Because I spend so much time at work, I learned early on that I needed to ensure that what I did both in the workplace and in my personal life made me happy. So I developed my own brand identity around those things that made me happy. This is what I came up with after asking myself the question, “So, who am I?”
1. A Mother
2. A Wife
3. A Daughter
4. A Sister
5. A Friend
6. A CFO
You may ask, how is my job on the bottom of the list? I know that if I am happy with my personal life and my priorities, and I don’t have to worry about that part of my life, I do a much better job at work. I can focus on being a CFO when I am at work, without having to worry about the health and safety of my family. So, although I do take my job seriously, I know I can always get a new job. I cannot replace my family.
On Knowing When and Where to Leap
In 2003, my family and I moved from Johannesburg to the United States when I joined Miller Brewing Company as Director of Finance and Group Services. Obviously this was a big move, and not one without significant risks. I was uprooting my family, leaving the company I had been with for years, and leaving behind my parents and sisters in Johannesburg. But I’ve learned that sometimes you need to take big risks to reap big rewards.
This shift in my career was exactly what I needed, and it came at the right time. Just a few years after I moved to Milwaukee, SABMiller merged with Molson Coors in the US to form MillerCoors. I learned the skills at Miller Brewing that would pave the way for me to become chief financial officer of the new joint venture. So professionally, it worked out. Things also worked out well for my family. They have flourished in the US.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
First, you need to understand your own brand identity. Know what you stand for, what is important to you, and what makes you happy.
Second, recognize that you are only as good as the people around you. So it’s important to build a team that works well together, but also one whose members bring different ways of thinking and doing things, so that they can constantly challenge each other and others in the business.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
My father was my most important role model. He taught me to work hard, pay my dues, treat others as you would like to be treated, and, above all, to be true to yourself.
Tracey’s Advice to Young Women Starting Careers
First, make sure you’re doing something you’re passionate about. If you’re in a career for the long term, you need to be passionate. Second, take risks. If there’s an opportunity that you think you would enjoy—even though it might be a stretch—do it. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll fail—which will give you an opportunity to learn from your mistakes.