Strong women that take the lead are the backbone of South African development and enterprise and Lindi van der Merwe is one of these women; always pushing the envelope to achieve excellence.
As Trade Marketing Manager of Coca-Cola in Limpopo, Van der Merwe has her pulse on the economic development of the province. Her energetic personality and complete commitment to the product that she sells makes her a force to be reckoned with.
Van der Merwe has been at the helm of the Coca-Cola Limpopo marketing ship for almost a year now after 12 years working for the same company in Port Shepstone, specialising in special events and sales.
The move to the north has been an adventure for this native of KwaZulu-Natal, but she credits her family for the smooth transition.
“I have a wonderful husband, Jacques, and two fantastic daughters, Kelsy (11) and Mia (6), who are my support system in everything I do. They are so adaptable to everything that life throws at them. I don’t have to try and balance work and family life, my family makes it so easy for the two to seamlessly fit together.”
She lights up when she talks about Coca-Cola products and explains that the quality of the ingredients in their drinks are far superior to similar drinks from other manufacturers.
“The proof is in the science,” she says.
Van der Merwe is also very excited about the Coca-Cola Corporate Social Investment Programme.
“We believe in loyalty to our clients. We cannot ask people to spend their hard earned money on our products if we are not involved in the communities where we sell our wares. We have to give back to show people how much we appreciate them.”
She says the company is always expanding into new areas where they can make a difference and where they can help people.
Besides all the Coca-Cola outreach projects and charity work, Van der Merwe is also very involved with the Coca-Cola Fortune blood drives.
“I have been driving this initiative for the past year and we have seen quite an improvement. We started with four blood donors and now have 18 donors who donate blood every six weeks. Every drop of blood helps when it comes to life and death situations and that is why I do everything in my power to encourage my colleagues to donate blood,” she says.
In her free time Van der Merwe and her family like to explore the outdoors. They are avid mountain bikers and love to tackle touch walking trails. Next year they plan to walk the famous Otter Trail in the Tsitsikamma Forest.
“Mia is a brilliant gymnast and Kelsey and I run together. We are a sporty bunch who likes to stay active.”
When asked about her leadership qualities as a woman, she says that being a world traveller has given her a more open minded outlook on life and that makes it easier for her to lead.
“Women have a great destiny to fulfil in South Africa. There are great women out there who are changing people’s lives every day. I am just one drop in the bucket of strong women who make a positive difference,” she explains.