Change the world

Crafting Success as Founder and CEO of CRC Communications

Alumna Cheryl Reynolds, the visionary behind CRC Communications, is an extraordinary individual who defied early challenges and emerged triumphant. Raised in Gauteng as one of five children, Cheryl's robust family values and upbringing laid the foundation for her journey. She reminisces about a bygone era when taking the train to school was a daily ritual, marking a distinctive chapter of her childhood.

Despite being a shy and introverted student, Cheryl, who hails from humble beginnings, shattered expectations and proved her mettle. Surprisingly, her high school English teacher once conveyed scepticism about her future prospects, a sentiment that would soon be proven unequivocally wrong.

Her trajectory to success commenced after completing her matriculation followed by a move to Port Elizabeth (now Gqeberha) prompted her enrolment at PE Technikon (now Nelson Mandela University). Initially uncertain about her career path, Cheryl opted for a National Diploma in Executive Secretaryship, a seemingly safe choice at the time. However, it was during her tenure at NMU that she uncovered her true passion. Shortly after she enrolled for the Management Development Diploma Programme from Nelson Mandela University (former UPE), which she then graduated with flying colours in 2003.

The pivotal moment arrived in 1989 when Cheryl was honoured as the Student of the Year, a distinction that marked the initiation of her remarkable journey in the business realm. Aspiring to become an Executive Secretary to the State President, Cheryl set lofty goals that propelled her into diverse roles and accomplishments.

Her career took a significant turn in 1999 when she assumed the role of Sales & Marketing Manager for BreatheTex, a nascent business commercializing technology developed by the CSIR. Under her stewardship, BreatheTex garnered numerous accolades, including the Presidents' Award for Export Achievement, Technology Top 100 Award, Exporter of the Year Award for three consecutive years, Africa SMME of the Year, and the SA Excellence Award. She was also recognised as a finalist in the Corporate Category of the Businesswoman's Association Regional Business Achievers Awards Programme and nominated for SA Woman of the Year and named the Top Student of the MDP Programme at NMU.

Cheryl shares, “While working at BreatheTex, we were selected as Africa SMME of the Year, where I flew to Cape Town to receive the award, shook Nelson Mandela's hand, and was interviewed on the News.  What a night! I was so proud to have met such an icon and remember looking at this hand whilst he was shaking mine and thinking that I must remember how his hand feels.”

She assumed leadership roles, serving as the Chairperson of the Businesswomen's Association in Port Elizabeth and as a Director of Business Network International (BNI) Eastern Cape.

In 2004, she embarked on a new chapter, departing from the corporate world to establish CRC Communications where she is the CEO and owner. Specializing in project managing marketing initiatives that convey meaningful stories, CRC Communications empowers businesses to leave a lasting impact. With a diverse clientele spanning manufacturing, fashion design, hospitality, education, and conservation, Cheryl's company offers a spectrum of services, including marketing and communications strategies, brand development, digital communications, social media marketing, media liaison, event management, stakeholder engagement, and internal and external communications.

She actively contributes to the community through her role on the EXCO of Siyavuka for Kids, a non-profit dedicated to providing health, healing, and hope to children facing serious, rare, or complicated childhood diseases. The organization aims to support and establish a Children's Hospital in Gqeberha, providing specialized care to children in need.

Cheryl's personal life during these years added another layer to her extraordinary journey. She raised five children and nursed her terminally ill husband, who battled brain cancer, demonstrating resilience and strength in the face of personal challenges.

Looking ahead, Cheryl envisions an exciting evolution in her career over the next five years. Committed to staying at the forefront of the dynamic marketing landscape, she plans to embrace emerging technologies and trends actively. Her dedication extends beyond keeping pace with industry developments; she aspires to contribute actively to these advancements for the benefit of her clients and her professional growth.

Her daily pursuits are fuelled by a profound passion for project managing marketing initiatives that tell impactful stories. She firmly believes in the power of storytelling to forge connections, inspire action, and shape brand identities. Each project she undertakes reflects her dedication to helping businesses make their mark and leave a lasting impression.

Cheryl's transformative time at NMU equipped her with the skills necessary for her career journey. This period continues to serve as a cornerstone in her career, enabling her to drive positive change and contribute meaningfully to the organizations she's been a part of.

She imparts a motivating message to all, emphasizing the importance of having passion in one's work. “Never stop learning and never give up.  If you are passionate about what you do, you will excel and you will love life.”