Do what makes your heart sing – Tumi Sebopa

Tumi Sebopa is the powerhouse brand manager behind one of the continents leading food brands under the famous brand’s umbrella.

Having worked extensively in the FMCG industry, Tumi continues to lead in her chosen field and is an inspiration to marketers across the continent.

She is also leading the culture of reading on the continent through founding Inception Book Club which has the vision of bringing women and men from all walks of life together in celebration of words through books 


Tell us about your professional journey 

I studied marketing and started my career as an intern, after my internship I moved to the FMCG industry where I worked in client services as a Franchise Specialist for a couple of years before moving to a branding role.

After a few years in the FMCG industry, I moved to a position as an Assistant brand manager for a global fast-food brand. I later moved to my current role, where I am a Brand Manager at Famous Brands.

What lesson guided you through your career professional path?

The 2 biggest lessons I learned along the way were:

• To always be open to learning: 

When I started out in the FMCG industry I wanted to be a marketer but my director at the time told me that in order for me to be a great marketer one day I would need to understand the field/in-store environment.

I had to promise him that I’d work with clients and in an in-store environment for at least 2 years before moving on to a marketing role. At the time, I made the promise even though at times it felt like I was delaying my career progress in marketing.

I kept my promise and ended up staying longer than 2years. Today I am super grateful for his advice because the experience taught me so much about the in-store environment, understanding the end consumer, learning to work with different people on the ground and understanding different consumers segments and their needs.

I eventually moved on to a branding role and to this day when I work on any marketing campaign I always consider the implementation on the ground because I understand the challenges and opportunities in a store environment.

Every bit of experience will be beneficial in your career - Tumi Sebopa Click To Tweet

• Invest in yourself

When you first start working and getting a salary it’s so tempting to want to buy all the nice things money can buy but I would advise any young person to invest in their skills because that is what will help you grow in the long run.

Tell us how you started your book club – Inception book club, and your long-term expectations for it?

A few years ago I’d often post the events I’d attend and the books I was reading. I noticed that a lot of women would ask me about the books or events so I started thinking of ways to bring women together to network on a monthly basis without breaking the bank.

I wanted to create a platform that anyone could come to whether you are a student, unemployed or a Director. That is where the idea of Inception Book Club came from.

I simply wanted to create a platform that allows women to continually learn and network, regardless of your background or life stage. The first book club was in Feb 2017, we read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and there were 11 ladies who attended.

What I originally created as a platform for other women has taught me more about myself and has become one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.

I have loved seeing the networking that has happened between the ladies, new friendships have developed, some of the ladies have gained new clients and we get to read so many different books that teach us about ourselves and other people as every month brings an opportunity for a new topic.

What has been your top book club read so far and why?

That’s a tough one because we have read over 20 books. If I had to choose I’d go with Equal But Different by Dr. Judy Dlamini.

The book covers the stories of 14 women who have succeeded in their careers and they share stories of their career journeys. I am very passionate about the empowerment of women and that book spoke to that.

What I loved is the fact that it covered the stories of different women to show that there is no one way to success, everyone’s journey is different and that is something that I truly believe in.

The cherry on top at the book review was having Dr. Judy Dlamini join us, she is such an authentic and inspirational woman. Discussing the book with her made an already great book even better because she shared her journey and life lessons with us in an intimate setting.

Who are some of the dream authors you’d like to read at your book club?

We have read most of my favorite authors so I can’t think of any more authors I’d like to read, however, there are still many books I’d love to read.

One thing I love is having inspirational guests or authors join us. We have been joined by the amazing Khanyi Dhlomo to review Marianne Williamson’s – A Return To Love.

That was a breathtaking experience and very different because most times when you read about Khanyi Dhlomo or watch her interviews you get to know about her career journey and she got to share some pearls of wisdom about spirituality and self-awareness with us. I would still like to be joined by Redi Tlabi, Dikgang Moseneke, Wendy Luhabe, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka and Phuti Mahanyele.

It’s always amazing being joined by people who bring different perspectives to the book club and the people mentioned above would allow us to discuss politics, business, women’s issues and the justice system in SA, which are topics we often discuss at the book club.

In 2019 what doors are you breaking open personally and professionally?

“When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets” that’s a line from I Was Here by Beyoncé.

I love that song because as each year goes by one realizes how fast time flies. In 2019 I definitely want to take more risks and do the things I have always wanted to do. I want to complete my Ph.D., grow my career, travel and touch the lives of more young women in Africa.

In 2019 I definitely want to take more risks and do the things I have always wanted to do - Tumi Sebopa Click To Tweet

Any advice for our motherland moguls as we begin the new year?

I would advise all the motherland moguls out there to follow their hearts and do what makes their hearts sing.

We often focus on what the world defines as “success” but I think there is no better success than doing what you truly love. Once you find it give it your all, the universe will sort out the rest…

Wishing everyone a fulfilling 2019!


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

CHRISTABEL ALTRAIDE: My passion for the environment and recycling made me win the crown

Christabel Altraide is from Port Harcourt City Nigeria. She is a graduate of Computer Science. Her passion for pageantry and beauty has won her several awards including the Face of Port Harcourt City 2016/2017.

Christabel started RECYCLEPH as a pet project during her reign as Face of  Port Harcourt she realized she was passionate about recycling and so decided to make it a household name.

RECYCLEPH has a global vision to recycle waste materials into useful household materials for the local market. The brand also sensitizes students in school about the importance of recycling.

Christabel Altraide won the Tedx Port Harcourt idea search 2017. She has also been recognized as one of 25 under 30 young leaders in Port Harcourt.

In this interview, Christabel talks about her projects with RECYCLEPH and how she started her business.


A lot of people do not know that waste was useful - Christabel Altraide Click To Tweet

How did you start caring for the environment?

 

After my studies in the Benin Republic, I came back to Nigeria for the recommended National Youth Service in Nigeria. I worked as an administrative officer at the Nigerian Air Force Mobility Command.

Eventually, I got tired of sitting all day in the office, so I volunteered with my friend who was working on a personal project. We came up with ideas and we drew up proposals.

It was taking me out of the office and I enjoyed it. I met several people, we had a lot of support in Yenegoa since we were Corp members. We organized clean up at Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and we did school sensitization.  

When we finished our service year, we received the honorarium award for the best community development project from Abuja.

Why did you go into Beauty Pageantry?

 

In a bid to carry on the projects from Yenegoa to my city, I contested for the Face of Port Harcourt City. I presented this project as a pet project.

It was highly appreciated, and this passion was one major factor that made me win the crown of Face of Port Harcourt City in 2016.

Tell us about your Organization RECYCLEPH

 

RECYCLEPH is an Eco-friendly organization. Everything Eco-friendly is what we portray, from awareness program to waste creation is what we do.  We carry out sensitization campaign, cleanup activities, up till recycling, that is sustainable waste management.

RECYCLEPH also has a charity arm that encourages people to give back their re-useable materials and we give it to charity. We provide internally displaced persons to these materials and visit motherless babies homes and prisons.

Ultimately we want to be able to go through the whole process of recycling. It’s a very capital intensive sector of waste management because we need the machine and workforce, everything we are doing now is geared to the point where we are able to get that equipment and gather investors.

 

You visit schools for sensitization and environmental awareness, what has the progress been so far?

 

We started going to schools in July 2017, so far we have sixteen environment and recycling clubs in sixteen schools in Port Harcourt. The numbers are so because we do not want to put up clubs in schools and leave them hanging, due to sustainability.

We want to monitor their progress and carry them along in every project we’re working on. So far, we’ve been able to build their minds to begin to focus on environmental issues and think up solutions.

As we proceed we’ll be able to add more schools until we have a high profile impact value.

 

As a non-profit Organization, how do you raise funds?

There are organizations that are put up to provide sponsorships for projects like what we do. They Support us.

We also get support from environmentally conscious individuals. We approach businesses and brands who want to put themselves in a good light. For sensitization, we don’t get to spend a lot of money since a lot of people volunteer.

We cover our basic expenses like online fliers and banners through the waste we collect from schools and hotels.  RECYCLEPH acts as middlemen to dispose of their trash and plastics to recycling companies in Lagos. This fund though quite low covers for our basic expenditures.

People are amazed at the initiative I have taken to do something about my city - Christabel Altraide Click To Tweet

So far what impact has your organization created in your city?

 

When we started, a lot of people did not know that waste was useful, now people pick up plastics. There are businesses in that line already.  

Since we started we have been able to bring to light the endless benefits of recycling. The government has been gone to stir development towards waste management because we’ve been hammering on it.

We decided not to focus on the problems but the solutions, so we started doing what we can. It’s working because people have started asking more questions about the environment and making an investment in that line.

Organizations that only used to warn against littering ane now asking telling people not to litter because waste is useful. 

As a beauty Queen, what’s the perception of people seeing you in the waste management industry?

 

Positive! It is one of the things that have kept me going. People have supported me financially and otherwise. It is not a conventional thing to find a young beautiful girl in my city making a change in this area.

They see a young woman that is making a name for herself, and they are surprised that there are ladies like me in the city. People are amazed at the initiative I have taken to do something about my city and not just anything but something extra. Indeed it has been humbling to see people contribute in several ways to RECYCLEPH.

What has been the most fulfilling part of your journey as a social entrepreneur

 

I really can’t say. A lot has happened since our inception. If I was told that I would be featured in She Leads Africa I wouldn’t have believed it.

Every day is a new journey, it just keeps unfolding. I like to think that the best days of my life are not here yet. Today I’m celebrating one victory, the next day I want to cover more ground.

Having the chance to showcase my brand on Tedx Port Harcourt finitely stood out for me.

Where do you see your brand in ten years?

 

RECYCLEPH is a global brand because this problem is not only in my city, the issue of improper waste management is everywhere in the world.

We are not local champions and we do not see ourselves as such. Port Harcourt is home and will always be home. It is the building block to where we want to be. We will put structures in every city, in every state, in every country, watch out.

 

How do you keep your skin popping for the runway?

Shea butter and coconut oil.

What advice do you have for Social Entrepreneurs starting out?

Start. Simply start.


Want to become an SLA contributor? Send an email to content@sheleadsafrica.org.

Patricia Majule: Saving the Environment With Beautiful Paper Gifts

Patricia Majule started the business of manufacturing and supplying of custom party supplies, box packages, favors & gifts in 2014 and has recorded tremendous growth since then.

Her idea was born when she noticed that most people in Tanzania were importing paper supplies from abroad, instead of investing in machines becoming manufacturers. Through her business, she has been able to provide quality products made in Tanzania, at lower prices.

She takes us through her journey so far and how she’s changing the face of the Tanzanian manufacturing industry, whilst protecting the environment.


Tell us about your business and the idea behind it

My business trades as Unique Favors Tz,; we make products and provide services ranging from décor ware, gifting and gift supplies. Our products are used for parties, functions, events and can be customized for non- celebration uses, such as, business advertising and branding.

The company began in 2013 as Unique Gifts Tz, and at the time we were specialising in gifts. But, we  expanded our product line and changed the name officially, and registered as “Unique Favors Tz” in 2014.

patricia-majule

 

What ways are you contributing to the protection of the environment through your product type?

One of the products we make at Unique Favors Tz is uniquely designed cardboard, made by using the leftover egg shells from chicken eggs (maganda ya mayai in Kiswahili language).

Egg shells help curb environmental waste by reducing the waste that would have probably been increased by throwing away eggshells right after usage.

In Tanzania , eggs are consumed in large quantities due to the existence of many small scale entrepreneurs selling them in kiosks and bars, and also due to the fact that chicken livestock farming is popular in Tanzania.

Secondly, we use paper products to package gifts, as opposed to plastic.

Plastic bags are known to be a form of waste which cannot decay; which is why there has been a movement by the government to reduce and completely ban the use of plastic packaging in Tanzania. In five to ten years, my products will have contributed significantly to curbing environmental pollution.

What strategies have helped your business grow these past few years?

Very good & friendly customer care.

Continuous research and product quality improvement.

Customer feedback and follow up’s.

Great staff and business partner training.

The uniqueness of our products.

Those are just few of our strategies.

Click To Tweet

What opportunities lie in Africa and how much are young people tapping into them?

I’ve always believed that Africa is full of opportunities and many of them are hidden in industrial operations. Firstly the industrial sector is one of the most untapped sectors in Africa, especially by local natives, yet the most rewarding sector.

Majority of the youth dare to start a business with a focus on the retail phase, but they lack the courage and resilience to grow their businesses to an industrial level. Many other youth reach the idea level and fail to proceed to the implementation level.

 

patricia-majule

Tell us the setbacks you’ve faced in the course of establishing your business and your survival method(s)

 

  • Most of our product line and service offering is very new and unique to our community. Therefore, we have spent a lot of our time educating them in order to get buy-in.
  • At times raw materials which are needed for production are scarce; coupled with price fluctuations, this tends to be a challenge.
  • In our society it is not normal for people to see you developing a product and being in industrial, especially at a young age like mine, so there is a belief that somebody else could do my job better, and hence there is little support and a lot of bad-mouthing.

But ,at the end of the day our survival methods are to: be courageous, patient, and resilient and know that as long as we are being ethical and legal, everything is fine. Society will catch-up later.

 

Be courageous, patient, and resilient Click To Tweet

What great success has your business recorded in the past few years?

Our business has been successful in so many ways. Firstly, by introducing new unique products to the market, we got a very positive response from customers, which lead to significant company growth. Also we have been able to create temporary and permanent jobs to majority of the natives in Tanzania.

 

patricia-majule

What makes your business unique?

The products we manufacture in- country, the paper party supplies and the egg shell cardboards, are customised and very unique because everything is made from scratch. Most of the party supplies in our country are fully imported from China, so they tend to have common styles and lack that unique style.

Have clear and positive priorities, be consistent in pursuing your goals Click To Tweet

What are your top 3 books?

Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin graham

Getting Things Done by David Allen

 What’s the one business mantra you’d want every business owner to know?

Have clear and positive priorities and stick to them, be consistent in pursuing your goals.


What is your company doing to protect the environment?

Let us know more  here.

Caroline Numuhire: If you want to be a human rights advocate, just do it

Work on your gifts and then the universe will grant you wisdom to shine. Click To Tweet
Global health and creative writing go hand in hand for Caroline Numuhire. From Kigali, Rwanda, Caroline got her start in global health as an intern with Save the Children Rwanda. She went on to address childhood malnutrition as a Global Health Corps (GHC) fellow at Gardens for Health International (GHI) in 2014 before joining GHC staff as a Program Associate last year.

Caroline regularly contributes to ECOFORUM and Environmental Africa in addition to penning inspirational short stories. She is currently working on a novel and pursuing a Master’s degree in Global Health Delivery at the University of Global Health Equity in Kigali.


You are both a global health practitioner and a writer. How do you juggle your main hustle and your side hustle? Is there overlap in these seemingly disparate worlds?

My professional life in the global health domain matters a lot to me to feel fulfilled as a human being as this is my contribution to build a more just world. I enjoy sleeping at night knowing that I spent a day achieving a good goal. If I was ever asked to pick one job, it would be a hard decision because I am passionate about my work as well as my writing. I always feel lucky to live in a world that allows me to practice both.

When I believe in a cause or a profession, it becomes so easy to handle it because I understand why I invest every drop of energy and I ensure that I find time to juggle and work on my passions. The reason why I (agronomist and writer) smoothly fit in global health is because it is not and has never been an isolated technical field. Communication, writing, and public speaking are some of the key tools that allow me to be an effective advocate for global health issues. There’s still a huge need to write about these issues that are affecting humanity.

Caroline Numuhire 2

Agriculture, nutrition, and the environment are often overlooked aspects of health and wellbeing. Why are you passionate about these issues?

The simplest answer would be that I have an educational background in agriculture, rural development, and global health delivery. But the true answer is more complex.

Sometimes when we talk about good health, we think about the absence of diseases and when it comes to wellbeing, we picture cash in our minds! In Rwanda, communities of farmers are the first victims of climate change effects and of malnutrition. In the early days of my career, one of the startling realities I faced in the field was that farmer communities suffer from malnutrition while they produce all the beautiful and healthy food that we consume and consequently they face poor health outcomes. In my eyes, it was an obvious facet of social injustice that I had to dedicate my efforts to.

You work with Global Health Corps fellows in Rwanda, many of whom are new to the health sphere and even to living and working on the African continent. What’s been your most challenging experience in this role so far?

The biggest challenge of my work is to work with smart, energetic and result-driven young people who want to observe the impact of their fellowship right away. It requires a form of art to help them understand that once you sow a tree seed it takes days, weeks, and most of the time years to yield flowers and then fruits.

And your most rewarding?

The most rewarding part is to see fellows graduating from the fellowship as empowered, more resilient leaders who are ready to continuously change the face of poverty and inequity wherever they are heading. It is a true transformation!

Caroline Numuhire says 'Don’t fear that there are so many human rights advocates already – they are not YOU' Click To Tweet

Professional women are often stereotyped and coerced into looking, acting and being a certain way. How do you stay true to yourself in the face of societal pressure to conform?

Oh, that’s a poisonous disease! Yes, we live in a society with predetermined norms. Yes, we want to experience the feeling of belonging. Yes, we have so many excuses, right?

In the last 20+ years of my life, I have played the card of likability. You know what? I lost, miserably. Just because I failed to please the only person who matters to me: myself. It’s so easy to be a submissive, scared, shy, soft, incompetent, slow, lazy woman (beauty being tolerated!) and be accepted, included and appreciated. But if your inner voice tells you that you are something else, then be exactly that person. For yourself. Don’t fear making men feel insecure because of their own weaknesses. It’s not your role. If you want to look sexy, smart and happy, be sexy, smart and happy. The formula is simple.

I intimately know that I’m an energetic, hard-working, empathic and imperfect girl and I totally, shamelessly and unapologetically embrace myself. What other people think of me is their own right but not a business I manage. A woman has to value herself and if you don’t know how you can start reading or watching Louise Hay’s meditation videos as well as learning about other women who understand the secret of true self-love.

What advice would you share with other young leaders who want to use their gifts to make a difference in the world?

First of all, work hard on your gift. The world will respect you if you respect your gift. We are all talented. God created us with tremendous reserves of amazing aptitudes and gifts. Just find your own, refine it and it will blossom to heaven.

Epictetus said, “If you want to be a writer, write”, so if you want to be a human rights advocate and you believe that this is your call, your life purpose, just do it. Just do it and dare to believe that only the sky can be a limit. We are all wonderful, we just have to see the wonder in us. Don’t fear that there are so many human rights advocates already –they are not YOU. They don’t hold your values. You are another highly valuable advocate among them. Our biggest enemy is that inner voice that criticizes us, or when we chose to trust other people’s negative criticisms. You have to intentionally shut their volume down, work on your gifts, and then the universe will grant you wisdom to shine.

Caroline Numuhire 1

From one Beyhive member to another, what’s your favorite Beyoncé song? What do you find empowering about her music?

Oh wow. I love all of Beyoncé’s music and certain songs become my favorite depending on my life weather. Currently, I am in love with “Grown Woman”. Because I also “remember being young, tough, brave, I knew what I needed, and… I can do whatever I want.”

I love Beyoncé because she is not only a performer, she is an empowered lady who empowers other women around the world. I play her music on YouTube, and think what a great beat for relaxation! When I am singing and dancing to her songs, I have the feeling that she understands me as a woman and she gets the personal and professional struggles I go through. Then, I smile because I know we could be friends and talk about women’s rights until 3 AM. I also watch her interviews. She empowers me and taught me the importance of beauty in a woman’s life. But most of all, I respect her because she works hard, gets up when she’s down, keeps progressing, is creative and competitive with herself, and she is so gracious!

What is one leadership mantra that you live by?

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar


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