The ABF held its 40th annual AGM at the Inanda Club in Sandton on 18 March, welcoming in new President, Giles Shepherd, as well as a committee that has doubled in size in the last six months.
Announcing both income and grants in aid that have doubled during 2008, and the exciting re-establishment of the Cape Town branch, the National Executive Committee approved a brave and ambitious strategy that is set to springboard the ABF into an exciting new era.
Founded in 1969, the ABF is the vital crisis support structure behind the advertising, marketing and media industries in South Africa, stepping in to support people who have worked in these sectors but have fallen on hard times - for whatever reason. Retrenchments, redundancies, injuries and illnesses are a daily reality, and once prosperous copywriters, account directors, photographers and many others suddenly find they can't pay the bond, let alone feed themselves.
The ABF is renowned for its series of annual events, ranging from the prestigious President's Cup Golf Day, through annual Spring Balls, ten pin bowling competitions, Village Cricket days to the rambunctious Crazy Golf Day. These events are consistently sold out, and a significant contributor to the fund-raising that allows the organisation to provide its vital lifeline of support.
Talking to the new strategy - including powerful new member benefits - Giles Shepherd said that the time is ripe for the ABF to capitalize on its successes, and re-energise itself for today's industry and society. “We've shown that the ABF is a much needed and respected organisation, and that there is so much more that we can do. Now's the time to take advantage of our strong position and strengthen it - for the benefit of those who rely on us.”
Shepherd acknowledged the committee's bravery and commitment in the steps it has taken to ensure the most up-to-date, relevant and meaningful organisation, saying it was this approach that had allowed for the magnificent growth during 2008, and was sure to allow the ABF to exceed its aims for 2009.
The committee for 2009 was elected as follows; Giles Shepherd (President), Alan Swart (Vice President), Sharlene Vallance (Eventure), Yolanda van Wyk (DraftFCB), David Deminey (BDFM), Kerry Standiford (Chairperson - KZN), Riaan Kriel of Biz Community was formally elected to the post of Chairman of the Committee for Cape Town, and will be leading the charge to re-establish that branch, beginning with an event on 7 May. The committee was also joined by John Bowles (Caxton), Les van Dyk (SA Men), Graham Futter (Sappi), Peter Muller (IO Media), Craig Rode (Brand Alive), Skhumbuzo Nkosi (Primedia) and Michelle Davis (OMD). Chris Stewart continues as General Manager and Riana Stander as Treasurer.
Greg Stewart (Publisher of the Citizen), who served as President for three years, stepped down at the end of 2008, and was awarded Honorary Life Membership in recognition of his outstanding contribution. “When I joined the ABF National Executive Committee I was conscious of the exceptional energy and leadership that Greg had brought, and the enormous respect he commanded from the committee and the membership as a result,” said Giles Shepherd. “His decision to retire was met with great sadness, and it is an enormous honour to have been elected to take his place. We would all like to express our sincere gratitude to Greg for his role in bringing the ABF to this place of strength and opportunity.”
For information about the ABF, its individual and corporate membership programmes as well as events and activities, please contact Chris Stewart by email at , or visit www.abf.co.za.
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