By way of introduction, we asked EAPA-SA Board member, Mr Joel Mzwandile Gumede to provide members with insight into his role on the Board in management of the Finance portfolio, as well as his goals pertaining to EAPA-SA’s plans and key focus areas over the next five years as a leading industry association.

Joel is currently the Provincial Employee Health and Wellness Director in the Office of the Premier, KwaZulu-Natal; overseeing a Employee Health and Wellness programme that is designed to assist all employees within the Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal.   Prior to taking up his current post he joined the Office of the Premier as Deputy Director: Strategic Planning and Coordination and was then promoted to Director: HIV and AIDS.  His academic qualifications include:

– B. Admin (Public Administration, Economics and Industrial Psychology) – University of Durban Westville;

– BA (Hons) Social Demography – University of Pretoria;

– International Certificate in Policy Formulation – Clingendael Institute, Netherlands;

– Post Graduate in Executive Leadership – University of North West.

Joel has been active in the field of Employee Assistance since 2001. He served as the Chairperson of EAPA-SA’s KwaZulu-Natal Chapter from 2014 to 2018; and was appointed to serve on the EAPA-SA Board at the beginning of 2019.  He has a keen understanding of the need to provide a solid foundation for EAPs to render effective and professional support in the workplace for the benefit of all stakeholders – employers, employees and service providers.

Q:  What does your role as head of the Finance portfolio entail?

Joel believes in good governance and professionalism.  His role on the EAPA-SA Board encompasses driving strategies over the next three to five years to ensure the financial sustainability of the Association and its full range of projects and programmes; while assisting the Board in overseeing project efficiency and effectiveness.

His directive is to ensure the financial sustainability of the Association during his term. This entails the strengthening of existing financial systems, and introducing strategies to generate funds and minimise wastage. He has mandate to make everyone accountable for their actions undertaken on behalf of the Association.  The Association will always be required to keep and maintain its reserves at the required minimum levels.  Joel’s role then becomes key to the leadership machinery of the Association.

Q: What developments would you like to see over the next three to five years from an internal EAPA-SA perspective?

There are two areas of focus to the Finance portfolio’s strategy for the next three to five years. Firstly, from a Board perspective: to identify the Association’s biggest cost drivers and to find smart solutions to enable  the Association’s finances to be well administered, particularly through the use of technology, and best channelled into activities for the benefit of member development and growth. This will be realised through national and regional events that bring valuable, up-to-date learning and information while generating Continuous Development Points for attendees.  Then, to simplify financial management of the Association through identifying smart solutions that will not only save on business process costs but also improve planning and efficiency, simplify reporting, and better enable monitoring and evaluation.

Secondly, from a chapter and member perspective, Joel would like to provide supportive role in instilling cost-benefit consciousness across all Chapters and committees within the Association that will promote growth in membership numbers and an improvement in member retention rate.

Joel’s ultimate task as a Finance Director is to build credible Association, which partners and sponsors would always want to be associated with in their quest of building the solid future of the employee assistance field.