Change and having an impact is not a one day game or a quick fix. This is true for anything in life, personal or professional. Significant and meaningful change takes time and you need to be in it for the journey – but at the same time, need to know when to start, when to stay involved and how to plan your exit when those around you have been empowered and have the confidence to take a project further.
I have the wonderful privilege as the CSI Manager to witness change on a regular basis in different ways through our projects. We are in it for the long haul and plan our projects and contributions to communities where we know we can be part of collective change over time.
Although I thought I understood this concept of no quick fixes, what I am learning along the way is that you may have to keep reminding yourself of this, look for the small changes in smaller time frames that become part of the big change over time. The Tsogo Sun Soccer Academy is now its 6th year and there have been challenges and learnings along the way. The 16 and 17 year old young boys that were only in the programme for 1 or 2 years right at the start were not able to get the full benefit and we were not able to make as much of an impact as we are seeing on those youngsters that started the programme when they were only 12 or 13 years and have now been in the programme for 5 years. Their level of discipline, responsibility to themselves and their fellow team mates, their respect for fair play and their opponents and most importantly, their will to succeed in their future is awesome!
When I witness the evidence of this “in it for the long haul” it keeps me motivated and patient. What I am learning along the way is patience – in a good way!
Shanda Paine is the group CSI manager for Tsogo Sun, a JSE listed organisation comprising over 90 hotels, 250 conference facilities and 14 entertainment destinations throughout South Africa. She manages the company’s social investment portfolio and is responsible for the strategic direction and implementation of the group’s flagship community development programmes. With a background in public relations and marketing, over the last eighteen years, she has specialised in corporate communications, media relations and corporate affairs, which eventually steered her into her current career and passion of being actively engaged in the upliftment of South African communities – with a particular focus on the development of young people.