We introduce our Group Company Secretary—Annmarie Steyn

Annmarie Steyn joined our Group in 2004 as human resources manager, before being promoted to company secretary in 2007. Despite the title, the role is not a secretarial one in the usual sense. Company secretaries oversee the efficient administration of a company. They are members of senior management who instil a culture of compliance and act as trusted advisers on key issues. Annmarie also serves as the head of compliance and principal officer of the group pension fund, the head of AAF Services, as well as a trustee and director of the Overberg Agri Development Trust and Woza Phambili Enterprises. Her extensive portfolio is supported by two legal degrees as well as the Chartered Secretaries’ board examination. When she is not hard at work you’ll find her enjoying a good book. She is also fond of travelling and road running. Annmarie has successfully completed three Comrades marathons and seven Two Oceans ultramarathons to date! We took a moment to chat to her about her experience in the industry.
Please describe a typical day in your job.

“While no two days are the same, a significant amount of my time is spent in meetings,” says Annmarie. “As a corporate secretary, I facilitate the board meeting process by preparing document packs and ensuring that the meeting runs smoothly. Once the board meeting has started, I take minutes and draft them afterwards, normally circulating them to the directors within an agreed time frame. This will include an action list, which will be sent to attendees who have been given tasks to complete before the next meeting. Once these documents are approved and signed, they become legal documents. You need to be extremely focused in the meetings and be familiar with the vocabulary being used, as well as the preferred style of the board of directors to ensure that the minutes are correct,” continues Annmarie.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

“Human beings are fallible, so I don’t idealise anyone. I also don’t believe that others can motivate you. You have to find motivation, and happiness for that matter, within yourself,” says Annmarie.

Do you think South African women have enough opportunity to excel in your profession?

“I do not deny that, in many industries, women do not have enough opportunity to reach their full potential. However, I also believe that people (both male and female) should spend their time and energy embracing the opportunities that are presented to them. Sometimes, when you look back over your life, what seemed like an insignificant event at the time may have had a positive and lasting impact. I also firmly believe in something my mother taught me: people will treat you the way you allow them to treat you. So, if you play the ‘poor me’ card, people will treat you that way,” continues Annmarie.

What advice do you have for the next generation of women entering the workplace?

“Do your best (every day) and never, ever stop learning”, concludes Annmarie.

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