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Colette Tanner - Be authentic, and keep it real, you have to reconcile with who you are

Payroll Manager for DRG Outsourcing

Colette is passionate about family and people. She states that what has got her to where she is today, is her family and their values, and all that they have taught her. However, Colette looks forward to and is equally excited about what lies ahead.

Grounded in values

Colette believes that being grounded and real is very important, amidst the titles and qualifications one achieves and acquires along the way. However, it is about the value that we tack onto what we do that really matters.

“I am married to an amazing man and we have a really beautiful life,” she says. “And I have a son who is differently abled, through whom I’ve learnt many lessons, and he certainly keeps us humble. With him, we are kept on the knife edge of joy and grief, and I think that’s a very good place to be. It teaches one to be grateful.”

Facing challenges with determination

Colette shares that she has experienced a number of challenges both in her professional life, as well as in her personal life. Colette believes that she has overcome these purely through sheer determination.

“I think the challenges that we as women, all face in business, is just being recognised as women and for the contribution that we make,” she said. Addressing and overcoming those challenges, took being determined and becoming as qualified as she could in her field of expertise and learning as much as she could in as diverse fields as possible so that in every situation she could draw from this diversity and bring it all together.

Colette believes that it’s important to have as much know-how and knowledge over a large scale of areas so that when you contribute, it’s from a place of experience as you draw from this wealth of information.

All about the people

For Colette, it’s all about the people, which is her area of expertise. She says she really enjoys working with people and has seen that when people are their real, authentic selves, they can add the best value. She adds that her area of specialisation is in drawing people out and having them realise their value and the value they bring to the business.

Colette added that the HR and payroll space, are areas that are prone to the ’people factor’. In all areas of the business, where you add people to the mix, you’re going to face all manner of dynamics.

Overcoming challenges

“The interpretation and perceptions in business are a challenge and it is our job to facilitate a compliant landscape commented Colette. “I overcome these challenges by adding value as much as I can, keeping it real, keeping it calm and just understanding that sometimes when I’m having to troubleshoot where people are concerned, I need to remain calm and identify with that person as another human being who is facing a problem. By realising that we all have issues and dealing with them in a gentle and kind way, is typically how I attempt to overcome those challenges.”

Looking to the future

When contemplating the future, Colette shared that the business goals for the future are to grow DRG and to have people continue to identify DRG as this gift that adds value to their businesses. She would like to build on that and have all of DRG employees and partners, gain as much value as possible out of DRG, while delivering outstanding service.

“The advice I’d give to younger women following in my footsteps is to keep it real. All the other stuff doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things,” said Colette.

Colette reflects that she has impacted the business by continually focusing on progress and business efficiencies and staying relevant. She states that over the time that she has been with DRG, she has seen growth in so many ways. This growth has been a collaboration by everyone and of shared ideas.

The focus has not been necessarily on reinventing themselves, but rather more on staying relevant. Asking pertinent questions such as: ‘How is the world changing?’ and “How are we responding to that change?’. And in most cases staying ahead of the curve with those changes and not being on the back foot.

Winding down

Valuable downtime with family is really important to Colette. “Being nominated for the KZN Top Business Women initiative this year is such an honour and privilege for me to represent DRG and represent women. I want to showcase the real woman, the authentic woman. That’s what I believe I represent,” said Colette.


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