When it comes to underpinning the global drive to empower women and ensure they are given equal opportunities, Fancourt Estate stands tall. This award-winning destination – with two leading hotels, a globally recognised spa, much-lauded restaurants and three world-renowned golf courses – is committed to uplifting women, appointing them to senior positions and helping to change mindsets in the process.
Take CEO Georgie Davidson. Appointed to the head of the estate in July 2014, she oversees the day-to-day business of Fancourt, making this enormous task look effortless in the process. Originally from Zimbabwe and with an impressive career spanning some 26 years in hotel management and the larger tourism industry, she draws on a wealth of valuable insight in her position at Fancourt Estate.
Georgie’s passion for everything she does helps her to stay focused and lead her team by example, energising them with her commitment and enthusiasm and dispelling any doubts about a woman’s ability to manage a globally recognised tourism brand by not just meeting expectations but exceeding them.
Fancourt Spa manager Nadia Rudolph is also a leader in her field, winning the coveted Spa Management Excellence Award at last year’s Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Spa Awards. Like Georgie, Nadia leads her team with confidence and professionalism, encouraging them to be all they can be and has instituted an extensive development programme to facilitate her team’s growth.
Under her management, the Fancourt Spa also won the title of Best Hotel Spa in South Africa at this year’s Les Nouvelles Esthetiques Spa Awards.
Fancourt is also responsible for a life-changing initiative that saw the hair salon fulfil a lifelong dream for hairdresser Astralita Crowley from George. In an initiative which commenced in March this year, Fancourt has reinvented the hair salon, with the aim of handing it over to Astralita to run as her own business within the next two years. In the meantime, Fancourt is providing financial and business advice as well as marketing support.
Well known as a local hair stylist, Astralita has a strong client base and an excellent reputation, and by allowing her to focus on her strong points and providing her with the assistance she needs to make the salon the success it deserves to be, in the process turning her job into a shining example of both entrepreneurial spirit and sustainable development.
Last, but not least in this line-up of some of Fancourt’s leading ladies is the estate’s Chief Financial Officer, Joalitha van Zyl. She’s been holding the purse-strings at Fancourt since 2011, although her journey with the estate began 20 years ago, when she was a young articled accountant in George and part of the team auditing Fancourt. The estate quickly saw her potential and employed her as soon as she qualified in 1998. She was instrumental in helping to launch The Links – Fancourt’s world-renowned members-only private golf course which is ranked the No 1 course in South Africa by Golf Digest magazine.
Joalitha left to start her own business in 2006, but still assisted Fancourt with its accounting systems. When she was offered the CFO position in 2011 she leapt at the chance to take Fancourt to the next level, expanding her portfolio to include new real-estate developments, property sales and serving as a director on the board of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation.