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An Interview with a Diva
The White Rabbit met up with Gerda van Schalkwyk, the beautiful and talented leader of isiGidi group. She has a number of accolades beneath her belt, as well as more than a few interests. She is a business owner, a mother, a wife and an inspiration. She also loves a glass of wine, or several.
WR: How did isiGidi begin?
Gerda: I loved to do events at my beauty salon, and when my salon closed I decided to continue with events. I went to study Events & Conference Management in 2007, and thus began isiGidi.
WR: How do you stay inspired?
Gerda: I get bored quickly, and so I keep busy. I like to try new things, go to new places and do funny things. That keeps my head clear for exciting things in my business.
WR: Where did 'I Am' come from and where is it going?
Gerda: I like to learn new things, and for a long time I was an active participant in the beauty industry. I always wondered where women learn their beauty tricks from, and also discovered that many women want to learn more about beauty. One morning I went running, and made a decision to start I Am and empower women. Katrientjie, a good friend who also is the owner of Stone Cradle, and I discussed the idea and decided to make it official.
I am is a platform that we will use to empower and inspire women, to have fun, to learn or just to drink wine with girlfriends.
WR: Why are you so passionate about women?
Gerda: I have always loved fashion and the beauty industry. I suppose it could stem from the fact that I have two sons, and no daughters to teach about fashion and make-up. So, I'm sharing my love of fashion and beauty with everybody.
WR: Who has had a big impact on you as a leader?
Gerda: Only when I got married (hee hee). My awesome husband, Jaco. He is older and wiser than me, and has taught me a lot about leadership, contentment and how to handle conflict.
WR: What lies in the future for you?
Gerda: Growing 'I Am' to be an empowering group that every women wants to belong or are jealous that they don't belong to.
WR: How do you juggle being a mom, a business mogul, staying fit and everything else that you do?
Gerda: I don't think about it, I just do it. It is like going running in the morninig, if you think you want to go run and about the time it takes, before long you have thought yourself out of running instead of just doing it. I just do whatever is in front of me and I set out to conquer.
WR: What did you learn yesterday?
Gerda: To do my most important task first thing in the morning, and then the rest will follow.
WR: Explain the inspiration behind the White Rabbit?
Gerda: I love the story Alice in Wonderland, especially the Tim Burton adaptation where Johnny Depp is the Mad Hatter. The White Rabbit is always rushing somewhere, always late and a bit like me! So what can I offer people, why would they be interested in what I do? What better way than to bring a bit of fantasy into reality... Follow the White Rabbit and see what is new or exciting!
To find out more about what Gerda is doing or thinking, follow her on twitter at @isigidi