Her compass set on True North

ON THE surface, Coca-Cola Fortune’s human resources executive Dr Amber Anderson may come across as a stern businesswoman, but behind the power suits is a woman dedicated to making a difference in people’s lives through her work.


During breakfast at Vovo Telo in Richmond Hill, Anderson shared that she grew up in Gelvandale in a family of six and has successfully used her poverty-stricken upbringing to catapult her to success.

Because she never had any toys to play with as a child, her “toys” were the free books at the library which instilled a “passion for reading and studying” in her at a young age.

“Eventually, my love for reading paid off. Also, the difficulties I had to endure in life were incredible lessons and enabled me to work with people from all walks of life,” Anderson said.

I picked Vovo Telo because it has a very relaxed and homely atmosphere and the food is divine.

I’ll know I’ve made it when the dial of my inner compass is pointing True North.

The person who has taught me the most, is my mother.

I have a soft spot for children, old people and Max, our labrador.

I should have studied medicine and accounting – what a combination! I love science and business.

I’d love to party with rapper Drake (lol) – he seems like a cool guy. My younger son Michael, 16, loves his music and as I take him to school, we alternate between Algoa FM and Drake in the mornings. I would love to dance with R Kelly and L L Cool Jay. I also love ballroom dancing, so a quickstep with our very own Ian von Memerty is a neat idea! I’m listening to old songs – always. My music weakness is Whitney Houston’s classics – my all-time favourite being One Moment in Time – that’s “my song”. The words are prophetic to my life.

Nothing makes me happier than my children, being healthy and happy.

When I was 16, I wish I knew how priceless and invaluable the difficulties of life were eventually going to be.

My favourite item of clothing is got to be all my shoes! I have a fetish for shoes. Total weakness!

I absolutely dislike people who give you a 101 reasons why something can’t be done without coming up with a solution. I call them “negaholics”.

Life is short. We need to have a Nike attitude in all we do. Sometimes it’s good to not ask for permission, to “just do it”. One can apologise afterwards if it didn’t work out and learn the lesson.

I am saving to take our sons on a trip to the US. My eldest Justin, 20, is studying chartered accounting and all he wants to do is “go and sit in Wall Street for a few minutes and inhale”. He has his views of what Wall Street looks like – the more we tell him it’s a short little side street in New York the more he wants to see it for himself!

I share my life with my husband Clinton, our sons Justin and Michael, 16, my mother Wilhelmina, 80 – what a blessing she is – and our labrador, Max, seven human years.

I can’t go a day without thanking God for the blessing of family, health and occupying a role which I believe is fully aligned to my purpose in life.

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