Back in 2002, Edna Msubo started working for locally-based insurer FMI as a fulltime contracted cleaner. Today, she’s better known as our Director of Happiness – the company couldn’t imagine life without her.

Edna and Sibusiso Zulu are the in-house baristas at FMI’s company canteen at their new offices in Sibaya, known fondly as Ed’s Café. Their role in maintaining the company’s morale cannot be underestimated: between them, they make around 150 cappuccinos and coffees, and 40 smoothies, every day – the same amount as a small coffee shop.

Edna’s first exposure to coffee came in 2013, when FMI moved offices from Mount Edgecombe to Beacon Rock. The company bought a professional coffee machine and seeing an opportunity for Edna to draw on her strengths and put her charming people skills to better use, enlisted her in barista training. The rest, as they say, is history.

She started off making around 50 cappuccinos a day, but this increased as the business grew – so fast, in fact, that the company recently hired Sibu, a trained and experienced barista who has worked for several coffee shops.

Although FMI’s head office now hosts 120 employees, Edna and Sibu still greet each staff member by name and have their personal coffee orders down to a tee. “I like being around people, I like being happy, and I like happy people!” says Edna. “I see the best of people because they’re always happy to get their coffee. When you’re here, you don’t feel like you’re at work.”

Sibu supports Edna’s view, pointing to the free weekend time he can now spend with his family. Working with FMI has afforded him greater stability for him and his loved ones.  

FMI’s chief executive, Brad Toerien, says Edna and Sibu’s role in the lives of the company’s employees is a key part of creating the right environment for FMI’s culture to flourish. “The one part of FMI that can’t be replicated is our culture. We’re all about our people, and we’ve got such a special way of going about things. Our offices give us a space where we are all together, and we’ll always be a people-driven business,” he says.


Thank you Edna & Sibu!

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