Goals Delayed but Not Denied

Ms Jacqueline Grant.
Age is nothing but a number for Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies graduate, Ms Jacqueline Grant.

Fifty-three-year-old aspiring academic, Ms Jacqueline Grant graduated with her Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies.

Grant worked in the accounting and property industry for more than 25 years before embarking on her academic journey in 2015.

It was always her dream to be a teacher. In 1989 she registered with the then University of Natal for a Bachelor of Arts in Drama and Teaching but life had other plans. Nine years ago, she decided to again chase that dream.

Armed with a Bachelor of Commerce followed by a postgraduate diploma, both awarded cum laude by Varsity College, she is now a part-time online lecturer.

‘Transitioning to academia has not been without its challenges, but this latest qualification opens up new opportunities. It broadened my knowledge of leadership and helped shape my leadership approach. I was appointed to a senior position at the beginning of this year,’ she said.

Grant’s study, entitled An Examination of the Role of Leadership in Fostering Employee Engagement during Times of Crises: A Case Study of the Commercial Property Sector in KwaZulu-Natal was topical given the multiple crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, the July 2021 unrest and the floods in April 2022 that severely impact the property industry and the people of KwaZulu-Natal.

The findings of the study highlight that communication is the cornerstone of employee engagement which is underpinned by the quality of the employer/employee relationship. Future research could explore changes needed in leasing policies and office space usage to support the viability of this important industry.

She hopes that the findings of her research will assist leaders to craft effective employee engagement strategies during times of crisis.

‘Leaders play a pivotal role in ensuring that employees remain engaged so as to enhance organisational success. This is even more important in times of crisis when people are trying to cope with personal trauma and work commitments,’ said Grant. She plans to publish her research and is embarking on a textbook collaboration project in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training space. 

Words: Lungile Ngubelanga

Photograph: Sethu Dlamini

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