"Warren Te Brugge is the ultimate professional. His knowledge of multiple industries and disciplines is surpassed only by his patient, understanding, and accepting attitude. A great colleague, mentor, and friend." Eric Keisel, Business Partner
Warren and I met last April at a training in California. I was fresh from my second journey to South Africa, at the invitation of Rev. Spiwo Xapile, a black South African community leader. Spiwo and I co-created and facilitated a unique and inspiring approach to leadership and community building for grassroots leaders from across South Africa’s townships and rural areas.
Warren and I immediately connected on a very deep level—a soul level if you will. We shared stories: of his growing up in South Africa and his vision of returning to work with mothers and children to help build communities that could prosper; and of my transformative experiences living and working alongside grassroots leaders and of my hope and dream to deepen the work Spiwo and I had begun. Before too long we were calling each other “bro,” and “sis.”
Throughout the summer we stayed in touch with our individual plans and their developments. Warren gave me great feedback on proposals that I was writing. Before too long it was late fall, and Warren was talking of returning to South Africa in January or February – his first return to his roots after nearly 15 years. He asked me to join him and help him make connections into the communities he wanted to work with. I was stunned at such a generous invitation and considered it (and still do) a profound honor. So on January 31 we boarded a plane to Cape Town for an almost four-week unforgettable journey.
As our plane descended into Cape Town, I turned to look at Warren. His eyes were closed but I could tell he was tearing up. His hand was clutching his clothes over his heart, pressing hard against his chest. Then, when we went through passport control, the officer said to Warren, “Welcome home.” Tears flooded over Warren’s face. Through this welter of emotion, Warren said, “I AM home. And it feel damn good to be home!”
To bear witness to Warren’s homecoming was, and continues to be, an incredible blessing--one I did not, nor even now, take lightly. For in witnessing his return, what was clear to me was Warren’s return to the core of his heart, to the very center of his soul.
Ariella Tilsen, Vital Edge Consulting
Inspiring leaders, organizations, and communities to move beyond their current story...into greater peace and prosperity
Warren Te Brugge is a peacemaker. His heart is in everything he does, every word he speaks, every moment he listens, every connection he makes with someone. He has the ability to see directly to the core strengths and gifts of another human being within all cultures. As a result, Warren crosses the world's perceived divides with humility, clarity and respect. Through holding his arms wide open, he enables people to take concrete steps to realise their full potential and power. Because Warren lives what we believe in, we are honoured to have him on our board of directors.
Nicole le Roux and Toni Stuart
founders and directors of I Am Somebody!
I hosted Warren on his recent visit to South Africa. Born and raised in South Africa Warren has lived in different countries. Warren is a warm, friendly person capable of embracing people from different cultural backgrounds. Traveling with him through urban and most rural parts of South Africa was an experience. He showed a real willingness to learn and understand the most complex issues of post apartheid South Africa, especially the experience of the poor and the excluded.
Warren is honest in dealing with life experiences and realistic in his approach to finding solutions especially as regards getting poor people out of poverty, with themselves (the poor) at the centre of that process. He is easy to work with and very sensitive to the experience of others. He values open discussion. Warren has done and is committed to doing everything possible to understand South Africa’s commitment to Reconstruction and Development. The process itself requires that people be recognized as the agents of this change. Warren has a commitment to investing in people in order to make it possible for them to take care of themselves. Warren's approach and actions demonstrate he is not here just to do “his own thing” and move on. Rather, he is committed to a long term, mutually beneficial relationship with the people he has committed to helping. Although Warren felt at first he had been away from his homeland too long he realizes that the opportunities he has had traveling the world have helped him gain experience, insight and an understanding of cultures to be able to fulfill his personal mission. He is a compassionate and understanding person whose passion and love for his country shines through. This passion is what will give him the energy to do what he is committed himself to doing. Different communities in South Africa have shown excitement and commitment in walking with him on a long walk to economic freedom.
Rev. Dr. Spiwo Xapile
Director, JL Zwane Centre for Training & Development, Guguletu, Cape Town, South Africa
It is my great pleasure to provide a testimonial for Warren Te Brugge. He is a business person who acts in a most professional manner and with great integrity. He combines his career experience with an authentic willingness to listen, hear and learn, and is thus a definite asset to the people he works with and supports through My Arms Wide Open.
Warren and I made an instant connection the first time we met. His passion and commitment to his purpose and the vision of My Arms Wide Open are instantly evident. Warren has held his personal vision for most of his life and has a true connection to his homeland and the people of South Africa. His journeys around the world and across so many cultures, with his experience and insight, provide what he needs to be successful along his chosen path.
President, Ikamva Labantu