Employee wellness

SA employee assistance conference reaches new horizons

Tshifhiwa Mamaila and Ouma Garekwe
Mr. Tshifhiwa Mamaila (EAPA-SA President) left. Ms. Ouma Garekwe right - accepting Practioner of the Year(3).jpg

The Employee Assistance Professionals Association of South Africa (EAPA-SA) ’s 2012 national conference, was held in Somerset West, Cape Town at the end of September this year. The theme for this year’s conference was “New Horizons”, with both local and international speakers presenting on topics such as Managing EAP in the Growing Economy and E-counselling trends in ensuring anonymity and confidentiality. 

Over 250 delegates, special guests and exhibitors attended the national conference from various South African private sector organizations including Chevron, AON and Old Mutual and the public sector including the Departments of Education, Health and Social Development and parastatals such as Eskom, Metrorail, and also the South African Medical Research Council. Apart from the excellent programme delegates were also treated to self-care and wellness activities which included Art Therapy, early morning Yoga, Meditation, Bootcamp, dance, cultural celebration of Sophia Town and health screening.

This year EAPA-SA received sponsorships from EOH Health, PHS, ICAS, Careways, Red Zebra, Cape Town Tourism, St John, Adventure Boot Camp, and Yoga in Hout Bay. All of these sponsors were essential to the success of the EAPA-SA conference.

"We would like to extend our greatest appreciation to the delegates who honoured our invite to be part of our EAPA-SA 14th Annual conference. The undying support from our sponsors, exhibitors and the media and the partnerships we have developed and nurtured throughout the years, cannot go unnoticed. We had an excellent service from our committed event management team of Enov8, who worked tirelessly to ensure that they meet our high standards and that they did. They are a bunch of workaholics,” said EAPA-SA president, Mr Tshifhiwa Mamaila.

The 2012 conference’s guest speaker was leading international mental health professional Paul Yin, who discussed how companies should deal with the impact of economic changes, using China as a case study. China as a nation holds many parallels with South Africa, especially with organizational culture and diversity issues. Other key speakers included renowned US speakers Dee Anna Merz Nagal and Kate Anthony who hosted a live webinar on Online Therapy – the advances in Information and Communication technology presents opportunities for innovation in the way Employee Assistance is delivered.

Mr Tshifhiwa Mamaila went on to say that “this was without a doubt, one of our best conferences ever and a word of thanks to our dynamic speakers and our guest speaker Mr Paul Yin from China for the personal sacrifices to be part of this great event. The standard we have set for ourselves is so high and we can only aim to go even higher in our next conference.”

The prestigious Presidential Awards Gala Dinner was held on the night of Friday 21 September where the EAPA-SA annual awards were announced and great entertainment was provided. Members were recognised for their outstanding contribution to the EAP profession. Dr Pravesh Bhoodram was awarded the prestigious honour of being recognised as the 2012 Board Member of the year for his invaluable contribution to  EAPA-SA.  Other awards included 2012 EAP Practitioner of the Year presented to Ms. Ouma Garekwe and the 2012 EAPA-SA Presidential Award  presented to Ms. Tracey Harper.

Egoli (Johannesburg) was announced as The Chapter of the Year.  To earn this annual award the Chapter must be affiliated with EAPA-SA, must have made a significant contribution to the EAP profession; a significant contribution to growth of membership through an effective recruitment and marketing strategy.

“To my dedicated board members, thank you for the support, commitment and dedication to your responsibilities and to this special profession. I could not have chosen to work with a better team than this,” Tshifhiwa Mamaila.

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