This year’s Senior Leadership and Future Leadership Conferences were scheduled around Sanlam’s centenary celebrations, with the theme ‘For generations to come’. Delegates celebrated Sanlam’s achievements over the past 100 years, while also looking to the future and the challenges that lie ahead.
A total of 450 Wealthsmiths™ attended the Senior Leadership Conference and 350 were at the Future Leadership Conference.
Both conferences explored how to continue building a better world for the coming generation, with Group CEO Ian Kirk delivering the opening address at both events. He explained how the conference theme aligned with the Group’s strategy and its founding purpose of empowering people to live their best possible lives.
‘Over the past 100 years our company has evolved from a South African, Cape-based insurance company to a fully diversified financial services group with a global footprint operating in 44 countries across the world – 36 countries on the African continent alone,’ Ian said.
‘I have no doubt that the fundamentals are in place to put us on the map in 100 years’ time – not only to do well, but also good, and to enable financial resilience and prosperity for our stakeholders across the world for generations to come.’
Internal and guest speakers also shared insights into ensuring Sanlam’s success. These included presentations by Lizé Lambrechts, CE: Santam, on the future of insurance; Graeme Codrington, author, futurist and strategy consultant, who gave a view of the future world; Anton Gildenhuys, Chief Actuary and Group Risk Officer, on the impact of a changing world on Sanlam; and Ashish Thakkar, Dubai-based British entrepreneur, with the message that ‘the future is Africa’.
Ian on what we need for future success
Innovation, growth and diversification will be key to Sanlam’s future success, with our survival based on how we adapt to a changing world. ‘We need to continue creating new and better ways for the organisation to be successful.’
How we execute our strategy will determine our success, which means our people remain a key differentiator. ‘We have to stay focused on clients by building strong relationships and delivering client-centric solutions. We should also be results-driven with an entrepreneurial mindset and a strong commercial focus – even under tough circumstances.’
Building partnerships and working collaboratively and inclusively to meet shared objectives will be vital. ‘A key determinant of our future success as a business is how well we’re able to partner. It’s also a key determinant of world success and sustainability.’
We need to build and protect our brand by what we say and how we behave. Equally important is what others say about us based on their shared perceptions.
Future leaders will need a particular set of abilities to navigate a rapidly and fast-changing world:
- Creative thinking to come up with new solutions
- Being comfortable with chaos
- Understanding of technology
- High emotional intelligence
- Working together with people and technology.
Inspiration from the speakers
‘Sanlam has a critical role to play in creating value for our shareholders and stakeholders and also in making our country the best place for all our people.’ – Patrice Motsepe, Deputy Chairman
‘We’ll experiment with artificial intelligence to improve services and efficiencies.’ – Lizé Lambrechts, CE: Santam
‘How much money we make has never been the sole purpose of our company – the impact we make is everything.’ – Karabo Nondumo, board member
‘My life motto is to serve people – there’s no greater gift than contentment.’ – Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of Gift of the Givers Foundation
- ‘If you wouldn’t put information on a billboard, then don’t let it exist anywhere.’
- ‘Digital content is dangerous content.’
- ‘The more you look after your privacy, the more privacy you have.’
- ‘Freedom of speech has limits – it’s not an absolute right.’ – Emma Sadleir, social media law expert
‘What stands out for me about Sanlam is that we do things properly.’ – Temba Mvusi, Chief Executive: Group Market Development and Acting CEO: Sanlam Corporate
‘The world is changing quickly – life expectancy is much longer than 100 years ago.’ – Graeme Codrington, author, futurist and strategy consultant
‘To respond to a changing world, we should focus on clients’ needs and expectations and be responsive to them. We should also be innovative and flexible in our solutions and the way we do things.’ – Anton Gildenhuys, Chief Actuary and Group Risk Officer