The individual responsible for the role of Corporate Affairs plays an integral part of any business’ success story. Corporate Affairs has become everlasting but often underestimated, the foundation of stability from where growth through innovation can be propelled. In a digital age, the personal touch is more often required as the focus has shifted from a mass-market approach to a more transparent, stakeholder-focused strategy. The core objective is the building of sustainable relationships.
Namibia-based Trustco Group Holdings is no stranger when it comes to this ‘shifting of focus.’ For years the group has placed a great deal of emphasis on establishing a relationship-centric business model. As such, the Corporate Affairs role must be occupied by an individual with an in-depth, 360-degree understanding of the Trustco business model and operations, with culture and value-driven mindset. It takes a strong, confident, and committed leader – both rare qualities – who is somewhat of a perfectionist to head such a pivotal role, and the group Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Quinton van Rooyen, had just the person to step into the position.
Elmarie Janse van Rensburg was appointed as Head of Corporate Affairs for the Trustco Group in September 2012. Serving since then as part of the pinnacle of Trustco’s operational structure, the group’s Top 6 (Group Executive Committee), she has the experience she gained through her Trustco career to guide her. Elmarie was Trustco’s 28th appointed employee in 2002 when she was hired as a Legal Consultant at Legal Shield, a flagship subsidiary of the group. It was, however, only a few years later that Janse van Rensburg made her mark through the establishment of the Human Resources division of the group that, more than a decade later, served the needs of over a thousand employees and turned Trustco into one of the leading employers in Namibia. She transformed Human Resources into a multifaceted department that served the diverse needs of the entire group. She challenged stereotypes of corporates and lead Trustco’s broad-based empowerment initiatives.
Elmarie has had a major impact on the group over the years in an environment that still seems very male-dominated. In a month where the world celebrates women’s contributions, Elmarie is celebrated with her counterparts for her role in transforming Namibia’s corporate landscape by inspiring so many young women to aspire to a corporate career at the top. Trustco has revolutionized many careers over the years, and Elmarie knows this Trustco Road, many still have to take. She pioneered her never-ending journey to perfection as she honed her integrity, drive, commitment, and hard work.
Elmarie is one of the group’s top executives who fully understands the humble beginnings of Trustco way back before it became the business empire that it is today. Her career evolved with the group and expanded into a success story of its own, as she heads up the Shared Services Segment that has achieved many firsts for Namibia; from innovative stakeholder communication strategies to creating a work environment awarded the best company to work for several years in a row.
Corporate Affairs often has the company CEO’s ear, and with Elmarie, it is no different. She serves as a vital advisor to Dr van Rooyen and the Top 6, with her role being exceptionally important during some of the group’s major transitional periods over the past decades. Her contributions at the daily Top 6 meetings, chaired by the group CEO, are essential as she plays a key part in the implementation and execution of operations according to group strategy approved by the board.
“We meet every morning with Quinton to monitor targets and progress in ensuring that our collective objectives stay on course, and I am proud to sit in around that bonfire with my fellow executives to finding new and innovative ways to drive us going forward. We, as a team, have been through very difficult, inspiring, jaw-dropping, and momentous moments and times. I would not have it any other way,” she says.
In her private life, being a single mother of one, she loves to travel and explore the world with the apple of her eye, her son – that is, when she is not spending hours on end next to the tennis courts of the country with fellow tennis parents, spurring him forward in the game.
“I can’t think of anything else currently between my job and ‘Sareltjie’ that I am as passionate about. I was very active in academics and athletics at school, but the discipline sport teaches you has instilled in me the diligence I display in my professional life today. I would never encourage Sarel to aim for a professional level in sport if it’s not what he wants, but the application, focus, and drive sport can instill in other parts of one’s life is invaluable. More importantly, also, I vividly remember my parents’ support throughout my life. We all need our support systems to function optimally, both our personal and most definitely our professional working lives. I am lucky to have both,” she says.