Bruce Paul Hansen grew up in Khomasdal, Windhoek. I am married to one wife, Mary, for the last 20 years and a proud father of two boys Dakota (16) and Fagan (13). I am the eldest of four boys. My father passed on earlier this year but my mom is still alive and keeps us on our toes. Character development is very much a focus point for me as I believe that even though your talents and abilities can take you places, it is your character that sustains you. So I create opportunities to talk to various groupings of people about the importance of character.
Give us a brief background journey of your education background.
I spent my primary school days at MH Greeff Primary School in Khomasdal and attended two years of senior secondary school at Ella du Plessis also in Khomasdal. The last three years of school I attended Spes Bona Senior Secondary School in Athlone, Cape Town. I completed a B.Econ degree at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Later on I obtained a Masters in Development Economics at Williams College in Massachusetts, USA. While working I acquired a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) at Oxford Brookes University in the UK. I also attended the Management Development Program at UCT’s Graduate school and I am currently studying towards the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) qualification.
Briefly take us through your professional career.
After graduating from UWC, I started my employment career at the Ministry of Finance as an Economic Assistant Policy Advisor in the Economic Policy Advisory Directorate for three years and then moved to the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) as a Business Development Consultant. Here I spent two years assisting SMEs with writing business plans, business advice and assessment of business opportunities. I then decided to move to the Non-Governmental Sector to help build capacity in local NGOs by strengthening them in the financial and organizational systems as well as their advocacy role.
In 1998, I was recruited by the GIPF as a manager for benefits administration. My responsibility was to bring all the benefits administration functions, which was done at the time by Sanlam in South Africa, back to Namibia. I spent seven years at the GIPF establishing the Customer Services and Management Information Services departments.
In 2006 I started at Simonis Storm Securities (SSS) as a Director: Money Market for about nine years and became the Managing Director in 2015.
Who inspires you in business? And why?
I’ll answer this way that leadership is service to others. There is power in helping people get excited about what they do and inspiring and motivating them to unleash their full potential. So business leaders that inspire change not just in business but also in the people and there are a number of them. Recently, Pope Francis who is leading a thorough transformation of the Catholic Church, akin to any corporate turnaround or brand revitalization. Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Alex Ferguson. It is a hard act to follow but if they can do it, I am sure I can do it too.
Which Boards do you serve on?
I serve as a trustee on a business trust, a director of a fishing company, a director of a stockbroking company and a director of the NSX. I think four directorships should be a maximum.
What is your view on Corporate Governance in Namibia?
There is still a long way to go although I think as a nation we have learnt a lot. However, to put those lessons learned into practice will be a challenge as we have to break down old thought processes and mindsets. One of the factors is board member exhaustion where you find one person serving on five, six or seven boards. Vigorous board training and assessment should be at the order of the day to ensure effective boards. I am confident that the afore-mentioned will be part of the next level of board development.
What is your preferred management style?
There is no one good management style – I believe and subscribe to a situational management style. Managing people cannot be done as a “one glove fits all” because people are different. Although you do find that certain management principles could be applied in a variety of situations. What I strive to do is to empower staff to be able to do the job required and achieve the vision communicated.
What do you do when you are not working?
Spending time with my family – mentoring my two boys is very important to me and this means I have to spend quality time with them. Also ensuring that my lovely wife receives my undivided attention. Reading and studying form part of my free time.
What are you reading at the moment?
Developing the Leaders Around you by John C. Maxwell and The Wall Street MBA by Reuben Advani.
What is your favourite leadership quote?
Motivation gets you going – discipline keeps you growing: John C. Maxwell. Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to great achievements gained slowly over time.