Tika Kolumban: This article is based on a conversation I had with Anna Keyter, Managing Director of RePrac during March 2017.
Looking back at Anna’s life, her work journey started after she completed an Operations Diploma at the University of Johannesburg. Despite being a single mum, she managed to complete her qualifications and raise her son.
Early on in her career, she worked in the Clothing Industry in Quality Control and Operations roles to inform on process improvement in CMT (Cut, Make & Trim) factories. In these roles, she conducted in-line quality checking, manpower calculations and informed on targets for critical operations. In due time, Anna owned a number of businesses including a technology concern, and as a consultant, provided services in project finance.
However, after a tragic life event, Anna decided to pursue a career in Psychology. She completed a BPsych degree, and after internships at Nazareth House and Childline Gauteng, she became a trauma counsellor. Here, Anna provided psychological counselling to individual clients (survivors of trauma and abuse), groups and schools with learning disabilities.
Shortly after accepting a counsellor position at Childline Gauteng, Anna was promoted to Head of Department where she worked closely with social workers and psychological counsellors. Since she understood the effect of secondary trauma on Mental Health Workers, she was able to provide psychological supervision.
Anna experienced the pressures of being a trauma counsellor first hand. She decided to conduct wellness research on Mental Health Workers to determine how these counsellors who continuously dealt with secondary trauma, coped. She took a positive psychology stance to get an understanding of their coping strategies. The findings guided the organisation to reinforce existing effective coping strategies. Furthermore, the outcome informed organisational policy and guided psycho-education programmes on how to expand on effective coping strategies. By this time, Anna already managed her private practice in trauma counselling.
Consulting services for an NGO
Since Anna is a team player, she wanted to contribute more to Childline Gauteng. She decided to take on the responsibility of a research consultant, managing end-to-end research projects for the company. Her assignments included research reports on anti-bullying campaigns and exam stress for the Department of Education. Furthermore, she also conducted fieldwork research in collaboration with University Research South Africa and the Department of Social Development to set up a children’s services directory. She participated in a call centre wellness program where Childline provided services for the Praekelt Foundation. In addition, she conducted quantitative tracer research on service delivery turn-around times, with the view to ramping up the speed of response for services to children.
Investing in Communities
At this point, Anna moved away from the NGO sector and founded RePrac in South Africa. It was really important for Anna to make a difference, not only in the lives of individuals but also to poor communities. She decided to explore Corporate Social Investment opportunities and recommended investing in projects that could considerably uplift rural African communities.
Those who benefited most from Corporate Social Investment generally came from communities in rural areas. This was an opportunity for Anna to hear what economically disadvantaged communities needed and to present that information to Corporate Organisations.
As a RePrac consultant contracted to Next Generation Consultants, she successfully completed stakeholder engagements nationally for BHP Billiton South Africa, including Coal, Aluminium, Metalloys and Manganese. She also completed research reports for MIH Group including Multi-Choice, M-Net and Supersport. These companies based their decisions for Corporate Social Investment on the outcomes of these engagements.
To expand her horizons, Anna moved to New Zealand in 2015. She wanted to get an understanding of how businesses operate in New Zealand and joined Prendos NZ Limited as Business Consultant in 2015.
Anna’s passion for assisting firms, specifically in terms of providing data insights and addressing culture change, led her to open a division of RePrac in New Zealand. During 2016 Anna collaborated with RePrac South Africa and branched out to Auckland. It is important for Anna to provide the right tools for businesses that would lead to business growth. She is excited to contribute to the New Zealand economy and to guide organisations to engage with all stakeholders, whether internal or external.
Causes in New Zealand
As we can see from the above, Anna always seeks out good causes. For about 10 months, Anna volunteered as a St John Youth Leader, Auckland Division. She is currently exploring avenues for RePrac NZ to get involved in.
Finally, with an impressive list of qualifications, Anna has completed Post Graduate Certificates in Employee Assistance Programmes, Operations Diploma, Bpsych, Master Certificates in Gestalt Psychotherapy and a Masters Degree in Research Psychology. These qualifications led her to registration as Research Psychologist in South Africa and currently, memberships with the Research Association of New Zealand (RANZ) and the New Zealand Association of Positive Psychology (NZAPP). Anna is hoping to complete a PHD in Positive Psychology.
Additional Information and References
- Roos, V., Van der Westhuizen, J., Keyter A.E. (2016). Participants’ reflections on participating in the Mmogo-method®: The example of mental health workers’ coping strategies. In Roos, V, Visual data collection towards understanding relational and group experiences: The Mmogo-method® NY: Springer.
- Keyter A. E., Roos, V. (2015). Mental health workers’ coping strategies in dealing with continuous trauma. Social Work Practitioner.
- The following link will direct you to an article that shows how Anna helped source a call centre solution for Childline from BitCo
- Follow this link to read a story on how NGOs deal with daily trauma counselling
- To read more about the stories children tell at a helpline, follow this link