Speakers

Chris Forrest

Our MC, Chris Forrest, has been on the forefront of the South African comedy scene since the late nineties. His unique dry sense of humour, quick wit and intelligent comedy has made him one of the country’s most popular comedians and ensured that audiences are left in stitches wherever he goes.
Chris has hosted his own episode of “Comedy Central Presents Live at Parker’s” and performed three successful one-man shows namely “Chris Forrest, He’s a really nice guy” which was recently broadcast on Comedy Central, “The Flipside” and most recently “The Guy from TV”.
Chris sheds some light on his experiences of becoming a father. His number one golden rule is “Don’t argue with a pregnant woman!” - and that’s coming from experience! From pregnancy to birth, sleepless nights, dirty diapers and everything in between, Chris Forrest’s hilarious one-man show, Who’s Your Daddy, is a clueless dad’s journey to fatherhood. He shares valuable tips about what really happens and how to deal with it. Written by Chris Forrest and directed by Bevan Cullinan, this laugh-a-minute show is a must see for anyone who is a parent, expecting a baby, hoping to become a parent or who knows a parent or just fans of great comedy.

Jo-Ann Strauss

Jo-Ann Strauss is a South African model, television presenter, inspirational speaker and businesswoman who won the Miss South Africa competition in 2000.
Since then she is best known for co-presenting the magazine programmes Pasella (2000-2004) and Top Billing, since 2005. During her reign as Miss South Africa she was placed 6th in the Miss World pageant. Her greatest achievements, however, are her two beautiful children.

Meg Faure

Meg is an Occupational Therapist with a special interest in babies and toddlers - specifically irritable infants; sleep problems, emotional engagement difficulties and fussy feeding. Her clinical practice is in Cape Town and she consults and speaks internationally too.
Passionate about parenting babies, Meg seeks to assist parents to nurture their baby’s emotional world in all her areas of work:

  • Meg has co-authored Baby Sense, Sleep Sense, Feeding Sense; The Baby Sense Secret and Pregnancy Sense. Her sixth book, Weaning Sense launches this year.
  • Always seeking practical solutions for parenting, Meg founded the Baby Sense product brand, which she sold in 2014.
  • In 2016, she launched a toddler playgroup solution called Play Sense.
  • Meg wrote the smart phone Application called Baby Sense Day-by-Day and is currently working on a wearable device for infants.

Nikki Bush

Creative parenting expert, Nikki Bush, has helped hundreds of thousands of parents to build fabulous relationships with their children by turning very ordinary, everyday moments into extraordinary memories. Nikki helps today’s busy parents to future-proof their children despite their busyness. Her wisdom, creativity and practical ideas are the solution for parents who are long on love and short on time.
Nikki’s work is fuelled by her passion for play, connection, and relationships. She is the go to person for the media regarding anything to do with child development and parenting, racking up over 140 interviews a year including a weekly slot on SABC 3’s Expresso and Radio 702.
She is a sought- after speaker and co-author of three bestselling books: Future-proof Your Child (Penguin), Easy Answers to Awkward Questions (Metz Press) and Tech-Savvy Parenting (Bookstorm).

Britta McLaren

Britta is a paediatrician and mom to Rachel, who has taught her more about babies then any of her degrees! She runs a practice from the Morningside Medi-clinic and is currently doing a fellowship in paediatric pulmonology. Her special interests are breastfeeding, feeding difficulties and allergies. Britta is a naturalist at heart and tries to avoid unnecessary interventions and treatment at all costs. She loves working with children!

Ann Richardson

Qualified Nurse and Midwife Ann Richardson, has worked in the midwifery and paediatric fields for over 30 years and has numerous certificates in child health, sensory integration, vaccinology, asthma and allergy, nutrition travel and sleep medicine. Passionate about her work, Ann runs a busy well baby clinic in Johannesburg focusing on child health, travel health, immunization, nutrition, growth and development, and specializes in the treatment of “fussy babies and toddlers”, in particular those with feeding and sleeping disorders. Ann has co-authored international bestsellers, Baby Sense; Sleep Sense and is the author of the international best seller Toddler Sense.

Katherine Megaw

Katherine Megaw qualified in 1995 as a registered dietitian and then studied a specialist diploma from Johns Hopkins in the USA where she qualified as a clinical paediatric dietitian.
She is passionate about helping both the medical community and the public navigate through an abundance of nutritional information and their do's and don'ts. She then interprets this information and teaches its practical application.
Katherine currently runs a paediatric dietetic practice in Cape Town and consults via Skype both nationally and internationally. She has co-authored “Feeding Sense”, with Meg Faure, “The Low Carb Solution for Diabetics”, and has authored “Real Food for Happy Healthy Children”. Katherine has also been published in some reputable medical journals with regards to the use of the Ketogenic diet and its use in epilepsy, ADHD and autism.

Dr Jacky Searle

Jacky Searle (MB BCh FCOG (SA)) is co-author of Pregnancy Sense, an obstetrician/gynaecologist and has been working in private practice at Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Cape Town for almost 18 years. She sees herself as trying to offer honest and sensible guidance to pregnant women, empowering them and helping them achieve a safe and spectacular outcome.
Born in England, she grew up in Johannesburg and studied medicine at the University of Witwatersrand, then specialised at the University of Cape Town gaining work experience at Groote Schuur, Mowbray Maternity, Somerset and 2 Military Hospitals, with a little stint working in England.
She is married and is kept well grounded by her two sons, Nicholas and Gregory.

Heather Wood

Heather Wood (RN, RM), co-author of Pregnancy Sense, has been the clinic sister at Thula Baby Centre, in Mouille Point, Cape Town for 10 years. She teaches antenatal classes in Rondebosch and Mouille Point, preparing couples for birth and supporting them afterwards to become confident parents.
Heather is a qualified nurse and midwife (BSc Nursing from UCT)) and internationally certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). Her experience includes hundreds of births at Gugulethu and Retreat MOUs as well as nursing at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. Heather is the mother of two and her children teach her more than any of her work experience possibly can.

Liz Senior

Liz graduated from The University of Pretoria in 1985 as a qualified occupational therapist. Whilst working as a therapist, Liz developed the Clamber Club programme, a remedial programme for special needs children in 1990.
Liz is also a member of the IAIM (International Association of Infant Massage) and is a qualified infant massage instructor. She is currently a member of the Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa. As an advocate for children's well-being, Liz loves to get involved in outreach projects and has run community outreach projects for Childline, Cotlands, NOAH and some inner-city pre-schools. Liz is currently running a stimulation outreach programme with the Bokomosa Trust playschool in Rosebank, where once a week she teaches stimulation classes to the children at the playschool and, at the same time, trains the teachers so that they can run the Clamber Club stimulation classes independently during the week.
Liz is a respected spokesperson and is frequently interviewed on local and national radio stations on subjects that are in line with child stimulation. She has also written many articles mainly on motor related topics and exercise for young children for national magazines. As founder of Clamber Club, Liz has given many talks and workshops to parents and teachers, and coordinated and lectured for the `Movement Education for Children’ courses for Reebok, as well as for the “National Fitness Convention”’. Liz has scripted and co-produced the highly successful OMO ‘Be the Best You Can Be’ television series, and was involved with the WASH television series for Vaseline Soap. She wrote 50 programmes on stimulating your child for the OMO radio talk shows which were translated into nine languages.

Mark Tomlinson

Mark Tomlinson is a clinical psychologist and has a PhD from the University of Reading in the UK. He is passionate about his family, cinema and politics. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University. His scholarly work has involved a diverse range of topics that have in common an interest in understanding infant and child development in contexts characterised by poverty, violence and adversity. Prof Tomlinson has a particular interest in understanding infant and child development in the context of caregiver mental illness. He is an Associate Editor of Infant Mental Health Journal. He has published over 180 papers in peer-reviewed journals, edited two books and published numerous chapters. He is the lead editor of a forthcoming volume from University of Cape Town Press “Child and Adolescent Development in Africa in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Sonya Naude

A respected journalist and editor, Sonya Naude brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience of magazines, and the media publishing industry in general.
Sonya started her career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and photographer on a community newspaper, moving into corporate communications, first as a journalist and then as editor for a multi-national mining company.
She was recruited as associate editor of the health magazine, Longevity, in 1994 and became editor of the title in 2002. During her editorship of Longevity, which spanned almost 10 years, she also edited a quarterly parenting publication, Little People, which earned her a Highly Commended for Innovation in Magazine Publishing in 2004.
More recently, she has consulted as a freelance editor for Sun International and Liberty Life, launched a new B2B magazine for the Times Media Group’s medical publishing division and has written for a number of consumer lifestyle magazines, including Woman and Home and Destiny.
A sought-after media veteran, she has judged numerous industry journalism awards and has appeared on television and radio.
Sonya was appointed to her current position as Editor of Caxton’s parenting magazine, Living and Loving in 2014, a position she says that has allowed her to better understand the many dynamics and challenges faced by modern moms, and to indulge in her love for children now that her own are growing up.
Sonya is mom to Maxine and Wesley, and her passions include yoga, reading, cooking and travel.

Craig Wilkinson

Craig is an inspirational author and speaker with a passion for seeing men and women fully alive. For the last 10 years Craig has worked in the Non Profit sector in the areas of experiential education, socio-economic development of men and fathers. He is the Founder of Father A Nation (FAN), a NPO that works with men in communities. He lives in Cape Town with his wife Martinique and two children, Luke and Blythe.

Dr Melodie de Jager

Dr Melodie de Jager is the founder and author of ground breaking programmes and books on preconception care, birth, child development and quality of life – irrespective of age. Although Melodie’s education has been broad and diverse she whole heartedly admits that most of her learning takes place at home amongst her children and grandchildren. Melodie regularly hosts workshops, is a frequent guest on radio and TV, and much in demand as a keynote speaker. She is listed on the American Biographical Institute as one of the Great Women of the 21st Century.
Melodie is also the published author of 12 books, some of them have been translated into 7 languages including BabyGym, One + One = Three {The wondrous journey from preconception to birth}, brain development MILESTONES and learning, Play Learn Grow (birth to 3) and Play Learn Know.

B.Prim.Ed / B.Ed Psych / M.Ed Psych / D.Phil
Founder of BabyGym® and Mind Moves® / Author / Developmental Specialist / Keynote Speaker

Jeremy Olivier

Artist/Musician/Songwriter/Husband/Father of five beautiful souls. Sometimes life throws us a major curve ball that changes everything. The way we see things, the way we think, the decisions we make ... nothing is ever the same again. That is what happened to us in 2009.

Derek Lottering

Derek has been at the Old Mutual since 1985 and is married with 2 boys, aged 26 and 22. He has been doing Motivational, Change and other talks for the last few years and his qualification for these talks has been life itself. Derek is the Marketing Manager for Old Mutual Broker Distribution in the Western Cape and is known as the Minister of Excitement.

Priya Naiker

As Advice Manager for Old Mutual Personal Finance distribution channels: Broker Distribution and Agency Franchise, Priya’s role focuses on the design, implementation and custodianship of the financial advice proposition delivered by these channels.
Priya’s studies include a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Psychology, a Post Graduate qualification in Financial Planning, an Advanced Certificate in Financial Planning, a Certificate in Wealth Management and she’s completed the FAIS Regulatory Exams for both Key Individuals and Representatives (RE 1 and RE 5). She also holds the globally recognized CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) designation from the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) in South Africa.
In addition, Priya was recently appointed to serve on the FPI’s Competency Committee where she will play a vital role in guiding and assisting the FPI to improve member competence at an industry level. She is driven by the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the evolution of the financial services profession, improving the value and outcomes produced for customers.
Priya is an appreciator of history, fine coffee, sport, theatre, music, travel, and sadly, reality TV. Her current favorite life motto is PASSION IS PURPOSE.

Marietjie Strydom

Marietjie Strydom is a consultant social worker and play therapist with twenty years experience working with children, their carers, families and teachers. Her practice centres around dealing with children’s big feelings, which often result in behavioural issues, through attachment therapy. Part of her work is providing trauma therapy and EMDR to children who have experienced trauma and/or abuse, or who have been diagnosed with PTSD. Behavioural issues can impact on every area of a child’s life including academics.

Michelle Pitt

Michelle is a Wellness Coach who loves working with woman and specifically moms. She has many years’ experience in the Wellness Industry, as well as international accreditation from Cidesco. Bits and Bobs officially launched in July 2016 in Johannesburg South Africa. Michelle, one of the founders has a true passion in helping moms live happy, healthy, balanced and fulfilled lifestyles. As a Wellness Coach for Moms she has completed many workshops, talks and Toolkits, with moms and moms-to-be. As a mom herself she felt very overwhelmed becoming pregnant and a new mom.

Jenni Johnson

Jenni is a registered nurse and midwife and has been practicing as a childcare practitioner for 20 years. She has her own ante and post-natal clinic in Durban and her practice is primarily on the Berea. She also sees about 20 parents a month in Ballito and talks to a similar amount locally and internationally via Skype. She has an online clinic which has been up and running for nearly 10 years. Jenni's passion is her business, building relationships, resolving problems, no matter how big or small. She is known for sorting out lives with routines that suit the individual and giving sleep to parents and children alike. Jenni is grateful to her clients, the mothers and the fathers of the last 20 years who have been the cause of her success. They have taught her all she knows and is privileged to have been a part of their lives.