Who is Leonie Haines?(in exactly 50 words)
IN HER OWN WORDS
I’m originally from a mining town called Horizon Deep, where our family owns various businesses including “ON!” TV. I’m kidding, that’s the other Leonie Haines, character from the soapie Isidingo. I’m a school teacher from Marian Ridge in KZN, and… Nope. Thats another Leonie Haines. So, who am I then?
WHAT OTHERS THINK
- “Leoni is great fun to work with because she is so passionate about everything she does. Its totally contageous.”
- “Leonie makes everything look so easy.”
- “We need to find out where Leonie gets all her positive energy.”
- “How many Leoni’s does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None. The lightbulb can’t wait to screw itself in.”
- “Leoni reminds me of a much better looking, female version of Liam Neeson from ‘Taken’. She kicks butt and is unstoppable. You go girl.”
Why “Employee of the Month”?
Leoni is a natural leader who inspires those around her to do their best. She shines brightest when the odds are stacked against her, as indeed they were in January 2017. Leoni’s team took over a missing person (teen runaway) case from another investigation company who had failed to make any progress after a week. With very little to go on, Leoni’s team travelled to the area in which the teen was last seen, and over a period of 3 days, interviewed over 1000 people without success. The 1111th person recognized the teen as having been with her cousin at a local pub the night before. Leoni’s team took up surveillance positions around the cousin’s place of residence and remained there for 40 hours before catching a glimpse of the teen. Due to the sensitive nature of this case, Leoni’s team couldn’t simply confront the teen there and then, but needed to wait for an opportunity to get the teen alone. That opportunity would come the following day when Leoni’s team followed the couple to a sports bar. Leonie sat in wait in the ladies bathroom for 3 hours until the teen appeared. She was able to convince the teen to return home voluntarily and engineered a ruse to distract the cousin long enough to sneek the teen out of the premises and back home. Leoni’s team nominated her for this award because, in their own words, “this would not have been possible without Lee (Leoni)”.
What do you do at Intertel?
I’m a TTP (tracking, tracing and profiling) team leader. I work with an awesome team who, as individuals, have skills I could only dream of having. As a team leader, I take instructions and match them up with the skills our team possesses. I’m responsible for the work each team member does and am accountable for the results. Yes, its a high pressure job sometimes, but it is always rewarding. When you work with dedicated professionals, you have confidence in your team’s abilities, and that allows you to take calculated risks that pay off.
How did you get to where you are?
I worked for over 10 years at the SAPS Bureau for Missing Persons where we maintained an 86% success rate despite many challenges. I left to have my first child and never went back. I continued to work privately helping locate children abducted by family members especially those taken abroad, and focused on Hague Convention cases involving cross border abductions to neighbouring countries. Here I maintained 100% success rate. I worked on a case in collaboration with Intertel in 2015 and realized that I could do much more with better resources. They made me an offer I simply couldn’t refuse and i haven’t looked back ever since.
What are the best and worst parts of the job?
Nothing beats finding a missing person. It doesn’t matter if they were lost, abducted or running away. On the flipside there is nothing more frustrating and demoralizing than working a case and coming up empty at every turn. When that happens we go back to basics, reset our attitude and give it an even harder push. This job isn’t for everyone. I’ve seen people come and go continuously over the years. Those that stay love the challenge and believe that what they are doing is important – because it is – especially when kids are involved.
What would we be surprised to learn about Leonie Haines?
I’m a pilot in my spare time. No jokes, I have over 300 hours flight time on fixed wing aircraft and am currently learning how to fly a helicopter. I don’t want to become a commercial pilot, I just love flying. My dad built experimental planes at home my whole life, and for my 21st birthday, he gave me a Piper Cub which I still have to this day. I’ve also got a Cessna 172 with a Corvette V8 engine. I’m saving up to buy a Robinson R22 Helicopter, so if you’re wondering what to get me for my birthday…