How Tamiko Cuellar monetized her gift and launched her business

Tamiko Cuellar is the CEO and Founder of Pursue Your Purpose LLC, – a global coaching, consulting and training firm for emerging entrepreneurs, corporate intrapreneurs, and leaders.

She spends at least 6 months each year traveling throughout the continent of Africa where she speaks, coaches, and trains leaders, entrepreneurs, students, and women.

In addition, Tamiko was appointed as a mentor to emerging entrepreneurs in Africa as part of the Tony Elumelu’s Entrepreneurship Programme in 2016.

Tamiko has been a guest contributor on Forbes, The Huffington Post, amongst other publications.

In this article, Tamiko shares with us her journey to becoming a smart boss lady, and how she’s helping ladies on the continent do the same.


What made you decide to launch your own business?

There were multiple catalysts that compelled me to launch my own business I had survived three rounds of layoffs (retrenchments) at my corporate job in the United States as a result of the 2008 economy.

My job was becoming more stressful and adversely impacted my health, and I was only given a $700 bonus after helping to acquire a $30 million client for my company.

Besides all of that, I felt that my potential was being stifled and I was not fulfilled.

I then decided to monetize my gifts and skillset on my own terms, by launching my business to help other women transition from corporate and grow their businesses.

On your journey to becoming a Smart Boss Lady, What are some exciting things while launching your business?

Since there weren’t many coaches that were doing what I was doing when I first started, I looked for as many existing coaches as a template and tried to emulate them.

I later realized that it was my uniqueness that caused my brand to soar internationally.  I would encourage aspiring and emerging boss ladies to harness what’s unique about you.

That’s your sweet spot. People don’t need a clone. They need you to show up in your authenticity

“My uniqueness has helped my brand to soar internationally. Harness what's unique about you, that's your sweet spot.” – @PursueurPurpose Click To Tweet

What are some of the common problems entrepreneurs hire you to solve? 

The most common problems that women hire me for are helping them to narrow their focus, defining their target market, creating/refining a brand that attracts their target market, and also how to sell and make money consistently

Established larger organizations usually hire me to develop their leaders.


Why did you choose the business name – Pursue Your Purpose LLC? 

My company’s name was birthed from a common answer to a question that I would often ask people, which is, “What would you be doing if you could do something other than your current job?” 

The answer was always something different than what they were currently doing! Then my follow-up question would be, “Then why aren’t you doing that?” 

This was usually followed by a blank stare because people didn’t know why they weren’t getting paid to do what they love. It was then that I realized that most people that are working are doing what they have to do rather than what they want to do.

I’ve mastered a system that creates entrepreneurs who get paid to do what they love and I simply coach others on how to profit from their God-given purpose.

Tell us about your experience working almost exclusively on the continent of Africa.

 I absolutely love it!  I am called to Africa. The Africa I see is very different than the Africa that is portrayed in the media. 

Africa is rising

It’s ripe with potential because the majority of the population in many African nations is very young (ages 15-25) and emerging leaders are going to be at the helm of solving Africa’s problems very soon.

Someone needs to develop and train these emerging leaders.  I also feel a deeply personal and cultural connection to Africa being an 

African-American women of the Diaspora who can also bring a high level of skills to the continent that I’ve acquired in the States.

Who is your dream client/partner? 

First and foremost, my dream partnership would be with SLA in some way to build capacity in its community of professional business women from a global perspective.

As a former Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management in the U.S., I also love working with Universities throughout Africa on entrepreneurship curriculum development as well as being a guest lecturer to business and entrepreneurship students. 

Additionally, I love working with agencies and the Ministries of Trade & Industry to teach sub-Saharan African businesses on how to export their products into the U.S. duty-free. 

Lastly, I love training corporate leaders and HR managers on how they develop innovative entrepreneurial thinking in order to be on the cutting edge of what the rest of the world is doing. 

I would love to do more of these three types of training and coaching.  I’m very open to being contacted by your readers for partnership and speaking opportunities throughout Africa.

What’s the most exciting project you’re currently working on? 

I’m very happy to say that my fourth book, “Cultivating An Entrepreneurial Mindset” should be out by the fourth quarter of 2019. 

This will help thousands of aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs both inside and outside the classroom to develop the right thinking that leads to having successful, profitable and sustainable businesses. 

My calendar for 2020 is filling up quickly with organizational partnerships, speaking and training opportunities with universities, corporations, and government agencies throughout Africa, so I welcome as many strategic alignments as my company can accommodate.

I am also adding new Global Brand Ambassadors to my team all over Africa who are highly influential and can help us impact more people.


This article was put together by Lungiswa Mzimba

The Queen of Representation – From Botswana to the world

“The A-Girls are exceptional, black vinyl dolls that appreciate the African girl of today, with all her versatility and diversity”.

Dolls are part of a girl’s introduction to what is considered ‘beautiful’. According to Bakani, creating the brand was essential in order to excavate and resuscitate what African beauty is. 

Until August 2016, Bakani July Johnson was a Lecturer at the University of Botswana (UB) in the Social Work Department. She holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work and has worked intensively in the psychosocial field since 2004, gaining experience with Botswana Baylor Children’s Clinic as a social welfare case manager.

Prior to that, she worked with the Government of Botswana as a Social Welfare officer. After years of ideating, planning and testing, Bakani left the UB and started her doll-making business.

Bakani is a social entrepreneur and is constantly looking for ways to enhance the lives of others.

She is also a founding trustee of Musani Family Care Foundation, an organization that focusses on the restoration of Botswana’s family unit, and offers accommodation to families in transition, mostly caregivers of hospitalized patients who come from far off villages.

Musani Family Care Foundation seeks to bridge the gap by providing temporary housing and support for these families who need it most, at no cost. 

Connect with Bakani and her business on social media.


Why it is important for me to make the dolls…

I have always loved children. I am forever looking for ways to enhance their wellbeing and this led to the realization that there were no black dolls to use during clinical sessions with my little patients.

As a social worker, dolls are some of the symbolic tools used for communication during sessions. However, more often than not, the dolls that were donated looked nothing like the children I worked with.

This became a query, to manufactures and it was not a pretty feeling as it was seen from the point of exclusion. 

I realized that I could continue with the feeling of being ‘left out’ as a black African girl, or I could do something about it.  The research allowed me to see that I, and others like me, were never a concern for doll-makers; they had their own market and concerns.

Whatever I could find was by sheer luck.  I refused to use divisive story-telling or to accept that it was ‘someone else’s fault’ that as Batswana – and Africans – we don’t have black dolls.

The more I searched, the more I was challenged to create the doll I was looking for. I worked from thought to product, beginning in 2007.

The effect representation has on young Batswana /African girls…

We have for the longest time been portrayed as ugly, and not a representation of beauty.

If you research dolls throughout history, you will not like what you see. We have been ‘caricatured’ through the years and our features ridiculed. Our natural hair is still a full-on debate today.

With the dolls, I am simply excavating and resuscitating a black girl’s beauty.

The idea of the @AGirls15 dolls was to trigger an emotional response and to ensure that we put African girls faces on beauty, with a clear understanding that it is our responsibility to raise a new, confident African girl. – Bakani… Click To Tweet

The idea of the dolls was to trigger an emotional response and to ensure that we put African girls faces on beauty, with a clear understanding that it is our responsibility to raise a new, confident African girl. 

The development of The African Girls Dolls is a winning communication tool targeting children.

These are one-of-a-kind vinyl dolls that appreciate the diversity of African girls and were created with the realization of a lack of representation both commercially and in messaging for African children.

Most props and toys used are of girls and boys are not of African descent. Through the African girls’ collection, I am constantly helping organizations to create a unique language of truths, trust, and symbols as part of visual storytelling and visual messaging.

I understand that symbolically, images help us to understand abstract concepts that cannot always be translated into words and dolls have throughout history been symbols to communicate, appreciate and represent.

Dolls are part of a girl’s introduction to what is considered ‘beautiful’, and speaking to that aspect we want to be able to say ‘she is so pretty, just like a doll’ – and actually talk about a doll that looks like her. 

Children are visual beings. They connect to things visually and will remember things seen more than things said. They connect with objects or pictures from memory.

Africa and Botswana are about symbolism, or what things represent and communicate.

By giving girls @AGirls15 dolls that look like them, we are communicating a million things without words. Silent messaging works well with children – Bakani July Johnson Click To Tweet

If you listen in on doll play, your child communicates with what she sees. If her dolly is wearing beads she will have a conversation about that. The idea was to have dolls that are relevant to the children, thus when one looks at the dolls, they will realize that some have tutu skirts and modern symbols which represents a ‘modern girl’ whereas others are dressed in traditional Tswana regalia.

Great dolls bring the thought of history, self, and admiration. Children from different ethnicities benefit from playing with dolls that are a different skin tone, make and versatility.

Though dolls are not photocopies of the individual, we believe that to a small child the most important thing is that her little dolly is beautiful just like her, validating who she is and how she relates to herself.

The role I see my dolls playing in a Motswana girl’s life

This product, created by an African woman for African children is girl-centered for now and is self-esteem/self-efficacy based.

More than play, the dolls are seen as communication tools that instill gender and ethnic pride as a foundation for social skills. What you see and is preached becomes a norm. If everyone talks about ‘light-skinned’ being better, children will want that.

I want parents to hand the dolls to the children without influencing the children’s taste about them. 

I have involved a few people in the crafting of the dolls from those that design the clothes to those that do the hair and packaging.

I am very committed from an economic point of view to create an ecosystem that will hire many people because the project has a lot of potential for growth.

I want a situation where the dolls will have ambassadors so that the young ones can appreciate the mortal presentations of the dolls, just the way they experience the princesses that they see at places like Disneyland.

I will build the momentum and I am open to ideas to help develop the brand even further. I am sending out a call to all African and Botswana girls to join the brand as re-sellers and distributors for their countries.

How I manufacture my dolls…

I have involved a few people in the crafting of the dolls, from those who design the clothes to those who do the hair and packaging.

Unfortunately, in Africa we don’t have companies that work with vinyl for doll making, so we have been forced to outsource.

However, we do have tailors and designers, crochet ladies and shoemakers working on other aspects of the dolls locally.

How the dolls have been recieved by people so far

The success of the dolls has transcended borders and continents, and they have reached international markets.

Botswana has been amazing! The relevance is clearly understood, the need is very apparent and we can only express gratitude for all the support.

Media has been keen at each stage of their development, and young, hopeful Batswana are eagerly working to join the brand and with open arms, we are welcoming ideas and collaborations.

The dolls are currently available across Botswana, as well as re-sellers in Johannesburg, the Netherlands and the United States of America.

We have worked with brands like the Netball World Youth Cup, International Women in Sport, Botswana Tourism Organization and we are currently working on a project with Botswana Netball.

The growth of the business will definitely be stimulated by partnerships.  Partnering at different levels with others is beneficial.

I am working with so many individuals who want to run with certain aspects of the product and I have never been as relieved as the agreements come to fruition. I know now I cannot do it alone! 


Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories, from one of Africa’s poorest countries to a vibrant, developed, middle-income African state.

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The Tourism Queen of Botswana


Reinventing tourist experiences in Botswana

Cynthia Mothelesi is blazing a trail and carving out a unique space with bespoke experiences in the tourism landscape of Botswana.

She is somewhat of an ‘evolving soul’, constantly seeking out ways to deepen her life experiences and provide an opportunity for others to do the same with her travel agency, Happy Soul Adventures.

Trained as a graphic designer, she spent three years lecturing before deciding to expand her horizons. She applied for a job at the Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO), where she served as Marketing Manager for seven years.

Her experiences at BTO were an opportunity for her to travel, sharpen her marketing and PR skills and forge valuable relationships.

She then realized that there was a gap in the tourism sector, which became the catalyst for her foray into business. 

Cynthia Mothelesi uses her creativity and business savvyness to create bespoke experiences that allow her guests to engage with the soul, beauty and people of Botswana in an unimposing, intimate way. 

Connect with Cynthia and her business on her website and social media


What inspired you to go into tourism?

I saw so many opportunities and I realized that there were a lot of gaps in the industry that we were not tapping into.

In Botswana, we see tourism as going on safari, and we really only see it as valid in the Chobe or Okavango. However, I think that tourism has so many facets – @mothelesi Click To Tweet

While I was at BTO, I followed the AirBnB culture because I love hosting. Then in 2017, I decided to venture out on my own because I realized that I could grow. It could be enough for myself and I could do more with the experience and passion that I have.

How did you come up with the idea for Happy Soul Adventures?

I began by focusing on my Airbnb listing, and every week I would have guests from all over the world coming to stay with me. Most times, I would host them at my house, but I didn’t just want to give them accommodation.

I wanted to share what Botswana is all about – @mothelesi Click To Tweet

I wanted to tell them my Botswana story, especially in terms of our people. Not wanting them to just see Botswana as wildlife and safaris, but rather for them to come away knowing that we were more than what the Western media depicts us to be.

That experience taught me a lot and I decided that I would focus 100% on Happy Soul Adventures.

What kinds of tours / experiences do you offer?

Sometimes I take my guests on a city tour. It would include going to nightclubs like Zoom, or to a local pub, George’s, for karaoke night. We may go to Kilimanjaro, which has a place that sells really amazing local food.

I also have clients who come to learn how to milk a goat or bake bread the traditional way. Guests can learn how to do pottery or make a tapestry. It really goes to show that we have a beautiful story to share and that there is value that can be found in it.

What do you keep in mind when you design your tours?

I really want my guests to immerse themselves in our stories. I feel like we Africans can do more to celebrate who we are as people. We tend to shun our own culture and I want to rather celebrate what makes us unique.

Happy Soul Adventures also engages with communities. I don’t want to run a company that is only about me making a profit. So it is more of a collaborative effort.

With collaboration, we are able to build and grow more. Happy Soul Adventures is about connecting people.

What is the most important thing that you want your guests to take away from your tours?

I want people to be able to interact and break down social divides. I feel that at the end of the day, we are all human. – @mothelesi Click To Tweet

I want my guests to be able to experience this. I realized that people are looking for something new for the soul. People love simple, soulful and enriching experiences and I am happy that the responses have been great.

What does Botswana have to offer the world that is unique?

I realized that what we at home think is ‘backward’ or ‘unsophisticated’ is actually something that is unique about us. The fact that we take things slow, and keep things organic is something that people actually love about Botswana.

Guests who visit Mogobane village for example, really love the peace and quiet because it isn’t something that they get to experience often. They really get time to connect with themselves.

So, the most unique selling point about Botswana is that we are very peaceful, quiet and laid-back. It gives people the opportunity to reconnect with their soul and really get to love themselves even more.

Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories, from one of Africa’s poorest countries to a vibrant, developed, middle-income African state.


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That money you want is in someone’s account: Amba Eyang – Ajakaye

Not every “celebrity” is known. There are powerful women who are not just breaking glass ceilings, but also impacting the lives of people they meet.

One of such extraordinary women is Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye, a Brand Storyteller and Business Strategist.

She is the founder of iDare.NotDread Nigeria, a social engineering platform promoting innovation, creativity, and enterprise through storytelling and value sharing.

She is also team lead of the Build My Business initiative born out of iDare.NotDread’s enterprise. Centered on building skills and capacities for young people in the business.

This project launched grand ideas such as the BMB Expo and BMB Training school (online) in 2017.

Amba has gone from transforming ordinary people who would have never thought of writing their own books, to making them authors.

She’s also supporting small businesses to achieve scalability and growth especially, by helping them identify and understand the importance of “target markets” and “market validation”.

In this interview with SLA contributor – Wuraola, Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye bares it all about IDare.NotDread and highlights why small business owners should “do it afraid”.


Do it Afraid. Fight your limitations – Amba Eyang-AjakaiyeI Click To Tweet

Tell us about your company – IDare.NotDread

iDare.NotDread is a social Enterprise promoting innovation, creativity, and enterprise in Nigeria.

Our focus is primarily to build women communities and empower them with creative and innovative skills for business growth.

What’s one business tip you wish most business owners knew and could wield to their advantage?

Network. Meet people.

That money you want is in someone’s account. That unspoken challenge can be solved by someone. Attend workshops, events, and meet people. Most people don’t bite.

How can entrepreneurs begin to understand the power of conducting market validation, and collaboration with other SMEs?

I believe in collaboration. This is why I try to build communities. We started the Abuja food community in May, and its amazing to see how much collaboration has happened in a group full of women.

Yet, we probably thought women prefer to fight. No. The moment businesses understand that collaboration first means ‘here is what I can give you’, before ‘give me what I want’, they will lead better businesses.

With a lot of fake business coaches around, what makes your brand different?

We didn’t just arrive. We’ve been here a while. In 2013 we started with creating a platform for entrepreneurs to share their stories and inspire others.

Over time, we realized stories weren’t enough. Capacities needed to be built.

So we went all in to try to understand the real needs of the entrepreneurs we wished to serve, and since 2016, we started contributing to conversations around digital technology and creating a good impact in the digital space.

Since then, our efforts have birthed super brands.

In the past 3 years we have successfully trained 4,000 entrepreneurs on digital strategies as well as provided opportunities for business visibility.

Many thanks to the opportunity Google granted us through the Digital Skills for Africa programme and a host of other partners who have trusted us to work with them.

Why should SMEs understand their target markets before making an entrance into the market?

Because if we don’t, we would be hitting our heads on rocks. Hard rocks.

You can’t sell to everyone, and this is why research is key to identifying who your market is.

Ever tried selling a #ManchesterUnited jersey to an #Arsenal fan? It's just blind selling. Read more from Amba Eyang-Ajakaiye Click To Tweet

Tell us about your Ebook Challenge

Its amazing! I launched my first ever ebook on March 2019, titled ‘How to write your first eBook‘ and that’s where the ebook challenge began.

We are currently on our 3rd cohort and it’s been amazing!!! Every 2 months we launch a new set of authors who are super proud of their achievements. It feels great to empower people to create wealth with their knowledge.

We are looking to expand the community beyond eBooks to help more women create diverse digital products and generate more income.

How does the “Do It Afraid” catchphrase relate to entrepreneurs who don’t like taking risks?

We all have fear in us. It’s an emotion. I am still learning to tame my fears. And we all should. The best way to go about it is to go ahead and do that very thing you fear.

I have coached a number of businesses and one of the areas I tend to focus on is to help them fight those limitations – the little voices and beliefs that make them feel less of themselves and limited.

It’s important we act despite fear. Accept your fears but act.

What’s the worst that could happen? Failure? Then show me one person who NEVER failed.


11 Traits to have in your single years – while waiting for a life partner

The single years can be fun and productive, but in some societies, the stigma that arises when you start getting close to a certain age can become overwhelming.

Beyond that, how can you make your single years transformational and fruitful before settling down? Here are some tips to help you:

1. Give more than you receive

This is the best time to start practicing how to share. When you get married, you’ll have to share your life with your spouse and if you have always felt that people were invading your space, this is the best time to start practicing.

Smile more, show courtesy, give out some things that you don’t need and volunteer with your time.

2. Start working on things that challenge your self-worth

Do you have issues with being confident? This is the best time to seek therapy on that. Do you feel you’re not tall or beautiful enough?

This is the best time to start seeing yourself in a positive light. Take time to evaluate what makes you feel less and start appreciating it.

In marriage, you wouldn’t want your spouse to be the source of your happiness because sometimes you’ll need to learn to enjoy your alone time. Nobody can complete you so start learning to love yourself.

3. Learn to manage your money

If you spend without a budget, plan or savings then you want to learn to manage your finance. You can start saving and investing now.

You can research on apps that allow you to save and invest and also learn more on business opportunities.

4. Learn to manage your home

If you can’t clean your space, then start owning your space well without the intention of your spouse arranging everything for you.

Learn to clean every corner of your house and practice good and healthy hygiene.

5. Be a praying person

Marriage has its own battles and you don’t want to go into marriage with an entitlement mentality.

You want to start praying for yourself, your spouse and children ahead. Learn to build a relationship with God in your single years so that you don’t build your world around your spouse alone.

6. This is time to work on your insecurities

There’re people who’ll get married and try to control or manipulate their spouse because of trust issues. This is time to stop projecting your fears on your partner.

Seek therapy and closure. It usually stems from your past experiences and it is better to seek for healing before you settle down.

7. Let go of pride

If you’ve pride issues, this is the time to start seeking professional help. Pride kills the beauty of marriage.

Don’t assume that your excesses will be managed. Pride comes before a fall.

8. Practice self-control

If you think marriage will help you to stop playing the field, that’s a mistake. Self-control is important because you won’t be having sex every day.

9. Start learning little act of commitment

Marriage works because of two committed people. Commitment should be practiced even when things are not going your way. It starts with your thoughts and decisions.

10. Travel to a new place

One of the beautiful things you can do in your single years is to go to new places and try new things. if you cannot afford to visit a different country, try traveling to another state to tour and meet new people.

11. Invest in your personal development

You should also use this period to read books, attend seminars and invest in yourself. I can’t emphasize this enough.

A lot of singles find it difficult to invest in their emotional life and it can be frustrating at the end of the day. Save yourself the stress of being hurt and clueless.

Learn and relearn. Learn about your personality type, your values, your deal-breaker, communication, love and apology languages, and so many other things.


Which of these do you want to start doing?

ILHAN OMAR: From Refugee camp to US Congress

When I think of a Boss Lady in 2019, I think of Ilhan Omar. Omar echoes Lupita Nyongo’s Oscar speech when she said

“No matter where you come from your dreams are valid”.

Ilhan Omar took this to heart as she began her campaign to the House of Representatives in the US Congress. She is now known as Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, but her journey to Congress has been something of a dream.

Omar is a Somali native, who was a refugee in Kenya before she relocated to the United States. She was recently elected to the US Congress in a historic fashion.

She is the first East African (Somali) woman as well as the first of two Muslim women elected to the House. The US House of Representatives today is comprised of Boss Ladies who have worked their way to the top.

Ilhan Omar’s story stands out because of her resilience and compassion as she introduces new bills on the US House floor.

THE BEGINNING

Ilhan Omar was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in October 1982. She grew up in Somalia until the civil war when she and her family were forced to flee the ongoing civil unrest.

Omar spent four years living in extreme poverty at the Dadaab refugee camp in Garissa, Kenya. She and her family overcame obstacles and were able to relocate to the US after securing asylum in 1995.

She was raised in the United States from the age of 12. Her upbringing in the United States sparked her interest in politics. Omar shares stories of her youth when she went to political meetings with her father and saw the lack of female leaders in the political sphere.

She went on to study political science at North Dakota State University. Her studies of politics gave her the tools needed to embark on the journey to becoming a political pioneer in 2019.

THE BUILD UP

If you have been following Ilhan Omar’s story, you will quickly realize that she is an outspoken politician.

Her journey to the US Congress is a buildup of courage in the face of opposition to anything that goes against the status quo. Being that Omar is a Muslim immigrant, she is considered a threat because of her identity.

Omar’s political stance on many issues, especially immigration comes from her experience as an immigrant. She once said in an interview…

“For me as an immigrant, who didn’t speak the language, when I had struggled as a kid, my dad would say: Once you are able to communicate with people, they are able to connect with you beyond your otherness…”

Omar’s ability to connect with the fellow immigrant who may be struggling with their new environment struck me as a compassionate quality. She understands the immigration issues and can give a voice to the concerns of the immigrant population in the national conversations happening in the US Congress.

BOSSING UP


Although many people may not see Ilhan Omar as a “boss lady”, she has made some big moves in her career thus far.

She was the Director of Policy Initiatives for the Women Organizing Women Network, based in Minnesota USA, where she was advocating for East African women to take initiative in civic and political leadership roles.

According to the WOWN website, the purpose of the organization is to “Empower all women, particularly first and second-generation immigrants to become engaged citizens and community leaders regardless of political affiliation”.

The WOW Network seeks to encourage Diaspora women to engage in civic conversations that bring light to the issues that immigrants face in the United States. From the role as director of this network, she was able to gain the confidence to launch her campaign for office in the United States Congress.

The boss lady emerged as she fought hard to win a seat in the House of Representatives. She was elected to the US Congress in 2018.


This month of July, we’re telling stories about boss ladies breaking boundaries, and how you also can hit your #BossLadyGoals

WANT TO BE A BETTER MANAGER? KEEP THESE 3 THINGS IN MIND

Being a boss babe leader and managing others is not easy.  I remember when I was first starting off as a manager, and I had to make my first hires.

I overthought everything.  

I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but at the same time, I wanted to get the most out of the people I hired. 

Here are three basic statements I kept in mind when reflecting on my ability to engage and mobilize anyone working with me.  

They are useful to think about whether you manage one intern or twenty individuals.


1. Understand the goals and aspirations of each member of your team.

I used to think that I had to approach each member of my team the same.  I would provide them the same information and respond to them in similar ways, expecting the same output from each. It did not get me very far.  

Each person needs to be treated as an individual. Understanding how each member of your team ticks will help you get the most out of them.

If you know how to acknowledge and recognize each member, you will know how best to motivate and communicate with them.  

With just a bit of work and understanding, you can get a lot more out of a team member, because you will be speaking their language. No two people are motivated the same way, so you cannot always expect the same result from different individuals.

If you are an employee…

  • Tell your manager what motivates you.
  • Tell them what you want to get out of your experience working with them and how you prefer to be approached.
  • If you are confused about your role or objectives, ask or show them what you think they should be.

They might not always listen, but you can at least demonstrate how self-aware you are. Some managers will appreciate it.

Those who don’t probably shouldn’t be managers.

2. Each member of your team knows what you expect, and where they are in terms of performance

I was notorious and continued to have issues with communicating what I want from others.  Even when we think we have done an excellent job, we usually have not.

Making sure each member of your team understands their place (even if it changes monthly) is key to making sure you are getting the most out of them.  

They should be getting feedback from you regularly, and you should periodically inquire about making sure they are on the right track.

If they are not, its either you haven’t done an excellent job being explicit or the role does not suit them.

If you are an employee and your company has a formal performance review process, nothing your manager says during the performance review process should come as a surprise.

  • Ask for regular feedback and make sure you get clarity if you are confused.
  • Send your manager an email with what you discussed, even if its feedback, to make sure you both are on the same page.

3. You actively act on advice and feedback on how you come across to your team, and how you can be a more motivating leader

No one is perfect but spending a few hours a week on seeking and receiving feedback can make you a more effective leader.  

You can ask for input in various ways: informally at group meetings or formally through surveys. Take some time to read about different approaches to leadership and reflect on who you admire as a manager.

Write down the traits and feedback you want to embody and try them out. Want to check how you are doing? Continue to ask for feedback over time.

If you are an employee…

  • Ask your manager if you can give them constructive feedback.  
  • Think about what you can learn from your manager and make the best of the situation.
  • If there is something that doesn’t sit well with you, keep it in mind for when you have a chance to manage others.

How can you use these statements to make a change or move forward?

With each element, try to rate yourself.  I would suggest on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 meaning disagree strongly and 10, strongly agree.

Ask your teammates for feedback to help you decide where you stand.

For the statements you rate less than 5, you might want to spend some time thinking through how to bridge the gap.  You can start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Where do you want to be?
  • What is the first thing you can do to make progress in that particular element?

That one small step you take can help you get closer to the leader you want to be and get even more out of your team.


This month of July, we’re telling stories about boss ladies breaking boundaries, and how you also can hit your #BossLadyGoals. Got a boss lady story to share with us? Click here.

What went down at the #IAMORIGINAL Boss Brunch & Panel – Johannesburg

Curated within the beautiful landscape of Jozi on a peaceful Sunday, She Leads Africa in partnership with The Cut Life and Originals by Africa’s Best held a Boss Brunch and panel with the finest Motherland Mogul influencers of Africa.

The location was a hidden oasis of tranquility, The Gabriela’s Tea Room, perfect for some girl chat, champagne was flowing, the crowd was buzzing. What a beautiful Sunday.

In the era of feminism and self-love, you do find some false prophets that don’t live up to their campaign inside as loudly as they may be online.

What was important about the #IAMORIGINAL panel and brunch was that it focused on the challenges black women struggle through.

The theme that stood out from the event was the need for women to back each other up and actually mean it.

For the older and younger generation to join minds and create solutions for the Motherland Moguls that follow.

The event kicked off with a warm welcome from the bubbly Shanon Stanislaus of Originals by Africa’s Best. She spoke about the benefits of their new Coconut Creme range that has nutrition rich formulas, helping your natural hair with the foundation its needs for hair goals.

I tried some of the samples from the gift bag and I am sold on the products, which are available from Clicks nationwide or through The Originals by Africa’s best website.

We then proceeded into an hour-long networking bingo session, that had our Influencers and Motherland Moguls buzzing through the room, the energy was so lively- It felt like the best girl chat session I’ve been to in ages.

We held bingo cards that had questions such as “Who in the room has three pets, Who is an only child”. These were great ice breakers, especially for an introvert like myself.

Back to our tables, we were served incredible dishes by The Gabriela’s Tea Room patrons, everything delicious and mouthwatering.

This amazing panel was moderated by Tahira Joy of The Cut Life joined by Shanon Stanislaus (Originals by Africa’s Best), Enhle Mbali (Actress), Azania Mosaka (Broadcaster) and Jamelia Donaldson (Founder of Treasure Tress).

They spoke on self-care and beauty, ways to effectively run your business and respect yourself and values in the process.

We all got a few tips on how to reach your next Boss level in entrepreneurship through their stories, lessons and best practices.

Azania Mosaka dropped so many nuggets that had all the women in agreement throughout.

“Stick to your values and you’ll always win" – @Azania_ Click To Tweet

In the entertainment industry women are made to choose to get ahead either giving their bodies or having to dumb down their intellect so at to seem less of a threat to colleagues.

As shocking as it may sound, these are challenges most women are still overcoming.

A recurring theme throughout the Boss brunch and panel was how women need to remain educated and curious in our endeavors and not forgetting the people we build our dreams with.

“If you’re starting your race, be invaluable to your team.” – Shanon Stanislaus..

There’s only so much you can do as an individual, once you realize your expertise is invaluable, the impossible is just as attainable as anything.

We truly are better together.

On the theme of staying curious in what your interests are, Jamelia Donaldson of Treasure Tress stated…

You don’t know what you want to do until you’ve tried it all”. Click To Tweet

“ You don’t know what you want to do until you’ve tried it all”.

This tied in so well with the events hashtag of the day #IAMORIGINAL, when you apply yourself and work on what your secret sauce is, what do you really have to lose ?

All in all, this was an event, unlike any other networking event I have been to, which is saying a lot as I have been to a ton of networking sessions and gone home feeling as though I barely received much value from the speakers.

It could be just how intimate the brunch was or the fact that everyone left their egos at the door and simply wanted to celebrate each other.

I have nothing but praise for what these women aimed to share through the event and I believe that we can all learn from them.

As Motherland Moguls we are constantly inspiring those around us, we may not realize it a lot of the times, the best thing we can do is live an intention-driven life in our goals, decisions, and actions.

Work within the passion and not ego, power or status.

I’m definitely looking forward to more events from these powerhouses.


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2 ways to prepare yourself for the real world – while in the University

There are endless opportunities out there! Don’t just think that after graduating, the next thing is to get a job.

A few years to complete Uni. You feel the excitement.

Someone once told me “the real world begins after Uni”.

I was too busy attending classes and meeting new friends that I didn’t stop to ponder over the words. I always thought Uni was hard.

From initial registration at the beginning to semester registrations, departmental registration, to hall registration and all that. It’s stressful.

Then you have to attend classes, write exams and do all those presentations and assignments. God help you if you have a project to defend.

You have to worry about the trips you’ll make to your supervisor’s office before it’s accepted.

I wish someone told me how well to prepare before graduation. I wish someone touched on the salient skills you have to learn before facing the real world.

Here are two things to focus on while you’re still in uni to prepare yourself for the real world:

1. Gain some useful work experience

I bet you saw this coming. You had to! I mean this a no-brainer.

How do you spend your semester holidays? Binge watching? Going on a shopping spree? Visiting old friends and relatives who don’t even ask about you? Traveling?

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against treating yourself right or spoiling yourself once in a while. And I value time spent with family.

However, your University days (and particularly the holidays in between semesters) is a perfect time to gain some work experience in your chosen field.

Whether it be assisting in an office or a short internship, it will always make your CV stand out among other, experience-less graduates.

My first internship was at level 300. It was a one-month thing at a Radio station.

As part of their anniversary, they were having a health month so my job was to look for health snippets to be aired. Anything from eating, exercising, dieting, stress.

I wish I had gotten more experience while in Uni to prepare me for the real world.

I remember a lady telling me in our final year that she never interned before. I’m like well, I’m grateful for my one month.

But here’s the thing, some people focus on the money that they rather wait till after uni and get a paying job than spend 1-3 months of their holidays working somewhere where they might never get paid.

See it as an opportunity because that’s what it is. Most interns don’t get paid but if you do find a place that pays,  hallelujah!

If not, seize the opportunity, work on yourself, build yourself, network, improve your skills and who knows they just might be a position waiting for you after graduation.

2. Take some time to carefully consider your options

There are endless opportunities out there! Don’t just think that after graduating, the next thing is to get a job.

For most graduates, that’s the very obvious path. But for others, they’re looking to start their own business, head back to the University to bag a Masters and doctorate degree or go into freelancing.

Weighing up these options can take some of the pressure off, and make sure you’re making the right choice in these crucial first post-uni steps.


Have you thought of what’s next for you after Uni?

Here are 5 reasons why you need a personal website

Have you ever seen  a myname.com website and thought “oh that’s so cool but it’s not for me?”

Well let me shock you, if you want to stand out online whether in the corporate or business world as a slay queen in the 21st century, then you best believe it’s for you.

Still in doubt, let me give you 5 reasons why you need to grab your domain name and have a beautiful website designed to suit your goals and personality.

1. Your paper resume is about to go extinct!

A recent study by OfficeTeam shows that more than one-third of companies feel that resumes will be replaced by profiles on social networks. What this means is that prospective employers and clients are and will be searching for you online.

Having a personal website that is optimized for search will ensure that they find you when they need you – @OlubunmiFaj Click To Tweet

2. You get a home for all your online activities

It means that even if all social media platforms crash, there’s still something to your name on the web.

It also means that there’s something to link to when people mention you on the web.

3. Worldwide exposure

Having a personal website allows you to be able to express yourself, your gifts and your thoughts online thereby building thought leadership in your areas of experience and expertise.

This makes you more attractive to people seeking to work with you.

4. Make digital sales

“I don’t want another source of income,” said NO ONE EVER!

Having a personal website makes it easy for you to create and sell virtual products without messing with your job or business.

You can host products such as ebooks, online courses, pre-recorded songs and albums, webinars and so much more on your personal website and make passive income from them.

5. Build your personal brand

Having a personal website helps you get conscious about building your personal brand.

You can retire or resign from a job or business, but you can never resign or retire from being you. So don’t build your career or business and forget to build your personal brand.


If you’d like to learn more about building thought leadership and online visibility for your personal or business brand, please click here to get access to my FREE online visibility checklist on my personal website 😁.