Breaking ground Proactively – Chris De Wet, our Director of Operations with a passion for people and organizational effectiveness.

Forward-thinking leaders are prepared for change and can evolve when challenges arise. Chris’ commitment and passion realizes our objectives and his positivity builds morale.

He utilises the talent within Proactive to accelerate progress through clear directives and support. He listens to the challenges we face and his experience in systems and communication leads to our credibility and forward movement. Implementing the Proactive vision through innovating systems elevated our overall service offerings, by not only adapting to a changing industry and client needs but by engaging all members within the company.

Chris studied at Red and Yellow School for Marketing and advertising to complete a Post Grad Degree and a variety of IT-related courses to build up a strong foundation.  His first real work experience at a media monitoring company, gave him a clear understanding of how media and marketing integrate and the way the consumer consumes the media.

He then continued to HBD Venture Capital, using his knowledge to do market analysis and projections on product growth within specific markets. 

Expanding on his interest in Open-Source technologies and a desire to give back, he joined the Shuttleworth Foundation as a marketing coordinator. Chris also got involved in the IT infrastructure and software development projects that the foundation was running.

In 2007, he joined the wild world of marketing through the licencing of Warner Brothers properties into the commercial retail market within South Africa. It was a steep learning curve into the cutthroat environment of retail marketing. 

Chris helped launch and manage an international trade association, POPAI, where the goal was to ensure that retail marketing within South Africa was utilising international best practices and keeping to standards. Working closely with Consumer Goods Council of SA, he was exposed to the largest retailers in South Africa, allowing him to expand into the financial management of companies.

All his skills came together when he was asked to take over the management of a large events company that was not showing the financial returns.  “I spent the next 2 years working on implementing internal change and external marketing. Extremely rewarding work that I believe set the company up for eventual sale.”

Later, he joined the international organisation Four Paws’ conservation projects, mainly to end canned lion hunting in South Africa.  A very controversial practice that sees lions being bred specifically for hunting.

“I was able to visit the organisation’s head office in Vienna, growing my knowledge of the running of an international organisation with offices right around the world.”  What was supposed to be a 1-year slowdown turned into a 3-year passion project and Chris wanted to get back into the corporate environment.

In May 2019, he received a phone call from Joanne. This was the start of a journey to ensure that Proactive is the leading hospitality solutions company in South Africa. 

“From the internal structures to the marketing strategies and the IT solutions implemented by Proactive, I’m proud to say that we try to make every aspect industry-leading.”

As the company added additional services, Chris ensured that each of these matched the level of service of the whole.

“My role as Director of Operations is to take this vision that Joanne and I share for Proactive and implement it on the ground. Proactive is not just a service provider but a business partner that takes on the responsibility of ensuring that each of our clients has a maximum occupancy and is focused on the most important part of hospitality, the on-property experience.”

As we continue to build and improve, Chris critically looks at each aspect of the business and pushes standards to ensure that Proactive remains ahead of the competition and exceeds our client’s expectations.

The heart of hospitality lies in the adventure of experiences and fulfilling the dreams of a traveller.  For Proactive the heart lies in making these traveling dreams a reality through the experiences that our unique clients offer. 

“For me, that is the drive and that is why I believe that Proactive is the solution for what the hospitality industry needs.”