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Faculty Focus: Sorayah Nair

USB-ED is fortunate to have access to more than 300 part-time faculty, consultants, business leaders and industry experts who facilitate on our programmes.

Today we would like to introduce you to Sorayah Nair.

What is the toughest leadership challenge businesses face today?

With the pandemic having changed our world, quite literally, leaders no longer have the luxury of contemplating what it means to embrace an agile mindset. Suddenly it is the only way of leading. So it is having to build the parachute whilst flying, to pivot your strategy and build capacity at speed. All the while keeping employees engaged by facilitating alignment with purpose.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from a student to date?

Oh I’ve learnt several lessons. If I had to choose I would say it’s a lesson about having grit, the capacity to persevere. A number of students attend the leadership programmes with either no formal tertiary studies. They attend class where they are surrounded by many with either graduate or post-graduate studies. To see those students hang in there and successfully complete the course alongside their peers inspires me. They remind me to not let challenging circumstances stand in the way of your goal.

Who inspires you and why?

Those that overcame challenges to achieve success. So the matriculants we read about every year, who live in shacks with a number of others, and then go on to achieve university entrance passes, they inspire me. I’ve run the oceans half marathon several times now and every year as challenging as that 21.1km race is, I look out for the runner who is blind and her strength inspires me to keep going. They teach me that “I am possible”.

What attracted you to work with USB-ED?

I completed my MBA at USB and in conversation with my thesis supervisor Dr John Morrison about looking for spaces where I could make a difference, he suggested I visit USB-ED. And the rest as they say, is history

Do you have a mantra or slogan that you live by?

It is what it is!

What career advice would you give yourself looking back to when you started out?

Find a mentor and find her fast.

Tell us about a book you have recently read?

So I’m one of those that read more than one book at a time. The recent ones are The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, Grace by South African writer Barbara Boswell and I listened to Life of Pi by Yann Martel whilst indoor-cycling during lockdown.

In different ways they all deal with grit, survival and the power of the human spirit to conceive of possibilities.

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