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10 questions with Stefan Ferreira—Managing Director, South Africa Talent Management

7 April, 2016

Negin Rezazad

Meeting Recruitment Specialist / CEBer since 2014

I have long been fascinated by the history and culture of South Africa and was so excited to be given the opportunity to speak to one of CEB’s managing directors in our Johannesburg office. In speaking with Stefan Ferreira, who oversees CEB’s Talent Assessment business in Africa, I quickly learned that the community and service-oriented spirit of CEB does indeed extend globally.

CEB Stefan

Can you tell me about your role?

In a nutshell, I’m responsible for running CEB’s Talent Assessment business in Africa —which includes overseeing the work of about 70 CEBers.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

There are certain things I do each and every day. For example, I spend a lot of time coaching and making sure those under my management are successful—no mean feat when you have a diverse, high-achieving team! Aside from that, a typical day can involve everything from leading a sales meeting right through to getting involved with the products and solutions on a more detailed level.

What five words best describe the CEB team in South Africa?

That’s easy! The team here is:

  1. Professional
  2. High achieving
  3. Dynamic
  4. Fun
  5. Awesome

What sets CEB apart from other companies you’ve worked for?

The thing I love about CEB, and the reason that I’m still here after five years, is that we don’t just sell a PowerPoint. We make a tangible difference to our members and their teams through the solutions we deliver. One of the things that I say to my team is that we can actually change the world with what we do.

We change it for one person, they change it for their team, and the organization, and that can make a massive difference. In the past, I have been part of organizations where a team of consultants works on delivering a five-page PowerPoint deck that doesn’t mean much. At CEB, we actually change peoples’ lives and make an impact on corporate performance.

When hiring for your team, what do you look for?

The first thing I look for is someone with passion. I believe everyone who is successful needs a passion of some sort. Secondly, as we’re a high-performing and very ambitious team, I look for those who want to learn and achieve and are willing to push the boundaries. Finally, intellectual curiosity is a must!

[As of April 2016, we are hiring a senior consultant and finance associate to join us in Pretoria. Click to search for careers in Africa.]

What were your favorite subjects in high school?

I’m a real sucker for numbers … so math and science were my favorites.

Do you have any advice for aspiring leaders?

Yes! First, trust your gut instincts—they are usually right. Second, don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. Finally, but most importantly, remember that it’s really all about the people! As a leader, you have to invest your time in developing your team.

What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Keep working hard, stay focused, and be patient. I wouldn’t change it, but the one thing I would’ve been positively affected by at the beginning was if I had been more patient.

Who do you admire and why?

I find it difficult to pinpoint just one person. I admire many people for different reasons:

And last, but by no means least, my dad—if I could be half the man he was, then I’d be happy!

What’s the one South African experience that you’d encourage all travelers to try?

It would have to be the South African barbecue; or, as we like to call it, the “braai.” It’s a joyful thing to be able to have a barbecue 365 days a year! It’s uniquely South African and is shared across all the cultures here.

About the Author: Negin Rezazad started her CEB career in 2014 in our member support center, and now serves as a meeting recruitment specialist. She is a 2012 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Related Posts:
10 Questions with Christoffer Ellehuus—Market Leader, HR North America
10 Questions with Leonie Dorkins – HR Director, Talent Management

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