A barrister, a scholar, a businesswoman and an architect. What is the common factor? Contagious energy and inspiring vision. More than the fulfilment of a personal goal, they define success as a collective achievement.
We chose to portray those women both for their professional accomplishment and for what they represent: an inspired and inspiring generation, which strives to leave a better future to the next, calls for change, and sees progress as nothing but sustainable. They are the “Talent Generation”. Let’s get to know them.
Anna graduated from the École Spéciale d’Architecture (ESA) and is now vice-president of S.O.S Patrimoine En Péril. She makes a point to reconnect with vernacular architecture, which is anchored in the surrounding territory, climate, lifestyle and savoir-faire. “In Mauritius, we have a tendency to spread within the landscape. We consume land for the benefit of the building, we set the static in place of the living.” Anna calls for vigilance. While cement and steel are largely used, they are also extremely polluting. Therefore, “let us use them sparingly and avoid waste.
When she teaches at the ENSA Nantes-Mauritius, Anna enjoins her students to forge their convictions.
“The architect’s role has not changed, but the challenges are more urgent and complex today.”
The climate crisis has placed the architect back at the decision table. It is time to bring the strategies and speeches in favour of sustainable economic and social development into action.
After obtaining a State Scholarship, Joe-Ann pursued higher education in Melbourne. Her return to Mauritius came as a cold shower. Despite her excellent academic records, doors remained closed and unchallenging jobs followed. In her spare time, she managed to open a catering company and engaged into Crossfit and weightlifting. Although she was said to be “too old”, she took part in a national competition in 2020, a few months after her first trials. This gave her enough courage to leave everything behind and go back to study at the London School of Economics, financing her new start through a crowd-funding campaign, as of September 2021.
Joe-Ann is aiming at a PhD and intends to explore the links between
political and economical powers, as well as the ideological system in
“Mauritian people have a tremendous potential, but many settle for the minimum. We need to aim higher: a better representation in the media, a seat at the leaders’ table, a meritocratic society. I don’t want my children to fight the same battles as I had to. I want to leave a better world than the one I was born into.”
COO of an engineering firm for eight years, Natacha took up a new challenge when she founded an offshore management company with a friend. This fostered her interest in startup companies. In 2017, she co-founded Red Dot, a consulting firm specialising in innovation. They have recently worked on the MCB platform Punch, which brings together more than 700 entrepreneurs and service providers as stakeholders. “In Mauritius, our education system does not train us to become risk-takers or forward-thinkers. We would like to move that state of things. We thus help organisations to reinvent themselves.”
Natacha is also fighting to have more women on administrative boards. Thanks to her Board of Good initiative, Mauritian companies can discover in just one click the profiles of hundreds of businesswomen, who are just waiting to be heard. According to Natacha, visibility is the first step: many local businesses are still claiming today that they cannot “find” competent women for management positions.
“Today, we need to take that position. We can no longer wait for it to be offered to us.”
According to Taroonah, success is tantamount to influence. It is about giving young people the motivation to pursue their studies, encouraging women to stand up against the patriarchal diktats and ensuring good governance within Mauritian businesses.
“I want to be able to speak proudly of Mauritius on international platforms, as of a country, which has moved into the right direction to secure an attractive position for offshore investments, far from the image of a tax haven.”
As long as they abide by the laws and regulations and comply with ethical operating principles, Mauritian companies will restore confidence among lenders and investors, thereby contributing to convey a positive image of the country abroad.