The term ‘trading’ has been linked with men since the days of testosterone-filled trading floors. To this day, when online trading is accessible to anyone with an internet connection, the word remains synonymous with the male gender.
Today’s preconception of women who choose to trade – and we must clarify they are women because the word traders alone can be perceived as a reference to men – may have to do with the vision brokers set and the audience they’ve chosen to advertise to.
More often than not, mass opinions are affected by the media and its reference to a group of people, in this case, the people of the financial industry.
Could the general correlation between trading and gender be diluted?
Trading education hub FXGEOMETRY is looking at things from a different angle; it just announced the launch of a boot camp directed specifically at women, despite the fact that the company reaches a broad audience predominated by men.
According to founder Kenny Simon, the number of women interested in trading has been noticeably increasing.
The birth of this boot camp derived from the observation that more female traders have been showing interest in educational packages and trading mentorships, in addition, Kenny has seen an increase of female followers through social channels.
Among approximately 10,000 followers worldwide the percentage of women among the followers has risen from 10% to 37% in the past 3 years. While the number of women who have signed up to personal one-on-one courses has moved up to 45%.
Beyond FXGEOMETRY it seems like the entire financial world is moving away from its relic thoughts and gender-based judgment.
In 2017, 23-year old Lauren Simmons became the youngest and only full-time female employee to hold the position of equity trader in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In June of 2018, Stacey Cunningham became the first female president of the NYSE.
Some may view this as proof that women are still not fully welcome in the financial industry or it can be seen as the first steps of progression.
Considering Kenny’s background lies within peak performance coaching in trading, it comes as no surprise that part of his mission to expand the Geometric Patterns community includes a focus on the overlooked members of the trading world and whether they can be an equal match to men in the industry.
Kenny, however, is not the first to give attention to this issue; many have previously gone out of their way to find out how women could make better traders.
In Terrence Odean and Brad Barber’s 2001 study “Boys will be boys: Gender, Overconfidence and Common Stock Investments”, they went on to prove that men’s natural overconfidence tends to work against them.
They analyzed account data for more than 35,000 households at a large discount brokerage between February 1991 and January 1997. They discovered that on average, men traded 45pc more frequently than women and that this incentive trading reduced their net returns by 2.65pc a year, compared to 1.72pc for women.
For those interested to attend whether just for the FREE preview or the 3 days Workshop, simply register here :
In simple terms, the study showed that men trade more than women due to overconfidence and that tends to reduce their overall returns.
Another interesting story in the history of women in the financial industry is the case of Bloomfield Hills investment club ran by Thomas O’Hara.
The male-driven firm had been posting annual losses after 20 years of existence. In 1982 the men let their wives join the group and act as co-decision makers, within four years the club’s stake tripled, jumping from $180,000 to $500,000.
Kenny’s latest event has prompted a lot of interest from women in the industry. A large number of women volunteered to join within the first few minutes following the announcement of the boot camp, accepting the challenge to learn a new trading method.
The boot camp itself will choose 25 women through personality tests designed by Kenny – based on his big 5 personality traits that make up a good trader. The women will undergo a free 3-day boot camp with Kenny himself where they will learn the rules of trading with Geometric Patterns.
The boot camp will be followed up by a trading competition in which all women will participate and compete for one of three prizes – $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 consequently.
If you’re interested, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
FXGEOMETRY’S boot camp is another effort to shed a bright light on female traders and what they can achieve in the financial world, putting preconceptions aside and shedding general judgment.
The era of female traders may have not yet begun but a glimpse of light might be making its way in at the end of the tunnel.
When we talk about Motherland Moguls and #BossGoals, Mrs Jane Karuku is the perfect definition of just that.
Currently sitting at the top of the corporate ladder as the Managing Director of Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), Non-executive director of East African Breweries Limited (EABL) and Barclays Bank Kenya, and a member of prestigious boards such as the Global Sustainability Index board among others.
Mrs Jane Karuku has over 20 years of expert experience in the consumer-goods industry and is not looking to slow down anytime soon. Her passion and energy for great leadership tells an enticing story of grit, consistency and sheer hard work.
SLA contributor Diana Odero had a quick sit-down with Mrs Karuku to learn about her current role now and what keeps her going in the cut throat business world.
As an African woman with over two decades in corporate leadership, what does leadership mean to you?
Leadership is getting people to do what’s good for an organization and more importantly what’s good for them. Leadership is unleashing the potential of people.
Therefore you need to have great influencing skills for moving anything or anyone from point A to point B.
What is the biggest misconception people have about your job?
I don’t think there’s much of a misconception. For me, I have never seen myself as just a woman, I just see myself as a leader.
Once you see yourself as a leader, you get what you give. Within my job, my career, I consider myself a leader – I see myself as a woman in different places outside the professional aspect.
I always tell my fellow women – don’t look for favors because you are a woman and expect diversity to help you. Just turn up and do your job as a human being and you have a better chance to succeed.
Following the production of fake alcoholic products in the Kenyan market, how do you ensure that these illegitimate products do not get into the market especially working with a brand as big as EABL?
We try to work with government agencies, there’s no knowledge management because people don’t know. Also, we work very closely with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and with enforcement agencies just to educate them about our products and the systems we’ve put in place to make sure that these are legitimate products.
We also work with IT solutions, which are mobile based so you can check every brand online and see its legitimacy.
Our borders are very porous but in Kenya we have different classes. You can have a class of genuine products that come in with no duty paid, and that’s the bigger problem with our brands more than the fakes because we have very serious security features.
With lots of surveillance placed around, we can spot something that’s fake and sort it out before it gets to consumers.
The only challenge we’ve had so far is the imported products which belong to Diageo and are under-called in duty value therefore underpriced and not able to compete in the market and this in turn loses revenue so it’s quite a big challenge.
What do you think are Kenyan’s attitudes towards alcohol and alcohol production? How can we make these attitudes more positive?
Kenya is quite interesting in that we have a big population of religious people, both Muslim and Christians so there’s a lot of people who do not take alcohol based on their beliefs. There’s also a big proportion of women who just do not want to drink.
I would say that Kenyans are not the biggest consumers of alcohol per capita, we are actually behind other East African countries such Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. But in terms of responsible drinking, we do a lot of work on that.
One challenge we have is the presence of so much bad alcohol all over the place, therefore people consume or overuse alcohol which demonizes it.
We spend a lot of time on alcohol education, we call it drink IQ – how you should behave and drink responsibly, we press in our campaigns the importance of eating and then drinking, drinking a lot of water after indulging in some alcohol and drinking alcohol within the recommended portions.
We don’t advocate for binge drinking but we do advocate for responsible drinking.
What are some of your favorite products that you manufacture/market and why?
Tusker Cider would be on the top of my list, I think it’s a very good drink and in the spirits section – the Ron Zacapa Rum, it’s a very gentle nice rum.
What trends do you see within the East African region that you find interesting?
Some new trends would be the places that people drink at first of all. There’s a lot of innovation around bars, a lot of work is going into how bars look – we are starting to get very sophisticated for consumers.
Food and alcohol pairing is becoming a very big deal, it’s an enjoyable and social experience. This is mostly throughout Kenya, wherever you go you can find a nice location where you have a good meal and a drink with ease.
Another trend I have taken note of is the cocktail culture – it’s interesting to see the many new ways of taking alcohol. It’s exciting and different.
This is already a big global phenomenon, East Africa is quickly catching up on that trend. There’s also a lot of innovation in alcohol production with a lot of new alcohol products coming in, we are becoming very globalized which is good progress.
What do you think has been most difficult for you to deal with as a woman rising in a predominantly male industry such as manufacturing?
I wouldn’t say I’ve found much difficulty as a woman, I would say as a leader that any business is difficult. If you are working in the alcohol industry, it’s regulated and our biggest challenge is what the regulations will be tomorrow or the next day because it will hamper the business.
If you’re in a macro-economic environment, like any business, you are prone to changing that environment. For example, Kenya had a very tough year last year. There were too many elections, too many presidents, and we had a drought and flooding in the same year. That can be quite problematic for a business.
Competition of course is another challenge leaders have to deal with as well as choosing the right talent to bring in and retain to help you grow the business.
I’ve managed to overcome some of these challenges by first having the right people in place because they are the ones who will help you survive through the environment you may be in.
The people you hire are the ones who will help you get innovative and fight the competition, help in smooth distribution of products to the consumers in the most innovative way, they will drive sales for you and will help build relationships with all the stakeholders involved in your business.
The percentage of women working in the manufacturing industry is quite small, some companies having less than 10% women employed there. What can be done to counteract this ratio?
In corporate businesses, in middle management to be exact – women are really starting to be significant. I think the challenge comes with breaking in to the next level. Looking at boardrooms in Kenya, there’s a lot of change starting to happen.
People are driving diversity and companies are finally realizing that they have to have diversity in their businesses because diversity is strength.
Here at EABL we have a target of being 50% women and we are just shy of 30%, so we are working very hard to get to that halfway point. At Diageo globally, the target is 50% as well and at our board level we are doing much better than our local business.
For us as women, we have to define our own path. Not everybody wants to be a leader and you have to be true to yourself.
Once you decide you want to be in the corporate world then you need to map out your end game and once you have that, start working backwards to achieve what you want to achieve.
Some questions to ask yourself are:
Where do you want to work?
What skills do you need to have?
Do you need a mentor/coach which is quite important?
Do you have belief in yourself ?
Because at the end of the day you can have the best mentor, all the skills but if your own belief and your own energy doesn’t match up, you won’t get anywhere.
When people are interviewing the low level positions, they look at three things:
Does the person have the fabric, is that the right fabric for what you want?
Do you have high energy, do you have the drive needed?
Do you have good judgement and are you able to influence?
This is what I call the basic fabric and this then changes as you grow within the company.
Who are your role models?
One of my main role models is Nelson Mandela. He was such a big influencer and still is influencing a lot today after his passing.
His influence was on leadership. He influenced in prison, he influenced out of prison, he has even influenced upon death. That kind of power can influence anything.
Mandela has leadership qualities, compassion and was a mentor to many, all three things of which I embody today – he basically taught us how using your own skills to impart on other people so they can achieve better for themselves is important.
I do look up to him and the reason I want to work with people is because I want to be that voice that influences a huge population to move from one point to another even when I’m no longer here.
What values do you have that have contributed to your career and personal growth?
The first would be hard work. Nothing comes for free and nobody gives it to you on a platter. You have to be committed.
You also have to have belief and confidence because you don’t have to be the best person for the job but you can the person that has the highest hunger for it, don’t wait to be the perfect candidate for a job because your drive can help learn and grow along the way.
A good way to help with your confidence and self –esteem would be getting a good mentor and/or life coach, a mentor doesn’t need to be someone senior than you, sometimes I get brave from my own kids and the same young women you are writing for.
You can also have a multitude of mentors, it doesn’t have to be one person. Remember to read a lot. In reading you get the how-to in many things and unfortunately women don’t read a lot. I always tell women to read a lot, even the newspapers, read hard-core material that is good for your growth.
Read broadly because if you are sitting in a conversation and you are too narrow focused, you won’t be able to influence.
When it comes to making lemonade out of life’s lemons, Toyin Odulate got the recipe down. Thanks to an unfortunate accident with her hair, she was able to turn that mishap into gold through her mama’s secret recipe (yes mama knows best), which led to the birth of Olori Cosmetics.
However, if you have been in the entrepreneurship game, it does not take you long to realize that just because you have a magic product that works, people will automatically want to buy.
Let’s face it, ladies, if your product was a dude who wants to take you out on a date, won’t you want him to some serious swag before he can get your digits?
As the Country MD of Danone Nutricia and over a decade of managing international brands like Loreal, Toyin was able to get her kitchen start-up cosmetic brand to become a renown brand revolutionizing the cosmetic industry across key Sub-Saharan markets.
Here are her top 7 to-dos to get customers to notice your products and fall in love (by choice or by force lol).
You can only have what you can imagine, so dream big. Make an ideal list of things you want your product or service to offer; the names of people you want using it and where you want your products sold.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
If your goal is to go to the emerald city, you need a plan to get you there. This is where parts of your business plan or ideal list start to come to life.
A strategy forms the basis for a product roadmap and it also helps you focus on a specific target market instead of being everything to everyone.
Innovate, Innovate, Innovate
If you want them coming back for more, you have to keep things interesting. The content of the product can remain the same but you can experiment with different packaging.
A perfect example is Body Shop; they are constantly updating their packaging making it more attractive and dynamic.
Become a Conqueror
You need to plan to dominate the shelf space at the stores you product is stocked. A strong shelf visibility ensures your product is seen and boosts buyer’s confidence.
You may not have the liquid to execute a separate gondola for your brand like Coca-Cola but you can be creative with colors that will instantly attract the customer’s eye.
Strive to get your products placed on eye-level and horizontally. Category captainship is your ultimate goal.
Make sure you create a label that centers on your core information which include the name, what it does/purpose and what’s in it. You have to make sure that your products are positioned with the labels facing the consumer.
This makes it easier for customers to decide within a second to pick your product. So ensure you conduct routine visits to shops that stock your products.
Play the Incentive Game and Stay in the Game:
When you do business, you have to always keep in mind that people want to know what’s in it for them. Stores hardly stock your products based on the brilliance of it, they want to make money at the end of the day.
So how much of your margins are you willing to give in order to make sure your products are visible. Make margins work for you. The same goes for customers, reward their purchase with incentives. However, avoid being too generous so you don’t ruin the market.
LinkedIn isn’t for show:
Networks are meant to be leveraged, they are not meant to sit in your LinkedIn contacts list. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no but then again what if they say yes.
So go for it, pitch your product/business, arrange a meet up, send free samples and basically do all you can to make your business succeed.
Don’t be afraid to dream big, let is scare you then get over it and get to work.
If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your story with us.
Popularly known as Miss Manjo on the Twitter streets, Theodorah Manjo is a digital marketer and online influencer with a thing for helping the unemployed better themselves.
Her timeline exudes positivity and humility and through her social media content, her passion for guiding and assisting the unemployed through knowledge sharing and upliftment is hard to miss.
In this interview, she talks about building and maintaining a brand online and how to put your best foot forward with your CV.
You are essentially Twitter famous, how do you get to 63k+ followers?
I came across a cool social media team called The Hand of Sas (now known as HOS) about two years ago and it was like having an online family. We spoke about everything social media, online etiquette and how to have an “online voice”.
I learned how to speak to “strangers” in a familiar way, showing my personality and allowing people to be a part of my life even when they didn’t know.
I started falling in love with the aspect of being able to reach & speak to people in provinces I have never been to, and it expanded to Africa. I’m now part of a team called #AfricaTweetChat where we discuss all things digital media with people from all corners of this continent. It makes me so happy!
Building a brand really starts with being relatable, following and talking to people and understanding that everyone will always be “strong” behind a screen & you shouldn’t take what people say online to heart because you WILL break.
Don’t be reckless, if you say something online, make sure that you will be able to stand by that even 6 years from now because once it’s out there, somebody has already screen-grabbed it.
How do you use your influencer status to continue to build your brand?
It is all relationship building, making connections and again, being relatable to your audience. The biggest thing is being true to what your story is, you are either a food enthusiast, a budding entrepreneur, an artist or a student going through the motions.
People follow you because they can ‘relate’ or they can learn from you and enjoy your content.
I have always been vocal on unemployment, social media characters/influencers and how to conduct yourself online. Through my content on those topics, people got to know what makes me tick.
Yes, my content varies – I have jokes, I have rants, but most of all I engage with my followers. I want to know what other people are busy with, what makes their day and how I can connect with them NOW so that later, we can have a meaningful relationship.
It has proven to be amazing and I have met & befriended a lot of wonderful people online.
Hmm, what a thought-provoking question. What’s my story? I want to be able to reach and teach at least one person a month, at least ten people in a year. I want my presence online to be relevant and make sense. It’s not about me, it’s about us – how do WE get better at this life thing together?!
Celebrate yourself. Are you happy, are you giving and are you helping someone be a better version of themselves? – These are my heart notes to myself daily.
What is your strategy for online brand preservation?
Think ahead! I want to be big in my industry, I want kids one day – will what I put out there make my future baby girl cringe? Will it result in me having a meeting with my CEO about being too expressive? If questioned about what I tweet personally, will I be able to look at the person in the eye, and stand by what I said without quivering?.
I am still a person at the end of the day, things make me angry, people make me angry but what will this mean for me tomorrow morning? Is this who I want SA & Africa to think I am?
Practice what you preach or change your speech. And sometimes, there is beauty in silence!
How did the passion to guide and assist the unemployed come about?
I started working at a recruitment agency while I was in between jobs. I only stayed three months because my spirit didn’t really agree with how recruitment worked in this particular place and also, I am a creative so I felt like I was boxed.
The whole trend was that they would find people already in employment and headhunt them when in reality there are thousands of people who are unemployed and have the right skills.
Through my frustrations of not finding candidates for my roles, I created a Facebook page and I wanted to explore a medium that had a lot of “word of mouth” but with individuals who may not all be employed, and that was how “I Need Someone Who…JOBS” was created on a Tuesday afternoon, without my team leader knowing.
It was a risk in that I would probably get kicked out of my job or receive a warning, but my gut didn’t let me down; I was ready to fight for this cause even if meant I would have to be moved to an admin position due to disobedience.
This is where I discovered just how much heart I had for those who were unemployed, because a month ago, I didn’t know where to look for a job, nor did I have the means to, but thanks to friends and connections I was lead to this place that has allowed me to change potentially thousands of South African peoples’ lives.
When one reads a job advert, what are some of the red flags to be mindful of?
Company name and the grammar: Most things will stand out like using small letters at the beginning of a sentence or addressing names with small letters, sentences that use “WhatsApp language”.
Method of contact: The biggest one is the fax. Who still uses a fax? Why would a company email you just for them to ask you to respond via fax?
Contact…: “Contact Miss Mary or Mr. Victor” – nobody addresses people with a Miss or Mr and ‘first name’.
What are your top 5 tips for putting together a CV?
Keep your CV clean, check your grammar & punctuation
2. Make sure you put your role, company name & time spent there
3. Bullet point all your duties, don’t be brief. In place of ‘admin’, say ‘took minutes at meetings, facilitated in budgets for company events, scheduled and arranged meetings etc. If you don’t sell yourself, who will?
4. References – make sure your references KNOW that they are your references; make sure they will speak WELL of you. Do not put your manager who was trying to get you out, you will never find a job. Rather find another senior person who worked with you to vouch for your work ethic.
5. Only add relevant things to your CV. Some people like to add hobbies, my hobbies of dancing will not add value to an Accountant position. So why put it in?
For people with no experience, what should be highlighted on a CV?
Make your personal summary (two to three sentences right at the top) tell the employer about your capabilities.
Add what skills you have and how they will assist in the advertised role. Align your skills with the job spec.
Add achievements, community work – this CV will be more of personality, skills, and traits rather than of your experience.
How do I best present my experience?
Don’t shortchange yourself, if you worked with your account director aligning strategies as an account manager, that is a skill & experience you would want people to know about.
In your comprehensive CV, make sure you detail the IMPORTANT aspects of your roles in such a way that a promotion in your next role is an obvious step up.
Most if not all recruiters will search via keywords, so include the important terms to be found easier.
What are your top tips to keeping a job
The biggest tip is basic and biblical, whatever work you do, work with EXCELLENCE and you shall be rewarded. It may not be in a week, or a year – but one day you will be grateful that you always gave your 110% even when you felt that nobody appreciated your efforts.
You should also follow the following tips:
Have a learning spirit.
Volunteer to help. Even those tedious admin duties, do them and do them well. The more you learn the greater you will be when you get to the next level of your career.
Never talk about your work/colleagues on social media. It becomes messy even if they aren’t on your platforms, people are connected.
Juka Ceesay was born and raised in The Gambia, Africa. She initially moved to the U.S to pursue accounting, modeling and acting. She was signed to one of the largest agencies for several years before she decided to fully focus on building a company that would help individuals, families, and villages throughout Africa.
Therefore, she launched Juka’s Organic and partnered with female farmers to produce and cultivate the finest quality of Coconut Oil and Babao powder.
Juka’s Organic is most popularly known for their Red Palm Oil, which the company offers pure and unrefined in a jar, in pill form for easier consumption and in their latest and popular Red Palm Oil sauce.
Juka recently visited the women she partners with, in Africa and got to witness the long-term and growing impact her brand has been making in the Gambia, Mali amongst other villages throughout the continent.
The company consists of her, her mother and a small team running daily operations from both Africa and in the U.S. She recently launched a deal with Walmart and her products are now available via Walmart’s website and in super region locations in the U.S.
In this article, Juka speaks to SLA about how she’s taken her products from Africa to the world.
About Juka’s Organic…
Juka’s Organic Co. is Something invigorating, innovative, inspiring and wants to make a huge difference in the lives of people across the globe. We offer natural, healthy foods and beauty products to the American consumers from the continent of Africa that are not customarily accessible in the U.S market.
All our products are 100% sustainable and ethically harvested. Our focal point is to also help the African farmers, particularly women, to supply their natural healthy products to the U.S market and around the world.
My Inspiration to create Juka’s Organic…
I owned and managed an African food market in Inglewood, Califonia, for several years. I realized there weren’t many African stores that opened their doors to the American consumers, everything was segregated and only African customers find themselves shopping in our stores.
But seldom, the U.S customers we had were often fascinated by our products. This is when I knew something had to be done to bridge this gap. Also, we offered many of our products in the store amongst which we sold red palm oil. Most of our products were imported from the villages, including the red palm oil, hence the quality was superior to many brands in the market.
People were really amazed by the authenticity of the oil and the consistency. This is around the same time Dr. Oz talked about the importance of adding red palm oil to your diet. But also, he has talked about many tips on his show that included products that were indigenous to Africa.
It all came full circle, I always wanted to bring Africa to mainstream to contribute to its Economy. This is when the magic started unfolding, I soon made the decision to cynosure my attention to importing natural food and beauty products from Africa, harvested by women farmers.
Knowing that this will not only benefit the African framers but it will also be of great service to health-conscious consumers that do not have access to some of these essential foods in the west. This is how Juka’s Organic Co. came to fruition.
Juka’s Organic Co. plays a tremendous role in the lives of women we work within the villages and in Africa at large. We help them secure their own source of income throughout the year and grow their businesses.
When we partner with these women, they know they can harvest products in large quantities and we are there to work with them through the process, as they often have issues with capital. Most of them used to produce just a small amount because if not, they would have a surplus in the market.
Although most of these products grow in the wild, it still costs them money to obtain the products. They pay up front for the labor that they can’t do themselves and other logistics to get the products from point A to B.
When we partner with them we fund them upfront to take care of the whole process including the cost of labor and their profit. They can also sustainably and comfortably harvest as much as possible without having the fare of surplus in the market which can lead to a loss.
Most of these women in the villages have no other ways to maintain a decent income to pay for their children’s education or to simply put food on the table, so it is quite fulfilling to see them grow together with us. As we expand our consumer base this also means expansion for them in farming, business, and for a better livelihood.
Tips for aspiring female entrepreneurs coming to tackle the U.S market…
Find something you’re are passionate about, believe, and know that it takes a process. Don’t just do something for the drive of money. There will be times you might need something else to motivate you in the right direction and that the money might not be there right away. The only way to sustain that mission will be the passion you have for what you are doing.
Do your homework. This will help you balance the passion to know that there is indeed consumer base for what you are passionate about. You also don’t want to do things just because you are passionate about it. Make sure not to get in a market base that is already saturated, and harder to penetrate as a startup.
Don’t beat yourself up if things don’t work out as planned. Know that sometimes you might have the intention for a business or get into a sector but if it doesn’t go in your favor right away, be open-minded.
Always do your best and believe in the process of life and allow things to manifest naturally after your best is done.
My motivation to build and grow the company relentlessly each day…
The passion I have keeps me going. The vision that this is bigger than me. It is about the customers that turn to us daily for a healthier alternative.
The Jainaba Barrys of Guinea, The Fofanas of Mali, that child in the village that needs education, and a better future in a village called Sohkon in Senegal or Farafenie in the Gambia.
But this cannot transpire if his/her family is struggling to maintain their business and put food on the table. As well as the Farmers that expect to see us a few times a year to buy their products.
This is for the whole continent of Africa, yes, we started small but the growth we are experiencing can have a ripple effect on the growth of the continent. We are in a very inviting yet competing for marketplace globally, but Africa is still behind in many ways.
Through sustainable trade with the many resources Africa offers, we can help elevate the livelihoods of many farmers in the villages.
We can provide the gift of a long and healthier lifestyle to the Western consumers with authentic natural healthy food and beauty products that are not indigenous to the West.
My journey like coming from Africa and into the U.S becoming a businesswoman…
It has been challenging yet eye-opening and filled with tremendous opportunities. I come from a large family, and both my mom and dad are business owners in Africa. In particular, my dad did very well.
My grandpa was also a very successful business owner. So, coming into the U.S, not knowing what endeavor I was originally going to pursue, falling into the business world is quite fitting and natural to me.
Also, my mom was a very strict woman and she always made sure I was on the right path as a child and a teenager. This helped me immensely throughout my journey. The structure and discipline to follow through are still very well fostered in me in business and my life in general.
My daily routine as a business owner…
It is quite demanding, vigorous and can get challenging at times. But I wouldn’t change a thing about the experience. It is fulfilling and rewarding to wake up every day to do what I love to do.
There are many different layers to this, and responsibilities change depending on the time of the year. We are blessed to have great people that work with us from all angles but I still must make sure all things are being handled to the utmost satisfaction to maintain quality in products and service.
Whether we are dealing with shipments coming in from Africa, sourcing for new items, or visiting Africa to meet with farmers or new suppliers. Or simply dealing with production and or distribution, it all falls on my desk as the company owner.
And I always must withstand all odds no matter how small or big.
The most important pillars in being a successful entrepreneur…
For me I know there are many pillars but the first pillar is your own state of mind. Often people neglect this part but it is the most crucial pillar to maintain in order to be successful in all things you do.
Now different people practice various things to give them a clear state of mind or a conscious mind. But it really doesn’t matter how if you are able to do it all the time.
Dealing with obstacles in business, from the day to day activities, production, or dealing with customers (wholesale or retail accounts) you always must be grounded and level-headed for things to yield the best outcome or results.
When you have no balance, you can keep your business going but soon it can crumble. So always realize that you are the center, you are the foundation of it all and your business needs you to always have a clear mind and not to get intimidated with problems or people.
Stay centered and tackle issues as they arise and celebrate achievements from a grounded level. Once you can master this you can pretty much climb all other pillars much easier.
Some challenges I’ve faced or currently face as a female entrepreneur…
I face many just as a business owner but of course being a woman also has contributed to some issues I have faced and continue to face. Especially when you look a certain way.
People don’t initially take your ideas or demand serious and you always must be more affirmative in your requests more than if a guy were to make the same request. This is very troubling because the substance of what you are saying should carry more leverage than your gender.
I also find it challenging, being a woman and having to witness some of our women farmers to be looked at as incompetent of certain duties in Africa because of the culture. But we as a company must sometimes address these issues when we partner with new farmers.
It is obvious that society has come a long way in the way we women are looked at. But we certainly have a long way to go. But the more we openly talk about them, the more we can evolve.
How I managed to maneuver through those challenges…
I stay the course and know in the back of mind what my mission and vision are.
As I said before, Juka’s is bigger than myself. And when you feel and know something is bigger than you, it seems as if there is an external force that guides you through the process.
I certainly know that it’s not me making all this happen. There is something, a higher power, God, Allah, the Universe, The Divine or whatever you want to call it but it is certain, it’s more forceful than myself.
Juka’s Organic just has my name attached to it but it’s not mine, it’s for the continent of Africa, the betterment for the livelihoods of thousands of people and hopefully, millions soon both here in the West & the Motherland, Africa.
If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your story with us.
What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘personal branding’? A perception of oneself? A unique identity?
No matter the thought, your personal brand reflects your reputation, your legacy, the people you surround yourself with, your authenticity…the list is endless!
Having a well-defined personal brand requires you to be proactive about how you manage it. This starts with thinking about what you want to be known for and then taking purposeful action to ensure that’s the image you’re creating.
So, what does it mean to have a ‘purposeful personal brand’? How can it earn you top dollar without blowing lots of schmoney on stuff that won’t even do justice to your brand?
Join Yetunde Shorters, on Thursday, 19th July, as she shares secrets that will earn you multi-six figures without spending a dime on advertising or marketing through purposeful personal branding.
Yetunde Shorters helps the inspired go-getter create an authentic, purposeful and fun personal brand that helps you do what you love while helping others, in a way that creates financial freedom for you and your family.
How to develop a brand statement that represents you best
Secrets that will earn you multi-six figures without spending a dime on advertising or marketing
Register belowto get access to this opportunity and submit questions you would like Yetunde to answer.
Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2018
Time: 12PM Miami // 5PM Lagos // 6PM Johannesburg
Watch Part 1 below:
Watch Part 2 below:
Yetunde Shorters is an international publicist and an industry leader in helping women entrepreneurs discover their purpose and provide value to the right people to make profits. She is also the creator of ICY PR, the Afropolitan Chef and Founder of ICY ACADEMY and a 4-time Amazon best-selling author.
With over 15 years of experience working and securing publicity for multiple Grammy Award Winning Artists, International Celebrities and Entrepreneurs, Yetunde has been featured in Elle, CBS, Zen Magazine, Tropics and more.
She is masterful at connecting her client’s sense of purpose to prosperity. She also uses her skills to help emerging entrepreneurs create value, save time and increase productivity.
In partnership with She Leads Africa, Yetunde is launching A Purpose Breakthrough 101 session, a 90 minutes intensive brand clarity session, where she delves deep into your purpose to connect it to profits.
She also runs the ICY ACADEMY PERSONAL BRANDING MASTERCLASS, where you learn strategies that get results, techniques that save you time and access to a powerful network of go-getters who provide the support you need to thrive in your purpose.
Zainab Ansell is a Tanzanian based business magnate, investor, philanthropist, humanitarian. She started ZARA Tours in 1987, organizing African safaris and climbs to Mount. Meru and Mount. Kilimanjaro.
Today, ZARA Tours are Tanzania’s No.1 Kilimanjaro outfitter and one of the biggest safari operators. Zainab also runs a hotel chain that consists of 9 properties. 7 under the Tanzanian wild-camps umbrella and two separate hotels.
In 2009 she launched Zara Charity, giving back to marginalized communities in Tanzania and making her footprint in the global movement for sustainable tourism development.
She has also launched Zara foundation for ecosystems preservation. Advocating for land and marine biodiversity conservation with her focus being on cleaning up the Indian Ocean.
How did you manage to create a niche for yourself in a male-dominated industry?
I worked with Air Tanzania for 8 years before launching my own business. The beginning was tough, however, I was ambitious despite the harsh reality of inequality being a woman in a male-dominated society.
Getting the licenses and registration was not easy as the industry was aggressive and male-dominated. It took me a whole year to be able to start operating. I started with a Travel agency, selling airline tickets as a non-IATA agent.
In 1986 I got my IATA registration marking the beginning of a promising era. I sold many airlines KLM, Lufthansa to mention a few. However, within three years I started to see a decline in the business. I looked at the mountain and got inspired to sell it and safaris.
Given the fact that technology was not as advanced I relied on word of mouth to market my business. I would even go to bus stations to solicit clients. The clients I would get would often refer other clients. It is that drive to go the extra mile for my clients that earned me my reputation.
I watched the business gradually progress in 1987, 88, 89 and here we are today as the No.1 Kilimanjaro outfitter and one of the biggest safari operators in East Africa.
What is your biggest achievement?
My biggest achievement is being able to send people to Kilimanjaro, however, in the beginning, my biggest hurdle was accommodation. I always visualized my business as a one-stop shop. In the year 2000, I was able to become that.
I opened up my very own hotel – Springlands Hotel. This refined my product, allowing me to give my clients their best value for money. The hotel also serves as a base for Mount Kilimanjaro trekking.
Zara became a one-stop shop and my business became better organized. The launch of spring lands hotel led me to further venture into the hospitality industry in order to support both Mountain trekking and Safaris.
Today Zara properties include Springlands and the award-winning Tanzania Wild Camps hotel chain that consists of 7 facilities Located across Tanzania’s most classic safari hotspots; Highview Hotel Karatu, Highview Coffee Lodge, Serengeti Wild Camp, Ngorongoro Wild Camp, Serengeti – Ikoma Wild Camp, Serengeti Safari Lodge, Serengeti Wildebeest Camp.
You’ve managed to run your businesses for over 31 years, what has been your secret so far?
I can not pinpoint one secret, however, I could sum it up as personalized services and teamwork. I attribute a lot of my success to my family, my spouse, my children and my staff.
At Zara, we are a family. Happy staff and happy customers are our priority.
How have you been able to adapt to the different changes within the industry and also personnel changes and still manage to succeed?
Change is a constant factor, Tanzania is a developing country, with very high taxation rates. It has a very competitive tourism sector with thousands of operators and an unpredictable political environment that changes with every regime.
We have seen lots of different tourism ministers, however, through it all, we have managed to survive and also because we’ve been able to give back through Zara Charity.
How did you get accustomed to the new world of using digital marketing for your business?
It’s not been easy, however being open-minded and having the right staff has simplified the transition for me. I get educated people in the right places and I also learn and catch up with what’s trending.
Knowing what you know today, what would you have done differently during your career?
In the beginning, I did so much. In fact, I would everything myself. Now I wish I would have delegated more.
What is the one motivation that gets you up every morning?
I wake up at 5:15 am every morning, say a prayer and do 5 km walk. After, that I am ready for the day. This routine keeps me motivated and eager to start the day ready for anything “bring it on!”.
It helps me sail smoothly and well before I know it the day is over and I thank God.
Talking about motivation, why was it important that you started Zara Charity?
Over the years I have always given back to the community, I am humbled to have been able to help a lot of people. I started Zara Charity in order to keep track of and formalize what I am doing.
We do a lot to empower the community through the charity. During low season we focus a lot on the charity. We provide free education to a marginalized community, give money to women with no interest, started a porters society where we teach them about health, how to prevent HIV, and how to save their money.
The organization also opened up bank accounts for them and gave them health insurance. We have a center for marginalized maasai women where we financially empower them to make bead crafts which they sell to tourists.
Also, Zara Charity trains and provides opportunities for the youth in our hospitality division. All this is in efforts to positively impact the society we operate in.
As a successful woman with many businesses, what do you do to unwind and ensure that the next day you are still up and running?
I do a lot of meditation in the evenings, I spend time with my family this helps me switch off from the day. Unwinding can be challenging but despite the challenges, every day is an interesting opportunity to make a difference.
Which social media platform is your favorite?
My favorite social media platforms are Linkedin and Instagram. Catch me on the gram @zainbAnsell.
If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your story with us.
Muthoni Maingi is a true renaissance woman. She uses the power of digital innovation to transform lives.
Being the Head of Digital Campaigns at Oxfam is just the latest place she is flexing her muscles. She is also the founding director of the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE). Muthoni was also an integral team member in Safaricom projects like BLAZE and Little Cab.
In this insightful chat with SLA, she shares some insights on her career journey and growing with the new digital trends.
At what point in your life did you first learn about your field of work? What called you to it?
As the Brand strategist at Creative Edge, the director would find my colleagues and me on Twitter fairly frequently.
Instead of reprimanding us, she challenged us to think through how we could begin to sell digital as a service for the agency as it was traditionally lead at the time.
As the Head of Digital Campaigns, what exactly do you do?
My work at Oxfam really allows me to live true to my passion and purpose! I stay up at night thinking of initiatives that use the power of digital to connect people and amplify voices to influence decision makers.
With my team, we work to grow the brand to become a leading digital influencing organization. We use mobile, web and social media to drive, support, donations and offline participation of millions of people globally.
Does Oxfam still consider traditional media and offline campaigns in this digital age?
At Oxfam, I am constantly inspired by the amazing work that uses digital technology to influence and leverage the power of people to end poverty.
The organization’s inspiration and drive to achieve change for millions of people is embedded in the values, mission, and vision. It is the exact same whether applied to campaign offline or online, there is no separation from the core objective.
How has your current role changed your perception of how powerful technology can be in changing lives in Kenya & around the world?
I don’t necessarily feel like I am just now seeing that technology can and does have the potential to create change. What I can say has changed is that my approach has always been very Kenya and Africa based.
I think that it is great that organizations across the globe are increasingly making diversity a core strategic agenda and that means that varied expertise in the room allows for improved performance and efficiency.
Consequently, this experience has allowed me to exhibit our regional ingenuity on a platform that is hungry for fresh perspectives from this part of the world.
What advice can you give about personal growth and knowing when it’s time to leave a job even when it throws you out of your comfort zone?
Prior to working at Oxfam, I held major positions in the telecommunications sector. I have always had very specific objectives in terms of how I see my career going.
I look at what my objective is in terms of my career goal and what space is available for me to explore that as well as to build something of value for myself and the organization.
For example with Safaricom, I was really looking at how I could bring digitally lead segmented prepositions to life.
Being secure in that knowledge, I began to look for spaces where I could grow from a digital perspective and lead a team that actually creates digital products. The opportunity at Oxfam offered me that.
How important are mentors to you? Do you have any?
I try to avoid what can be termed as the ‘expert by proxy’ bias. Where we tend to listen to the loudest person in the room and assume that as a result, they are competent and capable.
I genuinely look deeper to find people who are ‘true experts’ in the aspect I am looking to grow towards, even if they are the quieter or less visible ones in the room. Or even if they are not in the room at all.
I consider different people mentors in different ways. Actually, I ensure that they are the actual people that I should be talking to.
Having been so successful in the famed ‘Silicon Sahara’, one of the most competitive tech industries in Africa. Does this mean women are getting better recognition for their contributions in the tech world?
It would not be accurate to look at my path and determine that the state of women is improved because of it. My success is not a beacon of change as a lot more should be done and a lot more can be done to ensure that no one is left behind.
Women have a long way to go to get their dues in this industry, not because of their lack of talent or capability but simply because we operate in a world with restrictive, discriminatory and in many cases violent social norms. This applies to all women regardless of class, race, gender and sexual orientation.
What do you think is the biggest misconception women have about how to become successful?
The fact that this question is only asked of women says it all. Women across the board put in the work, glass ceilings are the biggest problem that women face.
These ceilings appear in overt, micro-aggressive or in hidden values and norms that keep women consistently not only fighting to deliver results in their day job but also having to work around harmful social norms as another layer of labor.
The only work that women should be doing is working to deliver to the bottom line, the strategic objectives of an organization.
In moments of self-doubt, what do you tell yourself?
I really believe that I am my biggest cheerleader. I know myself, and I am very comfortable with failure. My self-doubt, as a result, is usually very short-lived.
I’m lucky that the only ‘right’ thing that I have done in my life is to surround myself with a fantastic network of cheerleaders and truth tellers.
They really keep me away from damaging self-doubt with great advise, recognition and validation.
What are your proudest career moments so far?
The Bloggers Association of Kenya is the baby that I am most proud of. Being a part of something that has helped so many people and grown an industry that otherwise did not exist as a Founding Director fills me with a lot of joy.
What advice can you give about being fearless and following your dreams?
Fearless? That isn’t me, I have a lot of fears. That said, the best advice that I have ever been given came from Sylvia Mulinge who was my Director while at Safaricom.
“Progress not perfection, believe that if you have been called into the room then your contribution is valuable. The people in that room want you to succeed.”
What is the one thing you will not be happy if you haven’t achieved when everything is said and done?
I am increasingly concerned about my relationships with people, friends, family, workmates and several others. I would not be happy if I did not achieve a real and authentic relationship with these people.
Personally, I think that when you have solid relationships, everything else will figure itself out. Without that, what are we really here for?.
If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your story with us.
As important as branding and advertising are, one of the most important elements of selling a product/service is customer service.
Excellent customer service puts your business ahead of the competition as it is something that is often missing from the a lot of countries, especially the Ghanaian business model.
Small businesses tend to jump straight to digital marketing or advertising without taking a moment to fully understand their business model and industry and how their product (or service), pricing, place (online store or brick & mortar store) and people (service personnel) intertwine and affect the overall brand and ROI.
In case you didn’t know, people are one of the most important aspects of the business, that is service personnel across the production line or yourself if you are running a run man show.
Customer service does not begin and end at the point of transaction and as a small business owner, you must consider the pre-purchase experience, purchase experience, and post-purchase experience
So what does this mean for your business?
This refers to the experience your customer has with your brand before they decide to purchase anything. Is your website appealing? Does it have enough information to allow the customer to make an informed decision – or are your photos outdated? How is your advertising?
Are people speaking positively about your brand?
This is the actual moment of transaction where you exchange the product (or service) for payment. If you run an online store, you must consider your interface – is your website easy to navigate? How does your customer pay for their purchase – do you have Mobile Money integrated? Can they use a Visa Card?
There are many services in Ghana that allow you to develop a website that allows your customers to shop online. A personal favorite is Storefoundry, it works very well for small businesses in Ghana.
If you run an actual brick & mortar store, what is the ambiance like? Is it easy for customers to locate the products in your store? Are they on high shelves and do they always need an attendant to help?
Is your store so small that your customers can only come in one at a time? Is your shop attendant interactive, willing to help and offer alternatives? Or are they constantly on their phone?
This covers your follow-ups and interaction with the client after the transaction. Are you bombarding them with irrelevant SMS messages and emails? If you provide a delivery service, was your delivery driver dressed appropriately?
Below are practical tips you can put into action to make sure your customer service is top notch.
Recruitment & Training – Recruitment and training is the beginning of providing excellent customer service. Even if you are running a run man show, you need to stay up to date on customer relationship trends and train yourself to always put the customer first. If you are hiring others to handle the customer interaction, make sure you hire people who know and understand the vision of the brand and are willing to be brand ambassadors both inside and outside the workplace. Personnel must also be conversant in the industry-speak as well as in the product itself, in order to serve as a salesperson.
Go the extra mile – The data you collect from your customers serve many purposes. One of the main ones is to compile a mailing list for your newsletter but another important use would be to study your customer’s purchasing habits and stay a step ahead of them all the time. Group your customers by date of birth and send out a personal message to them via text message or Whatsapp, which has become a popular medium for business communication in Ghana. Get to know your customers personally, are they parents? Do they celebrate religious holidays? Make sure to reach out to them accordingly.
Feedback is key – Receiving feedback from your customers at least once a quarter is important. Simple tools such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey are helpful for designing easy to use surveys which gives you direct feedback from your customers and clients. This way, your clients feel involved with and connected to your brand.
Appearance – You and your staff’s appearance is one of the most important elements in building a strong brand. Ensure that staff (and yourself) look the part at all times. Customers appreciate a smile and a helping hand, as difficult as it may be on some occasions.
The best way to make sure your customer service is on point is to align the pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase experience to ensure a smooth transaction!
Social media has become the next big thing. One can’t deny the relevance of social media marketing in driving website traffic, creating brand awareness and generating leads.
Statistics show around 90 percent of adults aged 18-29 are on social media. Most people mention social media as their preferred source of communication with businesses.
After reading this, you may consider creating a social media strategy and want to start straight away. However, there are a few things to consider before creating a social media strategy. These pointers ensure you don’t mess up your campaign.
Define Goals and Objectives
The first thing you want to do before coming up with a social media strategy is to have a clearly defined set of goals. You need to ask yourself, ‘what do you want to achieve out of your efforts?’. Social media marketing isn’t about flipping a switch and calling it a day.
So to start, it is important to set SMART goals. These are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Your goals will not only determine how much effort you put but also what type of resources you will need to invest in to get certain results. Some social media goals you can consider include:
Increase brand awareness
Higher quality of sales
Improve ROI (return on investment)
Create a loyal fan base
Where are your customers likely to be found? Approximately 70 percent of adults use Facebook but that doesn’t mean your customers are actively engaging with your brand there.
When you target your audience, you get to understand things like who buys your products, their age groups, and income level. It’s important you understand demographics such as age, location, job title, and income level. What are their pain points? Their challenges and needs?
All these are necessary as they inform the type of content to use. But more so, you also need to determine what social media channel will be most effective towards achieving your goals. You can learn more about this through researching essential demographic data for each social media platform. This will help you determine what tactics to employ.
Track, Measure and Improve
Remember those goals you set out to achieve? You will need to find a way of measuring your work to ensure that you are meeting your goals. Metrics are important in social media marketing as they help you understand how your business is doing out in the public.
To select metrics, you ask yourself, ‘what social media metrics are associated with my overall goals?’ Vanity metrics such as likes and followers will not be enough to tell the full story of how well your brand is doing on social media. There are 4 main ways you can measure metrics – reach, engagement, clicks and hashtag performance.
Finally, it is important to often and always check up on how your social media strategy is doing. Change is constant. Platforms such as Facebook change their algorithms all the time. Therefore, there is a need for you to continuously track and measure your online activities to see which areas need improvement.
Investigate your competitors
This is an important step to an effective social media strategy. It’s important you investigate your competitors to see what they’re doing. In doing this, you learn from their failures and successes.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to copy exactly what they’re doing. No! Researching your competitors lets you know what’s working for them so you can adjust and incorporate it into yours. Before creating content, it’s good you investigate what others are doing. You often find new ways to look at the content by analyzing what’s making your competitors successful.
Create engaging content
No one maintains interest in content that is not engaging. Therefore, it is very important to always try and create content that is engaging, but that it also aligned with your brand’s identity. So you need to ask questions such as what type of content should be posted? What about time and frequency? In doing all these things, you will be able to have a successful social media strategy.