The Hidden power of mentorship: First take a hard look at yourself

I recently got a professional mentor. This was not something that had been penned down in detail in my goals for the year. What had been penned down is that I need to seize opportunities that will enhance my network.

So as a true choleric, I jumped on any networking opportunity that presented itself to me. This rather abstract goal led me to join a mentorship forum for Human Resource Professionals whose goal is to provide mentoring opportunities to HR professionals through peer mentoring.

Out of this, I got a professional mentor and I also got a mentee.

My first meeting with my mentor happened early this year. Let’s call her Alexa. To say that I was intimidated is an understatement. Alexa has achieved so much. She is a high-flying career woman, she has a C-suite job, and reports to the Board.

She is confident, she is witty and to wrap it all, she has an amazing sense of style.

Ok. Stop giggling.

I, on the other hand, have worked at my current job for eight years. I was not proud of my employer and I had been carrying this label that I work for the wrong organization.

It was for that reason that all my job applications had not been successful. So much negative vibe about my work situation.

So Alexa and I met at a beautiful restaurant and the conversation started with her telling me about herself. I wanted her job. She makes so much impact.

Isn’t that all that us millennials want, to make an impact?

Then the conversation moved to me. I told her about myself, my work situation and why I had signed up for a mentor. At the end of the meeting, Alexa told me that as part of the preparation for our next meeting, I need to identify the one thing I want to take out of our mentorship relationship once it came to an end.

It was a wonderful evening I must say.

When I got home later that night, I reflected back to my conversation with Alexa. It was like I was outside, looking into our conversation and I was deeply saddened by the picture that emerged. I started my career so positive, so energetic and with an attitude of I can handle whatever comes my way.

Eight years later, to sitting across my mentor, I had changed to this negative person who felt like she had no power.

This realization coupled with Alexa’s assignment on my expected outcome from the professional mentorship forced me to take a long hard painful look at myself. That was the only way I could change the narrative.

I must say that it was not easy. I took some time out to reflect on my life and I realized that it was no longer clear to me what my vision was professional.

The Bible says that my people perish because of a lack of vision. How true this is. If you do not know where you are going, anywhere is good enough. But anywhere is not good enough for me.

Anywhere is not good enough for anyone.

Self-reflection is hard and painful but necessary for you to scale to the next level of your career - Priscah Motogwa Click To Tweet

I want to live a life of purpose and a life of meaning and my career plays a huge part towards that. Pema Chödrön in his book, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, says “The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”

Self-reflection is hard. Self-reflection is painful. But self-reflection is necessary for you to scale to the next level of your career.

Do I now know what my vision for my professional life is? Yes.

Do I have a plan of how to achieve it? Yes.

It involves stepping out of my comfort zone by seeking opportunities that will make use of skills that I possess. Indeed, writing this article is stepping out for me. And so for my next meeting with Alexa, I know precisely what I want out of the professional mentorship I am being offered.

In the words of Denzel Washington, “Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influence in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”

Fellow female professionals, do you want to scale the career ladder? My advice, get a mentor.

This article was written by Priscah Motogwa.

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Dr Kel: The Healthertainer

dr kel
I can proudly say that the word 'healthertainer' is from me - Dr. Kel @Healthertainer Click To Tweet

If you do not know Dr. Kel on social media, I really wonder where you have been. She is the vibrant young lady who provides medical information in a fun and catchy way on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

SLA contributor Ugochi got talking with her and she shared about her journey. Dr. Kel bagged her M.B.B.S Degree from Imo State University in 2014, did her Internship Program at 445, Nigerian Airforce Hospital, Ikeja Lagos and served at the Government House Clinic, Lokoja, Kogi state.

And of course, she was retained there after the completion of her NYSC. Who wouldn’t retain such a bundle of talents?

Let’s meet her!

How did you evolve to be this social media phenomenon?

I had always had a flair for entertainment and social media and I got involved in a few entertainment activities while in school. I was always active on social media ( HI5, Facebook, Myspace, Tagged, Keek) and it was all for fun until medical school got really serious and I had to disappear for a while.

After I graduated, I had more time for the internet but this time I didn’t want it to be just for fun, I wanted to educate people on basic health issues, add more value and impact lives with my social media presence. I thought about starting a health platform where I would teach health and health related topics but I wanted to do something different from the norm.

This meant health information delivery in the most entertaining and relatable fashion possible and this birthed the word: Healthertainer, a perfect blend of health and entertainment. I can proudly say that the first mention of the word “Healthertainer” on the digital media space was from me.

I didn't want social media to be just for fun, I wanted to educate people on basic health issues Click To Tweet

Asides being a doctor, what else do you do?

(Chuckles) Please don’t call me Jack of all trades after I am done with this question. Lol.

I have a registered start-up company which is a consulting agency that offers services to non-governmental organizations and organizations alike. We organize themed events, creating concepts and originating ideas for these events as well as supervising/implementing them.

Serving in Kogi State provided a fertile platform for my startup to thrive. During my service year, I handled a couple of successful projects which were really innovative and outstanding in the state.

  • “The Preemie Walk & Talk” for Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative, to celebrate World Prematurity Day,
  • “Governor Yahaya Bello Walk For Peace” for Youths For Peace And Security Nigeria, to celebrate the 365 Days in Office of the Executive Governor of Kogi State
  • “Annual Medical Outreach” for Ogori Grand Progressives Initiative, to celebrate the Ovia Osese Festival in Ogori Community, Kogi State

The above is my offline hustle. On social media, I have another “workshop”. I am a Digital Media Strategist and a Social Media Influencer. I focus mainly on Medico-Social issues and trending topics which appeal to my target audience and I turn it into educational viral content which I push from my social media platforms.

I have quite a robust platform with over 36,000 followers on Instagram, over 8,000 on Twitter who are interested in Health. I ride on these platforms to further promote my clients’ products and services.

It's not an easy endeavour combining medicine and other side hustles @Healthertainer Click To Tweet

How do you manage all the causes you’re involved with, work and your health platform?

Truth be told it’s not an easy endeavour combining Medicine and other side “hustles”. Nonetheless the key elements of determination and focus have helped me achieve the height I am at the moment and keeps driving me towards the future.

My primary focus is on my clinic duties (for now, until I blow, lol). In between seeing patients, I find time to work on my proposals, clients orders, concept generation, idea expansions and content for my page. It is all about “balance”.

I remember when I was working on my first CSR Project – #HepFreeZone last year. I somehow managed to find time to solicit for funds, plan and carry the event whilst doing my 9am – 6pm routine. Phew! Same with the projects I carried out for my clients and the outcome for each of these projects were commendable, I must add.

I am currently working on another project which will kick off any moment from now, and I know I’ll have to work my magic somehow to find time in between work or after work to do all the necessary things.

You seem to run all these smoothly?

“Smoothly,” you say? Wow. I take that as a compliment because most times I am all over the place and forgetting somethings I should have gotten done or neglecting some others. “Smoothly” isn’t quite the word, but somehow I manage to get it all done eventually.

I sit back after each feat and I wonder how I pulled it off. Truth be told it’s not an easy endeavour combining medicine and other side “pieces”, but we have to try.

Let’s talk about social media, how important is it to business today?

Oh yes! Social media has its perks. It is an effective tool for business as it helps you grow an audience and prospective clients. However, every entrepreneur has to be wary of “false impressions”. You need to target your audience and reach prospective clients/consumers.

Sometimes it is not about the number of followers you have, but the quality of followers. Make sure you are reaching out to the right people. Not just the “spectators” and “consumers” but also the investors and prospective clients.

Social media has given me a lot of exposure. People can easily follow my works and share them thereby expanding my network of followers. Social media has also provided me a cheaper and more efficient means of promoting my brand. I mean, Imagine if I had to print flyers and walk around town to distribute them or having to pay radio and TV stations for jingles and adverts. Social media is bae biko.

Sometimes it is not about the number of followers you have, but the quality of followers Click To Tweet

What apps are important for a smooth running of your business?

My laptop and phone are my primary workstations. Everything I need is just a click away. I use Instagram, Facebook, Thunderclap, Canva, Twitter, Gmail, Google Docs, mail chimp, Inshot, the list is endless.

What is your advice to young women trying to build a business?

The job you have now is the small picture, what you have inside of you is the bigger picture. Work on it, nurture it then break free.

Most people will not understand your plan, they might think it impossible, but don’t worry, it isn’t for them to understand, but for you to achieve. Keep at it, eventually, it will make sense to them. Stand out. Be innovative, add value, provide solutions and people will seek you out. (Just like SLA just did, lol)

Tell us something we may not know

Dr. Kel is a workaholic and a “jolly good fellow”. I love to work a lot, but I love to play even a lot more. Yes, I love to dance a lot, I love loud music. I’m almost always happy.

Because I think I’m emotionally mature and that people can learn from me, I love talking about relationships and matters of the heart. I love my family and close friends so dearly I would die for them (not literally though, lol).

My life is pretty easy. My happiness and inner peace matter a lot to me so I stay away from anything that threatens these.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.

Salome Phiri: Don’t ever be afraid to shine, greatness is your birthright

Salome Phiri
Our vision is to build a diverse community of millennial African women - Salome Phiri Click To Tweet

African Women Redefined is an excellent example of women pulling other women along to walk in the light. Started by Salome Phiri, African Woman Redefined (AWR) is a women’s empowerment platform which creates a unique space for women to develop themselves both personally and professionally.

The idea is to create a network of support that will help women embrace their uniqueness and live their lives as phenomenal women. Still less than a year old, AWR has many more exciting things in store and Salome Phiri is working hard to make the organization a success in Zambia and throughout Africa.

What is African Women Redefined all about? How is the organization structured, what type of activities do you organize?

At African Woman Redefined, we believe that all women are phenomenal and by embracing their uniqueness and tapping into their full potential, they can define themselves by their own standards and ultimately live purposeful lives.

Our mission is to promote positive narratives about African women by celebrating, inspiring and empowering them through digital content and events that are aimed at addressing various themes which are central to the modern African woman. Our focus is to help the millennial African woman develop a strong sense of self and grow into a well-rounded and balanced individual who thrives in various areas of her life through her own efforts and with the support of other women.

The AWR team comprises of myself and two other phenomenal women from different backgrounds, who share my passion and drive to contribute to the upliftment and betterment of women in our society. Together we dedicate our time, resources and expertise to achieving our common mission of changing the world one woman at a time.

Salome Phiri: At African Woman Redefined, we believe that all women are phenomenal Click To Tweet

What was your motivation for starting this social enterprise? 

Growing up I was a very timid and quiet child who lacked the confidence to speak up and stand out. This behaviour spilled over into my adult life and for many years I struggled with insecurity and low self-esteem. My turning point came at a time when I had experienced setbacks in my personal and professional life that left me so emotionally drained that I could no longer recognize myself.

As a way to transcend the pain from these experiences, I resolved to search deep within myself and find out who I was at the core of my being and what I really wanted out of life. It was like I had finally woken up to myself. I became more confident and self-aware, and suddenly my life became more colourful, hopeful and meaningful.

As I began to walk in my light, however, I noticed that many of my peers were still in the shadows –lacking a sense of identity and living unfulfilled lives. We live in a society that is predominately patriarchal and deems a woman successful if she has an education, a job, a husband, and children.

This mindset has resulted in many young women making decisions that conform to societal expectations, some of which are to the detriment of their psychological and emotional wellbeing. I found this disheartening, and so my personal mission became not only to change the way society viewed its women but also to change the way women viewed themselves –as extraordinary beings that have great potential and purpose, hence the birth of African Woman Redefined.


What is your vision for African Woman Redefined? How do you hope to achieve that?

Our vision is to build a diverse community of millennial African women, who are secure in their identities and use their unique set of gifts and abilities to positively impact society.

AWR aims to position itself in Zambia and throughout Africa as a reliable and trusted source of information where young African women can learn to embrace their unique identities; learn to harness their potential, discover their purpose, and foster relationships with other women.

We aim to achieve our mission by targeting millennial women between the ages of 25 and 40. These women are likely to be professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives, influencers and change agents who continually seek personal growth and wish to inspire positive change in their communities.

Your organization has been around for about half a year now. What is your biggest accomplishment so far?

Our biggest accomplishment so far would be successfully organising our first major event under the theme “Be bold. Be beautiful. Be You”. The aim of the event was to bring together a group of women to connect with one another and to be inspired to live authentically and be bold in pursuit of their dreams.

Despite it being our first time hosting such an event, we received great reviews from the attendees, most of whom highlighted that the event was well organized and that it had effectively achieved its objectives.


Looking ahead to 2017, what can we expect to see and hear about AWR?

We have loads of exciting things in store! We are currently planning our next major event that will take place in March in celebration of International Women’s day.

In the long-term, we aim to expand our target market to include young women between the ages of 18 and 25 who are in college or university, and offer them mentorship programs designed to guide them through their academic careers. We also intend to grow our network by collaborating on special projects with other women empowerment platforms both locally and internationally.

Embrace your uniqueness and live your truth - Salome Phiri Click To Tweet

From your personal experiences and through the work that you are doing, if you could use this platform to share one message with young, African women scattered all over the continent what would that message?

Embrace your uniqueness and live your truth.

Don’t ever be afraid to shine because greatness is your birthright. The world is in need of your light; shine brightly.

Your three words for 2017

Intentional. Strategic. Bold.

If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here