Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Tel: +27 31 242 2322
Felicity “Flic” Blakeway’s work for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) focuses on strategic planning as part of the Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) management team. In addition, she leads the strategic research initiatives within the NRE’s Forestry Research Programme. She holds a BSc honours degree and a master’s degree in plant technology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. Before joining the CSIR to manage the council’s forestry research programme, she worked for Mondi in forestry research management, and in forestry education and development in East Africa. She is a committee member of the South African Institute of Forestry, has worked on Mondi/ISAAA/Gatsby East Africa Tree Biotechnology projects and serves on the Kilimo Trust. Blakeway is a member of the International Association for Plant Tissue Culture, the South African Institute of Forestry and the South African Association of Botanists.
Manager: Ecosystems Partnership
Tel: +27 21 888 2836
Thérèse Brinkcate has been with the conservation organisation WWW-South Africa for the past nine years. She is a programme manager in WWF and her responsibilities include oversight of The Green Trust (a partnership with Nedbank) and WWF activities in the fynbos, succulent Karoo and grasslands of South Africa. Brinkcate has a master’s degree in geography and environmental studies from the University of the Witwatersrand. Her master’s dissertation focused on community-based natural resource management and she began her career working with rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. More recently her focus has been on exploring interactions between biodiversity and business and arguing the business case for biodiversity conservation. Her interest in people and how they interact with the environment and her broad knowledge of the vast range of issues concerning environmental conservation have added strength to her diverse portfolios at WWF-SA.
South African National Parks
Tel: +27 12 426 5000
Cheryl Carolus’s philosophy of not believing in handouts but getting up and doing something yourself can clearly be seen on the effect she has had on South Africa. Currently she is the executive chairperson of Peotona Holdings, an investment company that deals with business development. She is also chairperson of the board of South African National Parks (SANParks) — a natural migration for the former CEO of SA Tourism, a post she filled between 2001 and 2004, where she introduced the Shot’ Left campaign. Carolus was born on the Cape Flats, where she became involved in grassroots politics. In 1983 she was instrumental in the formation of the United Democratic Front in the Western Cape. She was detained several times during the Seventies and Eighties for her political activities. A prominent political figure in the liberation struggle, she played a big part in setting up a new democratic South Africa, and was appointed in the 1990s South Africa’s high commissioner in London.
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 11 486 1102
Yolan Friedmann is the current and first female CEO of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). She is also chairperson of the South African national committee of the IUCN (World Conservation Union), a board member of the national environmental awareness Indalu Yethu and the Mazda Wildlife Fund and serves as the programme manager of the IUCN’s conservation breeding specialist group Southern Africa. Friedmann’s background includes a BA in English and communications from Unisa, veterinary nursing at Onderstepoort, and a master’s in environmental management. A keen sportswoman, she has completed many Comrades Marathons and other ultra-distance events.
National Association of Conservancies of South Africa
Tel: +27 82 997 7880
Mercia Komen has integrated substantial and varied business experience and her work in the development of human potential with her post as operations director for the National Association of Conservancies. She began her career in the IT industry. Different roles and functions followed, including account management, training, strategic consulting and business analysis. Projects opened doors to different industries and economic activities, as diverse as mining, farming co-operatives, forestry, fast-moving consumer goods and manufacturing. She has systems experience in enterprise resource planning, financials, reporting, manufacturing distribution and scenario modeling. Her final role in IT was project management for Enterprise Outsource Holdings. She has recently worked on product design, including facilitation and conflict resolution models. As operations director for the National Association of Conservancies of South Africa she works closely with diverse communities. She believes that “we are as much shaped by the environment as we shape our world” and sees her principal task as supporting and encouraging community-based conservation.
Tel: +27 21 447 5939
Leslie Liddell is director of Biowatch, a non-profit organisation ensuring the just use of biodiversity and promoting food security and sustainable approaches to agriculture. She has worked in leadership positions within the non-profit sector for more than 20 years, predominantly in the human rights, gender-based violence and social justice sectors, although she has also served on the boards of a number of educational organisations. She holds a certificate in implementing an integrative change model from the University of Stellenbosch School of Public Management and a diploma in professional communications from the University of Cape Town. She has a teacher’s diploma and a bachelor’s degree in social sciences from the University of Cape Town.
Manager: African Cranes, Wetlands and Communities
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Kerryn Morrison works with the African crane, one of the most threatened bird species in sub-Saharan Africa. Her efforts in their conservation won her the African Association of Zoos and Aquaria’s 2008 conservation award, whose citation described her as a “dedicated, far-sighted individual with diplomatic coordination skills”. These are all crucial attributes in her job as manager of the African Cranes, Wetlands and Communities Programme at the Endangered Wildlife Trust; the citation mentions her efforts to implement the African Crane Trade Project, which focuses on the threats posed to the survival of the species by the removal of cranes from the wild and illegal trade in the birds. Before assuming her current position in 2007, she filled other, related roles, such as manager of the African Wattled Crane Programme and Ground Hornbill Working Group, national operations manager for the South African Crane Working Group, and field officer for the Raptor Conservation Group and Poison Working Group. With a BSc (Hons) and an MSc in wildlife management, her passion has been hands-on work in linking communities and conservation outside of protected areas.
Head of Communications
South African National Parks (SANParks)
Tel: +27 12 426 5000
Wanda Mkutshulwa, the head of communications at South African National Parks (SANParks), is responsible for communicating the vision and mission of the country’s premier conservation organisation and its 22 national parks, as well as building a solid reputation for SANParks. Before she joined SANParks at the beginning of 2003, Mkutshulwa was involved in issues around land claims. She was appointed head of communications for the Commission on Restitution of Land Rights in the Eastern Cape in 1999, and from there moved on to become national communications coordinator in the office of the chief land claims commissioner. Mkutshulwa studied journalism and media studies at Rhodes University, where she also acquired a postgraduate diploma and honours in international relations, working briefly in media before moving into the communications field.
Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
Tel: +27 12 841 2204
Khungeka Njobe was appointed the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research group executive in May 2006, with responsibility for R&D outcomes and strategic human capital development. She was previously executive director of the council’s division of natural resources and the environment, which included mining, forestry, pollution and waste, water, resource-based sustainable development and ecosystems. Njobe is a former director of the National Botanical Institute and director of biodiversity management in the department of environmental affairs and tourism. She holds an MSc in zoology from the University of Pretoria, an honours degree in biology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has completed a management programme at the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. She is the chairperson of the board of directors of the South African Weather Service, previous chairperson of the National Environmental Advisory Forum, member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and a member of the World Water Council’s board of governors.
WWF Responsible Fisheries Programme
Tel: +27 21 425 3440
Marine biologist Samantha Petersen is passionate about conserving the oceans. She financed her studies by working as a fieldworker on Marion Island, studying albatross and petrel species threatened with extinction from longline and trawl fishing. She now heads up the WWF Responsible Fisheries Programme, which is committed to supporting an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAF). This approach seeks to protect and enhance the health of the marine ecosystem by working with stakeholders, reducing the impact of destructive and wasteful fishing practices, finding solutions to ensure efficient fishing and raising public awareness on the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems. After leaving Marion Island, Petersen joined BirdLife South Africa, where she headed up the Southern African Save the Albatross Campaign. She holds a diploma in veterinary nursing from Onderstepoort Veterinary College, a BSc in zoology from Unisa, a BSc (Hons) in marine biology and a PhD from the University of Cape Town on the bycatch of vulnerable species in longline and trawl fisheries.