Amb. Prof. Nabhit Kapur is acclaimed as World most influential Psychologists by the FAAVM-Canada and Founder Global chamber of business leaders. He was nominated as the first non African Ambassador designate to the state of African diaspora (AU 6th region). Recently, he was appointed as the Social impact advisor to Vice President of Liberia. In this exclusive interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online, he shared his passion for Africa and current initiatives. Excerpts:
Could you briefly tell us about yourself?
I am the Founder Global chamber of business leaders and the President of PeacfulMind Foundation. Applauded for establishing one of the most successful Mental Health forums in the world called the global Youth Mental Health Forum, a platform for youths to train in psychological first aid. My passion to bring perception about mental health cross continents through my network or business collaborations has lead me to establish various successful ventures like PeacfulMind health innovations in Zimbabwe, PeacfulMind center of happiness, tolerance and leadership in UAE, PeacfulMind center of leadership excellence in Ghana etc with PeacfulMind Foundation as a success platform in Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, UK, Canada, South Africa etc.
Through my appointed ambassadors and directors passing a strict protocol, I work at the ground level to create the perception for mental health as a necessary aspect of daily life. My knowledge, skill, commitment, consistency and precision to get things done are one feature hard to find in people. I am privileged to sit on advisory board of many organisations like Reset global people, TAFFD, UCI investments etc.
Tell us more about Peacfulmind Foundation and its impact in Africa?
PeacfulMind Foundation (PMF) is a global organization registered with United Nations (U.N.) Global Compact based in New Delhi, India. The foundation is present in more than 36 countries across the world. Embarking its vision i.e., “To make psychology a household term”. We have established a wide range of network in Africa and have appointed directors and coordinators who work in teams and conduct wide range of training programs on the vision of the foundation.
What sparked your interest in Africa?
Moving into Africa was by chance and not circumstantial. I went to receive an award in Mauritius where I met few high profile dignitaries from Africa (Malawi and Kenya). We spoke and they understood my work profile from where I received my first invite to go to Malawi. From that moment onward my interest began into the continent and got connected to many people, professionally and personally. Africa as a continent and people have been really receptive to me, my organisations and my initiatives.
How does your foundation measure its impact?
The work on mental health or brining well-being and happiness through the global chamber of business leaders is measured by the quality and quantity of people who are joining us or willing to join us every month. More members want to represent the core values of Peacfulmind foundation in every area and region. Recently we received 537 applications who want to be a member or director of Peacfulmind. Also our impact is measured by the people’s willingness to work with us volunteering.
How do you feel as the first non African to be appointed the Roving Ambassador to the State of African Diaspora (AU-6th Region)?
Well, honestly at first I was really surprised and happy but then I realised the responsibility given to me with the trust from the prime minister and cabinet. I have started the activities relating to my job profile getting connected to the Diaspora and getting them involved in the continent. Various initiatives so far conducted by me were connecting business organisations that provide mentorship programs to students, nominating ambassadors to the Diaspora who could support its vision, etc.
What are your achievements since your appointment?
As mentioned above working for the African Diaspora (AU 6th region) is like a huge responsibility. The major achievements since my appointment includes;
– Nomination of 3 ambassadors and advisors on board.
– Providing scholarships to African Diaspora for education.
– Creating a mentorship program for students and young entrepreneurs by connecting them with business houses.
– Representing the African Diaspora state at various platforms.
– Building up the Diaspora chamber of commerce and business.
Kindly share your major projects in Africa?
I have been working on some initiatives through my organisation Peacfulmind Foundation and now through Global chamber of business leaders. We are also setting up a new project “Global Impact Africa”.
The major projects which I had done and still continuing includes;
– Mental health and wellness training programs.
– Connecting various investors to the continent. For example various investment companies where I sit on the board.
– Initiated a project called “power life energy”. Giving way for solar energy in the continent
– Distributes as many as 3000 scholarships to students willing to go for vocational trainings.
– In process the project called “global impact Africa”.
What are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?
Obviously whatever new comes always has its hurdles and nothing comes easy in life. Even taking the first step is always a challenge but as soon you get in the process the path itself becomes clear. The challenges I faced was new continent entry and no guidance as to what to go for. I started exploring, researching and reaching out to people, building my own network and my own team. Communication and outreach has been a great help and as my network started to develop I moved deeper into Africa.
How are you telling the African story in the Diaspora?
As the recently appointed non African or not even from the African decent I have a view of the continent from a third angle. My visit to Africa started with Malawi and then from there it kept on growing. I must say it’s a continent that is underestimated, overly dominated and underutilisation of the youth’s energy. Africa has the largest number of youths and huge amount of potentials to invest in entrepreneurship, startups and youth resources.
What is your view on governance in Africa? Any advice?
Any government sustain on the policies it frames upon which the people or a country is governed. It’s a very mixed view on the governance style in Africa. According to me as much as I have studied, the style should be changed and more young faces need to come forward as I mentioned Africa is the land of the young. Leaders should believe and focus more on nurturance of the continent and less of domination.
As the President of the Global Chamber of Business Leaders, how are you connecting African business leader to the world?
Global Chamber of Business leaders is a platform we are creating to connect various business organisations and established business entities with young entrepreneurs. Through the chamber we are also engaging investors to serious business opportunities towards Africa and also giving them a different outlook towards Africa. The global chamber has a diverse and wide group of advisors on its board which gives a diversified and a global outlook to the chamber.
What is your advice to African youths and entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurship is not a one day game. We need to be more thick skin and think out of the box. Leadership skills and ability to survive on hope is another true feature of an entrepreneur.
Visit Peacfulmind Foundation
Chantel Cooper: The Epitome of Empathy and Care
Chantel Cooper, CEO of The Children’s Hospital Trust (Image: Supplied)
Chantel joined the Children’s Hospital Trust in 2013 as the Head of Fundraising and Communication and was appointed as CEO in 2019. For her, 2020 was a year that reinforced the importance of the core purpose of the Trust and the difference the organisation wants to make in the lives of children. “Our cause is driven by the need to make a difference in the lives of sick and injured children. We are people who work together to save the lives of the children who matter. We all have a purpose!” she says.
Sharing excerpts from her journey, Chantel says:
“My purpose in life is to serve those who are most vulnerable: women and children. My career was driven by my passion to make a real difference in the lives of women and children. When I was 18 years old, I volunteered for an organisation that provided support for women who had been raped. While volunteering, I started working with women in rural areas in the Eastern Cape where we found opportunities to grow their businesses.
“My passion for women led me to Cape Town where I became Director of Rape Crisis Cape Town when I was 27 years old. After the birth of my two children, I moved to an organisation called St Joseph’s Home for chronically Ill Children. St Joseph’s is a step-down facility for tertiary hospitals like the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. It was a profound move for me as I was able to work with children who inspired me.
“One of the most valuable lessons I learnt is the power of love. You can offer a child the best healthcare in the world, but what a child wants most is their parents to love them and be by their side. This is the value I most appreciate about the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and my past experiences. This hospital believes in child-centered care and knows that a child heals when their parent or caregiver is by their side – even during the COVID-19 pandemic. All other hospitals had restricted access to patients, but the presence of a parent is imperative to their sick or injured child’s healing.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic taught our team that life can change in a blink of an eye and that we need to be prepared for all possibilities. The pandemic hit the world with such speed and velocity that we had no choice but to find a way to not only sail through the storm but also find ways to get out of the situation stronger than before.”
Chantel also states that 2020 provided the Children’s Hospital Trust with the opportunity to learn extraordinary lessons that they would not have normally had the opportunity to learn and some of these include:
- The value of deep listening and the importance of demonstrating kindness.
- Working in collaboration created the opportunity for meaningful impact for our beneficiaries.
- Opportunities do exist during challenging times; positivity exposed the opportunities.
- Adapting to change during uncertain times helped to build a resilient team.
“Our Trust team demonstrated ingenuity, compassion, resilience, commitment, and fortitude during a very difficult time. As a result, we surpassed our goals, and this enabled our organisation to reach more children and families. We are grateful for the contribution from every individual,” adds Chantel.
“Walking through the corridors of a children’s hospital during a crisis gave perspective on the real value of care, kindness, and collaboration. While children were not the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Social Work Department experienced first-hand the profound impact the pandemic had on children’s health and well-being.
“Unemployment, food insecurity, child safety and schooling were common concerns for many patients and their parents who entered the doors of the Hospital. The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital values patient and family-centred care which includes care for the whole family from a holistic perspective.
“In response to the needs of the families, the Trust secured funding to enable the social workers to provide additional counselling services and material support such as the provision of food, hygiene, and home-schooling supplies to vulnerable families when children were discharged from the Hospital.” Read more on the Family Care Project here.
The core to achieving our vision is upholding our values of Integrity, Accountability, Kindness, Dynamism, and Collaboration in every aspect of our work. The Trust has a sound financial record in administration and good governance. For the past 28 years, we have raised funds to address many pressing needs, but much has yet to be done. With the help of many donors, we continue to give hope and healing to our little ones who need it most.
The Trust raises funds for the upgrade and expansion of the Hospital’s buildings, the purchase of state-of-the-art medical equipment, and new medical treatment projects and funds the training of medical professionals across Africa – ensuring that the Hospital not only retains its world-class stature but is able to continue providing life-changing and life-saving care for children.
The Trust relies on donations to fund these needs. When you donate to the Trust, 100% of your donation goes towards funding projects that change children’s lives (and the lives of the people who love them). The operational costs of the Trust are funded from an endowment, so your generous contributions are never used to cover administration costs.
Donate to the Children’s Hospital Trust today! www.childrenshospitaltrust.org.za
Neya Kalu, the new Chairman of The Sun Nigeria
Neya Kalu (Image supplied: Her Network)
Neya Kalu is the Chairman and Publisher of The Sun Nigeria, founded and published in Nigeria. A reputable company that publishes relevant news in Nigeria and around the world in over ten categories. She is also the founder and CEO of Basecoat Nigeria.
Educated at the University of Buckingham with a degree in Law and Finance, Neya leads the Board on strategic matters, establishes high governance, and oversees the company’s business.
Before becoming Chairman/Publisher of The Sun Nigeria, Neya, an entrepreneur, built and runs several successful businesses, the most recent being Base Coat, a nail salon chain in Lagos. She is also the Vice-Chairman of Sun Heavens Hotels and Resorts.
With a strong interest in social issues and a desire to empower women, Neya works with the OUK Foundation to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs one through six.
IoDSA CEO Parmi Natesan on Building Great Directors in South Africa
IoDSA CEO, Parmi Natesan
Established in 1960 as a branch of the Institute of Directors in London, the Institute of Directors South Africa (IoDSA) is a non-profit company (NPC) with members and is the only professional body for directors that is recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) (ID422). IoDSA mission is to influence, develop and advance corporate governance and directorship by pursuing ethical and effective leadership in South Africa. In this exclusive interview with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online (BAO), Parmi Natesan talks about the IoDSA she leads, its contribution to the south african economy, challenges, gender inclusion and diversity and much more. Excerpts.
Alaba: Το begin, brίefly tell us about the loD South Africa and your strategic role?
Parmi: The Institute of Directors in South Africa is a non-profit company and a SAQA-recognised professional body for directors in South Africa. It is also a promoter of corporate governance, acting as convener and secretariat of the King Committee and having ownership of the King Reports on Governance for South Africa.
Its vision is – Better Directors. Better Boards. Better Business.
Its mission is – To influence, develop and advance corporate governance and directorship by pursuing ethical and effective leadership in South Africa.
We drive corporate governance awareness and improvement through thought leadership, hosting learning events, performing governance advisory services and board performance evaluations. We contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of directorship through training and certifications.
Alaba: What would you say are the major contributions of the institυte to the South African economy?
Parmi: The enhancement of corporate governance and directorship has a knock-on positive effect to the South African economy.
Major recent contributions include:
- We submitted a letter written to the Chair of the Zondo Commission containing good governance recommendations for director competencies and appointment processes.
- We issue numerous media releases and broadcast interviews to raise awareness of governance learnings
- We offer discounts on our services to NPOs and SMEs, in an effort to assist them with improving their governance and thus growing and thriving as a business.
Alaba: Since your appointment as the institute CEO, what are your biggest challenges and role in corporate governance?
Parmi: We have a duty to hold our members to account in the public interest. This has meant introduction of a new member code of conduct and disciplinary regulations to govern this. What has been a challenge is that membership of the IoDSA is currently voluntary. An individual does not need to be a member in order to serve as a director. So there is unfortunately no common benchmark or standard for directorship.
Sometimes the IoDSA brand gets tainted by “bad” directors who are found to have acted unethically, as the public does not realise that these directors are not necessarily our members, and thus we have limited mandate to act against them. Another challenge is the way in which corporate governance gets applied in corporations, often in a tick-box compliance fashion. This is form over substance and not conducive to achieving the desired outcomes of good corporate governance. Changing mindsets and behaviour around this is critical and there is no one size fits all solution.
Each organisation needs to consider what makes sense for their business. Instead of wanting to follow a compliance driven approach of ticking boxes, organisations should follow a mindful application approach of putting practices in place that in their judgment ultimately achieve the necessary outcomes of ethical leadership, effective control, good performance and legitimacy. The judgment of the governing body is critical in this approach.
Alaba: What is your view on how leadership is changing, amid broader efforts in society to see greater inclusivίty in terms of race, gender, and socio-economic background, and a move towards making a more positive and sustainable contribution to society?
Parmi: We are advocate for diversity on boards, not only in terms of race, gender and socio-economic background, but also in terms of skills and experience. Diverse groups are able to tackle problems from various angles and this leads to better decision making. We have a specific focus on advocating for more women on boards. With women controlling consumer spending and forming half of the educated workforce, it does not make sense that they are still largely underrepresented in South African boardrooms.
The role of directors is definitely changing as we move towards a more stakeholder focused way of running business. In the past, the primary focus of directors was financial return for their companies. That has changed considerably over the years, where business is now seen as a corporate citizen of the country in which it operates. And it thus needs to be conscious of the impact that it has on society and the environment in which it operates. This is why integrated reporting (as opposed to just financial reporting) is so critical.
In today’s fast-paced world, achieving the right skills as a director is not a target but a journey: business models, socio-economic models, political models – sometimes it seems everything – are changing and old certainties seem to be in the process of continual redefinition. Directors, who play such a critical role in organisations and, indirectly, the fabric of public life, are least able to feel they have achieved the right skills mix.
In general, professionals have a certain credibility and respect in the market, which they need to protect through ongoing learning, adapting and competence.
Alaba: Let’s talk about entrepreneurshίp. What is your view on how female entrepreneurship can be fostered?
Parmi: Entrepreneurship is a critical contributor towards our economy and should thus be fostered.
Alaba: Το what extent can digital connectivity catalyse South Africa’s economic recovery, for example helping foster both flexible working and the levelling-up of rural areas?
Parmi: Digital can open many doors and opportunities for people to participate in economic activity.
Alaba: Before the year ends, what would you ultimately like to achieve?
Parmi: Greater awareness of the power and impact of good corporate governance can make, not only on companies, but also on a country. South Africa as a country desperately needs ethical and effective leaders to steer our country in the right direction to prosper. We have been lobbying for enhancements in director appointment processes in both the private and public sector in South Africa. It would be great to see some traction on this from the policy makers.
Alaba: Lastly, what has been the most significant-ever moment for you professionally – and what advice would you give your younger self?
Parmi: I have received many accolades including:
- Rising Star Award from the Nelson Mandela University.
- Finalist for Businesswoman of the Year at the Top Women Awards.
- Global Woman Achiever at the World Women Leadership Congress.
- Ethical Leadership Award at the SAICA Difference Makers Awards.
However, I think my most significant moment professionally has to be having the privilege and honour to lead the IoDSA. In fact I was the youngest person to be CEO of the IoD SA, and the first ever person of colour. This platform gives me an even louder voice to influence and advocate for ethical and effective leadership in South Africa.
In terms of advice to my younger self, a few things I actually often tell my daughter
- Girls can do anything boys can do – never let our gender hold you back.
- Pick your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff.
Watch IoDSA HERE
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