‘Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or for guidance’
Hannes Otto is an agricultural dealmaker for First National Bank Commercial Banking. His roles include growing the FNB agricultural market share responsibly and contributing to the country’s food security by partnering with good, sustainable farming businesses, whilst also adhering to environmental and social responsibilities.
Hannes enjoys the flexibility of his role and the diverse nature of the agricultural industry – “No two applications are ever the same. There are just so many variables, the only thing constant is change”.
He believes his success stems from the fact that he is an extremely energetic and optimistic person and has a great sense of humour. In moments of doubt, Hannes tries to remind himself that 10% of life is what happens and 90% is how you respond to it.
Hannes’ piece of advice to those who are starting out is: Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for guidance. “Consider identifying a mentor who will guide you when needed,” he adds.
A moment that defines him is the night he watched Jaws “with” his parents from behind the couch. “Swimming in the ocean has never been the same since.”
One of the best decisions Hannes has made was when he decided to take up endurance sports (mainly running and cycling) about 20 years ago. “It continues to shift my boundaries and beliefs each year.” His worst decision was a bad habit called smoking. He smoked for about 15 years when he was younger.
Someone who inspires him is Malcolm Gladwell. “His books are amazing. Read Talking to Strangers, Outliers and The Tipping Point. It will change the way you see things and how you think about things forever.”
Away from his busy work schedule, Hannes enjoys taking time for himself by going on long bike rides and runs. “I love to cook and I very much enjoy camping with my children.”
TEXT: Justine Fortuin