Serendipitously, there are events in our childhood that subconsciously teach us valuable life lessons and provide treasured foundations for the challenges we’ll face in adulthood. For CEO Administrator in Durban, Bernadette Trichardt, that activity was fishing. “During school holidays, our family always went to the coast to camp and fish. I used to catch a lot of fish. I even had my own fishing rod,” she quips.

Fishing is and always has been a cherished pastime for generations of families. It not only provides a stress relief and an excuse to get outdoors and experience nature, but it also teaches incredible life lessons. One of the greatest lessons we can learn from fishing is patience – and to catch fish, you need a good amount. A lot of time will be spent waiting around for a fish to take the bait. The trick is being okay with that. “They call it ‘fishing’ and not ‘catching’ for a reason!” laughs Bernadette.

“Fishing also taught me perseverance,” she adds. “Disappointment is always something we deal with in our lives, but it’s how we persevere past the disappointment that leads us to even greater accomplishments.” Bernadette says her Aunt Lettie was also a wonderful example of perseverance and patience. “No matter how hard things were or what she or the family went through, she never complained. It always went well, and she was always positive, and her faith was very strong. Still up to the end, if you asked her how she was, she always responded positively.”

Bernadette grew up in Witbank and attended Laerskool Taalfees and Patriot High School. She began working straight after her school career was completed. “I was always very passionate about working in an office environment. From childhood, I always used to have a lot of paperwork and a formal suitcase,” she recalls fondly. “I had a broken PC keyboard and a broken telephone that I would play with, and play made-up office. I also got a typewriter at one stage for my birthday. I also used to do filing for my mom in high school if I visited her at her office. It was just always something I wanted to do.”

Bernadette eventually joined CEO after relocating to Durban. “When I went for the interview at CEO, my first thought was that it was a recruitment agency, and at the end, I was so happy that it wasn’t,” she laughs. “I am very happy at CEO. Everything just works!” Her colleagues describe her as organised, determined, and empathetic. “I’m a people-person!”

Away from the office, she says she would like to improve her cooking skills. “I should have listened to my granny when she wanted to teach me some of her cooking skills. Luckily, I have an amazing husband that loves cooking and baking.” Two things she cannot live without are wine and chocolates. “These are the things that make you cope through everything and anything.” Ain’t that the truth!?

Bernadette’s metaphorical words of advice for life hark back to her childhood lessons; “Get out there and catch your dream fish today!”