ELLE chats to woman of substance Michelle Brown, organiser of the upcoming Women of Substance workshop in PE.

Michelle Brown

Michelle with South African lifestyle guru and celebrity party planner, Colin Cowie

You sound like one of the busiest and most community-minded women in PE. What gets you going? And what keeps you going?

I love what I do and love PE – so I think that inspires me to continue and to constantly grow!

In a recent talk you mentioned ‘get over yourself’ as one of your pieces of advice. Does that mean that you are a pragmatist?


How does the upcoming Women of Substance workshop tie in with this and what is your involvement?

I firmly believe that women need to be heard, but that they can only have strength if they speak with a united voice – which is what I’m hoping will be the result of this dialogue with women, here in our city.

Did you get the idea for the workshop from attending the Women: Inspiration & Enterprise (WIE) symposium in New York earlier this year or where did it originate?

No… the idea germinated when I heard about a similar event that took place in Jo’burg last August, called “Conversations with Women”.

The list of WIE speakers reads like a Who’s Who of inspirational and successful women: Queen Rania from Jordan, Arianna Huffington, Diane von Furstenberg… Who was the most inspirational for you?

For me it was meeting Anne Frank’s stepsister: Eva Schloss, now 82 and living in London, talking around the world and preaching ‘tolerance’ was definitely the inspiration!

Did you get to meet any of the WIE speakers or panelists personally?

I did! Salman Rushdie, Donna Karan, Sarah Brown and several others.

As an experienced PR person, which do you choose: old-fashioned personal networking or social media?

I’m old school – so very definitely personal, face-to-face networking.

So how does someone with your credentials put up with being called ‘girlie’ by Kobus Wiese?

Have you seen the size of him! But, seriously – he means it in the nicest way and is always so supportive of my events.

To book for the Women of Substance workshop on 1 November at R250 per person, call Michelle on 041  581 6424 or email michelle.brown@axxess.co.za