Some are born great, some have greatness forced upon them and some earn greatness through resilience, hard work and sheer boldness. At a time when South Africa is highly conscious of female empowerment and the strength of women, I had the privilege and honour of sitting with one of South Africa’s female shining lights and a trailblazer in the IT and education sector.
CEO and founder of FACT SA, Nargis Gani has a passion for business transformation and has actively participated in numerous projects to improve and maximise deliverables from process re-engineering to skills development in both the public and private sector. With a Higher Diploma in Education behind her name she has mastered the art of blending her Industrial Psychology and Training knowledge into practical courses for people and management development with 10+ years in training and course development, delivering training, designing and writing courses and directing enterprise initiatives.
Her areas of expertise include but are not limited to:
• Business transformation
• Restructuring and turnaround
• Coaching & Mentoring
• Growth strategy
• Business development
Gani holds various notable qualifications which include:
• Honours in Psychology — University of the Western Cape
• Bachelor of Arts — University of the Western Cape
• Programme In Business Leadership — University of South Africa
• Higher Diploma in Education — University of the Western Cape
• Diploma Human Resources — Damelin
Gani’s career spans over 22 years, 15 of which she has been at the helm of FACT. As an employee she enjoyed successful careers at The South African Post Office; Siemens LTD; Momentum and The National Treasury.
As a business owner she has a proven track record of significant improvements to processes, productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction while reducing costs, increasing turnover, and maintaining a positive work environment. She is heralded by her multinational clients as a dynamic leader, strategic thinker and decision-maker.
Her passion for success has resulted in her growing a business from greenfield inception into a brand that is recognised by the telecommunications and engineering sectors as a supplier of choice.
Through her leadership, Nargis has implemented socio and economic development programmes which focus on gender equality, female empowerment, youth development, disability awareness and transformation. FACT is a South African headquartered professional services company established in 2002 with specialist focuses on Business Process Outsourcing in the Engineering, Telecommunications and IT industries. With more than a decade of experience behind them, and a collective management experience of more than 50 years, the company has consistently delivered in the areas of Managed Services and Maintenance, Project Management, Managed Resources, Organisational and Resource Development.
The company carries a staff component in access of 260 members of which the majority service the ICT industry and delivers projects within Africa and Middle East. FACT also utilises the services of a range of competent consultants to meet the needs of their clients. The company is 100% female black owned and has a BBBEE scorecard rating of AAA+ 135% as a level 1 contributor and value adding enterprise. Gani sat with Leadership to explain more about the state of the industry, her companies ethos and values and the future.
You founded Future Africa Consulting and Training (FACT SA) initially because you wanted to spend more time with the family. Can you tell us more about your background prior to this?
After completing a B.A Honours degree in Psychology from the University of the Western Cape, I immediately joined the corporate workforce and enjoyed successful careers at, The South African Post Office; Siemens LTD; Momentum and The National Treasury. During this time, I also completed a PBL from UNISA SBL. In 2002, I was pregnant with my third child, working 12 to 14 hours days for a corporate company and already riddled by guilt because of not being able to give my husband and two children enough attention and time. With a third child on the horizon I could not see myself leaving him in someone else’s care. The challenge was as a family we needed the second income. So when I finally took the decision to venture on my own, I knew failure was not an option, the pressure was on from day 1 to make the business a success.
What leadership philosophy do you live by?
The three key words are: Knowledgeable, empowering and accountable. I regularly coach my staff to be sensitive to the changing marketplace, competitor strategies, and customer preferences and adapt our services accordingly. To be able to consistently deliver high service, I constantly reinforce the fact that communication is vital throughout the business and with our clients. Everyone within the business knows what their responsibilities are, what they are accountable for and what their client’s expectations are. It is imperative to keep an open communicate channel with clients and continuously provide feedback and follow-ups.
How do you balance work and play?
It’s not an easy task, the demand of overlooking all the facets within the business is a lot more challenging than just focusing on a specific job function, then there is the constant demand from clients and internal stakeholders for input and advice but balance is important to prevent burnout.
I make it a mission to book out certain times of my diary for personal time and prayers. I ensure that on most days I am home in time to prepare and have dinner with my family, this is very important to me. I like to end each day with a book at bedtime to clear my mind from work and to create thought processes that are of a spiritual nature, this helps to recharge for the next day.
Travel and spending time in Nature is another passion of mine, and I make the time to enjoy these activities.
And finally engaging in community activities, mentoring and giving advice to women from all walks of life on a wide range of subjects adds to a sense of purpose other than just work.
What are some of your daily responsibilities as CEO of FACT?
I am person with a keen eye on detail but at the same time empower my team by ensuring that I am not micromanaging their tasks. In a day’s work I plan, direct and manage the performance of the company’s operations to ensure alignment to the overall and long-term strategic objectives of the business.
I also actively oversee client relationships and management to ensure client satisfaction, with the objective to maintain and develop future growth within those clients. To ensure excellence I direct and manage business operation activities to ensure services are delivered in accordance with client requirements. Managing new business development activities, RFP and RFQ’s to ensure continue growth of the business is also something that I consider a key task. In order to ensure effective performance of the management team I set clear goals and review these actively to maximise individual, divisional and departmental performance.
Can you briefly take us through your company’s journey?
A lot of things happen and change in 15 Years or so in business i.e. client requirements; technology advancements, relevance to market, mergers and acquisitions; staff turnover etc... It’s a continuous evolution.
At FACT we are no stranger to this evolutionary demand, continuously revisiting our service offering to ensure we remain relevant to our clients’ needs. From humble beginnings, working out of home-based offices in 2002, we have grown from strength to strength; FACT has been providing a range of outsourced and managed services. Some of the projects include NOC support; Spare parts Warehousing and Management; Field Support services; Network commissioning and integration, as well as Network planning and Optimisation. Over the years we have accumulated several industry awards and now employ in excess of 260 people. FACT currently owns the resource infrastructure that enables the smooth functioning and service delivery within these disciplines. Now with offices in South Africa; Mauritius; UAE and Turkey we deliver services to various countries in the MEA Region.
You grew a business from inception, today your company has exceeded beyond expectation, successfully running for an impressive 15 years. What does it take to achieve this kind of success?
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