12 OCT 2023
Henley MBA graduate is an employee champion
Completing her executive MBA at Henley Africa has been a transformational experience for Niroshni Govender. Currently a senior communications manager at Cell C, she says her time at the business school has opened new doors for her.
“The Executive MBA has not only improved my critical thinking and conceptual skills but has also positively impacted my personal brand and how I show up. I am currently leading one of the many transformational change initiatives with HR because of my findings in the Management Research Project.”
Govender, who grew up in the small coastal KwaZulu Natal of Widenham best known by divers stopping there en-route to world famous Aliwal Shoal, is a psychologist by profession.
“It was my master’s in psychology that enabled me to enter the corporate world as a consulting psychologist and I was fortunate enough to be promoted into various specialist and then management and executive roles.”
She is passionate about people showing up in their best version, both personally and professionally.
“Many say that HR is about having a fondness for people. I believe it’s more than just people. It’s about walking that fine line. It’s about having enough business acumen to partner with business to help them understand and solve their human capital challenges now and in the future.
“It’s about being an employee champion; connecting and relating to the people you serve to make them know that their challenges are understood and resolved. It's also about partnering with management to help them co-create engaged, productive teams with employees.”
As she looks back on her career to date, her advice for aspiring women executives is simple: ensure you stay relevant through continuous learning, while learning to network and becoming comfortable with it.
“Surround yourself with like-minded leaders that you know you will be able to learn from, work with, who believe in your capabilities and will help you grow. Lastly, ensure you lead with integrity, kindness and respect. No matter your level or title, always stay humble.”
For Henley Business School Africa dean and director Jon Foster-Pedley, Govender’s journey is symbolic of precisely the transformative power that the school hopes its MBA programme will exert on its graduates.
“Niroshni’s story has to become all of our stories. We all need to learn, unlearn and relearn to stay relevant in a world that is changing at warp speed. If you are going to be a leader, you often deal with increasing complexity as you move up in life. A great MBA will help you get through that. You cannot do that without developing yourself and understanding people,” Foster-Pedley said.
It was vital to choose an MBA programme from the many available in South Africa that prioritises the prospective student’s interests and ambitions, he said. This was something that Henley Africa had spent years prioritising and perfecting from making the programme family friendly to ensuring that the lessons in the classrooms were immediately relevant and applicable to the shop floor and the boardroom so that students could immediately see the benefit of the investment they were making in themselves.
“A really good school will go deeper into who you are, understand you, and your leadership ambitions. It will go deeper into getting you to think critically and develop your mind. A good MBA also builds confidence within you and we can see this in Niroshni.
“It’s a privilege to have been able to play a small part in her journey.”
At the core of Henley’s philosophy is the belief that we need to develop managers and leaders for the future. We believe the challenge facing future leaders is the need to solve dilemmas through making choices. We work with both individuals and organisations to create the appropriate learning environment to facilitate the critical thinking skills to prepare for the future.
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