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November 29, 2018

Know the Zenex Foundation Team: Q&A with Paresh Govind

Zenex Foundation has an annual budget of R 75 million to spend on grant making and general operations. Managing a task of this nature requires meticulous attention to detail, strong leadership and ethical conduct. The man behind this task at Zenex Foundation is Paresh Govind, Director of Finance & Corporate Services.

We caught up with him to find out more about his background, passions and future aspirations. Paresh’s story is one of overcoming obstacles, making sacrifices for loved ones and pursuing a life of fulfilment. While he had a rocky start in life, his perseverance and the support of his family has seen him through.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself

I grew up in a middle-income household and unfortunately I lost my father at the age of 19. As the eldest sibling, I had to take responsibility of the whole family. As a result, I had to quit university and run the family tailoring business and I bravely took on that challenge. I pursued my father’s dream of educating my siblings and made it my dream. I am proud that they are both qualified Pharmacists now.

Later on, I studied part-time and completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management. I have only worked in the development sector and spent time at organisations such as Protec, Molteno, Red Cross, and Matthew Goniwe and then joined Zenex Foundation in August 2008. This year marks my tenth year of service.

Q: Tell us about your family, particularly your wife, whom you speak so affectionately of

My wife and I have known each other for 33 years and we have been married for 30 years. She gave me two beautiful boys and our life as a family has just been phenomenal. She has been the backbone and has guided our family through everything. I cherish every moment with her and I am content just knowing I have her by my side. Our relationship over the years has worked because we share the same value system and we had similar experiences growing up, both being the first born in our families.

Q: What does your job at Zenex entail?

I do all the finances; manage the IT infrastructure; day-to-day troubleshooting within the office; HR admin; maintaining policies and ensuring compliance. In my time at Zenex, I managed two office moves and renovations. I thoroughly enjoy this, as I have a keen interest in space and design. I’m known in the office to drive a hard bargain but that’s just a rumour.

Q: What has been your highlight since working at Zenex?

Zenex offered me the perfect platform to be able to display my skills. I have had an opportunity to showcase who I am in an organization with integrity and a good reputation. The environment has been conducive and the interpersonal relationships have just been magical. Knowing that I am contributung towards improving education in South Africa drives me to work every day.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about being part of the Zenex team?

I enjoy being able to learn from everyone and collectively grapple with big education challenges in the country. Seeing learners achieve academic excellence because of our programmes is rewarding. This is what drives me. I enjoy being in an environment where excellence is at the forefront within a culture a caring for people.

Q: If you were not working at Zenex what do you think you would be doing and where would you be?

Firstly, I want to learn how to play the guitar. Secondly, I want to go back to cricket and soccer coaching of young people. The third thing I would love to do is teach young kids mathematics and accounting. The fourth thing is that I will open a financial awareness programme to speak to young adults coming into the workplace and make them understand how important it is to know your finances and to manage your finance. The last thing would be to give my time to an ashram. An ashram is a pilgrimage for my spirituality so that I can find myself and use my skills to give back to the community at large.

Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Currently, I love going for walks into nature. I love the seaside and water and can spend all day just watching the ocean.

Q: What legacy do you want to leave behind, both in life and work context?

I want to hear every person I’ve met say I’ve made a difference in their lives and that I’ve added value, hopefully in a special way.

Q: Lastly, what is the one thing people don’t know about Paresh?

I am an introvert and I do not like the limelight. I meditate and do yoga on a weekly basis. I also support the best football team in the world- Liverpool of course.  

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