BCEC Business Manager shares her recipe for success supporting a busy and dynamic team

ContactsKelly Pohatu, Events and Communications Officer
Published3 May 2018

Kumesh Haripersad is the Business Manager at the Bankwest Curtin Economic Centre. Kumesh shares her recipe for success supporting a busy and dynamic team.

What is it like to be a Business Manager?

As the Business Manager for BCEC, I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Centre, ensuring that the goals of staff and key stakeholders are executed and met, as well as developing business plans and strategies to shape and facilitate the future of BCEC.

My life has been full of exciting challenges and I guess you could say I seem to have fallen into business management rather than it being my chosen career path. Previously, I was a Finance Manager at the South African Medical Council which then evolved to include managing business issues. I found that I liked handling a variety of portfolios rather than just one area of work. This, in addition to attaining an MBA, led me to work in the business management space.

What key skills do you need to do your job?

A thorough grounding in the role that I work in and the ability to exude confidence, graciousness, optimism, and ambition. As a Business Manager you have to embody a range of skills. You have to be organised and able to multitask to deliver on a multitude of tasks with competing deadlines. One of the major tasks that I am responsible for is assisting in the coordination of the Centre’s marquee report launches which is monumental to put together. This entails an array of activities which can take up to two months to coordinate. At the same time, your attention is drawn to many other responsibilities including finance, operations, and human resource tasks.

What do you do to mentor the individuals on your team?

This is the one aspect of my career that I enjoy the most. Each individual on the team brings a different strength to the table. As a manager, I strive to recognise and leverage these talents by helping my team identify personal development opportunities, such as one-on-one career training with another team member who has a particular skill to offer.

What support do you have to enable success in your career?

I’ve always had the support of a strong, dynamic team whose commitment and dedication to hard work and ‘giving your best’ attitude synced well with my personal goals. For me it is important to have a team that have similarities but are not afraid to challenge the status quo. Having the support of your manager is also of paramount importance to your success as a Business Manager as it shapes the manner in which you execute your duties and keeps you motivated.

What’s the toughest challenge or biggest battle you’ve faced in your career?

We have a small team and a mammoth task of supporting the delivery of BCEC’s research impact and engagement activities. Probably the hardest thing has been my own personal evolution as the Centre has grown. It’s been exciting to get up in the morning and head into the office, but it can also be stressful and taxing at times. So there’s probably not a day that goes by that I haven’t been challenged to do something different and contribute value in a new way.

There’s usually this presumption that whatever skills get you into a position will continue to work at the next level, but I’ve learned that evolution must absolutely be continuous.

What’s the biggest myth about your work?

The biggest myth is probably that as the Business Manager, everyone assumes you’re too busy and that you never have time for a bit of downtime and a chat with your colleagues.

I always make sure I have time to do the listening that I need to do. To be present, to just be able to chat with the team on a personal level, and hear their perspectives is the biggest challenge from a leadership perspective. In my calendar I schedule in time regularly to catch up with work colleagues. That’s one of my favourite times of the day.

What advice or words of wisdom would you share with others interested in working in business management?

If you’re considering becoming a Business Manager, it might pay to think about the field or organisation you wish to work in. My career has always been something I have been proud of and something at which I have worked very hard. I have always tried to seek employment where I can add value, and with organisations that are socially responsible.

Since working at BCEC, I feel truly blessed to have been exposed to current research on key economic and public policy issues. I now have a good understanding of how research can help inform policy and impact the lives of people.

Lastly, if you enjoy working with people, love resolving issues, and thrive on each day being different, then a career in business management is for you. Pursuing something that you’re passionate about with people who motivate you, makes work really fun, even through the difficult times.