American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa elevates Thanksgiving with “Lift as You Lead” theme and unveils vibrant new brand identity

The American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa hosted its annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, 16 November 2023 at the Sandton Convention Centre, marking the occasion with the theme, “Lift as You Lead”. 

Michelle Constant, CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa, highlighted the importance of purposeful engagement and dialogue: “In the current economic and political climate, it is incumbent on us to be guided by an ethical and moral North Star. At the Chamber, we strive to do this through a variety of engagements and conversations. Nothing changes without focused action.”

This call to action, embodying the Chamber’s commitment to positive leadership, was eloquently conveyed by both the US Ambassador to South Africa, Honorable Reuben E. Brigety II, and by keynote speaker and adventurer Sibusiso Vilane

Vilane, a former game ranger, shared his extraordinary journey as one of South Africa’s foremost adventurers. He has summited Mount Everest twice, led the annual Trek4Mandela on Kilimanjaro (and summited it more than 30 times), and achieved the Explorers Grand Slam – making him the first Black person to accomplish these feats. His inspirational address exemplified the essence of the Chamber’s theme for the evening. The dinner also featured addresses from two recipients of Sacred Heart College’s Scholarship Programme. Both scholars highlighted the transformative power of education and the theme’s core principle of “lift”.  

Notably, the Chamber unveiled a new brand identity during the Thanksgiving Dinner. President of the Board, Cicelia van Rooi explained: “We have looked at our relationship with the US – one of collaboration and trade. A South African graphic language has been brought into the brand identity. In this way, the identity emphasises the North-South engagement in a way that feels organic and considered.”

Amongst those in attendance were Minister of Small Business, Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams; CEO of Business Leadership SA, Busisiwe Mavuso; Director General of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Zane Dangor; Dean of GIBS Business School, Prof Morris Mthombeni; GGDA Head of Trade and Export Development, Zanele Fakude and President of Global entrepreneurship Network, Jonathan Ortmans.

The annual Thanksgiving celebration owed its success to the generous support of member sponsors including Absa, Amazon, Coca-Cola, Dow Southern Africa, FedEx Express South Africa, Fragomen Africa, Medtronic Africa, Microsoft, PepsiCo, PwC, RMB, ENS and Duke Corporate Education.

The American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa is a representative of both US and SA business interests, dedicated to facilitating investment, bilateral trade, and other impactful business exchanges that drive economic and social prosperity in South Africa.

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