Naomi Michael Adenuga: The Boss Lady of Talent Management

Being a woman in a male-dominated industry is a challenging reality for anyone, but thriving in the said industry can be done, and it can be done well.

I had the privilege of speaking to Naomi Michael Adenuga, a successful female talent manager in Nigeria about her experience being one of the very few women in the entertainment management industry.

During our conversation, she candidly shared the realities of the struggle, and how she negotiated it to become one of the most sought-after agents in the space.

So, who exactly is Naomi?

Naomi is a multi-award-winning brand strategist and talent manager committed to helping people identify their purpose and monetize their talents. She is the founder of Naomad Talent Management Agency, which represents gifted individuals and visionary brands passionate about their craft and meaningfully connecting with their audiences.

She and her world-class team of professionals help clients hone their skills, develop confidence in their capabilities, and strategically build and position them as viable brands with longevity.

She boasts of over 9 years of experience and is unapologetic about taking her “seat at the table.” Her sharp intuition, a penchant for over-delivery, and exceptional ability to connect to her clients have gained her the apt moniker of “Boss Lady”.

She has a true heart for people and believes that everyone comes into the world endowed with certain talents given for the purposes of earning a personal living, sharing with others for social good, and impacting the world.

 A few notable awards she has won during her career include Talent Manager of the Year, Entertainment Personality of the Year, and the Young Achievers Award.

She has most recently been nominated for Nigerian Entrepreneur of the Year by Nigerian Teen Choice Awards and Entertainment Personality of the Year by Nigerian Achievers Award. 

With such a compelling set of accomplishments, I was eager to have her share her story and perspective on how to “kill it” in a male-dominated industry.


 How did you discover your purpose and passion?

I found my purpose when I started my passion filled talent management journey. Talent management means building up a person and guiding them to their highest potential.

I call it King making, some people are Kings and some others are King-makers. As time went on, I had people come to me for advice on general stuff and work stuff.

The more people I spoke to and worked with to help build them up, the more fulfilled I was. My purpose is to help others find their purpose and become better versions of themselves. By doing so, I not only build myself up as well, but I get to do what I am passionate about and fulfill my purpose.

What was it like initially trying to break into a male-dominated industry? 

It was tough I had to constantly prove myself, work harder and smarter.

My purpose is to help others find their purpose and become better versions of themselves - @NaomiBosslady Click To Tweet

How has your experience been since then, and how do you navigate challenges? 

It’s honestly not as bad as it was in the past. The industry is evolving, and I noticed the change when women and men started being nominated in the same award categories.

A few years ago, it was: Best Female Talent Manager or Best Female Artist or Best Female DJ; now, it’s Best Talent Manager, Artist, or DJ.

The gender bias is reducing.

When I have challenges, I talk to God about it. He always gives me a strategy (laughs). I also have a few people in my Industry I go to for guidance. I look at women who are breaking boundaries in male-dominated sectors and I draw strength from them.

Women like Ibukun Awosika, who currently serves as Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria; Kemi Adetiba, who is a leading music video director and filmmaker. She directed The Wedding Party, which is one of the highest grossing films of all time in Nigeria.

Finally, Tiwa Savage, who is one of the biggest names in the African entertainment industry. She goes toe to toe with the men and comes out on top of her game. She sells out venues like the men and is a mother.

These women and a couple of others have consciously and unconsciously laid out the blueprint for the next generation of women to break into and thrive in male-dominated industries.

I draw strength from them by reminding myself that they too must have faced similar challenges and more but keep pushing. This tells me that I too can do it, survive, thrive and beyond. 

I look at women who are breaking boundaries in male-dominated sectors and I draw strength from them - @NaomiBosslady Click To Tweet


Why did you choose the entrepreneurship route over working for someone else?

I didn’t have a choice really. The last job I had working for an entertainment company ended because the CEO dissolved the company. I had to make ends meet, and so I started working independently.

I began by writing proposals for people, coming up with strategies, consulting here and there for upcoming artists and small brands, while moonlighting as a manager of a nightclub and serving as an event planner.

I was working by myself and just winging it. Along the line, I realized, “girl you really can do this”. I never applied for a job with any company after that and continued working for myself. I also discovered that I am a natural born leader. 

The entertainment industry is evolving and the gender bias is reducing - @NaomiBosslady Click To Tweet

Can you share a little more about the non-traditional route that brought you where you are today? 

First off, shout out to my uncle and mentor who gave me my first shot, Efe Omorogbe. I was basically doing nothing with my time and getting up to no good, and so my mum insisted that I reach out to him.

He is the CEO of Now Muzik and is an entertainment industry powerhouse. He gave me a job as his personal assistant and was always extra hard on me. I felt it was pure hell.

I was basically his shadow, going from business meetings to strategy sessions, taking minutes of staff meetings, etc. I didn’t even realize I was learning anything. And boy was I stubborn!

He fired and re-hired me a few times. But, during my time working for him, I learned a lot, though I still had no idea of the potential I had to become a great talent developer and manager.

Long story short, here I am, doing what I love and absolutely killing it if I do say so myself. If you know Efe Omorogbe, you know he is a tough man and you get the highest level of training with him.

I am a product of that high-quality training.

We love the fact that you acknowledge you are absolutely killing it. If you had to sum yourself up in 5 words, what would they be? 

  • Strong
  • Resilient
  • Loyal
  • Adventurous
  • Passionate.

What is your greatest accomplishment or the thing you are most proud of in life? 

I was raised by a single mom who did everything you can possibly think of to raise me. It wasn’t easy, and we had really difficult times.

She slowed down on work when I was in my early 20’s due to health issues, and I had to find a way to fend for both of us.

I would say my greatest accomplishment is being able to now comfortably take care of her and give her a better life than the one we had while I was growing up. 

What are some of your biggest challenges as one of the very few women killing it in the talent management game in Nigeria? 

 My biggest challenge was not being taken seriously because, 1. I am a woman, and 2. There is a misconception about talent management.

It seemed to many like it was all about the glitz and glamour [with little substance]. I was seeing a guy once, who said to me “If I take you home to my parents, what will I tell them you do?”

Looking back, I am thankful for that moment because it motivated me to put in more work, refine my work, and strengthen the ethics around my work. 

@NaomiBosslady talks about breaking boundaries as a talent manager in Nigeria. Read her story here... Click To Tweet

What tools and tips can you share with someone looking to start their own talent management agency?

  • First of all, if you cannot serve, you cannot lead. (This applies to anyone about to start their own business). You must put the needs of your clients before yours. You need to believe in your clients and their abilities. 

If you don’t, you can’t properly position them and monetize their gifts. The result is that your agency will crumble.

  • You need to have a moral compass. A moral compass because your agency and clients’ output depend on the choices you make with them.

These choices affect the overall performance of your clients and your agency. Everything they do reflects on you regardless of who originated their choices: you or them. 

  • You need to study the market and identify what makes your clients unique. In doing so, you will know how best to position them, market them, and monetize them.
  • Negotiating—which is the hardest part. It’s something some people are naturally good at, and others become great at with experience. Knowing your client’s value always helps.
  • Lastly, your agency/business should be based on loyalty and integrity. You should under promise and over deliver! 

Referrals are the best form of advertising for your business, so keep that in mind. If you adhere to these tips, past and present clients will definitely refer your agency to others who will become future clients.

What are some of the most critical lessons you’ve learned over the course of managing your business and your clients?

I learned that your client is your boss and you are your client’s boss. It’s important for both of you to be aligned and have the same goals for the brand as well as have similar principles. 

It’s also important to be patient with the process, most especially when the client is new to it.

You must sow into the client before you reap, and the client must undergo a development process before your work starts to bear fruit that both of you can enjoy. So, patience, patience, patience. 

What advice do you have for other women looking to break into an industry that is dominated by men? Are there things that helped you?

  • Be strong, be resilient, be positive. Place no limitation on yourself, and make sure the women around you are strong, loyal and supportive.

Even if you are confident, your supporters will help boost your confidence even more, and this goes a long way.

  • Always be on top of your game. It’s important to know your onions. What you have in your head and your heart will help you break boundaries and glass ceilings and earn you the respect of your peers – both male and female.
  • Find a mentor and study women who have thrived in a male-dominated industry and have added value to the society. And God, carry Him along. He opens doors no man can shut. 

 If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your story with us.

Puthumile Ngwenya: Using Film, TV and Radio to tell inspiring and uplifting stories

Puthumile Ngwenya is a film school graduate who has helped produce documentaries for the UN. She has worked in Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa. Currently, she is on a Zambian morning talk show called Fresh In The Morning.
She also owns a company Sole Source that organizes fun events for the modern African millennial. In addition, she has done radio, written TV scripts and freelance writes and also edits for digital magazines in Zambia. She is also the content creator for Wikreate Africa Limited.

In short, Puthumile Ngwenya is a storyteller extraordinaire. She tells us in this interview about how she’s using everything from film, to TV, to radio to tell stories that uplift and inspire. 


What did you want to be as a child?

As a child, I wanted to be everything! A vet, an astronaut, Janet Jackson, an actress, a dancer! I mean is it any wonder I fell in love with theatre and film?

Do you think formal education (having a degree) is really important when pursuing a career in media? 

My major was Live Performance, which was divided into music, acting, and a sub-major in Scriptwriting. It was important for me because I really learned how to be an all-around production person through our practical’s and film shoots.

I had to intern under departments unrelated to my degree so I learned so much. I would advise anyone to educate themselves or job shadow someone in the field they want to be in. It makes you better at what you do.

How did you become a co-host on the Fresh In The Morning Zambian talk show and what is your mission with the show?

One of my former co-hosts from radio started the Fresh TV station and he saw something in me. He knew my background, but I had given up on working in front of the camera until he persuaded me.

My mission is to entertain but also talk about serious issues we Africans don’t always talk about and help further the conversation. We all want to make a change, share stories, shed light on others plight and elevate people…that’s the goal!

They say women don’t support women. Have you experienced this with female colleagues in the industry?

I have seen it with other women and I know a few who have tried to block my success. But more so, I feel the men are more insecure and have tried to cut me down because I am a no-nonsense person, I know my worth…I really do.

So my experience, especially in TV production working with women, has been wonderful, we support each other, back each other and we laugh at the people who think they can pull us down!

I have big dreams and my goals are always changing - @leelabee Click To Tweet

The media industry has a reputation for being somewhat turbulent work wise. How do you stay motivated during the less productive times?

 

In the past, I have been depressed over losing jobs or late payments. Trust me, it is not for the faint of heart. It has also taught me to draw up my own contracts because a lot of people just verbally hire and agree to pay you.

Thankfully I have family support and people to lean on, I freelance but I recently started my own company Sole Source last year, with three partners, so I stay busy.

I always find a way because I have faith, I know my talent and skill set, I won’t be defeated.

What’s your proudest career moment so far?

It is yet to come, I mean last year I pulled off coordinating Rocktober 17 a local music festival and that was challenging and exhausting.

As I mentioned I have a new company, I also recently got back into Producing for TV and acting…so the best is yet to come. I have big dreams and my goals are always changing.

You describe yourself as an Afro-feminist. What is that exactly?

I am African…and proud. All it really means is that my feminism is aligned with that of continental African women. Others have been fighting their fight and intersectional feminism is something that came later, I have to fight for my people.

For me being a feminist is what I am and who I am by virtue of being a woman, I want equality for all. I want black women to be safe, to stop being raped, murdered and killed…Africa is not a monolith we deal with things other women globally do not.

Name some women whom you admire or look up to?

My mother, she was strong and worked hard. I also really connect with the spirits, activism, and artwork of the likes of Nina Simone, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Esther Mahlangu.

I also look up to my peers across all industries but locally in Zambia that’s Becky Ngoma and Seya Fundafunda two great filmmakers.

What’s a piece of advice you are happy you ignored?

You will never produce your own TV segment or documentary until you are 35. I did it at 26, so thanks to my former boss…you know who you are.

You lit a fire within me that made me quit my job and move to East Africa where I fell in love with film again.

Top five career tips?

  • Network, I mean really get to know the people in your industry the ones you admire and the ones you don’t.
  • Believe in yourself, nobody else will or has to.
  • Do not take no for an answer and when you do get told no, ask why…you should know what you are doing wrong.
  • Don’t knock other people down or get into industry beef. Just stay in your own lane and keep your nose to the grindstone.
  • Listen to your gut every time! Trust me it always helped me avoid bad business deals, sticky situations and a lot of drama.

Anything new you are working on that you want us to look out for?

Sole Source is hosting the first ever Restaurant Week Lusaka from May 8th to May 18! So find us on social media and get more info and come dine with us! Fresh in The Morning returns to your screens by late May early June, please look out because we have stepped our game up! Those are the two main events but there is always more to come.

What is the one thing you know you MUST achieve in all of this? 

Helping people through storytelling, moving people through the medium of media.

I would kick myself if I never accomplished that, to change a life or assure someone they are not alone…that’s everything to me. More so as a young black woman, I want other girls to know they are seen, heard and loved.


If you’d like to get featured on our Facebook page, click here to share your story with us.

5 Marketing Tips from Business Guru P.Diddy

Sean “Puffy/Puff Daddy/ Diddy/Brother Love” Combs is one of the greatest marketing geniuses on earth. He has remained relevant and dominant to hip-hop music, culture, fashion, business and entertainment over the past 20 years.

Last year, Sean was also recognized as one of the Forbes 100 Greatest Living Minds. He is also often considered one of the top 3 of 5 wealthiest hip-hop artists on the Forbes list.

Amidst all these, you may wonder, how does he keep all eyes on him? In this article, we will discover 5 tips from Diddy that can help us improve our marketing game and slay!

 


1. Say Your Name

If there is one thing Diddy always does, is use every advantage to promote his products or name. Whether its an interview on Ellen or a cameo on The Breakfast Club, Diddy always has his products such as a bottle of Ciroc.

You should take advantage of every airtime you get to promote your brand and products. Through being strategic, you should find a way to guide the conversation in a way that allows you to talk about your products.

This will help increase your revenue and the reach of your brand.

2. Make The Circle Bigger

The fact is you can only be in one place at a time, but you need to get the word out about you, your brand or business. You need people spreading a positive word about you to others.

 

 

Diddy figured this out in his early days as a music producer when he started Bad Boy Records, which celebrated its 20-year reunion tour last year. Diddy has been instrumental in the careers of musicians like Notorious BIG, Mase, and more recently French Montana. Whenever a record of their plays, it will at some point announce “Bad Boy.”

Through shaping and promoting the careers of the musicians he worked with, Diddy also extended his marketing reach. When you help other people achieve their goals, you also, in turn, grow your circle of influence and people who will do anything for you.

3. Stay On the Beat

Is Diddy an expert of the FMCG, Film and Music industries? Probably not, but he knows enough of the field to spot a real opportunity. You don’t want to seem like you are all over the place, but rather that you ‘happened’ to be in a certain place or sector because you keep your finger on the pulse.

Whatever you are working on, you need to know all the new developments and contribute to the conversations in a meaningful way that elevates the topic. Diddy lost his father to gun violence at a young age.

Though he became successful, he didn’t forget to empower his people. His response to Black Lives Matter through building a world-class school in Harlem, the neighborhood he grew up in.

5. Have Fun

Diddy always looks like he is having a great time, from salsa dancing in his underwear to the energy he brings when he is hosting shows. People are attracted to someone who is upbeat, so plaster a smile on your face and get hyped about whatever you do!

We are always exchanging energy so make sure you put out positive vibes only!


DO YOU HAVE ANY BUSINESS LESSONS TO SHARE?

Let us know here.

WEBINAR WITH HODAN NALAYEH: HOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL PLATFORM (APR 5)

Digital platforms are taking the world by storm and as a digipreneur, leveraging these platforms can help you to connect with your audiences in a natural and personal way.

So since digital storytelling has become a popular channel for curating various narratives, how best can you, as a digipreneur and Motherland Mogul, maximize on platforms like YouTube to tell amazing stories?

We’ll be chatting with Hodan Nalayeh, on Thursday, 5th April, who will be sharing strategies on how to successfully build a digital community using platforms like YouTube – through storytelling.

Hodan has over thirteen years of experience in client management, sales and production in radio and television. Before founding Integration TV, she also worked on a number of TV shows, including the popular TV shows American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

She has changed the society with refreshing content that uplifts the spirit and shares pioneering stories of success.

Join @HodanTV for a webinar on April 5th, to learn about building a digital community. Click To Tweet

Some of the topics we’ll cover

  • Building a community with the power of storytelling
  • Tips for innovative storytelling using YouTube
  • Building your confidence as a digital entrepreneur and African woman

Register below to get access to this opportunity and submit questions that you would like Hodan to answer.

Webinar Details:

Date: Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Time: Toronto 5am // Lagos 10am // Johannesburg 11am

Watch here:

About Hodan

Hodan Nalayeh is a media entrepreneur, a social media powerhouse and the Founder of Integration TV, which reaches millions of viewers across the globe.

Known for her commitment to self-empowerment, entrepreneurship, and Somali communities, Nalayeh has changed the society with refreshing content that uplifts the spirit and shares pioneering stories of success. As a trained journalist, she is captivated by the power of stories to change lives.

Born in Somalia and raised in Canada from the age of 6, Hodan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Windsor and a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from Seneca College. Nalayeh is also a strong advocate for education, but more importantly, life education.

She’s also a mom of two boys and believes changing society starts with changing our narrative of success for Africans.

Joyce Daniels: Stay in your lane, Enjoy your journey, and Raise others

Joyce Daniels is a professional Master of Ceremonies, a senior trainer at the prestigious Dale Carnegie and Associates, and a budding entrepreneur at her own “TAKADEMY” – Africa’s Premiere Training School for Masters of Ceremonies. 

With all these accomplishments under her belt, Joyce is a force to reckon with. Through her passion for speaking, Joyce has turned her skills into a profitable business hosting events and training others in the field. 

Despite a degree in Human Anatomy, she has excellent skills in communication and event planning. These skills have enabled her to work with clients from multiple industries and high net-worth individuals. 

Through her work, Joyce hopes to inspire others to stay in their line and develop their passions and skills. In this interview, Joyce Daniels talks about her passion and how she’s managed to build her brand.


What led to you becoming a Master of Ceremonies?

I believe I’ve been talkative from my mother’s womb. So, I decided to capitalize on my natural talent and gift of the gab.

I wanted to explore a career in a field which requires no inventory, no start-up costs, and no rent. With this in mind, I found a career I enjoy, I love and I fit into PERFECTLY.

How can young women refine their gift of gab as a source of income?

Young women can self-train or be trained by professionals to serve in various ‘speaking’ capacities, such as TV/radio personalities, broadcasters, voice-over artists, voice actors or join my line of work, as event host MCs (Red Carpet or Main Event).

Some of these can be experienced on a full time or part-time basis, in tandem with other interests or full-time job.

In your opinion, how can young African women stand out in the marketplace?

In my experience, my clients keep coming back and making referrals, because I ALWAYS deliver and on several occasions, surpass their expectations.

For young African women, standing out requires understanding and meeting what the client wants and needs.

On top of impeccable delivery, the following values can also help young women stand out in the African and global marketplace:

  • Ensure you have top quality wrapped in unquestionable and undeniable excellence in service delivery
  • When quality and excellence are in place, a healthy campaign of branding and marketing should be pursued.
  • If you are top notch, yet unknown, attracting clients and income could be a problem. Therefore, strive to build your brand and make it known.
I strongly believe in raising and supporting other women as best as I can - @iamjoycedaniels Click To Tweet

What support did you get from other women when you started?

 

The support I have gotten from women has helped me grow and succeed. My support base included women such as Chiaku Ekwueme of AZ4Kids, Ndidi Obioha of Enthyst Events, the Ugochukwu sisters of Sleek, Amie Georgewill of Kolor Kraft and Madam Josephine Anenih.

These women believed in me and highly recommended me to other clients, some of whom hired me based on my exemplary work and because I am a woman – they support women too!

Why do you always advocate for business owners to ‘Stay in their lane’ on social media? 

To explain my ‘Stay-In-Your-Lane’ philosophy, I’d like to use a few examples.

Bill Gates stayed in his Software lane until he became an enigma. Serena Williams stayed in her Tennis lane until she became an unquestionable force.

Mother Theresa stayed in her Charity lane until she became a saint. Oprah Winfrey stayed in her TV Show lane until she became a global phenomenon.

Ibukun Awosika stayed in her corporate furniture lane until she gained enough credibility to become the Chairman of Nigeria’s oldest and biggest bank. Alibaba Akpobome stayed in his Comedy lane and made standup comedy a notable profession in Nigeria.

Chimamanda Adichie stayed in her literary lane until she has become an international icon and multiple prize winner.

The list is inexhaustible. Many people get distracted from their lane for many reasons. These factors include finance (or lack of it), fame (or craving for it), instant gratification and popularity (or non-popularity).

I have taken it upon myself to remind people, especially those like me in ‘unpopular’ lanes, to remember despite the challenges, we are unique and different. With the same amount of time, commitment, self-development and optimism, we would reach great heights.

Don't ditch your lane just because it is hard or unpopular! Stay in your lane and enjoy your journey. - @iamjoycedaniels Click To Tweet

Final words to young ladies

Whatever your profession or career path, try your best to leave a good trail for others to follow and make conscious and deliberate efforts to contribute positively to your community and society at large.

TV Role Models Every Motherland Mogul Needs

T.V. has become more than a pastime after work, recently shows have moved from solely entertaining to also providing commentary on key social issues. Shows that are brave enough to address race, gender, family and relationship issues have sparked conversation that we so need in today’s society. Women are leading more t.v. shows, especially women of colour which is so important for representation. So here’s my list of  T.V Role Models who inspire me to be a flawsome, hardworking and yet still witty Motherland Mogul.

 

Oprah Winfrey, the Oprah Winfrey Show and her own television network HARPO

 

We all grew up watching Oprah. Seeing her ask the hard questions, share her story and watch her rise as one of the most powerful figures in television history. When in doubt, I always ask myself ‘What would Oprah do?’ If there is any inspirational figure to look up to, it’s her. She shows the power of determination, hardwork and most importantly not leaving anyone behind. Her dedication to telling the stories of the marginalized and giving back shows that no matter how high you rise, you don’t have to do it alone.

 

Gina Torres, Jessica Pearson in Suits

 

Image result for jessica pearson quote gif

Where do we even start: her impeccable dressing, her sharp one liners, or maybe the fact that Jessica was the managing partner of her own law firm. Her confidence is calm and elegant, with a sharp sting when she is tested. Feel inspired by her ability to always be calm even when things are unraveling and how she always manages to rise above the mess.

 

Tracee Ellis Ross, Rainbow Johnson in Blackish

Image result for rainbow johnson quote gif

I consider Rainbow the coolest and funniest mom on t.v. Blackish is one of the most intelligent shows, that deals with the dynamics of race, politics and society, in a way that isn’t lecturing but, rather starting the necessary conversations. She balances her work and home life, showing us that sometimes doing things the unconventional way may at times be the best way.

 

Yvonne Orji, Molly in Insecure

Now listen up, Motherland Moguls, if you have not watched Insecure you will be disowned. My love for this show aside, Molly is one of characters on t.v who is career driven and won’t let her hard work go unrecognised. When her bosses fail to show appreciation for her abilities, she doesn’t sit in a corner complaining, but instead, shows initiative by taking up more responsibilities; and when that still even is not enough, she seeks to have her talents appreciated elsewhere.

She pushes her own career boundaries and so should you. Don’t be afraid to ask for that raise or promotion when you know you deserve it. It also doesn’t hurt to take on more tasks and various projects, as this indicates you are a team player. The biggest lesson we can learn from Molly? Your career is in your hands, the choices you make, and how you react to adverse situations will determine how you’ll move forward and succeed in your journey to the top.

 

Naomi Campbell, The Face, Empire, Star

Naomi is well known for being one of the world’s most famous supermodels. So having her on this list may be confusing but, she’s also a t.v. diva. Naomi has an attitude and she owns it. A lot of people may see this as a questionable trait, but I believe that a little attitude ‘ain’t never hurt nobody’. Naomi is inspirational to the Motherland Mogul who is told her brazenness is intimidating or unfriendly. She also doesn’t sleep on herself; know your worth and make it work.

 

Kerry Washington, Olivia Pope in Scandal

This one is for the entrepreneurial Motherland Moguls because: let’s admire Olivia’s business acumen; she is smart, outspoken and when push comes to shove, she stands firm. Her loyalty to her team is admirable, the gladiators stick together and they know they can rely on Olivia. Questionable life choices aside, her white coat and hat are untouchable; her clients come first and she always goes the extra mile to get things done. Plus we all want a piece from her enviable wardrobe.

 

Gabrielle Union, Mary Jane Paul in Being Mary Jane

 

I think anyone who watches the show has a love hate relationship with Mary Jane. She tests our patience often but you cannot fault her ambition or her confidence. The show does not gloss over her complex relationships and friendships and navigates around the ideas of suicide, infidelity and infertility, topics that are taboo in black communities.

So how is Mary Jane inspirational? She takes risks at work showing that sometimes to propel yourself forward, you have to throw caution to the wind. It is completely okay to be invested to your career, set goals and be determined to make it work. Your professional ambitions are a character strength, and you have the right to make them your focus.


Who are your T.V Role Models and why?

Let us know here.

5 non-fiction novels you should be reading

The right book can be like the big sister you never asked for who can dispense really good advice with no judgment. The books we read can definitely shape and influence us, whether you’re looking for professional tips or just reading for the giggles.

Roald Dahl said it best, ‘If you’re going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books‘. Here are my 5 picks for books that will leave you crying, laughing and inspired.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

10335308

…write your own part. It is the only way I’ve gotten anywhere. It is much harder work, but sometimes you have to take destiny into your own hands. It forces you to think about what your strengths really are, and once you find them, you can showcase them, and no one can stop you.

For the Motherland Mogul who isn’t shy to speak up, has a wicked sense of humour and does not believe in following the traditional path. Mindy Kaling is witty, entertaining and more importantly, an example of how you can be your own heroine.

The experiences detailed in her book are a great way to feel motivated into taking your career path into your hands. When the mould isn’t set for you, you can say screw it and make your own path.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

25690958

“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”

For the Motherland Mogul who needs to get out of her comfort zone. We all know Shonda Rhimes is the goddess of television, how can she not be? As the titan behind  the TGIT shows (Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder and the Catch), she has revolutionized television.

Her shows have sparked interesting conversations and given young women bad ass female characters who inspire us in various waysYear of Yes dares you to work hard, step out of you comfort zone and love yourself. So whether you need to ask for that raise or have been feeling like you are in a rut, you can definitely be inspired by this book to step up your game and challenge yourself to live a more fulfilling life.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

22738563

“Some people ask: ‘Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?’ Because that would be … a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.”

For the Motherland Mogul who needs a reminder of how awesome being a woman is. Now we all know a book list would not be complete without our soul sister Chimamanda. This book is based off her inspirational TED talk which also featured as part of Beyonce’s **Flawless** gaining her worldwide acclaim and attention.

This book is ideal to gain an understanding of feminism from an African point of view. It may also be a great read for those who don’t truly understand what feminism is and how important it is in today’s modern society.

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

25953369

“Their dark skin, their gender, their economic status–none of those were acceptable excuses for not giving the fullest rein to their imaginations and ambitions.”

For the Motherland Mogul who needs some inspiration. If you have not watched Hidden Figures, you are doing yourself the greatest disservice ever. Reading the book? Just as necessary. The biography details the discrimination faced by the three mathematicians who worked as human computers at NASA.

Dealing with racism and sexism, it highlights how intersectional oppression is an experience faced by black women in the workplace. It’s a great read for when you feel unappreciated in the workplace or when you face challenges like racism and sexism. This story can definitely motivate you to persist beyond the challenges that can suppress your talents and skills.

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

29780253

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.”

For the Motherland Mogul whose past is key to defining her future. Reading this book felt like reading a love letter to Trevor Noah’s mom, his respect and adoration for her are clear. The description of his upbringing as a mixed race child during the Apartheid era showed her resilience and strength that motivated him to become the man he is today.

Very often we take our experiences for granted, yet they can shape our career and personal choices. Life is about pushing through the hard times, finding pride in who we are and taking that leap no matter how scary.

Khumo Kgwaadira: Sometimes I fall, I rise up, fall and rise up again

I don’t sleep. I see the need to put in work and take advantage of my position. Click To Tweet

Khumo Kgwaadira is an entrepreneur, radio presenter, a sought-after host, fashion designer and #MotherlandMogul in Botswana. Having studied IT in Malaysia, she still managed to dominate the entertainment industry working for Radio Botswana under the RB2.

Khumo has been a television presenter on various television shows. She also runs a community organization called WHO AM I which is helping young individuals self-actualize and realize their true potential.


What would you say led you to radio and entertainment?

It is something that has always been in my heart. As a little girl I used to love watching television and imitating presenters as they did their job. I would always tell my parents and sisters that one day I would be a superstar…they thought I was kidding.

As for radio, it’s a thought that came to mind while I was in college. When I have an idea I write it down and revisit all my ideas time and again but funny enough the radio idea, I put it on social media. I updated my twitter profile in college and wrote: student, upcoming radio presenter. I don’t know why I did but that was the beginning of my journey.

Can you tell us more about your brand as a radio host and what challenges you faced?

I work at RB2 FM and have worked there since October 2013. I currently host the breakfast show called Breakfast n’ Bold with T.H.A.B.O Weekdays 6-9 a.m. On Fridays, I read the 3pm news bulletin and on Saturday I host the TOP40 with Zandile Bawe.

Radio is one of the highlights of my life and working for a national radio station truly is a blessing. I have learnt to connect to a wide listenership of different cultures, races and backgrounds. I have learnt to grow up funny enough, to be mature, to invest in my craft through reading, and to be better every single day. Also, I have had to overcome not letting the noise from outside shift my focus.

Radio is one of the highlights of my life @MissGeeKays Click To Tweet

 

What four skills have you found yourself using/learning frequently since starting in the business?

  1. Patience: I am the least patient person in the world I must confess but working with a team has helped me understand that not everyone is like me. More than that not everything or everyone will work as hard as I do so I leaned into being enduring with the people around me.
  2. Focus: I believe this is the greatest weapon everyone should have. Sometimes I fall, I rise up , fall and rise up again, I am learning every day to focus on what is important. This entertainment industry is unkind, complicated and harsh…focus is what has gotten me through.
  3. Hard work: I don’t sleep. I see the need to put in work and take advantage of my position in the industry because in the next 3 years there will someone better and more relevant in the industry.
  4. Commitment: I have learnt this early on in college, to stay committed to my work because I know for sure at the end of the day I will be reaping the rewards of the work I put in.

What challenges have you faced working in a male-dominated industry and also being on television?

Unfortunately, people take you for granted thinking you cannot deliver, that is the nature of the game.

I have had to constantly prove myself that I can actually deliver. That has been and still is one of the challenges I face.

27 DAYS LEFTO

Kodie All Rights Reserved-17 (2) (1)

You expanded recently to clothing with Faddic, what inspired that and what do you hope to achieve?

My love for fashion started in college after I was exposed to the Asian fashion scene. The lifestyle in Asia is completely different from what we see in Botswana. I was especially drawn to Malaysia which is so diverse and the fusion of different cultures sparked my interest.

I am one person who is always interested in knowing more, I gravitated towards fashion and being chic. I said to myself that one day when I am a powerhouse I would have my own fashion label and it would really be cool to have people wear “ME”.. and I didn’t want do it alone. I waited for the right time and One Motlhabane was the right person to work with together and our collaboration is black girl magic MISSGEEKAYSxFADDIC.

We hope to change the fashion industry in Africa and take it by storm.

16836084_1235507353215057_1729631649568180897_o (1)(2)

229A9730

What led you to start WHO AM I and what do you want to accomplish through it?

This came from a tough place. A place of pain.. a place of self-doubt. It got to a point and a time in my life where I felt there was no reason to live. The stigma and insecurity was overwhelming.

One evening in 2011 I wrote a proposal down and titled it WHO AM I and prayed about. I asked God to guide me and help me launch a powerful movement that will tackle issues of “self”. In 2015 we launched and now WHO AM I is changing the lives of many in a positive way. I’m thrilled to be part of that movement.

How would you advice someone who looks up to you?

Love and believe in yourself a little bit more.

I don’t believe in regrets …instead what I draw from that is my biggest achievement, living my dream Click To Tweet

Do you have any regrets?

I don’t believe in regrets …instead what I draw from that is my biggest achievement, living my dream. Everything I am doing now is what I have always wanted to do since I was young.


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

Kundai Chiyanika: Not every job will be for you, bloom where you are planted

Kundai Chiyanika
Entertainment in Zimbabwe is hard, you need to become visible to build your brand Click To Tweet

Kundai Chiyanika is a Zimbabwean television and radio host. She is fun loving and always keen for an adventure. An explorer at heart, she loves new places and new people.

A proud mommy of two, Kundai is building a name for herself in the entertainment industry. Her life motto is ‘Be happy and stay happy’ and she’s focusing on building her brand around that. SLA contributor Ruva Samkange recently caught up with Kundai to learn more about her brand.


You recently moved back to Zimbabwe, what did you want to do when you came back?

I had lived in Cape Town for a long time and had some personal issues so I felt that it was time to move back home to be with family and regroup. At first, I really didn’t have an idea of what I wanted to do. I had enjoyed baking so I started a small baking business in my hometown. The market was not sustainable and I felt like it wasn’t what I really wanted to do.

@KundaiChiyanika wanted to make sure she was not just working because she had to Click To Tweet

Even though I struggled with what I what wanted to do, I always knew I wanted to work actively with people and that an office job wasn’t for me. I wanted to make sure I did something that suited my personality and was not just working because I had to.

20161112_101030

You ultimately went into radio at ZiFM. What made you go into radio?

Well, radio found me. A friend of mine sent me a flyer about an entertainment company that was looking for a female co-host for a radio slot. I shared it with another friend and she asked me why I wasn’t trying out. I was scared but she encouraged me.

The experience has been amazing, I never thought I would love it so much. My co-presenter Dannythatguy and I get along like a house on fire, we present The Switch and Fire Friday. Our show is the pre-party, helping people get ready for a Friday night.

You now work on Kwese Sports, what made you venture into television?

I’ve secretly always wanted to be an actress since I was a child. So television has always been something I would jump at the chance for. I think it is a natural progression. A lot of people I work with did radio.

I get to diversify my portfolio through television with exposure to different mediums, Kwese Sports is a Pan- African channel. Even though I’m a couple of months in I have traveled and will continue to travel between across Africa and I can’t wait to get more African stamps in my passport.

How hard has getting into media been?

I have been very fortunate that an opportunity became available when I was not looking. But the industry is so competitive. Once you are in, the pressure is on to produce a quality product because there are 10,000 people behind you hungry for your job.

I have learnt that passion is not enough. You have to keep chasing the dream. Fight for it and keep trying to improve. There is always room for more.

You have to keep chasing the dream. Fight for it & keep trying to improve - Kundai Chiyanika Click To Tweet

20161121_155324

How different are radio and television?

With radio, my personality comes out a whole lot more because my show allows that. Television is a whole different beast. If you are nervous people can see it a mile away and there is more pressure to be perfect.

Like I said its a very natural progression. Television is the next step for a lot of radio personalities. Once you conquer one, you’re hungry for the next challenge. I am lucky I still get to do both.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get involved in television and radio?

Don’t copy anyone. Be inspired but always be yourself. Also, keep making demos and keep sending them. Try to make those contacts. Entertainment in Zimbabwe is hard, you need to become visible to build your brand. Do promos, host events, be relevant.

Be inspired but always be yourself if you're looking to get in TV and radio @KundaiChiyanika Click To Tweet

I’m not a social media person but I had to open myself up and become active online. Having updated Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts will let people know who you are. Make sure your name comes up when people are are looking for an entertainment personality to host events or when job opportunities arise.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learnt on your journey?

Try not to compare your journey to someone else. Unfortunately, this industry is about comparisons and people’s preferences so you have to sometimes put blinders on and focus on what you need to do. Not every job will be for you. Try not to dwell too much. The hustle never stops.


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

Itumeleng Modise: Becoming a muse happened organically and gradually

Itumeleng Modise
Itumeleng Modise is a creative at heart who wants to contribute to the arts Click To Tweet

“Art”, “self-expression”, “spiritual awareness”, and “muse” are some terms which best describe aspiring actress and TV presenter Itumeleng Modise, aka Solar. Originally from the East of Johannesburg and currently based in Pimville, Soweto, Solar is exposed to a peculiar yet balanced mix of subcultures which she uses for inspiration.

She spent most of her working life as an Online English Teacher, a role that heightened her communicative skills and compassion towards those willing to learn. Solar is a creative at heart who wants to contribute to the arts. She is particularly interested in telling stories through the eyes of a young, urban black woman.

Solar believes that having awareness, of yourself and others around you, helps you navigate through life a lot better.  She shares her passion and journey with SLA, inspiring women to persevere and never give up on their dreams.


How would you best describe your passion?

My passion is communicating through speaking, writing, photography and acting. I’m also passionate about telling stories, my own and those of others, and helping people become more aware of themselves.

My stint as an intern copy-writer at an advertising agency also gave me the opportunity to explore my creative writing and thinking in general. Because I believe that I am here to serve others, everything that I do and want to do includes the development of others, especially black women. I would love to work in sectors exposed to platforms that expose me to this. Currently, I am exploring the TV and film industry as an aspiring actress and TV presenter.

I believe that I am here to serve others, especially black women @MsSolar8 Click To Tweet

I like to believe that I am a grounded person who with the aid of yoga and meditation can tackle life with clarity and peace of mind. Also I aspire to learn how to teach yoga and meditation to others. Especially in communities that are not exposed to this.

When did you realize that you are meant to be a muse?

I can’t single out a moment or time I realized that I am meant to be a muse. It’s something that just happened organically and gradually.

I wasn’t even really aware that I was until other people started to point it out to me. It just comes naturally to me.

Itumeleng Modise 3

Itumeleng Modise 2What messages do you always try to portray through your craft?

I always try to portray authenticity. That it’s okay to be yourself and that it’s enough actually.

You don’t have to be like someone else to be liked or appreciated or to be influential.

What is the hardest thing about breaking into the entertainment industry in South Africa?

I would say the hardest thing is gaining recognition whilst totally being yourself. You are constantly told how you should look to be noticed and given a chance.

It can be quite shallow because your looks or physical appearance are judged way before your talent is considered in many instances.

The hardest thing is gaining recognition whilst totally being yourself - Itumeleng Modise Click To Tweet

What has been your most memorable modeling/tv job?

My most memorable TV job was filming my first lead role as an actress for a TV film that featured on Mzansi Magic. It challenged me to bring certain emotions out.

The process really humbled me and challenged me to dig deep to bring those emotions out. I was left amazed at my ability to do so. Acting is not easy, whether or not you have received formal training for it.

Itumeleng Modise: Acting is not easy, whether or not you have received formal training for it Click To Tweet

Itumeleng Modise 1

Itumeleng Modise 4Where do you go to find yourself?

Finding myself is a process I’m still undergoing. So I wouldn’t say I go somewhere to find myself. However meditating helps me a lot with that process.

I meditate to center myself and gain clarity and peace.

If you were to recite a poem to strangers, what would the first three lines of the poem say?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.


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