Aged care CEO gets ‘refired’ to Cape Town

2011-02-16 00:00

“MY motto is carpe diem, seize the day. We have to live life to the full.” With these words, a well-known personality in aged care is leaving the city for a new challenge in Cape Town.

At an age when other people start to think about retirement, the departing CEO of Padca (the Pietermaritzburg and District Council for the Care of the Aged), Margie van Zyl (55) said: “We should refire ourselves, not retire.” Van Zyl leaves for Cape Town this weekend to take up a position as director of Strategic Partnerships for Geratec, a private aged care company. “I was invited to join the group and I’m excited by the opportunity still to grow my career at this age and in a new city. I believe I still have a lot to offer.”

Van Zyl already owns a home in Cape Town, where she hoped to retire one day. “Things have fallen into place in a wonderful way; I feel it is God’s hand on my life.” She has been CEO of Padca for 10 years and with the organisation for 15 years.

“I have always tried new things, tried to see how we can do things in a different and better way. I will continue to do that in my new position.”

She will be responsible for change management and developing partnerships between different agencies in the aged care sector. “The challenges in aged care are the same around the country. I will be working in several provinces. Organisations struggle with finances, staffing and changing models of aged care. We still have many institutional facilities in this country.”

An Epworth old girl, Van Zyl trained as a social worker at the University of Natal, Durban, and Unisa. “It will be hard to say goodbye as I have always loved what I do and done what I loved. My work is about relationships, and I know I will develop new ones, but I will miss our clients, staff, the Padca committee and very supportive board.”

Van Zyl said she wanted to “encourage women to seize the moment and not be afraid of change. To be successful you have to take risks. I look forward to embracing a new season in my life and I encourage other women to do the same.”

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