In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8 March, we proudly feature interviews with resilient women who embody social, economic, cultural and professional achievements. These women are wonderful examples of 2021’s campaign theme: Choose to Challenge. A challenged world is an alert world, and from challenge, comes change. Their stories highlight the importance and power of women supporting women and how their rise to success was made possible through the upliftment of others.

Janyne Marais

General Manager of Irene Country Club

What is your background, what industry do you work in now, and how long have you worked in this industry?

I studied marketing and specialised in communications. My first job was at an ad agency where I was exposed to franchising. After this, I had the opportunity to pursue my dream job: to combine sport and work. I reached out to Compleat Golfer magazine and that’s where my career took off. I have now worked in the golf and club industry for 27 years.

International women’s day janyne marais

What do you love about what you do?

Our goal at Irene Country Club is to make sure people are having a good time, enjoying themselves and feeling relaxed. I love coming into a recreational environment where people come to have fun, to engage in a social atmosphere and play some sport.

I love this environment as people are constantly coming to train or improve themselves. I get a lot of joy from interacting with like-minded people.

We can’t help what goes on on the course or court or sportsfield, but we can see to their needs when they come off the course. And this is where my passion lies.

Most of all, I love that I get exposed to incredible people doing amazing work in the industry.

Community development and willingness from members and our surrounding community to make an impact in their communities is what’s most fulfilling.

What are the professional and/or personal achievements you’re most proud of?

Professionally, I am immensely grateful to be the GM here at Irene. Irene Country Club is one of the most prestigious clubs in the country, with over 2000 members.

Being married to a lovely man for 26 years and having two amazing children, who have both qualified with their respective degrees, makes me incredibly proud.

When I was younger, I completed the Midmar Mile swim, the 94.7 Cycle Race, and the Cape Argus Cycle Tour all in a single year. This was a memorable achievement for me.

What challenges do you face as a woman in your industry?

The sports industry is historically male-dominated, but in my experience, men have been very supportive and value working with women, who often bring different skill sets and perspectives.

Who has been your mentor, or what inspires you in your professional and personal life?

I admire the examples of Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela. Their qualities of kindness, patience, compassion and dedication show true character and resilience. Integrity, both on and off the sportsfield, is what we need to value in the world. It’s important to treat everyone with respect and to give everyone a fair chance. These two incredible people have taught me to strive to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

Do you have any other achievements, comments or advice for women you’d like to share?

I would always encourage women to be true to themselves – to be authentic. And to remember that actions speak louder than words.

Take a look at what’s on offer at Irene Country Club

Janyne oversees the day-to-day running and careful management of a very busy country club that goes back almost 120 years. Founded in 1911 and spanning more than 320 acres, Irene Country Club offers tennis, cricket, bowls, squash, and of course, golf. Cursive Lifestyle Eatery has also recently opened. Seeing to the needs of its over 2000 members is a formidable task for any manager.

Take a look at Irene Country Club’s website:

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