– Kavi to his friends and colleagues - the new country lead for Redbox Digital’s Centre of Excellence in Mauritius. We ask him what brought him to Redbox, his plans for the agency in that region and how he spends his time outside of Redbox.
Where were you before Redbox?
I worked for the tech giants, CSS Corp, in Mauritius with a global workforce of 5500+. My role was Centre Head, responsible for growing the company’s enterprise technical support services out in Mauritius.
Before that I was at Ceridian, a human capital management software company, overseeing a development team in Mauritius. While there, we delivered the first mobile payroll solution for M&S – it was a key milestone for me, along with high employee engagement and retention.
I’m dual nationality and before moving to Mauritius I spent 14 years in the UK, mainly in London. It’s my happy place - there’s no better place to live when the sun is shining and that’s coming from someone who lives in Mauritius! The culture, food markets, Sunday walks in the park – I loved my time there.
What brought you to Redbox?
I was looking for a change so the role at Redbox came at the right time. I’ve worked for big, global organisations and the fact that Redbox was an independent organisation appealed to me.
Before taking on the role, I met with Jonty, the CEO, and he spoke about his vision for the agency and Mauritius – that excited me and I felt there was a real opportunity to grow the business and make Mauritius the global Centre of Excellence for Redbox and Magento.
It’s exciting times for Redbox, not just in the region but globally and I relish the challenge.
Where do you see the opportunities for Redbox?
Redbox already has a presence in Southern Africa. The African continent presents a great opportunity for Redbox, especially in the French speaking countries of Senegal, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast. Having the bilingual capability is definitely an asset for us and gives us a competitive edge.
Mauritius is part of SADC, It’s similar to the European Union. A bilateral agreement between the member countries allows us to do business more easily with each other.
There are also value-add opportunities in Mauritius. The Human Resource Development Council has been set up to promote the IT sector in Mauritius, and the Mauritius Research Council and the Economic Development Board provides funding and support for R&D and innovation projects in the region.
The aim of the Mauritius Government is for the region to become a Cyber Island. There are around 28,000+ people employed in the IT / BPO sector and for an Island with 1.2 million people, that is significant.
Large companies like Accenture, Orange Business Services, PWC, SD Works and EY have a presence in the region.
We want to be part of the discussions as there is potential scope for some exciting collaborations and an opportunity for us to make a significant contribution to the sector.
I also want to start engaging the community and give our employees the chance to get more involved in community initiatives. It’s good for the soul.
What do you see as being the biggest challenge for Redbox in that region?
Tech resources is without doubt the biggest challenge for all IT companies in the region. There is a high demand for good, qualified IT professionals. I don’t see this resolving anytime soon – there’s limited clarity in terms of action plan.
What should the country be doing to attract talent to the region?
There needs to be a bigger drive from the Universities, with more of a focus on IT courses. It’s not just about the numbers but developing good, IT talent.
We can look to the African continent for talent but it’s not a sustainable model in the long-term as people tend to return home after a short spell.
I’m speaking from experience. There comes a time in life when your focus changes and for me, it was my parents. That was the pull to return home.
Biggest work achievements inside and outside of work?
Aside from delivering the first mobile payroll solution for M&S, it was positioning Sumtotal in Europe - in two years we grew from 12 colleagues to 72 with an emphasis on engagement, customer experience and success.
Outside of work, it’s my family. Two years ago, I became a Dad. I want to be the best Dad I can be – teach him things in life and help shape his character.
I’m also part of a football team. We have players who are 65 plus, which is inspiring. I play every Sunday morning and really enjoy it.
What’s your work Moto?
Do the right thing for our customers and Redbox Digital – be honest, work hard and be nice – these are values I aspire to.
What’s the one piece of advice you have been given in life that has struck a chord?
A former boss once said to me: “as a manager, you have the ability to make a person happy and unhappy – and their entire family unhappy. Being a manager or leader is a huge responsibility. If you don’t have empathy, you should not be a manager”. It’s common sense really!