Avusa exec quits for weight loss

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Avusa executive Elan Lohmann has thrown in the corporate towel and set his sights on changing his life - and the lives of others - by promoting good health via social media.

Lohmann has just resigned from a 13-year corporate career and executive position in the world of digital media to take up a self-designated community challenge - full-time and without remuneration.

Lohmann officially resigned as group MD for Digital at JSE-listed media company Avusa at the end of July. He aims to transform 100 000 South African's lives by inspiring healthy lifestyles through Sleekgeek - a social network of online members looking to renovate their lives through healthy eating and exercise.

Started at the end of last year, the venture “wages the war on unhealthy living” and currently has a base of over 600 members on Facebook and 1 400 followers on Twitter.

Potential power

Lohmann says, for the first time in his life, he is taking “a break” to pursue something he has never tried before. “Sleekgeek came into my life and disrupted it in the most profound way possible. It was a blinding surprise. A wondrous gift. A passion project I think about every waking second.”

He says he believes in the power of social media to create a durable community - both in the virtual and real worlds.

Lohmann, who joined Avusa in 2009 as head of Digital Publishing, was responsible for creating Avusa Media Live as a division at Avusa. Last year, in April, he was appointed as group MD for Digital at Avusa, with all digital businesses reporting to him. He will leave the group at the end of the month, and says the foreseeable future will see him focusing 100% of his time and effort on Sleekgeek and his own personal health goals.

The online community “Winter Warrior” challenge - an eight week programme that started on 9 June, with R45 000 in prize money - ended last weekend. The upcoming eight-week event, the “Summer Body Challenge”, is set to kick off in September, and has an R80 000 stake.

The gist of the Sleekgeek initiative is illustrated in an infographic on Lohmann's Sleekgeek Facebook page.

Lohmann says that, while the future is uncertain, he is willing to work at making the venture a success, with the aim of making it a sustainable means of income and ongoing occupation.

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