Stellenbosch University
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A Day in the life: Heilet Bertrand
Author: Corporate Communications and Marketing
Published: 22/05/2023

​Manager of the Institute for Futures Research (IFR) Heilet Bertrand is always thinking ahead to keep clients updated on future trends and developments. Having completed a master's degree in Futures Studies, Bertrand says her job at the Stellenbosch Business School (SBS) is a perfect fit. 

As we kicked off May commemorating Workers' Day, we dedicate this series of articles to our staff and their important contribution to the University. In the interview below, Bertrand tells us more about her work.

Explain your role at SU, please? 

I'm responsible for managing all the administration, finances, marketing and client engagements at the IFR. The IFR undertakes futures research, trains corporates and individuals in the use of futures thinking tools and offers various publications to keep clients updated on what is waiting on the horizon. Overall, our services are aimed at helping clients to acquire strategic foresight to make better long-range decisions. This will enable them to sense opportunities and mitigate risks in good time. The IFR is housed at the Stellenbosch Business School. It is the first and only Futures Institute of its kind on the African continent.

What does a typical day at work look like? 

My day usually starts with a check in with the Director of the IFR, Doris Viljoen, and then checking all our social media platforms and answering emails. Thereafter it depends on client requests and can include arranging meetings, or scheduling client engagements, ensuring financial activities are up to date, doing final checks and updates on our weekly and monthly reports to our subscription clients, drafting proposals and budgets for clients and proving back-office support for any other activities.

How did your education or past experiences prepare you for this role?  

I studied BCom Marketing and completed my MPhil in Futures Studies. Since then, it has been a passion of mine to make the fantastic work that the IFR does more visible. When the opportunity came to work full time at the IFR I grabbed it with both hands.

What do you enjoy most about your role and working at SU? 

I love the field that I work in, futures studies have changed the way I think and work and I cannot imagine doing anything else. I enjoy working at the Business School and engaging with postgraduate students and alumni.

Tell us something exciting or interesting about yourself that few people would expect? 

In my twenties I used to do hip-hop dancing and participated in a few competitions and shows.