Monatelly Magazine Interview

Prenita Reddi, age 37, was born and raised in the South of Johannesburg. She completed her mainstream schooling at the Lenasia Secondary school, Prenita furthered her studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, where she obtained a degree in the Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounts and finance. She applied her knowledge in the employ of several corporations including Liberty Life, Investec, Nedbank and Deloitte. It was during this time that Prenita furthered her studies by attaining a Master’s degree in Business Leadership through the University of South Africa.

In 2013 Prenita Reddi set her sights on breaking into the entrepreneurial world. With the support of her husband, Vinesh, she broke from the corporate shackles and purchased a cross border logistics business, Refuel Carriers. By her own admission Prenita admits that she has never regretted her decision to pursue this entrepreneurial challenge and adventure. Vinesh and Prenita are proud parents of three children Nekeesha (13), Ashaan (4) and Kiyaan (3).

Working in a male dominated environment is…

… both stressful and exhilarating.  The management and continuous improvement of a transport enterprise is in itself a highly competitive and complex. Added to this Refuel Carriers operates in the cross border logistics market and this combined with the fact that it is owned by a female entrepreneur multiplies the challenges. “Not only do I have to deal with multiple countries, cultures, customs, different laws, and language barriers I also encounter an aversion to females in positions of power within a generally male dominated industry. My biggest hurdle to date has been to remain steadfast as a professional person when working on equal footing with male counterparts,” says Prenita. The transport industry in South Africa is slow to adapt to females in the business; it is a continuous challenge — coupled with persistence, perseverance and a strong belief in gender equality, that a woman at the helm of a transport organisation can be successful. Prenita adds: “I know that I can prove that all it takes to attain success is to be a great leader and that the basis of success is not gender-specific.”

“Balancing work and family….

…. is not achievable in my world. I do not believe that balance can be used in the same sentence as work and family. They are two very separate worlds for me. What works for me is to focus on two key words — delegation and integration. I believe in having a strong and sound support system in place; I prioritize a blend of both work and life matters, depending on the urgency of what needs to be done at that specific time.”

“My definition of happiness is …

… spending quality time with my family and loved ones and giving back to society whenever I can; these convictions help me develop my journey to achieve joy and happiness. Happiness for me is a very inward journey; it is a state of fulfillment with and appreciation of what I currently have.”

“For fun I…

… shop, read, blog and travel the world. My husband and I love travelling; this love for travel and learning about other cultures inspired me to start my own travel blog called My Travelling Escapades, in which I provide my readers with helpful and insightful travel tips.”

“My favourite place in the world is…

… a small town in India called Rishikesh.  Rishikesh is a place I return to frequently. It has a strong magnetic lure that captivates me at every visit. I always leave filled with a sense of calmness and spiritual satisfaction. I once read that the Beetles were so inspired that they wrote over 40 songs when they stayed at an ashram in Rishikesh.”

“I entered Mrs SA because…

…. life has been a valuable learning curve and I have learnt any lessons. I have been through ups and downs and highs and lows but on every occasion I have emerged triumphantly with my head held high. I attribute this determination to my persistence and my belief in myself. I know that my life experience and purposeful life journey has made me who I am and I embrace that. I am living proof that your circumstances don’t define you. I felt that I wanted to use these lessons to be a role model for married women, divorced women and single mothers too. The Mrs SA platform is an empowerment program that focuses on inspiring women in South Africa to put forward the very best version of themselves, unconditionally. This personal perception mantra is not only positive, but also spiritually uplifting; I have  great affinity and synergy with this way of thinking.”

“My journey with Mrs South Africa so far has been …

… exciting and one of tremendous growth. I have faced fears, pushed my personal boundaries and opened myself up to new experiences. It has been a journey of new friendships and self-discovery. I have grown my circle of friends, and networked and met so many like-minded women.  This journey has stretched, pushed and shifted me. I wouldn’t say I am a different person but rather a better version of myself. For this I thank you.”

“Should I become Mrs SA you can expect…        

… a real, relatable bonafide woman who has experienced life in all its diversity. I would focus on promoting the fact that a person is not defined by their past or even current circumstances, but rather in sustaining honest belief in oneself. I also believe in giving back as a gesture of appreciation and gratitude. I feel that sometimes people want to get involved to make a tangible difference but they are not sure how or where to begin. I would like to make South Africans aware of how they can give back to their communities. CANSA is also the Mrs SA official charity; they have various activities that everyone can get involved in, in different capacities.”