HIV Awareness CoUnsellor, Author, Speaker, Milnerton, South Africa

Following the WOW WOMAN shoot I routinely follow up with the subject and check in regarding the q/a. "How are things going with the answers? Any further questions for me?", in the hopes of nudging the process forward. I usually receive a quick response and a "oops, I'm ON IT". I understand busy lives, of course, and a delay in answering 21 questions is a common occurrence.

"Hi Olga, I had an emergency surgery on Saturday, I had a massive heart attack and a double bypass surgery. Recuperating and should be out in a couple of days." was the message I received from Cindy a month ago.

Cindy is a true survivor and an eternal optimist, and she has since answered the questions below, quite beautifully and truthfully. She inspires me as I write this intro, to be positive about life, to "get up, be creative, network and get moving!". Thank you Cindy, you are a fantastic individual. I wish you many many turns around the sun in beautiful South Africa!

1. Name

Cindy Pivacic.

2. Where is your hometown?

Cape Town.

3. What is your profession/career/title?                                     

I have a few: HIV Trainer & ChangeMaker – PR Ninja  & Radio Host

3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?

I have a few: HIV Trainer & ChangeMaker – PR Ninja  & Radio Host.

4. What was the journey like to get where you are (in life and career wise)? What are some accomplishments you’re most proud of?

I started out in the field of Sales & Marketing but have been very open to change. When my HIV diagnosis was pronounced in 2004, I opened myself to addressing the issues we have and counselling others, six years later. I wrote two books that are based on my journey and life took a turn from there and I also speak about my journey living with HIV and being diagnosed with AIDS, professionally.

Once my book was written, self-published and marketed, I found that there were other people that wanted my assistance to market their books, hence the start-up of PR Ninja. This then led to my interviewing authors on radio which led to people outside of the writing industry to make contact as they apparently saw potential in my traditional media, social media and networking skills. I haven’t been sorry that I opened myself up to opportunity and I thrive on a challenge so am thoroughly enjoying life.

5. What did you study in school?

Absolutely nothing  ;-)

6.  How is your life different from what you pictured at 20?

I pictured myself with a stable (boring) job and a family life that would be satisfying. I am happy to say some of that happened but currently my life is so exciting that I wouldn’t change it for anything else ‘stable’.

7.  What was your biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it?

I don’t dwell on disappointment, I move on, as whatever that was, was not meant to be.

8. Advice for other women?

Get up, be creative, network and get moving!

9.  Knowing what we know now in current political climate, can women be "all that we can be" in today's world? What is the way forward, as you see it for "feminist values"?

You should not allow anything to hold you back. You have the ability to be anything you choose, do it.

10. Where in the world do you feel “tallest” (i.e. where is your happy place)?

My happy place after a taxing day is with a book at home and total silence. Yes an extrovert I may be but I do take time to chill and reflect.

11. What extra-curricular activities/hobbies are you most proud of? Why?

Currently my activities are limited as I recently had a massive heart attack and double bypass but I will get back to walking/hiking the mountains, trails and beautiful beaches of Cape Town.

12. What do you want to be when you grow up? Future goals/challenges?

Firstly, I will never grow up and secondly, I am always open to bring it on.

13. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?

The Ninja is fearless......except heights, I fear heights and plans to do a tandem jump off the mountain by or on the anniversary of my HIV diagnosis (22 Nov) as I could not do it for my 60th du to the heart attack.

14. Anything you'd do differently if you had another go at life?

I would do it all exactly the same way.

15. What inspires you?

Seeing other people succeed.

16. What are you hopeful about?

The fact that I made it through this near fatality, I look forward to a few good years of living a fruitful life.

16. What are you hopeful about?    



The fact that I made it through this near fatality, I look forward to a few good years of living a fruitful life.

17.  What are some ingredients to a good life?

  • Self control
  • Everything in moderation
  • Self introspection
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Don’t only take, give back.

18. What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

Listen to your Mother she may actually have been right :)

19. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?)

I am reading Destiny by Sally Beauman, not my usual type of book but as I found it in a friends bookcase and was bored,.....say no more. I generally read crime and forensic literature. I tend to give book gifts of healthy food options, smoothies, soups and salads etc. as I find they are quick and easy meals.

20.  Who is a WOW Woman in your world who inspires you and why? Can you nominate three women you know who perfectly fit WOW WOMAN description?

Liezel van der Westhuizen.

Public figure, MC and professional Speaker, she has worked hard for what she has achieved and received the recognition at a very young age. Her degrees speak for themselves and her MC and professional speaking as well as radio and TV hosting have made her an icon for the youth to aspire to.

Bronwyn Hesketh.

Owner of Speakers Inc. and Conference Speakers International who has brought the professional speaking industry to unprecedented heights and grown it over a period of twenty years that is almost unheard of within an entrepreneurial business such as this.

Carmen Lerm.

She started her business as Fusion Design many years back but has also taken the tourism industry of the West Coast of South Africa to new places by starting West Coast Way some four years back, promoting the fabulous destinations. Taking this challenge on as an independent entrepreneur, well, that to me is fantastic.

21.   Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?



Facebook                                @CindyPivacicSpeakerHIVAIDS

Facebook                                @PRNinjaCapeTown

Twitter                                    @CindyPivacic

Instagram                               @cindypivacic

Youtube                                  Cindy Pivacic

Linkedin                                  Cindy Pivacic

PS                                            If all else fails, Google ‘Cindy HIV’, you will find me J