28 January 2020
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism in the face of adversity or misfortune.
It is such a can-do attitude that has characterised the life of 39-year old Preetesh Sewraj who has been appointed as CEO of Loeries, the most prestigious creative industry and brand communication awards for Africa & the Middle East.
An experienced business leader and innovator, Sewraj has worked with major brands including Unilever, Samsung, Nedbank and Vodacom.
He successfully launched Product of the Year in South Africa, the world’s largest consumer-voted award for product innovation. Since its launch in 2008, it has helped millions of consumers identify great innovation that adds value to their lives.
Sewraj sees his role as “leading the Loeries in its mission to unearth and share great examples of creativity and innovation, as well as ensure deeper engagement with organisations across the region that are aligned to supporting this goal”.
“Creativity is the cornerstone of great innovation and the Loeries is uniquely positioned to help stimulate greater innovative thinking and execution across the Middle East and Africa.
“I want to ensure that we break down barriers between the countries in our region to facilitate collaboration that creates opportunities for new thinking, greater conversation and respect for the human experience, regardless of where it is experienced” he said.
Sewraj has featured regularly on major national and international media platforms, has spoken at several large conferences and is the co-host of Power Edge on Power 98.7’s Power Lunch.
Born in Durban but now living in Johannesburg, his parents discovered he had a speech defect when he was three years old. It took many years of therapy to rectify this issue.
“I believe that this was a pivotal moment where my speech ability began to supersede those of my peers and if it was not for this challenge, then I probably would not have the technical ability or confidence to address large audiences as I do today.
Another challenge he faced was when his mother was diagnosed with cancer when he was nine years old.
“My mother fought hard against the cancer which went into remission for many years. However, my mum passed away a few years ago, and for me, she was the human embodiment of tenacity.”
Sewraj attained a Bachelor of Social Science degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal with majors in Media and Communication and Classical Civilisations.
He also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management from MANCOSA
“MANCOSA attracted me as I wanted to meet different South Africans and explore the stories of different people.
“My current role requires me to understand the full potential of innovation on South Africans and MANCOSA brought a wealth of knowledge in terms of how a wide range of South Africans are working to upskill themselves and bring greater innovation not just to the organisations but to the country.
“Also, the MANCOSA postgraduate diploma has provided me both theoretical and practical knowledge to get me where I am today. It also helped me develop skills and provided me with courage to speak publicly and to continue building my own company from the ground up,” said Sewraj.
Commenting on the impact he wants make in the world, Sewraj said he wants to ensure that the world is a better place because he is in it.
“My chosen area of focus is innovation leadership and the facilitation of robust innovation pipelines in South Africa. In my small way, I know that the work I am doing is already having an impact.
“However, society does not move forward because of the success of one person but because of the ability of people to find ways to move the whole of society forward with them.
“We all need to work together to ensure that South Africa is on a winning trajectory and that can only be achieved if we actively look at opportunities to help the most vulnerable people in our society move the needles in their lives.”
Sewraj said it is important to empower people with leadership skills, particularly those in historically disadvantaged communities.
“I believe that when leadership skills are present, then the confidence to create change is easier to achieve.
“When leadership skills are widely embedded in society, we create individuals who have the ability to identify challenges and also put the required action in place to negate these challenges.
“Vulnerable communities have the greatest need for such leadership skills and the creation of leadership excellence will help ensure that development of these communities takes place at a faster pace,” he said.
Married with a two-year old daughter, he spends his spare time with his family.
“Nothing helps me relax more than being around people that I love and who also love me,’ said Sewraj.
MANCOSA, a leading provider of management programmes through supported distance learning in Southern Africa, is ranked among 10 of the best providers of MBAs in Africa. MANCOSA is a member of Honoris United Universities, the first pan-African private higher education network focused on nurturing the next generation of African leaders and professionals. With 12 learning centres across the SADC regions offering 74 programmes, MANCOSA serves as an innovation hub for executive education and postgraduate management programmes. A selection of 25 Executive Education Short Learning Programmes is also offered to meet the requirements of professionals in both the private and public sectors. See: www.mancosa.co.za
(031) 201 0550 / 083 3263962
On behalf of:
Honoris United Universities