Not only has Vino Govender, 43, the managing director of LA Consulting Engineering, been named Africa’s most influential woman in business and government, but she also scooped the International Women’s Entrepreneurship Award in Seattle last week.
The accolade was handed to her at the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (Iwec) Foundation Awards held by the New York-based non-profit organisation.
It is just one of the many titles bestowed on the mother of one in the past few months for her dedication and contribution to the built engineering industry in South Africa, which she has dedicated 17 years of her life to.
She was nominated for the international award by Margaret Hirsch the co-founder of electronic goods retailer Hirsch.
The title of Africa’s most influential woman in business and government was awarded to her at a ceremony in Joburg two weeks ago.
Govender, an accountant, decided to branch out into the field of civil engineering and the built environment. She works with a team of engineers and manages the overall business using her professional skills.
She said she was passionate about philanthropy as well as mentoring young entrepreneurs and would continue to mentor them.
“At my company, we run a number of different projects for the betterment of society. I have long been passionate about helping children and the elderly and so started a few projects which focus on them.
“I run a programme where we teach children to play golf and spearhead a project which looks at uplifting the underprivileged by providing them with hampers regularly,” said Govender.
She said working in the building business, which was male-dominated, came with many challenges but she had managed to find her comfort zone.
“The industry is my comfort zone. I wanted to be a nurse so that I could help people, but when I was studying I was told it would not be a sustainable career. So I turned to accounting,” said Govender.
Her advice to other aspiring businesswomen is: “Never be afraid to take that big step in your life because you never know where it may lead you.
“Also, don’t ever think that anything will be easy. Life is never easy. It comes with hard work, sweat and tears,” said Govender.