Alinda Nortje is the founder and Executive Chairperson of Free To Grow.
After graduating with a BA (Hons) in social work at the University of Stellenbosch in 1978, Alinda gained valuable experience in understanding and meeting people’s needs in her role as a social worker. It was while doing community development on farms in the Boland that she became aware of the dire need for a personal empowerment programme that would be accessible to people with an educational backlog. She set out to design such a course herself over a four year period, incorporating the feedback of hundreds of participants into the course design.
Due to the outstanding impact of the programme, Alinda developed the vision to make it available to as many people as possible.
Today, Alinda is a leader in the field of Employee Engagement with more than 30 years’ experience in the facilitation of learning. Her work has taken her across Africa to Asia and the Middle East, where she has been personally involved in designing large-scale organisation wide Culture Change and Engagement projects. Alinda’s passion for people, empathy and authenticity enable her to easily connect and build rapport with people across cultures and job levels, making her an excellent facilitator, a role she still relishes.
Gifted with an innovative mind, and an innate ability to connect with others, Alinda has designed all of Free To Grow’s programmes and regularly presents at national and international forums on the topic of engagement.
Highlights of Alinda’s career include:
- The conceptualization, customisation and implementation of Employee Engagement programmes for organisations such as Coca-Cola, MultiChoice, Premier Foods, Vector Logistics, Mercantile Bank, Imperial Logistics and SABMiller across South Africa and in Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia and South Sudan
- The development and facilitation of programmes to align the staff of the UNICEF Country Offices in Vietnam, Iran, Jordan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zambia to the vision and values of the organisation, enhance dialogue and build relationships across functions and levels
- The facilitation of engagement workshops to the Executive teams of MultiChoice Africa in Dubai and for Botswana Post in Gaborone
- The presentation of a Future Search workshop involving representatives of all job levels of SABMiller’s South Sudan Beverages
- Fulfilling the role of lead adviser to the Free To Grow consulting team regarding the implementation of programmes to clients in various industries ranging from the public to corporate sector
- Formal and informal coaching of Executives in client organisations regarding Employee Engagement
- The development of HRengage!, a programme aimed at equipping HR Managers with the skills and tools to significantly contribute to enhancing the drivers of engagement in their organisation. Alinda presented this programme in Mauritius in 2015, and received glowing feedback from the HR Managers from ENL who attended.
- Developing and presenting a series of interactive educational sessions on Employee Engagement in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban to build awareness and share knowledge around the topic (2013-2018)
- Establishing the EECoP (Employee Engagement Community of Practice, a vehicle for organisations to share best practices in Employee Engagement) in Cape Town early in 2016. The EECoP will be expanded to Gauteng in 2017
- Guest lecturing role at the University of Stellenbosch Business School.
Honours & awards
2010 – One of the five finalists for the SA Woman Entrepreneur of the year award
1999 – Recipient of the prestigious national IPM People Driven Growth award for the ‘achievement of excellence in sustained commitment to investment in human potential’
1996 – Runner-up of the Cape Woman Business Owner Award