With deep regret and profound sadness, we announce the passing away of Josephine Frances Melville, Managing Director of TML Reed Exhibitions. Josephine (or as she was more affectionately known as Jo) sadly passed away on 6 April at the age of 82. She has made a massive impact on numerous lives within the exhibition industry and will be sorely missed.
Here are some tributes to the late Josephine Frances Melville from a few members of the exhibition industry who share precious memories of her.
When I first met Jo Melville, she was Managing Director of TML Reed. I approached her to assist me with a leadership assignment in 2000. Little did I know that seven years later she would have a profound impact on my career and the life of Specialised Exhibitions.
The signs were there. Jo never hesitated to assist. She was welcoming, attentive and incredibly passionate about learning and assisting a young mind. It did not matter that the person she was assisting worked for a competitor.
Forward to November 2007, Jo sold her business (Exhibitions for Africa) to Specialised Exhibitions a subsidiary of Montgomery Group based in London. I was fortunate enough to be the conduit between the SE Board and Jo. During this intense period of negotiation, transfer of ownership and delivering a full portfolio of exhibitions I was privileged to get to know Jo Melville on both a professional and personal level.
Words do not do justice to a lifetime of commitment, passion and drive for the exhibition industry. Jo was the most incredible human being, business person, marketeer and leader. She honed these skills and rose to the top of her discipline in a male-dominated world. Jo was fearless, uncompromising and focussed. She needed to be in order to establish herself in an environment where the odds were stacked against her.
And yet, she cared enough to take time to invest in the youth, talent and the industry at large. Well beyond her retirement she helped small business practitioners in Knysna and sought to stimulate trade along the Garden Route. Always putting back into the community!
It was a privilege and honour to have worked with Jo Melville. She was a South African exhibition industry stalwart. Her contribution to business in South Africa is irrefutable, the ground-breaking strides for women entrepreneurs unmistakeable and her leadership unforgettable.
Your contribution to our industry is appreciated and the impact you had on the lives you touched will for always be remembered.
Thank you Jo. Rest in peace, we shall meet again.
Gary Corin – Managing Director: Specialised Exhibitions
Craig Newman – Group Chief Executive Officer · GL events South Africa Group
Jo Melville was a doyenne of the exhibition industry, she always told me she was a frustrated actress at heart so she was so excited to be able to put all that pent up energy and creative passion into the shows and companies she ran over the past 34 years of her exhibition and publishing career. We have all worked for Jo at one time or another. In my case I was 21 years old at the time, so there is no doubt we have all learnt valuable lessons from her to take forward into our own careers. RIP Jo and sincere condolences to the entire family.
Carol Weaving – Managing Director: Reed Exhibitions Africa
Our thoughts and prayers are with Josephine’s family at this difficult time. She was a force to be reckoned with in the exhibition industry and she has left an indelible mark on many people.