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Breaking barriers with 'The Powerhouse' Kubeshni Govender

Johannesburg, 31 Aug 2023
Kubeshni Govender (Kesh), the dynamic Head of Marketing at The CRM Team being interviewed by Supersport.
Kubeshni Govender (Kesh), the dynamic Head of Marketing at The CRM Team being interviewed by Supersport.

In the realm of professional success, there are few stories as inspiring as that of Kubeshni Govender (Kesh), dynamic Head of Marketing at The CRM Team. Govender's journey is a testament to the power of determination, resilience and the unyielding spirit of a woman breaking barriers in the competitive world of marketing in the IT industry. Fondly referred to as "The Powerhouse", Govender's story is a beacon of hope for aspiring young women who aim to carve their paths and make impactful contributions to both their careers and society. Govender shares her insights, challenges and strategies that have shaped her remarkable journey.

Journey to the pinnacle of marketing excellence in the IT industry

Govender embarked on her remarkable journey to the position of Head of Marketing at The CRM Team through a series of pivotal moments that shaped her career. Starting as an intern at Microsoft in 2019, she diligently absorbed knowledge and insights into Microsoft's operations and partner expectations. This inside information proved invaluable as it allowed her to excel when working with partners. Govender's dedication was further demonstrated when she completed the Modern Marketing Digital Transformation programme, earning recognition for her efforts. Her outstanding performance and impact did not go unnoticed, as Microsoft managers remembered her well. When the need arose for a Head of Marketing at The CRM Team, her previous achievements and impressive track record made her the top candidate as a recommendation from Microsoft. Govender's journey from intern to leader at age 22 is a testament to the power of dedication and impact.

She adds: “Working for The CRM Team made me realise some of my bad career moves, as they’ve shown me the definition of good company culture, a healthy work environment, exemplary teamwork and the power of leadership excellence.”

Breaking barriers: Challenges and triumphs

The journey of Govender is not just a tale of professional growth, but a testament to her resilience in the face of personal challenges. As a young woman aiming for success in the IT industry, she encountered formidable obstacles that threatened to undermine her confidence and potential. The realm of marketing, which she chose to conquer, was not without its gender biases and misconceptions about age. However, Govender's determination to rise above these challenges and carve her unique path led her to become a powerhouse in her field.

Overcoming the perception that her age might hinder her success was a daunting task. The stereotypes that questioned her readiness for leadership roles or dismissed her as "too young" were discouraging. Govender candidly acknowledges that these biases are prevalent, often coming from both male and female leaders. Despite the industry's competitiveness, where women occasionally view one another as rivals, Govender persevered. While creativity thrived within her, she found that other women could sometimes feel threatened by her potential. These experiences of being pulled down by mentors and colleagues served as pivotal moments that fuelled her determination to prove her worth.

The Geek Girls Foundation.
The Geek Girls Foundation.

Amid her professional challenges, Govender faced deep personal struggles that pushed her to the edge. Battling past traumas from her childhood till the age of 23, she found herself at a breaking point, attempting suicide with a very narrow escape. Yet, emerging from this dark moment, Govender decided to reshape her identity and take charge of her narrative. This transformation marked the birth of "The Powerhouse".

Reclaiming her strength and forging a path to empowerment, Govender co-founded two non-profit organisations dedicated to uplifting others. One focused on providing support to those who had endured similar challenges and charitable initiatives, while the other sought to empower women in leadership roles. Govender’s journey towards becoming "The Powerhouse" was not confined to her own growth; she actively contributed to the betterment of those around her.

Govender's status as "The Powerhouse" was solidified through her role as a speaker and advocate on platforms like ‘Future Females’, ‘Women Takes IT To The Stage’, ‘Rehoboth Radio’, ‘Wits University’, ‘Libex Marketplace’, ‘YAEI’ (Young African Entrepreneurs Institute), ‘SuperSport’ and more, where she shared her story of resilience and empowerment, leaving an indelible impact on countless women. Her tenacity, confidence and unwavering belief in her abilities earned her the title that resonates today.

The term "powerhouse" is not just a label; it symbolises the journey of a woman who transcended adversity and shattered stereotypes. Govender embodies the essence of strength, resilience and empowerment, inspiring others to overcome barriers, find their voice and become forces of positive change. Her story serves as a reminder that even in the face of the most daunting challenges, one can rise, thrive and make an enduring impact.

Empowering change through non-profit initiatives

Govender's dedication to making a positive impact in the world is not limited to her professional accomplishments. Beyond her career, she has channelled her passion into two remarkable non-profit organisations that embody her commitment to social change and empowerment.

Govender, a true advocate for charitable causes, has always found joy in bringing smiles to people's faces. This innate desire to give back was sparked by her friend's charitable endeavours. Witnessing the impact of these efforts firsthand ignited a fire within her to contribute to the betterment of society.

The inception of Govender's non-profit organisations came about because of her involvement in various charitable initiatives. The first, Connected Humanity, was born out of a clothing drive that evolved into something much larger. Govender recognised the need to formalise her efforts, leading to the establishment of this NPO. She collaborated with like-minded individuals who shared her passion for making a difference.

Connected Humanity's.
Connected Humanity's.

Connected Humanity's mission transcends borders. While it began in South Africa, its reach extends internationally. Through initiatives such as clothing drives, feeding programmes and contributions to animal shelters, Connected Humanity aims to touch lives across different communities. The organisation’s goal is to foster connections and create sustainable change.

The Geek Goals Foundation, Govender's second initiative, is focused on the build of an e-learning platform and women empowerment. This foundation embodies her belief in the transformative power of education. The platform seeks to empower women holistically, from academia to mental health and emotional well-being. Govender envisions a wide array of courses, ranging from cooking and baking to marketing and science, allowing women to upscale their skills and build successful careers.

The key element of The Geek Girls Foundation is its ripple effect. Govender envisions a cycle of empowerment, where successful women on the platform not only uplift themselves but also become mentors, contributing to the growth of others. Govender's vision aligns with creating a positive domino effect, as women inspire and support one another, fostering a community of success.

Govender's philanthropic endeavours extend beyond her organisation’s scope, as she seeks partnerships with other companies working towards social change. Her commitment to solving pressing issues, such as defence and sustainability, highlights her holistic approach to creating a better world.

Balancing act: Journey of professional excellence and social impact

In a world where juggling various commitments can feel like a daunting challenge,  Govender stands as a prime example of someone who seamlessly balances her professional life, personal passions and community initiatives. Govender has not only excelled in her career but has also made a tangible difference in the lives of others through her impactful non-profit organisations.

The question often arises: How does one effectively contribute to both personal and societal betterment without compromising on quality or impact? Govender's approach revolves around two key principles: time management and priority setting. Recognising the significance of allocating time according to priorities, she emphasises the importance of giving her all to each endeavour, even if it means seeking assistance when needed.

Navigating this demanding path is undoubtedly challenging, yet Govender believes that action speaks louder than hesitation. She emphasises the importance of forward momentum and the futility of overthinking. To her, time is a valuable resource that should be maximised rather than squandered on deliberation. This perspective stems from her innate passion for her initiatives, allowing her to immerse herself fully in each endeavour.

Central to Govender's success is her engagement with projects she genuinely enjoys. Her current role aligns seamlessly with her studies and experience, which empowers her to invest herself wholeheartedly. This synergy translates into sustained energy and enthusiasm, even when she is dedicating time to her passion projects outside of work hours.

Govender acknowledges the vital role of a supportive network, both personally and professionally. She draws strength from her family, sister and partner, who stand by her side, offering encouragement and understanding during demanding periods. This support system enables her to dedicate quality time to her loved ones, despite her busy schedule.

Govender's journey underscores the significance of following one's passion and embracing the challenges that come with it. Her ability to synchronise her professional ambitions with her philanthropic initiatives stands as a testament to her remarkable dedication and resilience. As she continues to navigate this delicate balance, Govender exemplifies the transformative power of determination, time management and unwavering passion.

Empowering change: Kubeshni Govender's impact on gender equality and women's empowerment

Govender's journey serves as an inspiration to many, especially the younger generation, who look up to her as a trailblazer and role model. Her influence is evident not only in her professional accomplishments but also in the positive transformation she has sparked within communities. A brief encounter with her presentation is enough to recognise her as a champion for change, making her a true role model for young women everywhere.

So, what advice does Govender have for those who aspire to follow in her footsteps? She advocates for self-belief as the cornerstone of success. Govender emphasises the importance of embracing one's unique qualities and being comfortable in one's own skin. She encourages aspiring individuals to focus on their own journey, understanding that growth and transformation are constants. Govender underscores the significance of energy and passion, which radiate positivity and attract good energy in return.

In light of Women's Month and the ongoing conversation about gender equality and empowerment, Govender's accomplishments hold a crucial place. Her efforts extend beyond the surface-level understanding of women's empowerment. Govender clarifies that her mission is not to uplift women at the expense of men, but rather to establish a platform where equal opportunities are presented to all. Her initiatives aim to bridge the gender divide by promoting inclusivity, acknowledging that both men and women have unique qualities that contribute to progress.

Govender's approach to gender equality involves creating spaces where women's voices are heard and valued. Through her initiatives, she encourages women to be empowered and assertive, providing them with tools to tackle inequalities and advocate for themselves. Govender believes that fostering an environment where women are respected and appreciated leads to a collective empowerment that benefits society.

Words of wisdom and empowerment from 'The Powerhouse'

“Don’t let your past define who you are, as you are the author of your own destiny. Never lose your voice to speak your worth, or regret any of your challenges and mistakes, as this is how the learning curve of growth naturally shifts both personally and professionally. You cannot expect to grow where you feel complacent and comfortable; you've got to get extremely uncomfortable to experience the true beauty of growth.”