the CEO of Big Ambitions, a specialist travel and tourism communications and marketing organisation in tourism and travel. Exceptionally well connected within the tourism and travel sectors in South Africa, Natalia  is a communications, marketing and PR expert in the industry.

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