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Agent makes history on the West Coast

MAIN IMAGE: Estate agent Darrelle Scheepers just became the first chairwoman of the West Coast Business Chamber.

She is known in Saldanha as a woman who gets things done and now that reputation got her elected as the first chairwoman in the history of the West Coast Business Chamber.

Darrelle Scheepers, 52 year old RE/MAX franchise owner in Saldanha and Vredenburg, says she is cautiously optimistic about her new position as leader of this influential organisation during this time characterised by lots of changes in the economic landscape of the West Coast.

The business chamber, with 150 members currently one of the biggest Afrikaans business chambers in the country, co-opted her on their board last year. Her nomination for the position of chairman surprised her. Long-time board members reckon it is the first time in the 13-year history of the organisation that a woman was elected as chairman, but former chairman Wilhelm Herbst said he thinks it is great that they have a woman as chairman of the chamber and she can count on his support. “She helped me a great deal over the last two months and really proved herself,” he said.

“Change is never easy,” says Darrelle, “but it is inevitable that change must happen. The West Coast is very different from ten years ago. Many new people have moved into the area and brought change with them. Our challenge as business community of the West Coast lies in how well we adapt to these changes and what we will do differently to meet the growing expectations of the broader business community.”

She reckons business chambers have a significant role to play in fostering the economic growth of a region together with corporate business, state entities and local government. “Operational knowledge of all these sections in the business world is critical to delivering a good service to the community,” she added.

Darrelle grew up the quiet fishing village Paternoster and after matriculating from Vredenburg High School she went to Stellenbosch University where she completed her BCom degree. She bought her first house at the age of 22 having realised at a young age the value of solid property investments. After 19 years in the corporate world she decided the time had come to get going with her first passion, property sales. She worked in both fields for a while before obtaining the RE/MAX concessions on the West Coast. “I understand the West Coast and it’s people and I understand the economic challenges of the area,” says Darrelle and adds that she enjoys being involved in the community and sharing her expertise where it is needed.

Men still dominate the leadership positions in both the business world and in real estate. Property Professional asked Darrelle what her advice would be towards women who want to make their mark in these fields. “My advice for women would be to obtain property from as young as possible as it is easier to obtain financing for the buying of property when you are young.”
She also says women need to shift their focus away from décor towards the potential income to be generated from a property. “Women shouldn’t spend their money only on enhancing properties, but rather buy affordable housing. In short, women need to become better when it comes to managing financial wealth in general,” concludes Darrelle.

Photo: supplied by Darrelle Scheepers

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