East London businesswoman Poonam Harry-Nana has been awarded the University of Stellenbosch (USB) Business School Director’s Award for the top student in any programme who excels in both studies and leadership.
Harry-Nana currently works at Harry’s Printers Group, which is run by her family.
“I currently manage and oversee the expansion of Harry’s Photos and Copies which is the digital print, communications, advertising, signage, branding and photo imaging leg of the business,” she said.
Harry-Nana graduated cum laude but, according to USB director Prof Piet Naudé, was always careful of maintaining a good work-life balance.
“She has a passion for communities and she will continue to leave her mark through various levels of social engagement,” Naudé said.
The MBA graduate first joined the programme as a full-time student in 2018 and relocated to Cape Town in order to complete her studies.
“The MBA was one of the most challenging and toughest experiences of my life, but also the most liberating, life-enhancing and amazing journeys.
“Deciding to dedicate the year to discovering the ‘true Poonam’ also meant that I lived on my own for the first time ever.
“The MBA year pushed me at all levels – personally, emotionally, spiritually, academically and career wise,” she said.
Her research paper, Exploring the perceptions of the value of reflective learning in the leadership development of MBA students, focuses on how and if students felt that reflective learning techniques and interventions aided their leadership development.
For Harry-Nana, people should not be afraid to ask for help and should focus on maintaining a healthy balance between their work and their personal lives.
“By being true to one’s self and developing your authentic leadership style and embracing it, you can be a responsible leader that impacts change in society at large and to view this as a gift and responsibility in creating a better and sustainable future for all,” she said.