Irene attended Girls Collegiate School in Pietermaritzburg. She then qualified as a nursing sister at the Johannesburg General Hospital in 1977, and did her midwifery at the JG Strydom Hospital (now Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg).
After finishing her nursing diploma and some years in public service as a nurse, she worked in the pharmaceutical industry for two years, and thereafter left to start a family, during which time she completed a course at Toastmasters and obtained her Competent Toastmasters Certificate.
In 1992, together with South African engineering icon, Jack Yelland, who had just retired from the engineering profession, Irene took over the running of the journal Elektron for the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE).
Six years later, Chris Yelland joined the business in 1998, shortly before Jack Yelland passed away. Together, Irene and Chris started and built up the company, EE Publishers, which was to become one of the leading publishers in the engineering sector of South Africa, with four print and electronic media publications: EngineerIT, Energize, Vector and PositionIT.
Irene headed up the sales and marketing team at EE Publishers for 28 years, and grew the events side of the business with leading conferences and exhibitions including: ICT Infrastructure, SA Energy Storage, SA GeoTech, GISSA Ukubuzana, SA Surveying + Geomatics Indaba, Geomatics Indaba, and numerous seminars, public debates, industry breakfasts, lunches and other events.
Through her position as sales and marketing director at EE Publishers for 28 year, Irene has extensive experience, market knowledge and contacts in the energy, electricity, geomatics and ICT sectors of Southern Africa.
Irene has three children, has been married to Anthony for 43 years, and continues to enjoy the outdoor life - especially the wonderful hikes in South Africa and the Drakensberg which are her passion.