News & Press: IoDSA in the Press

New IoDSA executive has it all

Friday, 05 September 2014   (0 Comments)
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Parmi Natesan’s job requires her to lead a balanced life and have it all. It requires her to attend detailed strategic discussions with clients, and helping her two children with their homework. It demands a focus to detail on complex corporate governance issues, and to apply the same attention to detail when sewing costumes for a school play.

Although this might seem like the perfect life, it requires being "fast-paced and super-organised” according to Parmi, who was recently promoted to Executive: Centre for Corporate Governance at the Institute of Directors of Southern Africa (IoDSA).

"I am also very fortunate to work for a company that allows me the flexibility that I need in order to be able to have it all.”

As an Indian female with deceivingly youthful features, Parmi has experienced her fair share of discrimination in the workplace, but did not allow it to influence her focus on making valuable contributions during her 12-year career serving a variety of industries.

In her new role as part of the leadership team of the IoDSA, Parmi can combine her knowledge, experience and passion to further the IoDSA goals of Better directors, Better boards, Better business.

With Bcom (Honours) and Bcom (cum laude) degrees from the former University of Port Elizabeth, Parmi is a Chartered Accountant (South Africa) passionate about the value of corporate governance for South African corporate and private citizens alike.

"We should all pay attention to corporate governance, even if we are not we are shareholders or directors of companies, as we are all inevitably stakeholders,” said Parmi in an interview following her appointment.

In line with her helpful nature, Parmi has provided a glimpse of her views on the world of work:

Q: What do you think about when you are alone in your car?

A: What I need to be doing, I am an absolute PLANNER. Always thinking of what is next, organising myself

Q: Describe a balanced lifestyle in 5 words or less

A: "Having it all” - I don’t believe that having a demanding career means that I cannot be doing other things like taking my kids to the park, watching them play sports, cooking dinner, sewing costumes and doing other projects for school, helping my kids with their homework, organising my household etc.

Q: What song best describes your work ethic?

A: "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" by Daft Punk

Q: What is the most common misconception about you?

A: That I am younger than what I am. People often get shocked at my appointments to bodies, at the fact that I have two children etc. because they don’t realise my age. When I first joined the IoDSA someone commented (when he heard my actual age) "Oh now your appointment makes more sense”.

Some may say I have lucky genes, but from a business perspective I sometimes feel under-estimated at first because of this ... that is until they interact with me and I prove them wrong!

Q: What is your view on discrimination in the workplace, irrespective of the apparent reason for discrimination?

A: My stance on discrimination in the workplace is that everyone should be given equal opportunity; it’s a fair playing field. It is up to each individual to grab the opportunities available and make something of it. I find that sometimes people use discrimination as an excuse, when they are not willing to put in the time and effort to succeed.

Q: Why is a focus on corporate governance important?

A: For many reasons! Corporate governance:

· increases accountability

· increases entity value of companies, it improves share & credit ratings

· lowers cost of capital

· improves access to capital

· improves operational performance

· lowers risk of corporate scandals and damage to reputation.

· improves decision making

· ensures greater boardroom effectiveness

· strengthens transparency

Q: What would corporate governance look like in a perfect world?

A: In a perfect world we wouldn’t need as many rules. So less laws/regulations and more self-governance with ethics and integrity permeating leadership, decision-making and oversight.