‘Humour is essential for good business’ – Emrie Brown, first female CEO of RMB

Home » Interviews » ‘Humour is essential for good business’ – Emrie Brown, first female CEO of RMB

‘Humour is essential for good business’ – Emrie Brown, first female CEO of RMB

Jun 7, 2024 | Interviews, Strategy & Leadership

A qualified chartered accountant, Emrie Brown is RMB’s first female CEO. Last week, Financial Minds Magazine caught up with her to find out how fulfilling her role has been since our last interview.

What has stood out for you in your job over the last two years?

It has been a whirlwind. I see the pride people have in the brand and the belief they have in its strength. It is good when people feel pride working for RMB. I have enjoyed speaking to people who are proud to be part of the organisation and have the hunger and drive to work for its success.

I have also been getting involved in broader Africa and even if we may still have a small presence in certain countries, it is lovely to see people who are passionate about building something and leaving a legacy for future generations. I firmly believe companies are successful when their people have something that unites them. I have been at RMB for 23 years because I have always loved what I do.

Big organisations risk complacency and mediocrity and therefore it is quite pleasing to see people showing up with an energy that permeates the entire organisation. They are show up in a way that differentiates us from [other companies in our sector].

This year is also the year that we got to articulate our purpose [To empower our people and clients to be exceptional together for all to thrive]. Vision and ambition are one thing but purpose is all about why you exist as an entity and that has stood out for me over the last 18 months.

What life lessons have you gleaned recently?

Life lessons have been about building resilience. We often have set backs as an organisation and as a country through such things as loadshedding which are significant challenges. It is those that invest in replenishing their resources and build resilience who thrive. It is during tough times that you should not lose focus and should seek things that keep you motivated.

Among lessons I have learnt is that relationships are important; we need to stay close to those that can support us through tough times. You should also not lose your sense of humour in business because if applied appropriately, humour can help you cope better through difficult times.

Looking at our new brand identity [RMB logo introduced subtle use of orange], we are ‘working on sunshine’ which reflects the power of a positive mindset.  I am a firm believer in the power of human connection and I made the unpopular decision of asking our staff to come to the office four times a week. We need something that binds us together and this is lost if our interactions are limited to looking at a screen. Innovation and creativity are sparked when we are working together.

Finally, how has the business performed lately?

We have performed well in spite of stiff competition. Competition is good as it brings out the best in us. It makes us think of what really differentiates us. We work around the idea of ‘One RMB’ which is based on teamwork because, [as Aristotle said], the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Another quote I have come to love this year is Peter Drucker’s statement – ‘strategy is a commodity; execution is an art’. I repeatedly emphasise that the success of our strategy is wholly dependent on how well we execute it.

You May Also Like
Financial Minds: LinkedIn
Latest
CA Leandra Matthews leads with empathy and excellence

CA Leandra Matthews leads with empathy and excellence

Among the lessons Leandra Matthews would give to her younger self is not to let your value be defined by someone else’s inability to see your worth; stand up for yourself more and trust your gut.

‘When I was younger, I really doubted myself and my sentiments would get muddled by ums and ahs when I was trying to express myself in meetings. In retrospect, if I prepared myself better, I would have been able to contribute quite positively to the discourse and not let my confidence drop,’ she explains.

Assurance Leader Stephen Ntsoane is passionate about touching lives

Assurance Leader Stephen Ntsoane is passionate about touching lives

Stephen Ntsoane was born and raised in Soweto, Johannesburg where he matriculated at Fonsluminis High School. He went on pursue a 3-year National Diploma in Cost and Management Accounting at Technikon Witwatersrand. Navigating his way to a Chartered Accountancy qualification, he did a 1-year bridging course at the University of Johannesburg (previously RAU) and completed CTA at the University of Kwa-Zulu- Natal through distance learning.

Amé Thwaits promoted to partner at EY

Amé Thwaits promoted to partner at EY

In an exciting development, EY Africa has announced the promotion of Amé Thwaits to the position of partner.

Amé is currently the EY Africa Innovation and Digital Leader in Assurance heading a division of 50+ people. She is a registered auditor (IRBA), signing audit opinions of various significant subsidiaries of listed entities. She has over 14 years of mining and financial services industry experience and SEC (PCAOB) and JSE experience.

Nomthandazo Chule appointed partner at EY

Nomthandazo Chule appointed partner at EY

Nomthandazo Chule has been appointed Partner at EY, promoted from the position of Associate Director which she held since since March 2022. Her journey at EY began as a Manager in November 2018 and her exceptional performance and leadership skills quickly propelled her to the position of Senior Manager by October 2020.

Ashona Kooblall appointed CFO of Natura &Co – Africa

Ashona Kooblall appointed CFO of Natura &Co – Africa

Ashona Kooblall has been appointed CFO of Natura &Co’s Africa division effective June 2024. Based in Johannesburg, she will oversee the financial strategies of a company renowned for its award-winning global beauty brands like Avon, which spans across make-up, skincare, fragrance, personal care, hair care, fashion, and home products.

Maverick mentality: How CFO Charl Keyter thinks outside the boss

Maverick mentality: How CFO Charl Keyter thinks outside the boss

Outside of work, Charl Keyter, the CFO of the publicly traded mining company Sibanye-Stillwater, is highly competitive. He has been actively engaged in sports throughout his life and is currently aiming to compete in the 2025 Comrades Marathon. In 2022, he set himself the goal of finishing an Ironman triathlon before turning 50. He achieved this milestone in September 2023, crossing the finish line at the Emilia-Romagna event in Italy.