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Are you going to become a board member soon?

Kemantha Govender
30 November 2021

Kirtida Bhana a board member at MerSETA and a Training Executive at Plastics SA, recently completed the Leadership in Board Governance course at the Wits School of Governance (WSG).

Her appointment to the MerSETA board was her first, so Bhana found the Leadership in Board Governance short course incredibly valuable as she is busy with her second term.

In this interview, Bhana spoke about her experience at the WSG, her career accomplishments and how her formidable nature got to her to where she is.

Bhana’s work experience started in a plastics manufacturing environment on the shop floor as a student in Polymer Technology on a bursary.

“I cheekily hustled for a bursary as there was no intention to give it to a woman. Thereafter, the company I was with gave one bursary to a female student every year. After a few years of being in a senior management role in my first job with 18 men reporting to me, I changed direction and went into the field of Training and Development. It was more a calling then a deliberate departure from corporate life,” she said.

Having a technical background and a passion for people development has landed Bhana in her current role - Head of the Academy for Learning and Development at Plastics SA (currently rebranding from Training Division), serving the Plastics Manufacturing Sector.

Her interest in technology and innovation also led to her completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Design Thinking and Innovation through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2019, in the same year as the Research Contextualisation course at WSG.

Bhana said that strategy is a definite strength and energises her being and her mind seems to have templates that can be called up and customised. Bhana said she enrolled for the short course at WSG because she loves learning and when an opportunity presents itself for to learn about subjects that she lack knowledge in, she takes it.

“The Governance and Economics Modules were where most of my learnings happened as they were the areas which I resisted the most. I am now able to actively listen, comprehend and question during discussions and decisions related to these and therefore participate more constructively,” Bhana said.

This is Bhana’s second term on the MerSETA Board (the first term was over a period of two years only) - this one is a five year term and she looks forward to making meaningful contributions that will allow this Board to fulfil their governance role in an exemplary manner.

She was awarded the honour of being the top student for the Research Conceptualisation course and enjoyed the intensity of digging deeper than simply browsing through information.

“I learnt to formulate a research topic and complete a research proposal just as a researcher would. Most importantly the programme taught me to sift through piles of information for the right kind of information and to arrange and organise it systematically and convincingly. This is a very useful skill to have in any role,” Bhana said.

Academia aside, Bhana teaches well-being programmes based on Yogic Science which she works into her personal schedule because it is that important to her.

She enjoys listening to music from the ‘80’s and Bollywood “golden oldies”. She said that she surprises herself often in terms of choice of books. "I am currently between ‘The book of Joy’ – His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ‘Future Next’ – by John Sanei and Iraj Abedian," she added. Like most of us, she is also a Netflix fan and she also loves spending time with her nieces who are 9, 11 and 3.

Bhana is keen to pursue her Master's Degree … we hope it will be at Wits University.

Leadership in Board Governance