The Team

Our team is just as diverse as the brands on which we work, with each member contributing unique and invaluable qualities and skills to our overall offering. Here’s your opportunity to get to know us a bit better…

Diani Smit - CEO

Diani has more than 16 years experience in client and customer service. With an Honours Degree in Communication Science, she specialises in strategy, online communication and digital marketing, applying a “Don’t tell me show me” attitude to her work. Organised and task-oriented, she believes in dealing with things in a consistently logical and rational manner. It is important to Diani that her clients are kept abreast of developments relating both to their communications and to the insights and opportunities presented by the field at large.

Connect: LinkedIn and Twitter 

Heike Kannemeyer - COO

With a passion for PR and digital communication, Heike heads up the day-to-day running at the agency. She is a strategic thinker, an effective implementer, and an astute analyser. From conception to retrospective evaluation, client projects benefit from Heike’s strong organisational skills and eye for detail. Extremely driven and career- and client-focused, Heike constantly challenges the team to effectively captures the media’s attention, always over-delivering on client brief.

Connect: LinkedIn and Twitter

Hestelle Pretorius - Account Director

Conceptualisation, creation, strategising, mentoring – these are all the ways through which Hestelle breathes life into her brands and her team. With her can-do attitude, she is constantly researching new ways to build and maintain brand identity and following. Always at the forefront of brand insights and digital developments, allows for continual innovation and improvement and meticulous objective analysis when reporting back to client. From communication strategising to event co-ordination, Hestelle can be found engaged in any means of client service at any given time. Her background in Psychology helps her to understand the way customers relate to brands and ideas, and how best to communicate her clients’ values and objectives to them.

Jonathan Bishop - Account Director

Jonathan brings a wealth of public relations, customer liaison and marketing experience to the role. No stranger to creative campaign development and implementation, he offers expert involvement that spans across all aspects of brand identity and awareness management. Motivated by innovative new ways of expressing client messages, Jonathan draws on his experience working across social, print and online platforms to craft flexible yet identifiable voices for his brands. His ability to work well with individuals and groups across a broad spectrum of industries and inclinations makes him a highly valued collaborator on any project.

Mariette Michaels - Office Administrator

With solid experience in customer service, retail and sales,  Mariette will bid you the warmest welcome when you visit the Hatch Office. She loves a challenge and no project is ever too big or too small for her to follow through with care. Her love for PR and client service adds to her unique skill set.

Susan Botha - Account Director

With eleven years of Advertising and Marketing experience, Susan has a great ability to understand her clients needs. She succesfully deals with Blue Chip clients at a senior level and  delivers outstanding projects and campaigns that “hit the spot”.  She is strongly visually oriented with great technological aptitude and boasts with  a Professional Diploma in Visual Communication and a IMM Marketing degree.

Kobus Smit - Account Director

This “Silver Fox” is a seasoned campaigner in the diverse yet integrated disciplines of corporate communications, PR, marketing and the positioning and repositioning of brands. His vast experience includes serving as a diplomat in Europe, Group PR for one of SA’s biggest mining houses, Manager: Corporate Affairs of KWV and brand consultancy for renowned national and international brands. His life-long passion for brands extends to community causes such as CANSA and the Gideons. “Building brands in the current digital landscape necessitate complex yet simplistic approaches and innovative thinking, obviously understanding and optimising the unlimited potential of social media in conjunction with traditional PR practices”.

Cilnette Pienaar - Senior PR Account Manager

Cilnette Pienaar has a passion for creative communication in all of its forms. She has an honours degree in Communication Management (University of Pretoria), a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism (Rhodes University) and a MPhil. in Music Technology (University of Stellenbosch). Over the past thirteen years she has acquired a broad skill-set in public relations, marketing and brand management (strategy development and implementation), stakeholder relations (media and sponsors), journalism, research, creative concept development, social media, education and network development (within non-profits, arts-, tertiary education- and corporate communication contexts). With over ten years of lecturing experience in communication-related fields at Stellenbosch University, Vega School of Branding and University of Pretoria, she has kept the balance between academic insight and practical implementation. She is an avid blogger and spams her Facebook friends with pictures of her toes in the sand on every occasion she gets.

Joni Solms - Account Manager

Joni completed her Marketing Honours degree in 2015. With her adaptable and eager-to-learn attitude, she kick-starting her career by gaining as much practical experience as possible from the experts in the field.

 

She is deeply passionate about everything marketing related. Three words that can be used to describe her are: hardworking, enthusiastic and creative. Therefore, expect her to go the extra mile in everything she does, and to pour creativity into every project assigned to her.

 

When she’s not in the office, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, preferably somewhere where the sun is shining.

Sonja Bezuidenhout - PR Account Manager

Sonja’s social enthusiasm, natural curiosity and love for people sparked her passion for public relations and the dynamic media landscape. She cut her teeth in PR in 2012 when she started working in the wine, lifestyle and financial industries. If you’re looking for someone to take on a case study and help ‘straighten the facts’, Sonja will be at the forefront of research. She has a big appetite for meticulous measurement and performance monitoring so clients can be assured of a 360-degree approach to brand building and reputation management. She completed her MA thesis on Evaluating Audience Responses to Promotional Messages in 2014 before moving into health and wellness PR. She joined Hatch Communication in 2016 to enter her sixth year in PR in 2017.

Alida Reynolds - Financial Manager

Alida is our fabulous finance fundi. She has been in the industry since 1990, working for companies like Young & Rubicam and Bates 141 as Financial Manager.

She understands client needs and how large companies operate, and adds this valuable business experience to the Hatch team by streamlining financial structures and processes that serve our clients and our creative culture.

She grew up in a house that celebrated the performing arts. Her passion for music and theatre was nurtured in a home with a father who was an opera singer.

Alida has four children and lives with her family on a farm near Klapmuts. They have a flourishing parrot breeding program, a hobby that she grew into a business.

Helena Jacobs - Intern

Helena is our newest Hatch intern. While her background is in Political Science, she is eager to learn all there is to know about the communications field. Her love of writing brought her to us. After graduating, she spent time abroad in Scotland and the U.S. While the experience was amazing, her heart belongs in South Africa and she is glad to call Stellenbosch home again.

Danné van den Berg - Account Executive

With a passion for marketing, communication and working with people, Danné is ready to grow her career by gaining as much experience as possible within the communication industry. With her recent completion in BBA in Marketing Management at IMM, as well as her background knowledge of photography, she is able to respond and adapt creatively in any situation. She is hardworking and friendly, and always up for new challenges.

Deanna Bessick - PR Account Manager

Deanna is an experienced Account Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the public relations industry. She has engaged in community, media relations, corporate communications, events and communications planning, crisis management, as well as marketing and social media management.

Her love for people and creativity led to her passion for PR. With more than half a decade of experience within the lifestyle, beauty, health and consumer industries, she has diverse organisational and strategic planning skills. Deanna holds a Btech degree in Public Relations Management and is a great multi-tasker, who works well under pressure.