MBA alum Arthi Rabikrisson bags prestigious global award

South African leadership coach and champion of equity and women’s rights takes top honours at the gala event of the International Association of Top Professionals in New York.

South African Arthi Rabikrisson was honoured with the award for Top Leadership Coach of the Year at the recent International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) at the Plaza Hotel in New York.

The IAOTP is an international boutique networking organisation that handpicks the world's finest, most prestigious top professionals from different industries who are then given an opportunity to collaborate, share their ideas, be keynote speakers and to help influence others in their fields.

“Dreams really do come true and I’m still pinching myself,” says Johannesburg-based Rabikrisson. “To be honoured with this award, getting to meet and build relationships with some truly wonderful people who are doing amazing things in their fields of expertise is an experience to cherish. And as a South African businesswoman serving local and international clients the award is a testimony to the calibre of coaching partnerships that have been established over the past four and a half years of being a full time executive and leadership coach.”

Rabikrisson, who recently co-authored a book, Redefining the Rules: Incredible Women On How to Embrace Equity, is a champion of empowering women in business, and supporting entrepreneurship. The founder and CEO of Prerna Advisory, which focuses on neuroscience-based coaching and assessment for individuals, teams and corporates, she is also an independent non-executive director of Global Grassroots, an US-based NGO focusing on empowering women in vulnerable communities in East Africa. She is a keynote speaker on local and international event platforms and summits, advocating for leadership, career growth and development through the understanding of neuroscience and entrepreneurship.

Aged just 26, she was awarded the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Scholarship for Ethical Leadership for full MBA study at Henley Business School Africa and went on to flourish over the duration of the course. She obtained a distinction for her thesis, Harnessing the power of emotional intelligence within financial services to enable sustained competitive advantage and also received awards for the modules on reputation and relationships, and creative problem solving. She now pays it forward by tutoring and coaching MBAs on the programme.

“I knew the MBA was going to be a huge challenge and I had to dig deep because the course requires great self-awareness alongside elevation of thinking and the capacity to lead organisations,” says Rabikrisson. “You have to understand how you respond to triggers and situations, and why you respond the way you do.

“During my studies I was aided in improving my self-awareness through the programme as well as the readings I did on what happens at the neurological level – right there in the brain – when we feel uncomfortable, when our most sacred and ingrained beliefs and truths are being challenged.”

In congratulating Rabikrisson on her global achievement Jon Foster-Pedley, dean and director of Henley Business School Africa said: “We always knew Arthi was destined for greatness. It’s why we singled her out to receive one of our scholarships, which aim to support entrepreneurs in the music, creative and media industries, women, climate and anti-corruption activists, and people speaking truth to power who have a powerful vision and plan to help transform the economy and the country.”

“It’s cause for celebration when our students go on to achieve great things on the international stage. Seeing one of our own alumni with her face on the digital screens in New York’s Times Square reminds us that we can produce leaders of truly international quality here in South Africa. This country is a volcano of talent!”

Rabikrisson’s intellectual curiosity and desire to follow her passion led her to also complete a Professional Certificate in Coaching, a Postgraduate Certificate in Neurolinguistic Programming at Henley, and be accredited with the gold standard in certification bodies, the International Coaching Federation, thus setting herself up to offer her services internationally and channel her boundless energy into enabling others to excel.

Greater self-awareness, she says, is the key to relating to others effectively. “Through this process we can dismantle the built-in biases we walk around with and become aware of our blind spots. It is only then that we begin to understand how our choices are shaped by the mental models and narratives that built the lens through which we see the world and others.”

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