UP Close … with Audrey Nanon, chief executive of the Seychelles Institute of Management-“It is only through hard work that one can move up in life”


This, she feels, is because a lot of work has been accomplished during this short time.Mrs Nanon
In fact she is one who firmly believes that it is only through hard work that a person can succeed and gradually move up in life.

A person who loves challenges, who is not afraid to take risks in order to succeed, Mrs Nanon considers herself a people’s person.

“I am not the kind of person who likes being stuck in an office all the time,” she says.
“I like to be in touch with people, to interact with them and vice versa, and this is very important for me and this is what makes me happy,” she says.

Originally a resident of Greenwich in the English River district, but now living at Carana, Mrs Nanon, the fourth of six children, spent most of her childhood and went to primary school in Kenya.

She came back to Seychelles at the age of 15 in time to join the National Youth Service.
After two years at this institution, she joined the Seychelles Polytechnic and after her time there, obtained a scholarship and moved to pursue her studies in Australia. There, she studied and obtained a bachelor degree in education after four years.

Career development

Coming back to Seychelles, she lectured at the School of Business Studies at the Seychelles Polytechnic.

Mrs Nanon gradually moved up to head the School of Business Studies, then to become assistant director of the Polytechnic and later director.

She spent 12 years at the Seychelles Polytechnic and during that time she also studied on a part-time basis for a master in education leadership.

“It was a very tough time for me as I had a small child but luckily I had a lot of support at home and this helped a lot. I am really grateful for that,” says Mrs Nanon.

She adds it is because of the support and understanding she receives from her husband which enables her to move on and do new projects.

“After 12 years at the Polytechnic I felt I needed a change,” she says, adding that it is always good to be able after some years to look back, see what you’ve done and assess what you have achieved.

“I think it is also good to see how you can grow further and do things in a totally different way.

“And I felt then that I needed to do something different. I felt the need to further develop my ability but in other areas”.

Mrs Nanon decided to resign as director of the Seychelles Polytechnic and took a job in the financial sector.

For two years she worked as a corporate executive in the offshore services.
“It was a totally new experience and I was doing something completely different from what I was use to doing,” she says.

“It gave me the opportunity to look at things in a different perspective,” she recalls.
Mrs Nanon’s decision to seek new challenges also meant more training.

“I followed more training in the offshore sector and for me this was added knowledge which I always welcome,” she says.

“I always try my best to make the most of such opportunities,” she adds.
“The more knowledge one can acquire is very good because learning is a continuous process and the more knowledgeable one is, the more job opportunities one gets,” she says.

But after two years Mrs Nanon felt the job was not offering the kind of challenge she likes.
“I am not a person who likes to be tucked away in an office all the time,” she says.

“And when the offer for the post at the Seychelles Institute of Management (SIM) presented itself, I said why not? And here I am.”

“Again it was something different and I know it was going to be challenging but I look forward to that.

“The important thing is the contact I have with people all the time. This is what I like,” she says happily.

“I am happy and I feel good about myself and the decision I made and I feel good I took the big step. It was the highlight of my professional working life,” she adds.

She says it is a very important position where she has to make decisions which impact on the lives of many people.

“But I like the challenges and I enjoy what I do,” she says.
As the chief executive of the SIM, Mrs Nanon has lot of important responsibilities.

The SIM is responsible to make available and to develop training courses in collaborations with other educational and training institutions both locally and internationally and as the chief executive, Mrs Nanon is responsible to ensure this is carried out effectively.

Starting as a unit in the Department of Finance in 1977, the SIM has grown with the nation, changing and adapting its mandate to meet national needs.

Today the institute offers a range of training opportunities, consultancy and research services all aimed at building personal, professional and managerial capacity of all Seychellois in need of more training to enable them to lead and take part in the country’s future development.

“Training is a very important issue in Seychelles but there are people who still view training and more training at a certain age in a negative way and this is not good.

“On the other hand we should consider ourselves lucky to be getting the opportunity to receive more training even if we have been working for many years.

“It is always good to learn something new or new ways of doing things. I believe people should give more value to training,” she points out.

Mrs Nanon leading Vice-President Danny Faure on a tour of the SIM

“SIM is there to make training easier and available for everyone who needs it.
“People need to change their attitude and start looking at training in a different light and each one of us should consider the opportunity to get more training as a means to broaden our horizon and increase our professional development,” says Mrs Nanon.

“Our country needs to adapt to the ever changing world and to be able to do that we will always need new skills which could only be acquired through training and more training,” she says.

Mrs Nanon says the SIM is working towards changing people’s attitude to training.
“It is important for organisations to ensure their members of staff develop their abilities through training at all levels,” Mrs Nanon explains.

To be able to carry out her work effectively, Mrs Nanon has the help of a team of 28 members of staff.

“I would say I have been blessed because I have a very professional group of people to work with,” she says.

“We have a lot of work to do and everybody contribute their ideas on how to do things.
“At SIM everybody’s opinion counts and this is very important and very good for the development and future of the organisation,” she stresses.

As for herself, she says she wants to do more training and get more skills as she moves on in life.

“I am the type of person who will make sure whatever I do I do well and if more training is required for me to do my job better, I will go for it,” she says.

“I believe in hard work to move on in life and I am happy and satisfied with my position because I worked really hard for it and I feel I have a lot more to contribute.”

Besides her managerial duties, Mrs Nanon also still gives some lectures, something she says she enjoys doing.

But in spite of her demanding job, Mrs Nanon ensures that she makes time for her family.

Family life

The mother of 10-year-old Emily and four-year-old Nathan, Mrs Nanon believes that the only way to prepare our children for the future is to have a good and strong foundation and this should begin at home.

Herself coming from quite a large family of six children, Mrs Nanon says she enjoyed her childhood very much and today she is very grateful for the strong foundation she received.

“The family, with the protection and security it represents, is very important for the children to develop and grow and learn all the good values that our society today yearns for,” she says.

“We make sure our children do not miss out on their childhood and as much as possible we do things together as a family,” she says.

Mrs Nanon says in spite of her demanding job, she ensures her family spends quality time together, enjoying the little things children like, such as going to the beach, watching television and some sports, going on family outings and simply taking part in the children’s chatter.

At a time when a lot of effort and energy is being spent into bringing back in our society the good values which our people are rapidly losing, Mrs Nanon believes that each family should relook at the way our children are being brought up.

“The key to solving most of our social ills and other problems is there,” she says.
During the little time she manages to make for herself, Mrs Nanon says she enjoys reading a good book, especially thrillers.

By Marie-Anne Lepathy

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