At the age of 34, Bradwin Roper is the CEO of First National Bank in Lesotho and the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 in the category of Business and Entrepreneurship. Originally from Eldorado Park, Bradwin credits his parents for working hard and allowing him to have better opportunities in life.
Bradwin says that his mom was a “corporate ninja” and his mother a “serial entrepreneur”. “I was raised by two powerhouse parents … which gave me an advantage in the corporate world,” says Bradwin. Although the family moved out of Eldorado Park when he was a teenager, Bradwin still remembers where he comes from and in fact likes it when people know that he is originally from Eldorado Park.
His mother and father’s hard work allowed Bradwin all the opportunities that they did not have, including being enrolled into Dainfern College, one of the most expensive schools in the country. He says that having lived in two very different worlds in different parts of his life helped him understand and relate to “South Africans from every background”. As a result, he says that he has “never forgotten the value of a rand” and tries to “be as humble as possible”.
Bradwin never really set out to work in the banking industry. In 2006, he completed his degree Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town, making it on to the Dean’s Honour List and graduating with Honours.
He started his professional career as a Production Manager in 2006 and then as a Process Engineer in 2009, with both positions held at Unilever. He only entered the banking industry in 2010, when he was appointed as ABSA’s National Manager for Strategy, Planning and Costing. In 2012, he joined First National Bank, first as the Head of Loan Sales, then as the Head of Loan Product Growth & Projects, followed by the position of Head of Sales and the Service Contact Centre. He eventually became the CEO of Lesotho’s FNB in 2018.
Bradwin confesses however that being the CEO is very stressful because if something goes wrong, it is his fault and he is not the type of person that avoids responsibility. As a way to cope with the pressure, he lives a healthy lifestyle that includes training six days a week, practising yoga and hiking in the Lesotho mountains. He tries to get enough sleep and also wants his employees to get enough rest. He does not want to be that boss that makes everyone work 12 hours a day.
The best advice that he has for young people trying to make it in life is to focus on your mathematics. It does not matter if you want to become a banking CEO or a comedienne, maths is applicable to everything and can get you in anywhere. This is especially true in a fast-changing world. Choosing the right subjects allows you to adapt, and seemingly, this approach has worked for Bradwin Roper, the Engineering student who became the CEO of FNB Lesotho.
Source(s): Edited from a story on the Mail and Guardian website, other.
Note: Each year, the Mail and Guardians asks the public to nominate the most remarkable young people between the ages of 18 and 35. This year, they received 6000 nominations and out of these, only 200 were chosen. These young people are considered the best of the best and many have gone on to make significant strides in their respective fields.