Cynthia Jones born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. She worked as a banker at some of the most reputable banks in Zimbabwe, some of which are Banc Abc and Nedbank, until she found her passion in 2006, which is baking.
She never took qualifications in baking or culinary art, rather, she studied Marketing at the University of South Africa. Cynthia is a mother of 2 boys, and she holds 2 awards with Megafest Business Awards held in Zimbabwe.
In this article, she shares her experience switching careers and learning to manage a diverse team.
How you did manage to switch careers?
It was hard moving from full-time employment as it meant without fail I had to succeed or my family wouldn’t eat.
I started off with part-time baking after work and weekends, and because I love baking, I wanted to do give my all, and I gave myself 5 years to make it work and if it didn’t I would go back to full-time employment.
It’s 6 years to the day I left employment and I am happy I did. Now I do what I am passionate about and get paid for it too. I bake for all occasions and have also started teaching baking as well and specialize in cake art.
What are the Dos and Donts’ of transitioning
- Do what you are passionate about and give it your all.
- Do a SWAT analysis of the business you want to do first.
I knew baking was for me because it calms me. I can wake up a 3 am and still enjoy doing what I do
Not to do:
- Don’t just jump into a business because it worked for someone else
- Don’t expect someone to do it for you. You have to be there 24/7 for the business to work. Not just delegating.
How did your prior work experience help in building your brand?
My experience as an employee helped me understand and appreciate the team that I have. Also, working in a bank was definitely an advantage as it has helped me understand my business and be able to manage and multi-task.
I am where I am because of the experience I got from there.
How have you managed to work with diverse teams?
I have grown up in a diverse community learning with people from all walks of life so it has been easy for me to deal with diverse culture.
My husband is Welsh (England). Which made me appreciate people from all over which helps me to able to deal with my clients and their cultural differences by doing so they appreciate my efforts.
Having worked in different sectors and finally finding passion in baking, what are your major tips to managing a diverse team?
Managing a diverse team is all about understanding the unique attributes that individuals respectively possess.
It is about taking note and recognizing contributions made by different people and understanding the different backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs, once a leader understands this, the work environment becomes conducive.
Here are some steps you can take to managing a diverse team:
1. Make sure that your employees feel valued and included in planning which in turn leads to more contributions from them.
2. Getting to know each of your employees as an individual. Recognize each person’s unique talents and abilities.
3. Communicate with each employee and always giving back feedback.
4. Treat each of your employees fairly and equally.
5. Make sure that each person is participating equally on the team.
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