Innovation is an important source of growth and a key determinant of competitive advantage for many organisations, such as CEO. And innovation is the journey of creating value by applying novel solutions to meaningful problems – a concept not lost on Collective Bargaining Coordinator, Ernest Masupye. “We need to be cognisant and respectful of the bargaining structures within which we represent our members, but inventive and novel in the way that we achieve best results.” This approach has served both CEO and Ernest well in the recent past.

Ernest joined the organisation in 2015. “The opportunity was presented to me, and I grabbed it with both hands!” Seven years on, and he’s still helping CEO succeed and grow. Ernest says his determination, passion and drive were taught to him by his parents. “My parents were very strict, especially my father,” he says. “But, quite literally, most of the things he bought me while I was growing up, I had to earn. I had to make sure that my grades were good and that I performed well at school. My mom taught me about respect, being humble and always treating people with kindness, and I can say those traits have influenced me a lot.”

Ernest’s colleagues agree with this sentiment. They describe him as “always happy, a straight talker. He does not like negative energy around him. He is very genuine and humble.” Ernest says he’s proud of his growth in CEO. He started out as a legal assistant, and now he is a Collective Bargaining Coordinator. “It has been quite a very challenging journey, at the same time exciting.” Law wasn’t his first choice of career though. “Initially, I wanted to study financial information systems, or anything in the field of accountancy or finances,” he explains. “But after thorough research, I found myself studying law, and many years later, I am still in that field and enjoying the challenges.”

Ernest grew up in Mabopane, north of Pretoria. “My family life was interesting because my late father’s side of the family is very big – so you can imagine growing up with lots of cousins, and my father was a very firm believer in education.” Ernest still enjoys socialising with his family and friends whenever he gets the chance. He also loves going out with friends and taking road trips with friends. “Road trips are a great way of strengthening time-honoured relationships while expanding our worldview and discovering new things together.”

Whether he’s coordinating a successful representation at a bargaining council or enjoying time with family and friends, there’s one thing you can be sure of. He’s Ernest!