Business Feature: Adele Hartdegen

Adele Hartdegen is a 34 year old chief executive officer of the Johannesburg Expo Centre and Dogan Events.

The Johannesburg Expo Centre is an iconic landmark in South Africa and remains one of the largest events and exhibition centres on the continent, it is the venue of choice for many organisers. Dogan Events currently own the Rand Show and provide a full-turnkey exhibition organiser service for the show.

How would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as a high- performance, goal-driven individual who has been in senior management positions in various industries for the past 12 years.

Can you please tell us more about your educational background?

I grew up in Krugersdorp. I completed a Bcom Management degree with UNISA whilst working as a divisional executive in telecoms. I’m currently working through some digital marketing courses as I like to stay up-to-date with all the latest online trends and developments.

What is your secret to success?

Work hard, believe in yourself, set goals, and just keep on keeping on. Maintain a healthy work-life balance and never compromise on what you truly believe in.

What has been your biggest challenge in this sector?

The transition from working in a very process-controlled, high-tech engineering space with a multitude of engineers, ISO and SABS certified processes to working in a space where processes sometimes have to take a back seat to enable the delivery.

What would you change in your life if you could when looking back?

I don’t have any regrets; I believe all mistakes are lessons intended for us to grow and expand our capabilities. During some of the difficult times in my life I wanted the situations to just change immediately. Looking back these are the times that shaped me and made me so much stronger.

What is your favourite book, film, TV programme?

Favourite book right now: The 5am Club written by Robin Sharma.

Film: The Book of Eli.

TV programme: Game of Thrones.

How do you relax?

Mostly by exercising and doing outdoor activities.

What is your favourite food?

Anything with Salmon.

Who is your role model?

I don’t have a role model. Recently I watched a video clip from Matthew McConaughey where he answered this question with, “My role model is me in five years”. This resonated with me as I don’t aspire to be or compare myself with anyone else. I only work towards reaching my full potential.

What advice do you have 
for anyone starting in this industry and hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Knowledge is power. Fully immerse yourself in the industry, and understand all the little details that make the industry function the way it does. Don’t be scared to ask. The industry is slow to change and dynamic all at the same time. Don’t assume that you know it all; be inquisitive and draw knowledge from your leaders, peers, and subordinates. Never say no to an opportunity, even if in the early stages it presents itself as a challenge

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