Hello weekend: Downtime with CHROs


From exploring the country to relaxing with a book and a good glass of wine, CHROs share how they like to spend their weekends.

Many HR executives are known for their commitment to their professional roles, but when the long weekend like this Heritage Day weekend finally arrives, they too take the opportunity to recharge, rejuvenate, and indulge in a variety of leisure activities. From exploring the breathtaking natural wonders of the country to relaxing with a book and a good glass of wine, HR leaders shared how they spend their downtime with CHRO South Africa.

Diana Johnson, BAT Sub-Saharan Africa area head of talent, culture & inclusion, who recently relocated to South Africa from a stint in Kenya, is fond of sightseeing around the country, with her husband and five-year-old daughter.

“Two years in South Africa, but there's still so much to see in this place. So we always like to go on road trips around the Cape and other provinces to see different places and show our daughter different things around the country. So it's usually the three of us on the road taking in the beauty of South Africa.”

Similarly, executive head of talent for Coca-Cola Bottlers Africa (South Africa) Leola Britton likes running and finding new hiking trails around her area.

“I generally enjoy reconnecting with my body, mind and spirit through exercise, especially running and hiking. I also read as much as possible (chick-lit is my preference); spending time with friends and family - drinking wine, eating and talking a lot.”

Meanwhile, Wiedaad Shaik: chief talent architect at SAPRO indulges in F1 on the weekends and visits her local roasters. “I am a massive F1 fan, so an F1 weekend is always something I look forward to. I love a good cup of coffee from local roasters. Flat white – no sugar, please. Life is a constant juggle so being present, appreciating the little things in life that I enjoy is important to me.”

Annalize Van Der Waal, the vice president of HR at PepsiCo South Africa, is a lover of the great outdoors and music and uses leisure time to enjoy those activities.

“I come from a musical background so I'm a great lover of music. I play the violin and classical guitar but more so the violin. I also have an adventurous spirit so love travelling and the outdoors. Most recently I, with a group of friends, slept on Table Mountain on a Sunday evening and hiked down on a Monday! I find that it energises me. I’ve also been married now for 24 years, a mother to three daughters 17, 15 and nine years old. So they also keep me busy on the weekend.”

Phil Tshikotshi, vice president for HR at Startek and 2022 Young CHRO of the Year, finds comfort in the kitchen as a downtime activity. “I love cooking as I find it therapeutic and really just enjoy it!”

Besa Muthuri, CHRO executive advisor at Africa Chartered Managers also enjoys the outdoors. “Regardless of how I present myself and what I have achieved, I am an introvert so I prefer to spend time in nature and organise my space.”

Regardless of the activities these executives opt for, they all lead to unforgettable experiences that enrich their spirits and inspire them for the challenges ahead.

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