University of the Free State: Record-breaking UFS women’s breakfast a reminder to step out of the ‘comfort zone’

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Being ‘visible, intentional, and present’ was the highlight of this year’s University of the Free State (UFS) Women’s Breakfast, which was hosted by the Division of Organisational Development and Employee Well-being on 18 August 2022 in the Callie Human Centre on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The annual event, one of the flagship events of the UFS, recognises and celebrates the institution’s ‘unconquerable and undefeatable women.’

Burneline Kaars, Head: Organisational Development and Employee Well-being, said: “What women can take from this event, is that they are powerful, they should step in their authority, and should always conduct themselves as if they are VIPs when working towards achieving their goals. Women should remember that they are solely responsible for their own well-being; no one else. Whenever they look in the mirror, they should be reminded that they are valuable, unbreakable, and powerful.”

This year’s Women’s Breakfast attracted a record-breaking 750 UFS women, highlighting the importance of face-to-face events that foster social well-being among colleagues.

Kaars said: “This flagship event provides employees the opportunity to interact with their colleagues in a fun and relaxed way. Staff were also looking forward to the line-up of artists and the address by the keynote speaker, Saray Khumalo.”

Speaking at the breakfast, award-winning mountaineer and transformational coach Saray Khumalo asked, “What are women doing today to make the world a little better?”

Khumalo said: “As leaders, women need to show up and make a plan to achieve goals. Who are you to play small, because being you is your superpower? Find what is important to you, step out of your comfort zone, because you are meant for greatness.”

Among the mountains Khumalo has summitted are Mount Kosciuszko in Australia, Mount Elbrus in Russia, Vinson Massif in Antarctica, Mount Kilimanjaro, and Mount Everest.

Kaars believes the breakfast is another UFS initiative “to maintain good working relationships; feeling valued and working in a positive environment all make a difference to women’s mental health and to the overall workplace”.

Kaars said: “A healthy employee is a happy and engaged employee. It is important for staff to participate in the Division of Organisational Development and Employee Well-being’s initiatives, as it provides them with tools to deal with daily workplace stressors and a variety of potential challenges.”

The UFS women were also entertained by the popular band, Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels.

Kaars said: “I am certain that the initiatives we have already implemented and those we are still planning for the rest of the year, will move us closer to our goal of cultivating a well-being culture at the university.”

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