New IoDSA executive has it all
Friday, 05 September 2014
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
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?
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
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
Q: What is the most common misconception about you?
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
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?
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
many reasons! Corporate governance:
increases entity value of companies, it improves share &
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
Q: What would corporate governance look
like in a perfect world?
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.