Meet Gireeja Bhoobun as she tells us what its like to work as a senior associate at Apex Group Ltd
Gireeja was born and raised in Mauritius. Inspired by both of her parents working and studying at the same time, while handling the household, she has always been imbued with these values and knew the importance of education, especially for a girl in a developing country. During her university breaks, she has done several internships and mini-pupillage in some law firms to gain experience needed to achieve her goals. Being given part-scholarship for both her masters degrees has been motivational for her self-confidence and strengthened her eagerness to learn. Her motto in life is to keep learning and to strive for excellency but at the same be humble.
Gireeja joined the Apex Group in November 2020 and currently works in the capacity of a Trust and Company administrator supporting colleagues in the Employee and Executive Services team located in Apex’s Jersey office.
Gireeja has been performing a wide range of functions to support the administration of Employee Benefit Trusts and International Pension Plans managed in Jersey including Customer Due Diligence Checks, File Reviews, the preparation of minutes, preparation of instructions and reconciliations. Gireeja is also involved with the recruitment process for a number of her fellow colleagues in Mauritius to expand the team locally. She is also a member of the Recreational Committee for Apex Mauritius.
Apex Group Ltd., established in Bermuda in 2003, is a global financial services provider. With 50 offices worldwide and 5,000 employees upon the close of announced acquisitions, Apex delivers an extensive range of services to asset managers, capital markets, private clients and family offices.
The importance of having a governance professional within the workplace is becoming more and more essential for the proper running of an organisation.
Gender Diversity in the boardroom should be one of the essential factors to be taken into consideration for succession planning. It has been seen that even though some listed companies have attained a recommended target of gender diversity in the boardroom, there is still a smaller percentage of senior female executives.
What is Governance?
In one word - oversight.
Governance encompasses all of the elements that ensure a company operates properly while ensuring control, monitoring management activities and taking into consideration the stakeholders involved.
What is a governance professional?
The importance of having a governance professional within the workplace is becoming more and more evident for the proper running of an organisation.
Whether they hold a qualification accredited by an awarding body like CGIUKI or they have a lot of experience dealing with governance-related matters for an extensive amount of time, a governance professional has an overarching role that helps guide an organisation.
The role of the governance professional is broad, and no longer means you need to be a company secretary, there are many different career paths you can take. While the job roles vary, there are certain tasks that governance professionals may be expected to do, including; managing relationships among keys stakeholders, eliminating communication barriers, mitigating any risk of non-compliance, and ensuring full collaboration of all parties towards the successful achievement of the company’s objectives. The governance professional should be knowledgeable and ready to advise on any subject area which will help the company perform within the required parameters of law and regulations.
The route to a career in governance
From her first degree in Law and Management at the University of Mauritius to her LLM in Corporate and Insolvency Law at the Nottingham Trent University, Gireeja had always had an interest in Law, but it was her dissertation on "Gender and Ethnic diversity in the Boardroom- Voluntary Target or Mandatory Quota" that made her realise that a career in Corporate Governance was more up her street.
As her passion for Corporate Governance developed, she participated in an internship with a start-up company in London, doing governance reports for banks, FTSE and other listed companies, regulators and company secretaries. Governance was now a part of who she wanted to be, and as a lifelong learner, she decided to find out how she could take her career forward.
After contacting the CGIUKI, she discovered there were a number of ways she could become a Chartered Governance Professional, either by qualifying through the Institute or through an accredited University. A full-time study option through a university was the most convenient option for Gireeja.
Choosing the MSc Corporate Governance at the London South Bank University, while working as a part-time Junior Governance Analyst gave Gireeja the opportunity to apply her knowledge in real time and gain experience along the way!
The essential skills for success in governance
- Exceptional leadership skills – you need to be forward thinking and able to forecast as well as having an innovative approach to problem solving.
- A people-centric approach – in governance you need to be able to put people first, while still having the best interests of the business at heart. By putting people first and ensuring employee engagement through training, development, coaching and mentoring, you make your job as a governance professional easier.
- Inclusion - as a governance professional you will need to be able to create and maintain a collective platform for decision making.
- Consultation - finding solutions will be part of your every day, and the support and collaboration of your team will be what helps you achieve success.
- Communication – in a governance role, you need to be able to communicate with everyone and have the ability to ensure swift top down and bottom up approaches where needed.
- Empowerment to seek a holistic and pragmatic vision – everyone does their job for a reason unique to them but putting in place a system of reward and recognition for good performance keeps staff motivated and leads to higher outputs and a better bottom line for the company.
After completing her Masters with Distinction, Gireeja returned to her home country Mauritius. Along with her full-time job as a Trust and Company Administrator for at Apex Group Limited, she started lecturing part-time at the University of Technology Mauritius for the module on Governance and Ethics for undergraduates. Imparting her knowledge to her students and making them passionate about the topic, seeing their interest and eagerness to know more, and getting positive responses and feedback is the highlight of her governance career so far...
How did the Institute support your career as a governance professional?
“The Institute has been really helpful since I discovered an interest in Governance. And I have found their help and support has remained throughout the unprecedented situation that has been presented by the pandemic. The variety of online webinars - joined from the safety of our homes, wherever they happen to be – has allowed the governance community to maintain and enhance their knowledge and skills. “
As a student, Gireeja had the opportunity to attend various conference and networking events in London, as well as the Insight Day organised by the Institute and DMJ at National Grid to experience what role of the company secretary entails on a day-to-day basis, in a FTSE company.
Words of wisdom for the next generation of governance professionals?
Governance is everywhere- from the “birth” to the “death” of an organisation. It not only involves the Board of Directors, but also involves every employee and other stakeholders.
As governance is constantly developing, the topic keeps getting more and more interesting. Who would have thought about having an online AGM or having such advanced boardroom technology 20 years ago? Governance Professionals have to keep evolving with time and adapt to new ways of thinking to ensure that there is good governance within the company, not only through accountability, responsibility and fairness but also with diversity and technology.