Through a series of questions and answers we asked EAPA-SA President Elect, Radhi Vandayar, to provide members with insight into her role on the Board and her goals pertaining to EAPA-SA’s plans and key focus areas over the next five years as a leading industry association.
Radhi obtained a postgraduate degree in Social Work (Honours) at the University of Witwatersrand, followed by spending 17 years in practice. This included working in the UK in the Mental Health and Social Service sphere. In 2013 she received her MBA through Henley Business College.
Radhi’s working experience in South Africa has primarily been in the field of EAP consultancy. Her work has been in a broad range of environments, including government, corporate and non-governmental organisations. She has well-developed skills in change management, organisational development processes, counselling, and the facilitation of trainings – as well as in leadership coaching and training. Radhi’s business skills have been honed through exposure to various business processes, including the development and implementation of strategies and individualised programmes for a broad-based client group. She has been a member of EAPA South Africa for the past 11 years and has been a board member for the last 8 years.
Q: What does your role as President Elect entail?
The role of EAPA-SA’s President Elect is very much that of a Chief Operations Officer. While the President oversees the Board’s setting of strategic goals, the President Elect has the practical, internally- focussed role of ensuring that the Association’s goals for the next three to five years are realised. For a start this involves supporting each Board member in reaching their individual portfolio goals through the creation of operational plans that are then consolidated into working project plans. The EAPA-SA Board believes in working together. We have made the decision to change our regular Board meeting format to focus on making practical headway in seeing our current goals manifested and mission accomplished – while still looking ahead at our vision for the future.
Q: How is your practical support of the Board manifested?
Bear in mind that all of our Board members are volunteers. Each of us manages the time constraints brought by a demanding full-time career. On our own we lack hands – but with the correct support we do have the time and the tools so that valuable EAPA-SA projects will see the light of day and be completed speedily. My mandate is to ensure that our projects become faster moving, more visible and measurable. Board members can call on me to assemble a task team or source a service provider partner from among our members. If need be, I will assist by putting together workshops or facilitating training. I would like to see our various chapters and members committing to getting involved in task teams and projects. This is a particularly attractive prospect for our service provider members who would like to gain corporate social responsibility (CSR) points.
Q: What developments would you like to see over the next three to five years from an internal EAPA-SA perspective?
Firstly, I would like to see the consolidation of strong processes and systems – which include employing technological systems solutions in terms of knowledge management as well as retaining our institutional knowledge. In this way we can be agile in passing the baton between us and backing each other up. For our full-time employees I would like to see them supported by comprehensive HR policies and well apprised of their significant roles in helping EAPA-SA attaining current goals and objectives.
Secondly, I would like to see each portfolio holder supported to achieve their current goals. This may entail supportive executive coaching, or me standing in for them in as the board member on their task team, if need be. But, overall this will be more from a systems support perspective – to give each of them the practical help and hands they need to fulfil their mandate. Each Board member is highly experienced and skilled – and the Board spent time selecting each member’s appointment to a portfolio based on their key strengths – which makes for a highly effective team.
Thirdly, I would like to see EAPA-SA reach statutory status as an association, with legal standing as a body who is able to regulate and hold the EAP and Employee Wellness industries to a high ethical standard and clinical integrity. This includes guarding against a diminution of the industry’s substance and standing though the commoditisation of Employee Assistance Programmes. In this way not only the industry, but also professionals within EAP and Employee Wellness industries will be recognised as such – while EAPA-SA continues to ensure that members who are the designated Employee Wellness Managers in their organisations are supported by ongoing education and training at NQF level that is SAQA accredited.