DAISY ADUL: CEO Kenya’s first cloud-based salon software shares her takeaways from the SLA x Dark and Lovely Accelerator residency

Daisy Adul is an experienced professional in marketing and client relations. She is also the founder of Uneeq Salon software, Kenya’s first cloud-based salon software.

With a demonstrated history of running sales and operations for several organizations, Daisy has built a team that prides itself in offering a unique and customized experience for customers while guiding them to achieve their maximum potential.additionally has a track record of exceeding targets.

Having worked within the Logistics industry with multinationals such as FedEx Express, Bollore Logistics for over a decade, inherently understanding how vital customer service, marketing, strategic planning, and implementation is to a business.

Daisy is one of the top 5 She Leads Africa x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator, finalists. In November 2018, she attended the accelerator residency boot camp at the L’Oréal HQ in Johannesburg, and she shares her experience in this article.

 Tell us about your business

Uneeq is a software company providing affordable and convenient cloud-based business solutions such as inventory management, customer data collection, invoicing, payroll, financial reports, branch management, appointment scheduling and so much more within the beauty and wellness industry.

I am highly driven by what the world has to offer and hope to leave it better than I found it - @daisy_adul Click To Tweet

How did you hear about the SLA x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator

Being a follower of She Leads Africa on social media, I have always followed the remarkable work they do with women across Africa. I receive their monthly newsletter, and so this is how I found out.

At the time I didn’t think much about it, but after watching Accelerator programs held in the past, I was sure this is exactly what myself and the business needed. Talk about perfect timing.

What are your 5 key tips for submitting a winning application?

The first thing which you cannot stress enough is your story.

Anyone can come up with a great idea, and anyone can be an entrepreneur but what sets you apart and what exactly is it that makes your business a need rather than a want. Click To Tweet

Secondly, it’s your pitch deck which is basically a layout of key information about your business that aims to attract potential investors. Your pitch deck should be captivating enough. Keep it short and simple but highlight key points such as what problem it is your trying to solve and the solution.

Know your market, your competitors, challenges you face and some of the steps you have taken to overcome these challenges.

Be real. As simple as that. Do not oversell your business at the same time do not sell yourself short. Click To Tweet

Highlight your milestones or personal success within your business or as an entrepreneur. Nobody wants to be associated with a boring brand.

Tell us about your experience during the SLA x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator residency.

In one word, eye-opening. When I first came to the program, I thought I knew exactly what I was doing regarding my business and its structure. It gives you clarity on some key things we usually tend to overlook in our businesses.

Meeting other fabulous boss ladies doing phenomenal things within their space and realizing that I am not alone in this was cool.

The assurance that in one way or another, we all face challenges in our businesses, but we can’t give up. After all, the motherland needs more women in leadership positions.

Support from the entire team at SLA and experts from Dark and Lovely also made the week bearable. Moments of self-doubt became winning moments, and courage to speak up about my business is something I take home with me.

What was your highlight of the residency program

Definitely learning how to create an excellent pitch deck.

As a business owner, what would you say is your unique selling proposition?

Being the first Salon software within the Kenyan market and across East Africa is something we pride ourselves in.

But that isn’t enough, ensuring that this software is integrated for the African market through understanding the missing value chain from 3 fronts that are salon owners, customers and technicians are the extra miles we have gone.

What’s the most important thing the SLA Accelerator residency has taught you?

Tomorrow is always a better day. During the week we all had low moments, and at some point, I wanted to give up.

But surprisingly enough on the last day when presenting our pitch decks, I was not the same person who had walked into L’OREAL office on Monday.

I was bold, confident and passed on the exact message I had been struggling with which is simply how brilliant my business is. I learned how to stop selling myself and my business shortly.

One of your exercises during the residency was to create a vision board for 2019. What’s that one goal you MUST achieve in 2019?

What is most important to me currently is self-development in all areas of my life. And so the one thing I intend to accomplish in my 2019 is to get recognition for my business in various platforms for women in business through growth and restructure.

What’s your secret sauce? How do you get your glow up?

Staying Authentic and being unapologetic about wanting more.

Are you a Tea or coffee gal?

Definitely a coffee girl.

“Behind every successful woman is a substantial amount of coffee” –Stephanie Piro,

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Takeaways from Sheryl Sandberg’s Book – Lean In

Lean in is a book I’ve always wanted to read from the first day I saw it.  The three words at the cover caught my attention – Women, Work, and Leadership.

These three words have unique interconnectivity that I just could not resist. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book and I gripped it from the moment I found it on the shelf.

Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer for Facebook where she has worked in since 2008. She has also worked with Google and lots of major brands.

She began her career as a staff at the US Treasury Secretary, Larry Summers, since then she has climbed the corporate ladder and is now the only female at the board of directors for Facebook.

Her book –Lean In encourages women to be more assertive in the workplaces, stock filled with her experiences on motherhood, leadership, and career. Lean in is a book I encourage every Motherland Mogul to read.

Here are some few tips I picked from chapter 1 alone. I hope it wills you to pick up on this book from the shelf.


Statistics show that:

At the top fifty colleges, less than a third of Student Government Presidents are women

Profession ambition is expected of men but is optional, or worse, sometimes even a negative-for women

“And for all the progress, there is still societal pressure for women to keep an eye on marriage from a young age,” She wrote in her book.

Sheryl shares the story of her first marriage. She married early expecting that it would secure a happy life for her. “In my head, 24 is the perfect age to get married, I think it’s time I do some rethinking”. She said.

For all the pressure to be successful, I felt a higher pressure to get married early - @sherylsandberg Click To Tweet

“Many women still see ambition as a dirty word,” she says

That’s true. Just the other day I told my friend that my sister was very ambitious like it is a bad word. She works with a large editing firm and when I tell people that, they go “hey that’s cool, she should think of getting married’.

They honestly do not expect more from her. She has proved her point, she has worked hard, now it’s time to get married.

Leadership roles are not the only way to have a profound impact.” – Sheryl Sandberg

Hellen Keller says “Power is being able to make a decision in the thing that matter to you” sometimes being a CEO may not be the thing that matter most to people.

Sheryl closes the chapter saying – “Writing this book is what I would do if I weren’t afraid”

Now you, what would you do if you weren’t afraid?

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.


It’s Yetunde Shorters here, chiming in sharing with you, as we plan for the New Year, seven powerful ways to level up your personal brand in 2019.

This year flew by so quickly that we couldn’t even catch a breath, but it’s never too late. You can start now and start today, and let’s plan for manifestations in 2019.

Below are my suggestions of 7 powerful ways to level up your purposeful personal brand in 2019.   


Planning means take the time one of these days before the year is over and sit down and plan for the things you want for your brand or your business.

Plan what your social media would look like, what each quarter would look like, and what products you’re going to launch.

Write it out. You have plenty of time to do that this year so that you can be prepared and schedule things for next year. That way, you save yourself some time.

You can start now and start today, and let's plan for manifestations in 2019 - @Yetunde . Click To Tweet


Manage your time like a boss. We all have 24 hours in the day. If you’re a solopreneur or you have a small team, you have 24 hours a day. You have a lot to do.

What that means is you need to be conscientious of how you spend your time.

What are you doing with your mornings? Do you find yourself on Facebook or Instagram immediately? STOP IT!!!

The first 90 minutes set the tone. Be intentional about those 90 minutes.


That means online and offline. Sometimes we get caught up in posting, and we forget that we have to engage other people, so dedicate 20 to 30 minutes of your time per week and go back to the people that follow and engage on their pages.

Like the comments, like their pictures, read stuff, and leave your thoughtful feedback. Also, do this in live events. That means go out more, look for networking or marketing events that you can be a part of.


If you are going to be doing events, a photo shoot or consulting with clients, write out what that looks like. For example, when a client inboxes you, what is your response? Or when a client responds to you.

What do you reply to that? Write it out step-by-step.

Having automated content helps in a way that when anything happens, you’re literally just cutting and pasting again saving you time. Or you can use e-services to create an auto send out.


This is one of the things that were actually in the recent book I had with the Better Business book. I shared the 10 things I’ve learned from my 10 years in business.

If I knew then, I would have documented any good thing that happened in my business. When you’re going to do a review of the year or an analysis to a client, you can go back and have documentation.

Documenting things is a great way to track your progress - @yetunde Click To Tweet

So, at the end of the year, if you have to do a year in review, you have all your ducks in a row. You have content for your portfolio. You have content for testimonials. It’s a great way to track your progress. 


This often depends on how engaged you are on social media or your newsletter or in person, to see what’s working.

Test it out and then come back and take off the things that are not working. Tracking and analyzing helps you see that your efforts are being put to good use.

That way, you will get into the quality of what works for your brand, and so you just rinse and repeat and use the things that work over and over again.


Create your automation systems. What does it look like when someone signs up for your newsletter or signs up for talking to you, what is that process?

If there’s anything you can automate, which means use a mailing service where something is automatically sent to them without you, your business can function without you; you automatically automate all the stuff that you want your customers or potential clients to know.

Again, you have a plan ahead, manage your time like a boss, map out your systems, connect better and more, document the milestones, track and analyze often, automate, engage, and convert.

These 7 steps are what you need to level up for your brand in 2019.

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Memoirs from the Google Developers Festival (DevFest) Lagos 2018

On Saturday, November 3rd, 2018, thousands of developers and tech-savvy young adults attended the annual developer festival (DevFest) of sessions, workshops, training, code labs and much more.

DevFests (Developers Festival) are community-led, developer events hosted by Google Developer Group (GDG) chapters around the globe. This event is focused on community building and learning about Google’s technologies.


Find out what went down at the #DevFestLagos #DevFest18 organized by @gdglagos Click To Tweet

The Devfests which was launched  2007 had its first GDG Lagos Devfest event hosted in December 2013, and has been continuously become an annual event which developers around the globe anticipate.

Each DevFest is uniquely tailored to the needs of the developer community and the region that hosts it.

Just like several other years, this year’s Devfest Lagos was in clusters and had a collaboration of several chapters within the same region. There were several GDG chapters and Developer Student clubs by Google within the southwest region of Nigeria in attendance.

Ada Nduka Oyom – one of the organizers of the Dev-Fest  talks about her experience at the DevFest Lagos 2018:

Ada Nduka Oyom

“Knowing how far the entire team had come in preparations, it’s safe to say every session held was a highlight on its own. From having reputable speakers from Top Tech organizations like Google, Apollo, Andela, Interswitch, PayLater,  etc give insightful technical talks on several Technologies and products.

We also had a panel session on working remotely to help tailor one of the up and rising need for developers in Nigeria and Africa”.


“DevFest Lagos is always going to be an annual event and the 2019 event will be taking place on November 2nd, 2019. More information would definitely go out via our meetup page and twitter handle as we approach the date”, says Ada.

According to Ada, the DevFest 2018 Lagos chapter had about 2394 developers in attendance, with some participants coming in from other local GDG chapters outside Lagos.

Haven been actively involved in the developer community for a long while, she can attest to the growing network of developers in the Lagos chapter alone.

“ With several other developer events happening across Nigeria and Africa having attendees of 1000 or less, it’s always indicated the possibilities of us getting more. We just needed to bring them all in one place and that’s what we did”, she continues.

Ada is a software developer and Open source advocate who currently leads Developer relations at Interswitch group. She’s also the founder of She Code Africa and Open Source Community Africa where she’s focused on matters bothered around Women in tech and Open Source respectively.

At @gdglagos we knew we needed to bring all developers together in one place, and that's what we did - @Kolokodess #DevFestLagos #DevFest18 Click To Tweet

Many of the first time attendees were overwhelmed at how large the developer community was, and this was definitely a great networking opportunity for them to network with each other.

Attendees got access to speakers such as Lade Tawak –  a Design Researcher who has experience conducting strategic and evaluative user research in East Africa and West Africa and has worked on B2C & B2B products in various industries.

Lade Tawak

Lade spoke about why developers should be interested in the users of their products and gave practical steps for developers to take when it comes to understanding users.

During her session, Lade stressed about how developers are sometimes their own users.

Sandra Israel-Ovirih

Sandra Israel-Ovirih one of the facilitators and attendee of the DevFest shared her experience and highlights from the event.

“I had an amazing experience cause I got to meet other developers in the ecosystem and also learn about new improvements to technologies and the diverse ways developers are using Google technologies”.

Sandra facilitated a code lab on Firebase, where she taught participants how to use some features of Firebase in their web applications. By implementing and deploying a chat client using Firebase.



Below are her key highlights from the  Google DevFest.

  • Getting to speak to Kechy Eke, Product Manager at Firebase extensively about a certain side project and getting advice on how I could use ML Kit to achieve what a certain feature of the project.
  • Facilitating the code lab and getting feedback on my talk.
  • Seeing the Number of people gathered and eager to learn how to improve their skills and become better Developers.
  • Seeing companies that leverage on the ecosystem also give back heavily to the ecosystem.
I got to meet other developers in the ecosystem at the #DevFestLagos #DevFest18 by @gdglagos and also learn about new improvements to technologies - @SandraIsrael_O Click To Tweet

Besides learning about new tech and everything she mentioned above, Sandra’s key takeaway was realizing that the ecosystem of developers is growing fast and we need to organize meetups and groups to keep growing talent.

Sandra is a self-taught front-end Developer. She has experience in building beautiful and progressive web apps. She is enthusiastic about solving problems with technology through a combination of technical knowledge and a keen eye for design

Want to connect with other female developers and join the developers’ community? Sign up here.

See more photos from the Google DevFest Lagos 2018 below:

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Meet MARIAM DIABY: Côte d’Ivoire’s top natural hair influencer

Mariam Diaby is a natural hair influencer from Côte d’Ivoire. She holds a degree in Marketing and International Business.

In 2011, she created Nappys de Babi, a community of more than 26,000 members mobilized to promote natural beauty, with a focus on nappy hair.

Under her entrepreneur’s cap, she launched the Kun’si Hair Centers chain in December 2017.

Miriam is one of the 5 She Leads Africa x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator, finalists. As part of the program, she just completed a 1-week intensive boot camp at the L’Oréal HQ in Johannesburg.

In this article, she shares her experience and highlight of the program with us. 

About my business…

Kun’si is a hair care specialist brand providing quality services to natural women through a network of affordable centers.

My experience during the SLA x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator residency…

It was very empowering meeting experts in different sectors, who shared the best practices to enhance our business development.

It was also interesting to discover multiple experiences in the same domain, each one adapted to a specific environment.

Highlight of the residency program…

Pitching my business was definitely one of the best moments! I learned to introduce Kun’si in 5 minutes and also highlight the best assets to retain attention. Working on my pitch deck was a very good exercise.

Now I understand my unique selling proposition. I’m a natural hair influencer, and I have the facility to collect essential information from an existing community and then adapt my offer to its needs

As a business owner, what would you say is your unique selling proposition?

I have the facility to collect essential information from an existing community and then adapt my offer to its needs.

Quality and consistency is important for consumers - Mariam Diaby Click To Tweet

What’s the most important thing the SLA Accelerator residency has taught you?

“Constant quality is important for consumers.” – Heard in the PR session.

For me, this sentence summarizes the essence of success, insights, content value, customers, and competition.

Constantly studying your environment and target audience will lead you to always produce the best solution to your target.

One of your exercises during the residency was to create a vision board for 2019. What’s that one goal you MUST achieve in 2019?

LOSE WEIGHT. If I do this, I will do ANYTHING.

What’s your secret sauce? How do you get your glow up?

Faith. It leads me to everything. Happiness, joy, strength, optimism.


Are you a Tea or coffee gal?

Tea all day, every day!

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

ABIGAIL NAA TAGOE: In 2019, I must be among the top 5 most sought-after makeup artists in Ghana!

Abigail Naa Lamiokor Tagoe is a 23-year-old beauty entrepreneur from Ghana. She developed an interest in all things beauty, during her undergraduate studies at the University of Ghana, Legon.

She is the founder of Finesse By Maanaa, a beauty community which features a team of professional makeup artists and hairstylists. Her mission is to empower women through beauty and leave her clients feeling the best version of themselves.

Abigail Tagoe is one of the top 5 finalists of the SLA x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator program where she recently went through a high-intensity residency week with the SLA team at the LO’real HQ in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In this article, she talks about her takeaways from the SLA x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator residency week.  

The world is not looking for mediocre people. To be a driving force, you have to be exceptional - Lessons from the SLA x Dark and Lovely Beauty Accelerator Click To Tweet

How did you hear about the SLA x Dark and Lovely Accelerator program?

I saw a sponsored post on Instagram about the program and immediately knew that it was what I had been looking for.

However, I was a bit hesitant to sign up after reading the rules, as I had never created a pitch deck before. But I went ahead with it and was so grateful to have been contacted.

How would you describe your overall experience?

Putting my experience in very few words, I would say it has been the most challenging mountain I’ve had to climb in my entire life.

My whole thinking process was disrupted, I mean in the space of a week I’ve had to think outside the box. I’d say I have certainly been driven out of my comfort zone.

Meeting all the important people who are the driving force of the beauty and digital marketing industry was a highlight for me. The information I received was priceless!

What are your 5 key tips for submitting a winning application

  • Be clear about what problem your business is solving
  • Hone in on your strongest asset
  • State some factual evidence using numbers!
  • Be transparent
  • Keep it short, but convincing.


Tell us the most important thing the SLA Accelerator residency has taught you.

The SLA Accelerator has raised the bar for me. This program has urged me to press on until I reach my goal. I’ve also learned that the world is not looking for mediocre people. In order to be a driving force, you have to be exceptional.

Now I know that In 2019, I must be among the top 5 most sought-after makeup artist in Ghana!


How do you get your glow up?

My glow up must definitely be from God honestly. It’s too bright, I don’t see how anything else could have done it.

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

How Rowena Lubowa & Dushiime Kaguliro are connecting Ugandan women through ‘pearls for her’

You can have it all; just not on the same day, at the same time - Pearls for her Click To Tweet

With just a few minutes for the event to begin, I barely managed to get a seat at the packed venue for the “Pearls for her” event. The garden was abuzz with the vibrant voices of Uganda’s future- young, hungry and fierce female entrepreneurs.

Some still at the idea phase of their dream businesses, looking to network and learn some valuable nuggets of wisdom from their peers. Others, already seasoned entrepreneurs hoping to learn something new.


The group of panelists took their seats on the stage, all of them highly respected young female entrepreneurs ready to share their stories- the good, the bad and the ugly with an eagerly waiting crowd.

This scene has been repeated many times at different events organized by Pearls for her- an organization that supports, educates and encourages female entrepreneurs in Uganda through their seminars, panel discussions, and networking events.  

Rowena Lubowa and Dushiime Kaguliro – the founders of ‘Pearls for her’– share their fascinating story and insights on how they came to build such an amazing brand.

 On how their entrepreneurial journey began…

We felt like there was a gap in the market for women empowerment platforms and there was a need for more events that focused on developing women.

We wanted to create networking spaces so we could help and learn from each other.

The most valuable business lesson learned so far…

The importance of planning ahead, a lot of our business is event-based and this has taught us that you can never foresee all the things that can go wrong.

Starting small and letting the business grow– you learn as you grow which has the added advantage of allowing you to manage all the work as the business grows.

Their motivation to support female entrepreneurs…

‘Pearls for her’ supports all women, not just entrepreneurs.  We live in a world where women are constantly pitted against each other. Where women feel like there aren’t enough safe spaces for them.

‘Pearls for her’ wants to change all that and ensure women can learn, grow and support each other. Its a space where our voices can be heard and valued.

The biggest challenge faced while growing the brand…

Balance. Learning to balance our careers, private businesses and ‘Pearls for her. We’ve also learned to balance what we want for the brand and what the market wants.

One advice for female entrepreneurs in Africa and abroad…


You can have it all, just not on the same day, at the same time.

That, however, should not stop you from being everything and doing everything you want to do.



If you could be mentored by any woman in the world, who would it be and why?

Ava DuVernay– She decided to be a director in her 30’s and is redefining storytelling in Hollywood.

She is unapologetically herself and has chosen to tell black stories at a higher standard. There is so much to learn from her and her story.

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Marilyn Oma Anona: I’m more than “just a TV girl”

Marilyn Oma Anona was a student of the sciences who studied to become a doctor. But her passion and drive for the field of media and communications motivated her to later switch paths.

You can say she’s made the right decision as she’s building a media empire as a TV Talk Show host, public speaker, and an award-winning multimedia and social entrepreneur.

In addition to her media pursuits, she’s also a humanitarian as she runs a foundation – THE RIGHT STAGE, which seeks to help the less-privileged youths, children and women in our society.

Her compassion and dedication also extends to the area of mental health awareness as she leads the initiative for the Suicide, Anxiety and Depression Campaign (S.A.D.)

In this interview, we discuss her start in media, her vision, and goals. Marilyn also highlights the challenges she overcame, the impact she has made and the legacy she intends to leave on others.

What media outlet gave you your first big break and what did that beginning process teach you?


I can’t boast of having any big break yet but I am a fan of appreciating every step of the journey.

For starters, I studied medical sciences. Switching from that field to media in a society that is mainly about paper qualification was significant. I heard things such as “but you did not study mass communication or anything media related.

Regardless, I know I am both multi-talented and versatile. Therefore, I was not suppressed by any of that. I’m always eager to showcase my gifts. I’m always eager to show all that I have to offer.

I had my first big exposure with MYTV AFRICA. I also received a slot to be a presenter on a show produced by “Media Option” which was aired on NTA.

Through those opportunities, I was also able to speak at several important events. I was most often the youngest speaker at such events.

I also reported for “Dailies” and I was a contributor to some papers. The experiences helped me to be tenacious, as well as gain a lot of confidence. I heard people say things such as “that’s another Oprah in the making”.

I know what I am called to do and I face it squarely - @Omalivingshow_ Click To Tweet

What has enabled you to build your successful career and brand?


The knack for excellence, to make an impact, and to make the society more beautiful than I met it with my gifts. I stay true to my calling.

I know what I am called to do and I face it squarely. That is my niche. My wow factor and my uniqueness. Staying authentic has made me and my brand distinct.

As a TV talk show/event host, public speaker, multimedia and social entrepreneur, how would you advise people coming into this field after you? 

For those aspiring to venture into the field of media, please sit and have a thorough reflection. Don’t only delve in because you perceive glamour.

Please be very sure that you are passionate about what you want to dabble into. Make sure to have someone in this sector as a mentor or friend in order to learn from them.

Multimedia entrepreneurship is tasking but with tenacity, passion, and consistency, it will pay off in the end.

What should aspiring female media influencers be most aware off when it comes to the world of media?

The media is for highly intelligent and flexible women. Media is a tasking aspect in terms of a career. We also need to know that we play a big role in society.

The world is built and moved through information and content, therefore,  female media influencers need to be mindful of what they put out. This way, we are seen as tools for positively transforming the society.

What challenges did you encounter when you first started producing your TV show – Omaliving, and how did you rectify it?

The major issue I had was that I did not know much about production. That experience later turned me into a production guru.

I am better now. I have gained more knowledge.

Fewer people are consuming traditional media (TV, Newspapers…)these days. Is this a positive change for you?  How do you see the field of media continue to evolve and your role in it?

We are in the digital world now and personally, I hardly do TV. I am mostly on social media or YouTube. That’s why I am not in a hurry to get OMA LIVING SHOW back on the conventional TV.

Though it is capital intensive to build up a highly visible online TV, it’s part of the process. Social media is helpful because you get visibility quickly if you know your onions.

However, my brand is mainly focused on young people and they are mainly on the New Media.

I believe in innovation and my brand will continue to move with what may be the latest trend. It is media and if you want to succeed, you can’t be laid back or stuck in the past.

What legacy do you want to leave as you pursue multimedia and social entrepreneurship?

I will be remembered as OMA, the one who fought for many causes and tried her best to inculcate positive values and give entrepreneurs and humans hope.

Currently, I have many goals on the multimedia aspect. I envision feature films, an institute for grooming the best, as well as getting the best multimedia contents across the world.

Also, I intend to have a proper therapy center for the Suicide, Anxiety and Depression Campaign (S.A.D) campaign which I am leading.

Who are some women that inspire you in media?

My inspiration comes from within. There are many women I like and admire but my inspiration is from my soul and divinity.

Something in the universe just pushes me to align with my purpose.

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.


Late November last year, I spent time at Aunt Olivia’s vineyard. After a week of living in luxury, I was forced to review my life and identify opportunities for change. I was on a mission.

I narrowed down my goals for 2018 and subconsciously carved out life just like Cindy’s, Aunt Olivia’s daughter. Prioritized on my list were:

  • Marry Chike
  • Quit Karte Carbon and become my BOSS.
  • Move to the U.K.

I was pumped.


As January 1st, 2018 rolled around, my resignation letter was prepped and ready to be sent. Plus, the advertising industry was so not my thing.

Drowning in my misery, I booked a late lunch with an old friend, Dorcas, who had just flown in from New York. To keep this story short, lunch with Dorcas taught me a few things that changed my life forever.


For too long, I had compared myself with online/Instagram personalities, which is probably why Chike left me for Suzana, but that’s another story altogether.

I was so desperate to shine that I hadn’t realized that my light was hidden in my purpose. If I lived within purpose, building on my passions and sharpening my skills, I’d shine in my own “little corner.”

However, if I chased glam, copying everyone else, I’d never be the best but at best, second best.

When I finally figured out that pottery was my thing, I still couldn’t take action. Think about it for a second – Who was going to buy my pottery?

If I lived within purpose, building on my passions and sharpening my skills, I’d shine in my own “little corner.” Click To Tweet


I wasn’t a trailblazer of any kind, but I knew failure didn’t go well with my character, so Karte and I were in this for the long haul, I guess.

After pouring out my heart to Dorcas on my “inability to fly,” she took a chance on me and placed a pottery order. It was just for fun, but I was so excited, I think I outdid myself.

Sometimes, we’re afraid of taking action because of the unknown. What if we bet on ourselves, take action and discover the UNKNOWN?


When you clarify your vision, you kick out your fear Click To Tweet

After that initial experience, I began to chase a new dream. I mapped out my vision and set goals for myself. Today, Karte is history, and I’m living a life I always dreamed. Listen, Oprah, Beyonce, Jim Carey and others who have visualized their success never lied.

Visualize your future. Pencil it down and watch it become a reality.

“Stop comparing yourself to others. Your magic is like none other. Start chasing your dreams and thrive in the presence of fear.”

This article was written by Dami Eluyera.

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Asia Sultan: Trailblazing the Design Thinking and Innovation Industry

We are always looking for women who are constantly changing the game and that’s why Asia Sultan’s story was so inspiring to us at SLA.

Asia is a young trailblazer in the industry of Design Thinking and Innovation. She uses her experiences as a woman to apply the human approach that is needed to excel in the Design Thinking industry.

During this interview, Asia chats with us about why more women should be in Design Thinking, the power of innovation, and how we can uplift each other in the career space.

 On starting out In Design Thinking…

Curiosity into the field of innovation is what led me to explore this discipline in 2016 when the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking opened their first school in Africa.

I was pursuing a Masters in Property Studies at the University of Cape Town at the time. I immediately fell in love with Design Thinking because the human-centered approach truly resonated with my personal philosophy.

After spending 6 months at the institute I felt that the final piece of the puzzle had been put in place. Design thinking has allowed me to experience problem-solving in areas that I hadn’t ventured into before.

I’m very grateful to be living my purpose which is to use my experiences, education, and design thinking practice to create innovative solutions that make our world a better place.

Being a woman is actually my greatest strength in the innovation industry - Asia Sultan Click To Tweet

About Switch Innovation and what they do…

Switch innovation is an innovation management company that specializes in corporate innovation. We are a balance between technology and advisory as we help large companies with legacy issues to deliver disruptive products to market and build new businesses.

We use design thinking and lean startup methodologies to drive innovation strategy and process for our clients who span across various industries.

Challenges women in the design thinking industry face…

Being a woman is actually my greatest strength in the innovation industry. Design thinking is a human-centered approach to problem-solving.

It starts with the people you are designing for and ends with solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs. It requires building deep empathy with the people you’re designing for and this comes very naturally to women.

Because of this, I am able to create solutions that are not just technically powerful, but also have an emotional value proposition for end-users. In a world where consumers are spoiled for choice, an emotional value proposition is a massive competitive advantage.

 Women that I look up to…

My late mother, Hanifa, is the best woman I’ve ever known. I’m an unapologetic feminist because of my mother.

Growing up, both the girls and boys in my household participated equally in doing house chores.

She instilled in me from a young age the importance of education hard work, perseverance, equality and believing in myself.

Most importantly, my mother taught me to love and care for others. This has contributed to strengthening my approach to empathy, an attribute that is crucial in my work.

As a designer, I spend a lot of time understanding people, putting myself in their shoes and owning their problems in order to best design solutions that are relevant to their lives.


As a designer, I spend a lot of time understanding people and owning their problems in order to best design solutions that are relevant to their lives. Click To Tweet

Professionally I look up to Oprah Winfrey, a longtime advocate of female education. I am inspired by her story, especially how she overcame hardships in order to become one of the most influential women on this earth.

I admire that she uses her platform to break gender barriers on a global scale and even uses her resources to invest in education and improving the lives of women.

Lastly and similarly to Oprah Winfrey, I truly admire Rebeca Gyumi, Founder of the Msichana Initiative. She pursued and won a landmark case on child marriages through the petition she filed at the High Court of Tanzania to challenge the Tanzania Marriage Act, 1971, which allowed girls as young as 14 to get married.

The law was amended and raised the minimum age of marriage to 18 for both boys and girls.

My advice to anyone trying to jump-start their career in the Design Thinking space…

I would advise anyone starting in the design thinking and innovation space to try to learn as much as possible.

  • Read books
  • Subscribe to newsletters
  • Engage with other designers through platforms like IDEO and LinkedIn.

A lot of changes are happening in the world of innovation and every day there is a new technology, tool or method designed.

Design thinking entails working with clients across different industries, therefore you need to understand different industry trends so you can use methods, material, and approaches that are relevant to them.

Join design thinking groups on professional networks, subscribe to newsletters, attend design thinking meetups in your area, keep learning and you will be unstoppable.

Why I think uplifting women is so important in the workspace…


Empowerment is created when the strengths that women already bring to the company are recognized and utilized.

If you build organizations of high trust, respect, transparency, engagement, open participation and empowerment your employees will respond accordingly.

When people find meaning and happiness at work, wonderful things happen to the organization; culture and moral changes, staff turnover reduces, employees are more creative, innovative, confident, open-minded and generally more motivated.

As a leader, isn’t that the environment to work and operate in? I champion efforts to uplift women in the workplace because women have so much to offer the world and often times they don’t get equal opportunity to be heard or showcase their gifts.


The importance of empowering women in the workplace is documented in “The Business of Empowering Women”, a survey of 2,300 business executives.

The survey found that the companies who focused their efforts on empowering women reported significant business benefits.

A third of the businesses surveyed reported that their investments in women resulted in increased profits; another third reported their investments were expected to grow in the short-term.

In summary, to quote the late Kofi Anan,

“There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women”

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