Presidents Speech SA Bakers AGM 2018

Fellow Directors Henri Lebon and Tim Faull of the South African Bakers Association,

All Professional, General and Student Members, Associate Members and Sponsors and of course Honoured Guests,

I would like to warmly welcome you to this to the plenary session of this second Bakers Day and AGM.

(For those of you that don’t know, the word plenary means ALL TOGETHER or FOR ALL OF US, so please make sure that everyone attending today is here in this hall and in future it will be known as the OPEN Session)

I am going to welcome some very special guests (otherwise known as VIP’s) here this morning, some of whom have travelled from far to be with us today.

Chef Steven Billingham, Immediate Past President of the SA Chefs Association

Mr. Louis De Beer, from Pick n Pay and his wife Theresa

Mr. Geoff Penny, Executive Director of the South African Chamber of Baking

Mr. Shane McMeeking, Chief Executive of the Macadams International Group

Mr. Craig Roff, Chief Executive of Mac Brothers

I would like to thank you all for attending our special event today

Before we commence open this session of today’s activities I would just like to call the room to order to remember one of our founder members who passed away this year

Many of the more senior people in the room will remember the Grandfather of the South African Baking Industry, Mr Clive Lonsdale, who finished his last shift on Saturday 4th August 2018

Clive was a Master Baker, a Confectioner and Cake Decorator, a technical genius, a gentleman, a mentor and friend, as well as being the first honorary Life Member of SA Bakers.

Could you all please be upstanding and honour Uncle Clive with a few moments of silence.

Thank You

I would also like you at this time to remember in your thoughts and prayers one of our founder members and Master Baker Mr. William Kleyweg, who is in hospital struggling against the dreaded C word for the second time in his life.

One of the key principles that I am going to make sure that we go forward with in SA Bakers is to look after and support our members who fall on difficult times or ill health

When I do eventually step down I will work tirelessly to set up a system of support for these people

And now to happier thoughts

The South African Bakers Association has continued its incredible journey of growth throughout 2018

At my inaugural speech at last years AGM I outlined the brief history of our Organization and our Aims and Objectives, as well as spending considerable time unpacking these in detail.

I am not going to go over this all again as all the information is available on our website, however I am just going to stress (and pound in to every one of your thoughts today) what is to me the most important objective of SA Bakers….

which is to preserve, promote and improve the skills of the Baker and Confectioner in South Africa….

Today I am going to focus on where we are going in to the future and how we can get there

Those members who attended our successful AGM earlier this morning will be fully aware that we are an Organization that is going places and gearing up to become a major role player in the South African, the African, and as you will hear later, even the World Baking Industry.

We have grown from less than 50 paid up Members across all Membership categories this time last year to nearly 200 Members today, with an immediate potential of another 300 shortly from just one Hotel group.

We have re-examined how we approach Membership and have reduced the fees for the General Members to attract more of the lower paid Bakers. Those guys and girls that can’t afford expensive Association fees, but that can benefit from the most being a member.

We are also piloting a model whereby each and every Bakery or Kitchen joins as an individual Unit at a set fee including a mix of General and Professional Members, depending on their skill levels.

Our Facebook Page is sitting at 2999 Followers so if just one of you joins now we will make 3000. If you want to see a beautiful collection of cakes or understand the intricacies of sour dough baking do not hesitate to follow this page.

In 2018 we commenced the task of setting up Regional Committees around the country.

Social meetings were held in June in both Durban and Cape Town where 30 guests and 120 guests attended respectively. We have slowly started to recruit members from these areas. Going forward we will be establishing Regional Committees to administer each area and continue to recruit Members.

The next social event will be in Port Elizabeth, and we have the volunteer who has put his hand up to run the show there here today.

Welcome Raymond Redlinger, who has had the biggest success Regionally so far, and has brought in twelve members who joined in the last two months?

Moving on, one of the major challenges facing all areas of the Food Industry in 2018 has been the Listeria scare and the focus on Food Safety, which affects us all.

We have been asked to look at an endorsement system whereby we give a stamp of approval to bakeries that comply with all legislative and ethical standards

We are looking in to this, as well as improved Food Safety and Hygiene training.

One of the key factors in building an organization such as this one is gaining the support from the Industry Role Players.

We chose to start this by looking for Sponsors, and I know that we have been highly successful in this regard.

Whenever we have organized an activity, from the first Social Events that we held in 2016 and 2017 right up to now, our sponsors have stepped up time and time again, and we understand how difficult the economic environment is out there at present.

We held two Golf Days where much fun was had

We participated in various Exhibitions such as The Good Food and Wine Show, and Fire and Feast.

We held various Social events all around South Africa

And finally, the soon to become famous Bakers Day, held for the second time at our AGM here today.

Today I want to acknowledge all our sponsors, and thank you all for your support, so please receive this Certificate of Appreciation.

Amero Foods, Anchor Yeast, Austrian Premix, Bakers Bin Boksburg, Baketech, Beyers Chocolates, Chipkins Puratos, HTA, Macadams International, Mac Brothers, Maestro Chef, Professional Vision Group, RCL Foods, Romax Bakery, SA Chamber of Baking, SA Chefs Association, South Bakels, Tombake

Thank You, all of you, from the bottom of my heart for everything that you give back to the Industry, and your belief in us and our goals as an Organization.

We hope that we can responsibly live up to your expectations as the Board of Directors, to drive the whole South African Baking Industry onwards and upwards.

It was during this sponsorship drive that I met up with an old friend and Associate Geoff Penny, Executive Director of the SA Chamber of Baking to discuss working together.

The SA Chamber of Baking is a Business Chamber (which I happen to serve as a member of its Exco due to my Business Portfolio) was set up almost 90 years ago to initially service the large wholesale bakeries, but to also serve all bakeries and represent them in many different forums, such as Government Department lobbying, The Consumer Goods Council and the Chamber of Milling.

As SA Bakers is focused on the needs of the individual baker, whereas the Chamber has a business focus, it was agreed to grant each other reciprocal membership.

I would like to Invite Executive Director Geoff up to receive their Membership Certificate

Let us turn our focus to the subject of participation.

In any skill, sport, or specialized area of learning that you take on in life it is well known that you only get out what you put in,

and it is the same with SA Bakers Association.

We had a volunteer committee of champions to drive us forward, but the work was really all done by the three Directors (much our ladies’ discontent), and hence our relatively slow start to get organized.

We decided to disband this committee and we know rely on volunteers to assist. As Directors we meet bi-weekly online on a program called Zoom

So, I would just like to touch briefly on the formal organization of SA Bakers and the AGM

Last year we agreed that we needed to upgrade our Founding Constitution to meet the requirements of the Companies Act.

With the help of the SA Chefs Association we presented a new Memorandum of Incorporation and set of Company Rules. This was screened by a Corporate Attorney to ensure compliance.

At today’s AGM we adopted this new MOI, as well as the set of Company rules that lays out the way that our Association will be run for the foreseeable future.

We also adopted the Directors Resolution that there would be no change in the Offices for a further two years. So, I get to keep my job for two more years and then I will step down, and one of these fine gentlemen will have to take the reigns and steer us into the future.

We also adopted the Financial Statements that have just been completed for FY2018 as well as for FY2017.

As Directors, if we were in the private sector we would be shouting for massive bonuses, as our turnover was up 89%, Expenses only 14% and Retained Income up R261% Maybe Tito must watch out!

In the new MOI we have given scope to grow the Directors to a workable number of up to 10 volunteers. And I mean that, volunteers.

If you wish to see us grow to where we want to be you will need to get involved, put your hand up, very high, and help, and show that you are worthy to serve as a Director on our Honourable Board.

That means taking the call at seven in the evening from Henri, when he needs to get a new sponsor, or holding working group Zoom sessions after hours to improve our systems, processes and efficiency.

What needs doing you may ask?

Apart from the basic administration, social media, membership and financial controls (which all need assistance) we have one core goal and aim.

That is to get a world class skills development system in place to preserve the Art, Science and Skills that make up a Master Baker and / or Confectioner

If you are interested, PLEASE CALL ME!

Back to my 2018 story

The SA Bakers Board decided that it needed to take a lead from what is going on in the rest of the world, so we went on tour.

Henri, in his late-night web searching had discovered a wonderful organization called UIBC otherwise known as the International Union of Bakers and Confectioners, that happened to be holding its AGM and convention at iba 2018 in Munich.

For those who do not know, iba is the place to be if you have anything to do with the Baking Industry. It is held every three years in Germany and offers an amazing array of products, machinery, equipment and concepts.

Anyway, back to UIBC.

Henri sent an e-mail and low and behold, we were invited to attend their convention and present a report about South Africa.

So, the three of us became movie producers (only Tim with experience), and we shot a movie about South African bakeries, and planned our trip

It is at this stage I must stress that each of the Directors funded their own trip to iba, and the only money used from SA Bakers funds was for the video editing.

It was Europe here we come

We attended iba2018, both in our individual work capacities and our SA Baker Director capacities.

We drank good German beer and ate good German Food. We met with many fellow bakers from around the world and Tim shot a wonderful video which I will play at the end of my speech now.

We spoke at their convention and were warmly received by the forty countries that make up the UIBC, duly offered a discount price and asked to become a member.

I would like to finish off my speech by saying some thank you’ s.

This is the very best part about founding and leading an organization and chairing the session today.

I get to thank the people that helped us grow

Firstly, and for mostly, behind every successful man there is an even more successful lady, and I would like to thank my better half, Lucy for everything she puts up with. She runs a volunteer organization herself, and some evening we are in offices at opposite ends of the house messaging each other.

I would also (in their absence) like to thank Nicky Lebon and Louise Faull who put up with me phoning their husbands at all hours of the day and night. (Hey we are Bakers!)

And then there are my two Colleagues, My Partners in Crime, my Co-Directors, My Vice-Presidents and my friends.

I met Tim Faull over 26 years ago working for Pick n Pay when we were both young and crazy bakers, and he was my first and original choice as a founding Director. He has a lifetime of experience in the Retail Baking Industry and is meticulous that things are done right every time, and he is also a systems genius. Tim heads up Training and Skills Development for SA Bakers.

Thank You Tim for everything you and your company Professional Vision Group does for us, and for me.

And then here is Henri Lebon. I had started organizing social groups to plan the setting up of an Association when an old colleague said that I needed to meet Henri as he had similar ideas. And so, into my life bounded something like Tigger. Or the Duracell Bunny, or I am not sure what….Henri never stops. Every time we meet for a beer I now take a notebook, as the ideas just flow.

Nothing is too much for Henri, who owns and runs Romax Bakery in Boksburg along with his wife Nicky and his daughter Marcelle.

Henri heads up both Marketing and Competitions for SA Bakers. I thank you Henri for everything that you do day in day out. Your Passion is boundless

If Tim is the Brains of SA Bakers, then Henri is the Lifeblood. Thanks again to both of you

However, I am not quite finished

There is another honoured gentleman here today who has been right behind me, supporting me and SA Bakers from day one, and that is you Mr Billingham. No challenge is too much effort for Stephen and his team at HTA as well as his and my colleagues at the SA Chefs Association

I get SA Bakers Water, which you are drinking today. I get Key Rings, I get free legal advice with regards to MOI’s and Company Issues. We get the use of the facilities at the drop of a hat.

I thank you Stephen for your continued support of SA Bakers and we haven’t finished with you yet! Stick around

I have been talking too long now

So finally, to all of you here, thank you for giving up a Saturday to be with your fellow Bakers and Confectioners.

Thank You