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Six leadership tips from Nestlé ESAR’s Prithi Chetty

A chat with newly-appointed Head of HR Transformation & Learning for Nestlé East & Southern Africa Region (ESAR), Prithi Chetty, is loaded with leadership tips for aspiring young talent.

Prithi Chetty

A chat with newly-appointed Head of HR Transformation & Learning for Nestlé East & Southern Africa Region (ESAR), Prithi Chetty, is loaded with leadership tips for aspiring young talent.

  1. Do what you love

For Prithi Chetty, new Head of HR Transformation & Learning for Nestlé East & Southern Africa Region (ESAR), her new role at Nestlé is the culmination of both her professional experience and her personal passion. Ever practical, candid and positive, she says, “I didn’t have the time or the finances to study psychology, so I moved to HR and I’ve been fortunate enough to work for companies like Nedbank, Dimension Data, PPS, Sony, Samsung, Saint-Gobain and now, Nestlé. Twenty years in this industry really emanates from my passion to be a catalyst for change.” Curiosity piqued? Read more about her work experience.

  1. Focus, focus, focus

Prithi attributes her success to her unwavering focus on key areas such as transformation HR, Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE), leadership development, and youth entrepreneurship support. She recognizes the immense potential within South Africa's youth demographic and aims to address unemployment challenges by creating diverse and inclusive workplace environments that foster opportunity and success.

She says, “There are sixty million people in South Africa. Seven point seven million are youths and of those, 6.7 million are unemployed. I understand the historical legacies of apartheid and my role is to help corporate South Africa create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. The difference between people is opportunities. Opportunities + hard work = success. I want to be a catalyst to enable people to perform optimally.”  

  1. Know your role

At Nestlé ESAR, Prithi’s role encompasses Learning & Development (L&D), Transformation, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). She views these aspects as interconnected components essential for creating a high-performance culture rooted in inclusivity and belonging. By aligning her professional endeavours with her values, Prithi strives to be a catalyst for positive change within the organization and the broader community.

  1. Walk the walk

Prithi emphasizes the importance of authenticity and integrity in leadership. As a 'people person,' she prioritises building genuine, mutually beneficial relationships both personally and professionally. Her role as a mother further underscores the significance of humility, kindness, and respect in nurturing well-rounded individuals who appreciate diversity and cultural differences.

  1.  Communicate wins and strategy

 Being the best version of herself professionally, means laser focus not only on driving work to fruition from a strategic, leadership and operational perspective, but also on communicating outcomes as they’re achieved.  

At Nestlé, Prithi’s excited he importance of articulating goals, strategies, and achievements clearly and consistently, particularly in embedding B-BBEE initiatives into daily business operations. Prithi explains, “It’s not about ticking boxes, it’s about meaningful work with longevity which resonates with people. I want to reinvigorate my team to take on both L&D and Transformation and communicate the mutually inclusive relationship between the two portfolios to every level of the business. It’s so important that the strategy resonates with employees so that employees themselves become enablers of change.”  

  1. Substance over form

Prithi’s focus on substance over form is reflected in her track record of driving meaningful impact. In her previous role, she successfully elevated her company's DEI landscape and significantly improved its BBBEE contribution level. Additionally, her dedication to mentoring and empowering women highlights her commitment to fostering personal and professional growth beyond organizational boundaries.

Through her leadership philosophy and personal ethos, Chetty exemplifies the true measure of success as being proud of one's contributions, both professionally and personally. Her journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring leaders to pursue their passions, stay focused on their goals, lead with integrity, communicate effectively, and make meaningful contributions that leave a lasting impact on individuals and communities alike.

Personally, she has mentored eight people. “I’ve consistently done that throughout my whole working career – I love empowering women. But really, I’m most proud of my kids,” she reflects.