As a first time sponsor of The Insurance Apprentice, CIB took the opportunity to speak to this years Runner Up and recipient of the CIB sponsored prize, Memory Zimba, Actuarial Manager at Safrican Insurance Company, to say that Memory is an inspiration is an understatement!

Where did you start your insurance career?

I started my career at Liberty. My passion for insurance was ignited because I worked in a supportive team and particularly being mentored by my then manager Nick Hibbit, current head of CIB Wealth at Standard Bank South Africa, who continues to be my mentor.

What prompted you to enter The Insurance Apprentice?

Credit must go to Retha van Reenen of Green Grapes. I asked Retha to provide PR advice as I prepared to start my term as the President of the Association of South African Black Actuarial Professionals (ASABA) and she seemed convinced I would stand a chance in The Insurance Apprentice. The synergies between my role as ASABA President and being an ambassador for an industry that had given me so much were irresistible. Thank you Retha.

What were some of the highlights as a participant in TIA?

Standing in front of Nadia Starr for the first time for judgement gave me a “what is the meaning of life” moment. It took me back to an Assembly in high school where I went entirely blank while making a speech. I think I stopped breathing, I was so petrified, because I remember someone reminding me to breath. The off screen, off task moments were priceless. Siphamandla Dube, from Hollard, giving me a private aerobics class is unforgettable. Watching the judges on the Marsh challenge running into the room made me forget we were dealing with hypothetical situations and of course the many emotions from the finale.

What were the best lessons learnt?

Your fears cannot hold you back when you have enough determination – I came 2nd with a fear of public speaking, EQ is as important as IQ – to quote CIB CEO Douglas Donnelly, “relationships are at the heart of what we do, without which we wouldn’t be here”, as well as to be conscious of self-limiting beliefs under pressure. And my “best” lesson came from Nadia Starr, that I must never apologize for being a strong woman because it is my very strength and passion that will carry me much further in life and career.

Where to next for Memory Zimba?

Definitely getting a seat at the senior management table. Until TIA 2020, I underestimated the role I can play in inspiring and motivating the next generation of insurance professionals. I want that seat so a black girl, born in a village like me, can believe she is capable of getting a seat at the highest table with her passion, determination and hard work.

What advice do you have for future TIA entrants / or why should someone consider entering TIA?

TIA will test you and grow you in ways you never imagined. It sometimes felt like we were beans being boiled in a pressure cooker. It is also an opportunity very few people will get and a platform like no other to establish your personal brand within insurance. TIA is also one of the very few opportunities you can give yourself. Applying is you pulling up a chair at a table without needing to be invited.

CIB was a sponsor for the first time for the runner up, do you have a message for the CIB team?

Happy 25th birthday! I am sure there is a 25-year-old who watched TIA2020 and started believing they can succeed in the insurance industry irrespective of the fact that it is currently dominated by people over 40 years old.

Your sponsorship is an investment in dreams, it is an investment in young people, like yourselves, striving for excellence in everything they do. Thank you for investing in me and everyone who was inspired by #TIA2020.


Applications for season 7 are now open –