2017 has been an award-winning year for us and it’s not over yet!” says Louise Howell, Marketing Manager at SUNCOAST.
The awards range from recognition for contributions in the community to topping popularity-polls by readers of one of Durban’s daily newspapers.
In Women’s Month (August) SUNCOAST scooped the Corporate Citizenship Award, sponsored by British American Tobacco, at the 14th edition of the prestigious Standard Bank Top Women Awards held at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg.
The Corporate Citizenship Award acknowledges the role of business in improving the communities in which they operate and the positive impact on quality of life, economic prosperity or regeneration through direct investment, pro bono work or employee-led initiatives.
The award recognized the ongoing contribution that SUNCOAST makes to the community of Chesterville via its partnership with Vukukhanye (an NPO operating in the area).
Vukukhanye was formed in 2001 and offers essential community services in the form of children’s foster homes, Educare centre, bursary projects, health and welfare services as well as support for community-based organisations and schools. SUNCOAST has been collaborating with the NPO since 2009 providing financial support and regular participation from SUNCOAST staff on various community projects.
“It was extremely gratifying receiving the Corporate Citizenship Award as it validates the culture that the TSOGO Group has instilled in all their properties,” says Howell. “Partnering with Vukukhanye and the CEO, Dr Anthony van der Meulen, allows us to practise the values of Teamwork, Service, Opportunity, Growth and Ownership and make a positive difference in other people’s lives.”
Another award won during the year is the PMR Awards, where SUNCOAST won a Golden Award (4.2 out of 5) in the category of Casino Executive Lifestyle. SUNCOAST also topped a popularity poll from Durban readers when it was recently voted the Best Casino in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in the 2017 Daily News Your Choice Awards for the 14th year running.
“Being voted the Best Casino in KZN for 14 consecutive years is a record that SUNCOAST is extremely proud of,” adds Howell. “It also gives our staff the recognition they deserve. SUNCOAST firmly believes that keeping staff members motivated and happy are the keys to great customer service. The award confirms that our guests notice and appreciate our efforts!”
Individual employees have also been excelling in their departments. Croupier, Cheszine Muller, was named first runner-up in the 2017 Tsogo Sun National Dealer of the Year Championships at Montecasino, Johannesburg in September.
Muller was one of 18 finalists and was joined in the top five by fellow SUNCOAST colleague, Mbuso Dube (who placed fourth). The table dealers were judged on various criteria in the preliminary rounds of the competition, including knowledge, dealing skills and customer service standards. Once through to the final round they were assessed on technical skills and other aspects of the dealing cycle in American Roulette and Blackjack. The winner was announced after the final five had to answer judges’ questions at the prizewinning dinner.
“Taking part in the Championships was so much fun and not difficult at all because the tasks involved what I do every day,” says 29-year-old Muller, who has been a croupier at SUNCOAST for the past three years.
Meanwhile, finalists Devina Dawkinun and Lebo Mohoko are anxiously awaiting the outcome of their respective competitions.
Dawkinun (founder of the Gemkids Catch-up Programme and manager of SUNCOAST’s Day Care Centre) is one of the top five in the 2017 Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award, a competition for entrepreneurs and alumni benefiting from the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs development programme.
The Day Care manager at SUNCOAST was selected as a finalist from 200 fellow-entrepreneurs and will be attending a National Showcase and Conference at the Southern Sun in Pretoria at the end of October, where the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year will be announced.
“I feel proud to be acknowledged by Tsogo Sun,” says Dawkinun. “All too often entrepreneurs go unrecognized. The nomination has meant the world to me and it would be that much more special if I was to win.”
The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur for 2017 will receive R50 000 from Tsogo Sun, a bursary valued at R30 000 from Tsheto Leadership Academy and will be ambassador for Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs for the next year.
Mohoko (barista at Café Vigour and KZN winner of the 2017 Tsogo Sun - Avanti Coffee National Barista Competition) is eagerly anticipating the national battle of the baristas in Gauteng in November. His expert coffee-making skills saw him win the regional round earlier this year.
“Coffee is my passion and, although I am nervous and excited about the Gauteng finals, I hope to make Café Vigour and SUNCOAST proud by bringing the National Barista Champion title home to Durban,” says the popular barista.
“We are eagerly awaiting the judges’ decisions in these two competitions and hope that Devina and Lebo will come out tops,” says Howell. “The accomplishments of the year have made all the hard work worthwhile and motivated everyone to aim for more success in 2018. The public’s support also plays a large part in SUNCOAST’s success for which we are very grateful.”