Kirsten Veenstra was educated in Cape Town where she completed her schooling, matriculating with an A Aggregate. She then completed her degree at the University of Cape Town, majoring in Industrial and Organisational Psychology and Personnel Management.
Kirsten has twenty-four years of sales, marketing management, brand management and communications management experience, both in Cape Town and the UK. Kirsten’s industry experience includes the motor industry, ICT/technology industry, marine manufacturing, financial services, manufacturing and mobile.
After completing her university degree, Kirsten joined the retail motor industry, she spent five years in sales and key account management, with brands such as Hyundai, Opel, Isuzu, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, in both SA and the UK. She also spent two years in the UK working on a very high-level in the automotive manufacturing sector, as part of an international directors’ team in the role of assistant to the international Vice-President.
After returning to South Africa at the end of 2000, Kirsten joined DaimlerChrysler South Africa (now Mercedes-Benz South Africa) and later Honda Western Cape as Marketing, CRM and Communications Manager for the retail operation.
In 2007, Kirsten took a few months sabbatical to pursue a passion of hers, sailing. She sailed Cowes Week in the UK, ran an all-woman Lipton campaign, and sailed on a 1937 classic 12M yacht in two regattas in the French Mediterranean – Regattes Royal in Cannes, and le Voiles de St Tropez.
She then spent a year freelance writing and consulting in marketing and communications and facilitating management training in marketing, sales, communications and CRM.
In 2009, Kirsten joined T-Systems, SA’s biggest IT outsourcer and a division of Deutsche Telekom, in the role of Communications Specialist, where she handled all internal and external company communication. Most notably, Kirsten was involved in a lot of organisational and operational change management communications. A passionate Capetonian, in 2011, she decided to share her marketing and communications skills through consulting and stay in Cape Town rather than transfer to Johannesburg with T-Systems.
Since 2011, Kirsten’s work has involved some senior contract roles, including as Change Communications Manager for Old Mutual’s Global IT Infrastructure Transformation Programme, working for the Virgin Global Brand Team and three years’ Channel Marketing Management for Middle East and Africa in the mobile industry.
Kirsten’s consulting work has also included training and facilitation work and extensive writing work. She has also done considerable work in the digital/online communications space.
Kirsten is very involved in the South African Sailing Community. Not only does she compete in regular regattas, she has been a member of the Royal Cape Yacht Club Committee for three years with the portfolio of Marketing, Membership and Communications. She was the Class Secretary for the L26 Class Associations of South Africa, was on the committee of Zeekoe Vlei Yacht Club for three years with the communications portfolio and is currently on the Vogelvlei Yacht Club Committee. She is very involved in many major SA sailing events and National Championships, both as an organiser and competitor. Kirsten founded and co-edited South Africa’s only online sailing portal, www.gybeset.co.za, with her partner in 2010, which they sold to Sailing Publications in 2013 and which is now www.sailing.co.za.
Kirsten’s interests include sailing, photography, writing, painting, nature, animals, water sports and outdoor pursuits, as well as psychology, reading, music, and theatre.
She is passionate about communicating effectively in all spheres of life, business and personal, and about looking after a business’ number one asset, their people, and using them as a vehicle for business growth and positive change, to their benefit.
Find Kirsten on Linkedin here.