Fariba Bowen is the co-founder of i-Fundi with Stefan Lauber. Fariba brings to the business a unique combination of practical management experience and a strong commitment to social development.
Fariba developed her business acumen through her tenure as a consultant for Deloitte and Ernst & Young. Working on major projects for the World Bank and European Union gave her an appreciation for the complexities of development. Her ability to position i-Fundi as the leader in the employment and skills development field is no coincidence. She spent over ten years working in the field of social and community development throughout Africa. Originally from Australia, Fariba managed innovative projects in Kenya, Ghana and South Africa relating to education, primary health care and women’s development and has worked on projects for the transformation of the South African public service. In 2000, she graduated with a Masters degree in Public and Development Management from Wits University.
Today, Fariba applies her business experiences together with her commitment to social transformation to her work at i-Fundi, where she helps to empower people through education and job creation. In her own words, “I enjoy working to continuously grow and improve the products and services that we offer to our clients, including our learners, employers and the government of South Africa. My life’s purpose and ambition is to strive for personal balance, inner joy and fulfilment, as well as to do something concrete to create an equitable society where all people can develop to their full potential.”
Stefan is passionate about advancing people. His life has its roots in a path that began with the belief that if he could change himself, he could change the world. Born in Switzerland, his search for personal growth in his youth took him to India where he immersed himself in the study of yoga and meditation. After being ordained a monk, he spent the next 14 years travelling the world teaching these practises to others.
The dawning realization that peoples’ environment exerts a primary influence on their lives caused him to become increasingly involved in social justice and community work. Arriving in South Africa in 1992, he lived and worked for four years in the informal settlement of Orange Farm where he set up the Centre for Community Development with the assistance of the Swiss business community. Stefan undertook studies in Management, which he completed with a Masters of Management degree from the University of the Witwatersrand.
Following a period as a researcher at the university, Stefan joined Deloitte as a senior consultant. People continued to be his main focus and Stefan concentrated on helping organisations and employees to manage the challenge of change as they were transforming. This presented Stefan with the opportunity to lead the local research team that contributed to the book “The Heart of Change” by Prof. Kotter from Harvard.
In 2000, Stefan branched out to start i-Fundi. Stefan’s prime passions of creating jobs, developing people and bringing sustainable benefits to clients have combined to create a winning formula.