Wendy Alberts, 49, is the chief executive of the Restaurant Association of South Africa, a leading organisation in the food and beverage sector that works to uplift and self-regulate the restaurant industry. During the Covid-19 lockdowns the battles for the industry’s survival — which extended to taverns, shebeens, liquor stores, hotels, night clubs, restaurants, BnBs and pubs — was fought by Wendy and the association she runs. She acknowledges the hundreds of others who fought alongside her, calling them her heroes.
Beyond the pandemic, Wendy has touched the lives of countless people, who call her the Restaurant Queen. Her in-depth knowledge of food, restaurants, franchising and people and business development in the hospitality sector has played a major role in the success of the association. Her ethical and professional approach has also benefitted the many restaurants, suppliers, industry role players, staff and clients that she assists. Wendy has introduced many innovations, systems and new growth opportunities to the industry. Her strengths include a thorough understanding of the principles of business management, marketing, promotion, growth planning, and the sourcing, evaluation and dissemination of industry intelligence. Wendy has won the CEO Global Country and Regional Award and Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Government & Business Award.
She says her greatest achievement has been saving jobs, building businesses and inspiring individuals, showing them that it is only their thoughts that limit them.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Kindness wins. Never stop listening and learning. Act positively and spread goodwill.
Our theme this year is Accelerating Equality & Empowerment in Women. How do you empower yourself and women around you?
My passion is creating empowering connections and to bring passions alive to create opportunities for so many who have great talents and great ability to make a difference in this world. My purpose is to inspire them with confidence and courage to speak out, to tell the stories of their passions and to act intentionally on their dreams.
I serve as an agent of change inspiring women to love themselves, to believe in who they are and to live true to their authenticity and their potential. I reaffirm my commitment to grow and empower girls and women and to execute my experiences in uplifting ways to continue to lead by example, to inspire the dreamer and to take journeys with the adventurous.
I am committed to providing women with entrepreneurship training and mentorship and facilitating access to business development services. I promote opportunities, networks and support systems for women entrepreneurs.
If you could change or achieve one thing for South Africa today, what would it be?
For people to realise that South Africa is our greatest dream, limitless with abundance and opportunity. For everyone to feel rooted and to be filled with pride and passion.