Family, downtime and fitness play a big role in CFOs' lives


Apart from finance, these CFOs are passionate about things from books to flying to fishing.

While CFOs are always in the news for their great reports and achievement in finance, the public seldom gets to see what CFOs get up to when they’re not working. 

Over the year, CFOs have shared what they do in their personal time when they’re not crunching the numbers. 

University of Johannesburg CFO Nolwazi Mamorare said that amidst her work, she has to find the time for her two children. 

To relax, she reads anything that doesn’t have anything to do with work and politics. And she enjoys spending time with her family in the Eastern Cape. “I am from a huge clan there in PE, and I would love to be closer to their love and support – but I could never live there because of the wind,” she said. 

Read more: University of Johannesburg’s Nolwazi Mamorare: The power of purpose 

Standard Bank group FD and Moving into Africa Award winner Arno Daehnke (pictured) is also something of a bookworm. “I don’t favour a specific genre. I will read whatever comes my way, and piques my interest. I do like history, though, so I read about historical conflict, especially the first and second world wars. I also read a lot on business transformation and digital transformation. I find that the Economist is a great source, as are research articles from the top consulting firms – specifically focusing on the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he said. 

However, he adds that he enjoys fiction as well. “I think it is important to read fiction in order to understand humanity, how people think, and how people live their lives. After all, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: ‘All of our humanity is dependent upon recognising the humanity in others’.”

Arno doesn’t limit himself to intellectual pursuits, however, and he also enjoys kiteboarding, mountain biking and skiing – activities that stimulate all the senses and help him to de-stress.

Read more: Moving into Africa CFO Award winner discusses connecting with Africa 

Premier CFO Kobus Gertenbach is passionate about flying. “Eighteen months ago, I did something I’ve always wanted to do and got a private pilot’s licence. I fly a Cirrus SR22, and use it to go to board meetings in Swaziland and Mozambique, so there’s a bit of a business application for it. But I also do it for the lifestyle. When we take holidays down at Nature’s Valley on the Cape Coast, I fly down with my family,” he said. 
He also finds ways to keep fit without too much pain. “I did mountain biking for quite a long time, got tired of, now not so much anymore, more CrossFit type of training early in the morning,” he added. 

“I’ve got two kids in high school and really enjoy my family life,” he said. “My wife and I have been married now for over 22 years and she’s very important in my life. I also enjoy spending time in nature, and I will probably focus a bit more on golf in the remaining part of my life.”

Read more: Premier CFO Kobus Gertenbach’s dream of flying 

Metropolitan Trading Company CFO Luyanda Gidini, a father of two, loves playing soccer, attending the theatre, watching movies, listening to music and travelling. 

Read more: Luyanda Gidini: the socially conscious CFO intent on giving back 

For Alexander Forbes Group CFO Bruce Bydawell finding new perspectives through travel is something of a theme in his life, and he has combined this passion with sport. A previous CFO at Alexander Forbes got Bruce into running international marathons. In 2007 he invited Bruce to join him in running the Berlin Marathon, and this gave Bruce the motivation to commit to long distance running, which he loves. Since then he has run New York, Moscow, Warsaw, Lisbon and is training to do the Athens and then Soweto Marathons in November this year. Bruce is also an enthusiastic squash player and has played Gauteng League Squash for more than 20 years.

Commitment to his family forms part of his core value – despite the enormous demands on his time, he is home to have a family dinner most nights of the week.

“The challenge that I face is to remain centred in who I am, rooted in my faith, my integrity and my commitment to my family,” and in the words that he has spoken to each of his three children on many occasion: “Just keep it real!”

Read more: Alexander Forbes Group CFO Bruce Bydawell keeping it real

Youngest CFO of a listed company, Verimark’s Bryan Groome enjoys all sports, especially golf. “I enjoy training – healthy body, healthy mind,” he said. “I enjoy the outdoors, especially the Kruger Park. I have recently started collecting whisky.” 

Read more: Youngest CFO of a listed company acting as an FD gave me the launchpad I needed 

Afrocentric Health CFO and recent winner of the Transformation Award Hannes Boonzaaier has a teenage son and daughter. His view is that the work-life balance needs to be flipped around so that your personal friends, sport and hobbies give you energy and innovation in the workplace. For this reason, he is an avid daily supporter of his bootcamp class in gym and on weekends plays “fairly” competitive tennis. He says that marriage and kids’ activities keep him quite busy, and he enjoys adventure sports on holiday. 

Read more: Afrocentric Health CFO explains how the company achieved a level 1 BEE rating

City of Tshwane CFO Umar Banda takes a lot of time to enjoy nature. “I really enjoy fishing – not that I know how to. I’ve only caught three or four in the last few years. But it’s one of the ways I am able to relax,” he said. “On the weekend, I do gardening, which relaxes me quite a bit – it’s a different environment to being in the office. And I love going home to visit my family in the village, where there’s total serenity.”

Read more: City of Tshwane CFO Umar Banda empowering the youth

New Development Bank CFO Leslie Maasdorp tries to stay fit by outdoor things like hiking, some yoga and swimming. “These keep me physically fit and mentally alert. So I look for opportunities here in the region or when I am back in South Africa to do that,” he said. 

“Shanghai is located in a very advantageous position, where it’s convenient to so many destinations. We’re two hours from Japan and Hong Kong, and four hours from Bali or Vietnam. Asia is really exciting because there are so many fast-growing countries here, so I take the opportunity to make use of my environment to see and explore them.”

Read more: New Development Bank CFO Leslie Maasdorp talks about living a life with purpose

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