WARREN TE BRUGGE
When Warren Te Brugge left South Africa, he knew he would come home one day to fulfill a childhood dream. He just didn’t know that it would be a 30-year journey that would include 39 countries and business success in varied roles and industries. The experiences and connections gained during that journey have all brought Warren to where he is now, leading a vibrant and innovative community development foundation in South Africa.
Warren established My Arms Wide Open Foundation in 2009 with the purpose of working with children in South Africa to enable them to break the chains of their parents’ past prejudice, preserve their culture and contribute to their communities as confident, caring individuals. This is the fruition of a vision that Warren first articulated as a child. His father Edward says Warren was nine years old when he announced that he was going to become a successful businessman so he could help fix South African families. He proceeded to do exactly that.
As a teenager, Warren began working with his father’s company, Comprifix (Pty) Ltd. After completing his Bachelor of Commerce at the University of South Africa (by correspondence, so he could keep working in the family business), Warren helped with international expansion, setting up manufacturing facilities in Canada and the United States.
After emigrating to Canada in 1981, he went on to specialize in Finance and Administration, taking a lead role in tech companies such as Compugen, Nextra and Liazon Communications. Warren took his finance and leadership skills to the complementary health products industry, serving as Managing Director for USANA Canada Inc., where he achieved substantial revenue growth. He co-founded the Complementary Health Products Alliance and prepared a regulatory framework that provided an alternate approach for regulating complementary health products.
Warren has also served in senior management roles with Lifestyles Global Network and Isagenix where he gained significant experience working with diverse cultures worldwide, helping people create their own businesses and futures,
Climbing the corporate ladder was never Warren’s ambition. In 1998, he decided that his extensive global business experience and commitment to “social entrepreneurship” could be of tremendous value to companies with international operations. He founded Manzimvula (from the South African word for “place of water, new life”), a management consulting firm based on a values-based approach to business.
Warren’s work with Manzimvula included working with Sanoviv to establish a complementary and alternative health care facility in Mexico. He led project development from needs analysis to successful completion six months ahead of schedule. As a certified Project Manager with The Pacific Institute, Warren has facilitated management training with numerous public and private organizations.
Warren might still be consulting around the globe today if not for a simple question from his son, Kyle. During a trip to Australia where Warren was again combining business and pleasure, he was stopped in his tracks by this simple query from his son: “Why don’t you stop charging around the world and do what you’re supposed to be doing?”
The words of a young man reminded his father of his dreams as a child.
Several months later, Warren launched My Arms Wide Open Foundation, a registered Canadian charity dedicated to helping South Africans. He has been inspired by the enthusiastic reception from corporate partners, educators, South African community leaders and families. You could say he has been welcomed with arms open.