Claire Turner has a dream. To wake up each morning to the sound of waves crashing on the beach and the smell of the fresh sea breeze. “I would love to own a home right on the beach where I can enjoy long walks on the beach every day,” says the Provincial Manager for CEO in Durban. “There is something so therapeutic about the ocean.”
Claire was first introduced to the charm of the sea when her family relocated from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth near the end of her primary school years. The youngest of 3 siblings, she completed her schooling and her law degree in the Friendly City. “My dream was to become a travel agent and see the world, but my dad had a friend who was an attorney, and he convinced me I’d have more fun with an attorney firm for three days,” Claire recalls. “That was the most amazing three days of my life. I loved everything about the work, I found it exciting, and right then and there, I decided it was what I wanted to do.”
Claire began her career in law at the Legal Aid Board, which gave her the groundwork for litigation. From there, she joined a Labour Consultancy before applying for a position at CEO. “I jumped at the opportunity to run arbitrations and be more involved in litigation again,” she says. “I have been with CEO for over six years, and I’m proud to be part of this forward-thinking and progressive family. Our team has a strong work ethic, and I believe we go the extra mile to help our members, sometimes working miracles in very difficult circumstances.”
Of the role CEO plays in the labour environment, Claire says that, at times, it appears that employees have more rights than employers, and so CEO actively campaigns for the rights of those employers. CEO is also actively involved in collective bargaining, doing their best to make a difference in other sectors. “Despite all the sacrifices business owners make, they are constantly at risk of losing everything through a single strike action. I am quiet and reserved, but I enjoy working with people and our members. And whenever the time comes to defend our members, I am always ready to get in the ring to fight for the causes we believe in.”
Claire’s colleagues all agree that she is compassionate and consistent. “My relationships with God, my daughter and my family are really important to me,” she smiles. “I have accomplished a lot career-wise, but it’s my daughter and my family who give me purpose in life and really make everything I do worth it and bring me true happiness.” Claire says her parents taught her to be consistent – to finish whatever she started – to stay focused on each task to the best of her ability. “My father has a good, strong work ethic and commitment.”
Despite having the dubious distinction of splitting the world’s once-favourite band, The Beatles, Yoko Ono uttered the profound sentence, “Every drop in the ocean counts.” It’s the idea that every small habit, deed and action, performed consistently and with compassion, will add to the ultimate goal of good in this world. One day Claire’s dream will come true. But for now, she keeps adding positively to humanity’s ocean of goodness and grace – drop by drop.