Business awards bring smiles to Nelson Mandela Bay stalwarts

SWEET SUCCESS: Award winners at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Bay Business Event are, from left, Niqui Cloete-Barrass, Shereen van Rooyen of Fat Cats Catering, Alastair Stead of Scan Display, Stefan Ferreira, Linda Harwood, Wendy Knott-Craig of PR Junction and Michelle Brown
SWEET SUCCESS: Award winners at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Bay Business Event are, from left, Niqui Cloete-Barrass, Shereen van Rooyen of Fat Cats Catering, Alastair Stead of Scan Display, Stefan Ferreira, Linda Harwood, Wendy Knott-Craig of PR Junction and Michelle Brown
Image: Fabian Smith Photography

Humility and professionalism are an open secret to success and remain at the top of the rule book for most of the winners at the inaugural Nelson Mandela Bay Business Event Awards on Friday.

Bay PR practitioner Michelle Brown of Brown’s PR — who won the long service award with an impressive run of more than three decades — was among the winners with her one-person company, which offers public relations services to corporate companies and events in the city, beating finalists Glenn van Eck of Magnetic Storm and Misty Mountain Reserve’s Nicolette Saayman to claim the accolade.

For the past 31 years, Brown has managed to stay relevant by strictly working with brands that are aligned to  her principles, she said.

“One of the principles I’ve adhered to from a young age is knowing that the game is always bigger than the man, so when you start thinking you’re bigger than the game, it’s a NO.

“Respect, particularly for women in business, and professional conduct are very important,” Brown said.

The award looked at honouring individuals whose businesses have been in the Nelson Mandela Bay events industry for at least 20 years.

“I am so honoured to receive such recognition. This is the first award in my 31 years of running Brown’s PR,” Brown said.

The businesswoman runs the business and handles clients by herself, often providing aspiring PR practitioners with mentorship as well.

“Because I’m a one-man band, I’m not in a position to finance people, but what I can always share is my knowledge, advice and my  network contacts,” she said.

The event also honoured Port Elizabeth’s internationally recognised tourism expert Peter Myles with a lifetime achievement award for his decades of service in the Bay’s tourism industry.

“I am deeply honoured to accept this inaugural award. Tourism and the ocean economy [are] my passion and so every working day I am actually doing what I love best.

“Tourism is like a family business where you build long-term relationships and partnerships,” Myles said.

Myles cut his teeth in the industry in 1988 as the director of publicity and tourism for the Port  Elizabeth Publicity Association, and a year later the Tourism Liaison Council named the city the best publicity association in SA.

He developed his own international tourism networking business, Tournet Africa, in 1995, focusing on tourism development projects such as the Wild Coast and Fish River SDI.

His 2002 master’s thesis became the first Tourism Master Plan in SA.

Winners in six other categories were:

  • Most promising newcomer — Stefan Ferreira
  • Event services — Scan Display
  • Decor and catering — Fat Cats Catering
  • Event organiser (large events) — Harwood Promotions
  • Event organiser (small events) — PR Junction
  • Entertainer, Speaker, MC — Niqui Cloete-Barrass.

NMB Business Event Awards co-founder and organiser Tricia Wood said: “Myself and partners Caroline Morgan and Melissa Palmer wanted to expose people to what services Nelson Mandela Bay can provide the events sector because we often see various corporates fly in different services like catering and display services from other cities, whereas we actually have all they need in the Bay.”

This was the first of what the organisers hope will be an annual event.

“With this amazing response from the public, we are definitely growing the brand next year and collaborating with other brands,” Wood said.

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