Doyenne of the recruiting industry, businesswoman and entrepreneur Mary van Apeldoorn has always been a force to be reckoned with. She founded her company in Cape Town in 1986 after relocating from Johannesburg, where she had been a senior executive in executive and interim management placement, with her own specialisation being in credit, finance and accounting.


Initially started as a one-woman business, Mary van Apeldoorn and Associates has now grown to be one of the most respected resource companies in the country, due to her success in forming and leading one of the most professional, focused, and effective teams in the business – dedicated to serving the needs of their clients.


As the strategic head and public face of the company, Mary’s business expertise and experience have honored her with roles such as Vice President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Says Mary: “I was the first female in 200 years to have this position. I was also Chairman of APSO and of the Western Cape chapter of the Business Woman’s Association (BWA), Fellow of the Institute of Directors, and an accredited International Consultant.” Her specialty also led to her being former President of the Institute of Credit Management. She currently serves as a Board Member of Woman Zone.


Born in the small town of Venterdsorp in the North West, Mary spent her early childhood years in Potchefstroom and surrounding areas. She started her career in credit and accounting, but after moving to Johannesburg in her early 30’s with kids to feed, responded to an advert in the paper. “They said their client wanted a male. Not one for giving up, I challenged them and they employed me as a recruiter. Later I decided to move to Cape Town, where I started my company.”


Mary has been at the top of her game for more than 30 years. What differentiates Mary van Apeldoorn and Associates from other recruiting companies is her expertise, years of service, excellent recruiting skills and empathy. At the age of 75, Mary has no plans of retiring. “I’m still capable of putting in long working hours. I believe it’s imperative to have face to face consults with all my clients as I really do believe you must get to know the person. And after years in the business, I trust my intuition implicitly. When I send my long-term client only one CV, they trust that I’m giving them the most suitable candidate.”


Her company has a client base built over many years ranging from blue chip companies to small businesses. “We cover all business disciplines and positions in providing both temporary and permanent personnel services.  We also use a comprehensive computerised database which I started in 1988.”


For Mary, her biggest achievement is her family. “I must admit that I was stoked when I became the first female Vice President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce in 200 years. It’s easy for me to balance work and my private life as I love both.”


Everyone who has met Mary, will tell you that she is go-getter and truly cares about others. “I love partying with friends, travelling and cooking. It’s what motivates me. When you wash your face in the morning you have two choices for the day – be happy or miserable.  I always choose the former, no matter what.” Often referred to as the Champagne Queen, her secret to staying healthy is eating properly and taking walks. “And of course partying with a glass of Veuve Clicquot.”


For more information on Mary Apeldoorn, visit her website on:

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