Beverley Fanella, born in the Eastern Cape, studied BPsych (Counselling) at Stellenbosch University and is currently enrolled for MPhil in Higher Education. Her key areas of expertise include identifying trends in higher education and the educational sector, and recruitment strategies (including bursary programmes, first generation students research and interventions).
Why do you work for the Foundation?
When applying for the position of Scholarship Selection Manager at the Foundation, I wrote in my cover letter: “My name is Beverley Fanella, and I am absolutely convinced I am supposed to be your next Selection Manager.” From the moment I made the decision that it was time to move on from my position as Recruitment Manager at Stellenbosch University, I knew the only other organisation I could imagine working for was the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. I researched every aspect, and I waited with bated breath to hear whether I had been appointed. On my first day as Selection Manager, Anthony Farr (CEO) made the following statement in his talent seminar opening address: “Working at the Foundation is a calling, not a job, or career” – and that is why I am here. I see myself as an individual pursuing her calling to be an educational pioneer and leader. I appreciate a working environment where mutual respect and consideration are the order of the day – and every fibre of the Foundation speaks to this.
How has your own life journey contributed to your career decision?
I started at Stellenbosch University in 2004 when I joined its Centre for Prospective Students, and over the last four years worked my way up to Recruitment Manager. The day I realised I had reached my ceiling, I knew I needed to reassess my options, reflect on how I had spent the past few years and how I intended to spend the next phase of my career and life. I spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on my career path, and the one thing that was absolutely clear was that my next career move had to be speak to my “calling”, which I believe is to provide educational alternatives to those with the tenacity to survive the realities of their communities and our troubled schooling system. On a personal note, I am one of those who were ‘caught’, and in a sense my career trajectory is determined by the extent to which I can pay it forward and catch other young people like I was caught.
What are your hopes and dreams for South Africa (specifically referring to education and entrepreneurship)?
My moto over the last 10 years has been: Access with success. My dream for South Africa is that every educational institution will provide access with success – from primary schools and high schools, to higher education institutions. I dream of national benchmarking (including the National Senior Certificate examination) speaking to the wonder of a transformed educational system, of graduate throughput rates that indicate we are producing the right graduates based on changing labour market trends. I dream of more schools like Crystal House, Leap Academy, COSAT, and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy appearing in areas like Woodstock and Khayelitsha – providing quality schooling ranked amongst the best. Finally, I dream of a type of national educational leadership that says: this is our calling – to provide access with success.