Irene attended Girls Collegiate School in Pietermaritzburg.
She qualified as a trained nurse at the Johannesburg General Hospital in 1977 and did her midwifery at the JG Strydom Hospital (now Helen Joseph Hospital).
After finishing her nursing diploma, she worked in the pharmaceutical industry for two years and thereafter left to start a family.
Irene also did a course at Toastmasters and obtained her Competent Toastmasters Certificate In 1992, together with her father Jack Yelland who had retired from the engineering profession, took over the running of the journal Elektron for the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers.
Six years later Chris Yelland (Irene’s brother) joined the business when Jack Yelland passed away, and together they built up the company EE Publishers, producing four of the leading journals in the engineering sectors: EngineerIT, Vector, Energize and PositionIT.
Irene headed up and the sales and marketing team at EE Publishers for 28 years and grew the events side of the business with leading conferences and events including ICT Infrastructure, SA Energy Storage, SA Geotech, various other industry debates and many industry and association breakfasts, lunches and other events.
Irene has three children, has been married to Anthony for 38 years and continues to enjoy the outdoor life - especially the wonderful hikes in South Africa and the Drakensberg which is her passion.