The South African Society of Anaesthesiologists (SASA) appointed Natalie Zimmelman as its first chief executive officer towards the end of 2014.
Having garnered wide-ranging managerial experience with various professional bodies over the past decade gave Zimmelman an edge over a host of well-qualified candidates who applied for the position.
Expressing a vote of confidence in the appointment of its new head, the Council of SASA said: "[Her] appointment and further efforts will usher in a new, exciting and productive period for the profession."
SASA is dedicated to the furtherance of the discipline of anaesthesia at both academic and clinical level, and is committed to the welfare of its members.
Since taking up her new position at SASA, Zimmelman has focused on touring the country to meet as many SASA members as possible at the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Acacia (Pretoria, East Rand, Limpopo and Mpumalanga) branches.
She completed branch tours in November 2014, drafted various policies in December 2014 and began engaging with the trade. Zimmelman has also been busy developing branding for SASA, updating and finalising the website, establishing communication plans and meeting with individual members. She has also initiated engagement with government stakeholders and medical funders. She is now formalising her support for each of the SASA business units, and is working with the members on evaluating submissions and preparing the SASA responses to the Competition Commission healthcare inquiry.
Zimmelman's previous positions include policies and projects manager at Fasset (the sector education and training authority for Finance and Accounting), placement officer at Wits, project director: transformation and growth at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA); and programme development manager and general manager at the Association of Accounting Technicians South Africa (AAT(SA)).
Zimmelman was instrumental in establishing AAT(SA) and it far-reaching public sector skills development projects, to great acclaim from her colleagues. AAT(SA) is a joint venture between SAICA and AAT, a global professional body based in London.
Her qualifications include a BSc degree in biological life sciences from Wits, an MBA with distinction from the University of Pretoria (GIBS), a paper and boardmaking diploma, a higher diploma in corporate law from the University of Johannesburg and a coaching qualification from the University of Cape Town's Centre for Coaching Excellence.
Zimmelman's strengths lie in project management, governance and public speaking. She is passionate about growing the talent of South Africans to contribute to the economic development of the country.