After her studies at the Holborn Law Tutors in London, UK, 1983, Mooneera Joonas-Malleck joined the family business, the Joonas Group, founded in 1969, with a diverse range of activities, notably, trading building materials, operating a rolling mill and galvanising plant, manufacturing office furniture and dealing in real estate. She learned the ropes from her father and acquired more skills in management and administration by regularly attending professional training seminars.

At the same time, to express her creativity and passion, Mooneera set up her own consultancy business in wedding décor in 2010, Moon Design. Mooneera works in collaboration with not only reputed Mauritian events companies, but also international designers and wedding planners.

Mooneera’s two-year mandate as President of AMFCE from March 2002 to March 2004 was to consolidate the work done by her predecessor Aline Wong and put the budding organisation in the forefront.  Under her presidency, AMFCE lobbied to be elected as council member on the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) as well as the Mauritius Employers’ Federation (MEF) so that AMFCE could be directly involved in decision making at the highest institutional boards overseeing activities in the private sector. The established target was met and as president of AMFCE, Mooneera participated in every council meeting held during her mandate.

To build on this solid foundation, AMFCE promoted training and the creation of new businesses as well as fostering the development process of established women business-owners, so that the success stories would concern not only a few pioneers but that all Mauritian women could participate fully in the economic progress of their country. The AMFCE Action Plan for her two-year mandate was built around two main projects.

– Training had already been identified as one of AMFCE’s core needs. After the training course on “Finance for non-financial managers” which AMFCE ran during the previous President’s mandate, Information Technology was the next area identified where many of AMFCE members were struggling. Support for the design and running of the project was sought and obtained from AMSCO, a branch of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). A two- member team composed of a Mauritian MBA holder and an IT specialist provided under the IFC’S internship programme conducted a three-month needs assessment of five pilot companies, all members of the AMFCE, including Mooneera. It was a most enriching and useful exercise which greatly helped all five participant companies to improve their use of IT in their operations.

– The second project embraced another aspect of the mission at AMFCE, that of gender equity. The AMFCE survey project was shaped so as to cover existing structures, identify areas of action and make proposals for a better representation of women. During the exercise, AMFCE drew up a shortlist of resources and established a data base for capacity building objectives. By its ability to match with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) the project attracted the eye of several international agencies such as the UNDP.

However, one of the biggest challenges was to agree to hosting the 51st FCEM World Congress within four months, when, unfortunately, the original host country, Taiwan, had to withdraw due to the SARS epidemic in 2002-03. The theme chosen for the Congress, which was held from 1 to 4 October 2003, was “Partners for peace and shared prosperity”. Organising a World Congress entails a lot of entirely voluntary work, pressure and stress. Mooneera is forever thankful to the AMFCE organising committee and its members for their vitality and energy, as well as the sponsors and all the endorsing bodies for their support to make the Congress an enjoyable and enriching experience for everyone.

At the end of her mandate, with the help of a dedicated sub-committee of members, AMFCE published a Code of Ethics for its members.

AMFCE has always been a pioneer in furthering and enhancing the status of women in Mauritius and the Indian Ocean region. Today, Mooneera is proud to see that all the efforts have paid off and that the AMFCE is continuing on the right track.

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