Five essential books on leadership

One of the best ways to become a leader is by soaking up advice from those who got there before you. A plethora of leadership books exist and it can be daunting to decide where to start.

You may want to go with popular books like “The 48 Laws of Power” or you may consider this list which spices things up by choosing books with a specific kind of woman in mind.

Whether you’re the woman whose family and friends dismiss her anxiety because “Africans don’t deal with that” or you’re struggling to find a balance between being a wife, mother, daughter, aunty, bff and/or businesswoman, we’ve got a book on leadership for you.

“#Girlboss” by Sophia Amoruso:

For the woman who doesn’t have time for the haters

Sophia Amoruso is the founder of Nasty Gal, an online fashion retailer worth over $250 million. When she was 22 years old, she was broke and had spent most of her teens on the road and shoplifting. “#Girlboss” is a book for the a typical CEO, it charts Amoruso’s ascendance into success offering practical life and career advice.

This one is for the women who walk the unbeaten path and have to listen to people asking them why they are setting up a puff-puff business when they haven’t yet married. In “#Girlboss” Amoruso reminds us to be loyal to our passions and remain nonconforming.

“Flying Without a Net: Turn Fear of Change into Fuel for Success” by Thomas J. DeLong:

For the anxious #MotherlandMogul

“Flying Without a Net” is a useful guide to anxious professionals. Fear of the unknown is very real for some of us. It holds us back from new challenges and dims our brightness by making us vulnerable.

In this book, Thomas J. DeLong, Harvard Business School professor, teaches how to deal with fears and to turn vulnerability into strength. “Flying Without a Net” is essential learning on how to confront fears and improve on your courage.

essential books on leadership

“The First-Time Manager” by Loren B. Belker, Jim McCormick and Gary S. Topchik:

For the newbie just starting out

Called the “ultimate guide for anyone starting his or her career in management”, “The First-Time Manager” is effectively a beginner’s guide. This book is great for newbies venturing into the worlds of management and entrepreneurship.

It offers easy advice on diverse topics from discovering your management style and hiring and keeping your staff motivated to dealing with bosses and leading meetings.

“Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers” by Lois P. Frankel:

For the good girl ready to go bad

Apparently nice girls carry last. You may be making huge mistakes in your career by being overly likeable. “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” is a must-have for business women.

It shows that being a nice girl may not be the best way to take charge of your career.  Lois Frankel coaches us on getting rid of unconscious mistakes such as multi-tasking and not negotiating.

“The Emperor’s Handbook: A New Translation of the Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius:

For the multitasking woman

This list won’t be complete without one from history. Marcus Aurelius ruled Rome from 161 to 180 A.D, he was also a legislator, a parent, a military officer, a political leader and a spouse. No wonder, Aurelius is considered to be one of the most powerful and respectable leaders in history.

And where better to learn than from a leader whose name is remembered thousands of years after his death? “The Emperor’s Handbook” brings timeless lesson from a Roman emperor to readers of today. It is a translation of Aurelius’s private personal notes on life, leadership and everyday advice.

What kind of leadership books is for a woman like you? Share them with us.

7 inspirational websites you need to follow

Arese Ugwu

The most beautiful thing about being a young professional or career woman today is that your knowledge isn’t limited to what you can find in your neighbourhood or community.

The digital world allows you to connect with experts and information from across the globe. Whatever issue you think you might have, there are probably 100 or so websites that can help you solve your problem.

While there are over a too websites we love, here are 7 of our favourites that help us stay informed, motivated and ready for whatever life throws at us.

1. Smart Money Africa

The Smart Money Movement is championed by financial guru Arese Ugwu. Her website provides a platform for young people to learn to manage their finances better by knowing their net worth and prioritizing the accumulation of assets over frivolous spending.

In other words, being smart about your money. Keep an eye out for the blog, the Smart Money Workshops and the Smart Money Journal. They will literally change your life.

You’re welcome.

2. Minding Her Business

Young? Ambitious? Fabulous? Ready to move to the next level of all-round wellness? Then you need to be minding her business. Starting out as a series of motivational quotes on social media, MHB evolved into a practical guide for the modern woman in the form of an e-book covering financial success, self-confidence, love and relationships.

Navigate the site to get inspired by Ivy’s story, keep afloat with the blog and to get acquainted with the book.

3. Ms Afropolitan

If you’re searching for a space to address your feminist woes and reaffirm your womanhood in the African context, then this is your destination.

Through its blog articles, this website dissects topical issues such as colonialism, race, politics and what it’s like living in Diaspora. It offers strong, powerful, relevant messages for women of colour.

4. Haute Fashion Africa

Haute Fashion Africa is basically the fashion portfolio for the modern African woman. This website is on top of all that’s happening in the African fashion stratosphere.

We’re talking all the fashion trends, the major fashion shows in different African cities, profiles on designers, stylists and models.

5. Food and the Fabulous

This lifestyle website showcases cuisine and culture from all over the continent and the rest of the world.

Award-winning South African journalist, Ishay Govender-Ypma takes you on a journey with the Food and the Fabulous Food tours introducing you to Cape Town’s mouth-watering dishes.

Many of these recipes are available for you to try out. You can also gain travel inspiration and take a dig at current issues.

6. Travel Africa Story

Sure you’ve heard the saying that one’s education is incomplete without the experience of travel. This inspirational site features travel experiences and highlights amazing travel destinations from across Africa.

If you need ideas for your next vacation, check out ‘Travel Tips & Trips’. With several helpful articles and feature stories on travel etiquette and fun things to do on your trip, it’s an amazing travel guide.

The best part? You have the opportunity to tell your own travel story and get featured on the site.

7. She Leads Africa (duh!)

Did you think we were going to leave this out of the list? Think again. SLA is arguably the #1 go-to website for young African females with a focus on getting started or improving their careers and business.

It’s a resource pool packed with power articles and insight from the co-founders and diverse team of editors and contributors. It also features practical tips and advice, webinars, access to career coaches and more.

The SheHive events which bring together the SLA community and industry leaders are hosted in various cities around the world.

Motherland Moguls, let’s get surfing! Share with us what some of your favorite websites are to check out. Besides us of course 😉

20 powerful Chimamanda Adichie quotes for today’s boss women

chimamanda adichie

Nigerian writer, speaker, and activist, Chimamanda Adichie, is beloved by many. The award winning novelist and Ted talk sensation is fiercely revered for being a thought leader on Africa and contemporary African politics. With her recent feature on Beyonce’s self titled album, Beyonce, many have come to know her for talk, “We should all be feminist”. But Adichie speaks on more fronts than one, from the personal and private to the institutional and public.

Below, we share 20 of our favorite quotes by Adichie that shed light on some of the topics and issues today’s boss women care about: being our true and best selves, navigating social roles, confronting gender and racial injustice, love and relationships, the motherland, and of course, money and being a creative. While short, each quote is steeped deep in history and context and is worth pondering over.
chimamanda adichie

On being a powerful woman

1. Never ever accept ‘Because You Are A Woman’ as a reason for doing or not doing anything.

2. I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.

3. Minister to the world in a way that can change it. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get your hands dirty way.

On life

4. Your standard ideologies will not always fit your life. Because life is messy.

5. Please do not twist yourself into shapes to please. Don’t do it. If someone likes that version of you, that version of you that is false and holds back, then they actually just like that twisted shape, and not you. And the world is such a gloriously multifaceted, diverse place that there are people in the world who will like you, the real you, as you are.

6. The truth has become an insult.

On Men, Love, and Relationships

7. Masculinity is a hard, small cage, and we put boys inside this cage.

8. Of course I am not worried about intimating men. The type of man who will be intimidated is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.

9. Please love by giving and by taking. Give and be given. If you are only giving and not taking, you’ll know. You’ll know from that small and true voice inside you that we females are so often socialized to silence. Don’t silence that voice. Dare to take.

chimamanda adichie

On injustice

10. Racism should never have happened and so you don’t get a cookie for reducing it.

11. The real tragedy of our postcolonial world is not that the majority of people had no say in whether or not they wanted this new world; rather, it is that the majority have not been given the tools to negotiate this new world.

On Gender and Feminism

12. I am trying to unlearn many lessons of gender I internalized while growing up. But I sometimes still feel vulnerable in the face of gender expectations.

13. 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 dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It 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.

14. Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.

On Africa and being African

15. I recently spoke at a university where a student told me it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had recently read a novel called American Psycho, and that it was a shame that young Americans were serial murderers.

16. They themselves mocked Africa, trading stories of absurdity, of stupidity, and they felt safe to mock, because it was a mockery born of longing, and of the heartbroken desire to see a place made whole again.

17. Because although there’s a lot of gender bullshit in Nigeria, I think women in the west have a lot more invested in being liked. And being liked if you’re female means a certain thing. So in workplaces, women who are bosses in Nigeria are fierce. The people who work for them, men and women, respect them. But, these are women who very keenly perform gender stereotypes when they go back home. And if they give a public interview, they have to say, ‘My husband supported me and allowed me to …’.

On Money and wealth

18. Creative writing programmes are not very necessary. They just exist so that people like us can make a living.

19. There are many different ways to be poor in the world but increasingly there seems to be one single way to be rich.

20. How can we resist exploitation if we don’t have the tools to understand exploitation.

Which of your favourite quotes by Chimamanda did we miss?

Efena Otobo: It is not how you get knocked down but whether you get back up

Efena Otobo

Perseverance. Determination. Willpower (PDW). To a person without struggle or strife these words are merely scribbles on a blank piece of paper or some abstract notion or a catchy mantra on the walls of a gym.
However, when life suddenly takes an unexpected, drastic turn and plunges you into an abyss filled with mind-boggling agony, emotional turmoil and a seemingly bottomless pool of despair, one truly has a stark realization and a deep understanding of PDW.

When you feel like you are drowning, trying to gasp for air as waves of struggle keeps pushing you below the surface – the challenges facing you, constant tides pulling you in all sorts of directions – the sheer force of will to swim against the current is the very definition of persevering.  

Setting the scenes

Two years ago, one single moment caused a ripple effect and altered the course of my life in an unimaginable way. On the 21st of April 2014, Easter Monday, an unnecessary car accident in Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria involving two drivers and one passenger shifted my understanding of the world. Immediately after the crash, I looked down at my misshaped, lifeless legs and I knew that something had gone terribly wrong.

In a matter of minutes, I was carefully lifted out of the car and placed on a little chair. Amid the chaos, voices and confusion, a scary feeling gnawed at my soul – life, as I knew it, was never going to be same. I spent the next five days flat on my back in excruciating pain, the kind of inexplicable agony that is difficult to comprehend, in four different local hospitals from Victoria Island to Igbobi to Ikeja. I was poked and prodded, underwent several medical tests, scans, endured sleepless nights, hunger, thirst and incompetent doctors.

The knowledge and the hope that an ‘angel of mercy’, in the form of an air ambulance bound for London, England, would save me from the torrent of suffering gave me the determination to grit my teeth and survive the medical purgatory I was in.

On Sunday, the 27th of April 2014, after a five hour back surgery, I found out I had sustained a complete T4 spinal cord injury caused by a T12/L1 fracture. In plain English, I had broken my lower back which rendered me paralysed from just below my chest all the way down to my toes and here’s the punchline – there was very little chance of ever walking again.

The First Act

Efena OtoboDebilitating pain became the norm but I knew that finding strength through adversity was the only path to take. I had to summon every ounce of willpower to relearn how my ‘new’ body worked and moved. Imagine being taught the ‘art’ of rolling over in your late twenties, being instructed by an occupational therapist the best way to put your shirt over you head or how to sit up straight and balance so you can feed yourself. How undignified do you think I felt? How could I possibly survive and move forward?

The answer is simple, yet complex – “The toughest steel is forged in the hottest fire” (Unknown, Chinese wisdom). With this new mindset, physiotherapy was not an obstacle but a challenge to build up muscular strength. Meetings with the neuropsychologist presented opportunities to equip myself to battle depression and emotional conflict; the confines of the hospital was not a prison but rather an avenue to foster positive relationships that enhanced my mental stability.

The soul-crushing diagnosis from the doctors was a suggestion, not a declaration or conclusion. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to not only walk, but run, skip, jump and dance again.

The Second Act

Ask any young woman today to regale you with tales of her most trying times in life and how she emerged victorious, the replies will definitely have certain things in common. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of struggle takes perseverance, determination and willpower. One has to harness the innate ability to utilize strength through adverse circumstances.

It is not how you get knocked down but whether you get back up. Focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel culminates in what I like to call the Spirit of Invictus; in other words an unconquerable force to be reckoned with.  

Going to rehabilitation five times a week, in spite of the constant neuropathic pain in my legs and back – in order to build upper body strength, learning how to execute a safe multi level transfer from the wheelchair to the plinth and figuring out the best ways to manipulate my restricted mobility to achieve a desired result, required a level of perseverance beyond the ordinary.

Enduring extreme discomfort became the ideal persevering tool I needed to succeed and excel, to rebuild what I lost and overcome the insurmountable challenges that lay before me. In essence, to achieve the extra-ordinary, one has to push beyond the realm of normalcy and endure the physical pain, mental torture, sleepless nights, financial struggles and emotional turmoil otherwise known as the uncomfortable and unwanted sacrifices that come with the territory associated with the extraordinary.

Efena Otobo

Curtain Call

In the face of all the anger, disappointment, agony, confusion and dismay, my faith and hope burned brighter than ever. I was determined to not allow the wheelchair define who I was. Living life to the fullest once again became a top priority.

Wine tasting in the vineyards of Napa Valley, sitting in awe at the San Diego Comic Convention, appreciating the beauty of nature in Carlsbad, hoping to spot a celebrity in Beverly Hills, screeching with delight at the dolphins in Sea World, marveling at the millions of Christmas lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, clutching my sides from laughing too hard at the jokes in The Book of Mormon production at the Fox Theatre on Atlanta’s Broadway, being gobsmacked at the wonder of ocean life at the Georgia Aquarium and getting lost in worship at the Bethel Church in Redding, California are just some of the glorious adventures I have embarked upon thus far.  

Life may throw you a curve ball that may seem to break your spirit temporarily but reaching deep within and using a combination of faith, hope, perseverance, determination and willpower to obliterate the obstacles in your path, I believe that you will emerge from the war victorious.  

My battle strategy is to overcome paralysis – one step at a time.

10 inspirational quotes from women leaders for when the going gets tough

Ellen Sirleaf Johnson

Starting and running a business, nonprofit, or working towards being in a position of leadership can be frustrating and onerous over time. We usually start out excited, ready to take on the next challenge of actualizing a vision, only to lose that spark over time. Besides getting external moral support, an important factor is learning how to constantly motivate yourself. If you’re finding it difficult to stay inspired and keep the vision alive, you are not alone!

Read the following advice from these inspirational women that have made or are making waves in various fields of leadership that also understand your plight.

1. “The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough”- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Sirleaf is the current president of Liberia and the first female head of state in Africa. After being forced into exile during the 1980 military coup, she returned to speak against the regime, then later contested for the presidency in 2005. In 2011, she was part of trio of inspirational women awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for her work with women’s safety and rights.

2. “Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you” – Hillary Clinton.

Clinton served as the 67th U.S. secretary of state in from 2009- 2013. She is the leading Democratic Presidential nominee for the upcoming American 2016 election.

3. “When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” Audre Lorde.

 Lorde was a Caribbean-American poet, civil rights activist, and feminist. Her writings addressed racial prejudices, homophobia, and male privilege, amongst other things. She empowered her readers to address prejudice they were faced with and also celebrate differences in race and class.

4. “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights and played an active role in American politics as First lady.

5. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain” – Maya Angelou.

Angelou is an award winning poet and author of seven published autobiographies, numerous essay collections and poetry. She is internationally acclaimed for her memoir, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.

6. “Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from” – Jodie Foster.

Foster is an American actor, director, and producer who has worked in films and on television. A recipient of several awards, she is often been cited as one of the best actresses of her generation. Her latest work involve directing episodes for Netflix original, Orange Is the New Black & House Of Cards.

7. “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.” – Alice Walker

Walker  is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and activist, she wrote the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple.

8. “If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.” – Margaret Thatcher

Thatcher was Britain’s first female prime minister serving three consecutive terms in office. A dominant figure of conservative ideology during her time in her office, Thatcher created a conducive environment for entrepreneurs to thrive. By cutting taxes and regulation, she empowered people financially, and ultimately helped revitalize the British economy.

9. “You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day” – Marian Wright Edelman.

Edelman is an American activist for children’s rights and is the president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans her entire professional life advocating for causes like pregnancy prevention, parental responsibility for educational values, and reducing the level of violence presented to children etc.

10. “As a girl, you should not be someone who tries to fit into a glass slipper. You should shatter the glass ceiling”  – Priyanka Chopra.

Chopra is an Indian film actress, singer and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador amongst other things. A former Miss World (2000), she is has advanced tremendously in her acting career and is the first Bollywood actor to play a lead-role in an American TV show (Quantico).

How about those words of inspiration? These Moguls clearly have things on lockdown – maybe not yet, as learning in life is a continual process. Nonetheless, they have been there, (or are still in the process) done that, and understand your plight, just as much. So pick yourself up, dust off the discouragement and take another shot at your goals.

To be most effective, grab a post-it note, or whatever medium is most convenient and visibly write down the most essential quote for your current success roadblock. The key is to have this quote ingrained in your memory through repeated exposure instead of trying to retain all the information at a go. Repeat this as often as is needed and see it make a difference. 

My mentor helped me learn my worth & start my business

It was the worst of times–I was jobless, broke, and in despair. Then I met a woman who told me to own my skills and know my worth, in that order. She is now one of my amazing mentors, and an inspiration for my organization, The Fairy Godsister, Inc.

Mentorship is significant to career success and personal advancement. Mentoring is a relationship between two individuals, in which a more experienced person imparts insight, wisdom, and guidance that can be leveraged to help a less experienced person progress in their professional, personal, or academic development.

In my career, I have had an opportunity to meet wonderful women who have empowered me to accomplish great things. As such, I have always enjoyed networking as a fantastic way to expand the cache of individuals in my rolodex. But simply increasing your number of acquaintances is not enough.

 

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Join a Network

There are networks whose primary purpose is to help match you with a mentor that is the right fit for your goals and ambitions. Do some research, and identify a few that are of interest to you. Then, reach out!

Here’s a tip: Before you begin your search, define a few goals that you would like a mentor to help you accomplish. This exercise will enable you to quickly filter out organizations that do not provide mentors that speak to your needs.

Affiliate networks

If you already work at a company, find out if there is an affinity network for women. If so, join one or five, and engage with the members in the network. Find someone who is more senior than you, whose position you may one day like to have, and ask that individual out for coffee to discuss their experiences.

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This is an organic approach to developing an advocacy relationship with someone at your workplace.

Leverage your network

The good thing about networking is meeting people; the bad thing is not following up. To avoid the pitfalls of this, make it a goal to find one potential mentor at every opportunity where you meet people. Set relationship building as a priority and find individuals from whom you can learn.Image result I have developed relationships with individuals simply because I reached out to follow up with an email to ask for a phone call or coffee after an event or upon reading their  LinkedIn profiles. A coffee, two dinners, and a Facebook/LinkedIn later, you now have a healthy relationship with someone who you will learn from and can leverage to your advantage.

Final tip

Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship, so before you reach out to someone, consider how you may be able to assist them as well. In our organization, we have found that many of the mentors report great benefits from their roles.

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They learn things about themselves through their relationships with their mentees. So, when considering finding a mentor, be prepared to be a teacher as well as a student.

In conclusion, the relationships that are built through networking opportunities are seldom maintained beyond a few follow-up emails, resulting in a wasted resource. You need to build relationships, and most importantly, identify an advocate who will become a mentor.

Yet, I know that finding the right mentor is not always easy.

In fact, studies indicate that historically, women have reported greater challenges in finding mentors than men. This has led to the development of a number of networks and programs who aim to connect women with female mentors. The Mentoring Women’s Network, and The Fairy Godsister  are two such groups.

 

10 Instagram accounts that breathe life into your career

You’re a hard-worker with a vision to bring into fruition. From the moment you wake up to the last seconds before you sleep, you spend your days calculating how to navigate your way to success.

Splendid.

So you plot, put plans into action, finesse execution, and network, all the while finding ways to maintain productive relationships and a healthy personal life. Managing that balance is extremely tough, especially when stress begins to limit your positivity. We know, trust us.  

Luckily, we’ve found ways to use the omnipresent social media to your advantage during your leisure time. Here are 10 Instagram accounts that never-fail to serve up amazing career advice, professional tools and inspiration to make your vision clearer and your travel worth the journey.

 

@Womeneur

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Are you a new business owner? Looking to start your own business? Womenuer is a new online publication with a marvelous Instagram account that seeks to connect, enlighten and empower business-minded women looking to excel.

Though, based in the greater NYC area of US, Womeneur speaks to the universal business code of professional success. Riddled with practical quotes and honest accounts of business decisions, Womeneur is definitely a great account to follow.

 

@BusinessRulesForWomen

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BusinessRulesforWomen is an interactive account that gets its followers to spill their rules and discoveries for being a successful business woman.

From great career based questions, providing a weekly Monday checklist, to posting innovative quotes, BusinessRulesforWomen allows business-minded women to keep her mind active as she scrolls.

 

@ForbesWomanAfrica

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Busy is as busy does. Seeing different types of successful African women and reading their words of wisdom is a  journey worth following. ForbesWoman Africa allows followers visual access to a community of professional sisters that you may not have immediate access to.

You’ll learn about their stories, read quotes and hear about future endeavours that you might want to be a part of. Also you get to witness active black sisters like yourself, rocking the world, professionally. 

 

@ForbesAfrica

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If you follow ForbesWomanAfrica, don’t skip a beat, and follow ForbesAfrica, as it is also a leading business publication in Africa. Learn about different entrepreneurs in Africa who are gaining public attention as powerful influencers.

 

@MyFabFinance

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The way you spend money, whether personally and/or in your business, speaks of your habits, motives and your ability to use money as a powerful tool for success. Tonya Rapley founded MyFabFinance to encourage millennial  women to become financially powerful and in-control of their finances by strategizing with their flow of income.

Tonya is a financial educator and Black Enterprises’ new face of Wealth Building. She keeps it real to groom success in all of her followers.

 

@FoundrMagazine

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Home to entrepreneurs seeking to sustain their ambition, FoundrMagazine keeps the business mind alive. This Instagram account is decorated with proactive messages meant to diminish any doubt about your sense of worth.

 

@LevoLeague

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LevoLeague promotes healthy thinking through its fresh minimal design. Levo League exists to help followers navigate their careers towards success. The League even offers book recommendations.

@LinkedIn

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We all know LinkedIn as a stellar platform for connecting professionally. It has also entered the world of Instagram, adding a new air of professionalism as it initiates critical progressive thinking and promotes better habits.

 

@CareerContessa

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CareerContessa is a nurturing space that provides words of encouragement, great reads, and access to sources that will provide clarity when discovering career directions.

@Entrepreneur

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Read quotes from successful entrepreneurs  and professionals from all walks of life. Read about their current endeavors and the advice they choose to share with others through Entrepreneur.

 

And one bonus

She Leads Africa …serving career and entrepreneurship inspiration for women of and in the African diaspora through vibrant images of black women and poignant quotes.

6 BOSS Kenyan women on balancing life and business

These 6 women are among the most successful Kenyan entrepreneurs, and this what said about balancing life and business.

Njeri Rionge – Serial entrepreneur

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 6.09.14 PMRionge co-founded internet service provider Wananchi Online. On balance: “The right skill-set balance is something we must have to allow for exponential development and growth.” 

Tabitha Karanja – Founder and CEO, Keroche Breweries

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Karanja founded Keroche Breweries in 1997 with her husband. On balance: “My word to women, when it comes to family, just strike a balance.

There is time for business and family. Always be there for your family.”

Eva Muraya – Founder and CEO, Brand Strategy and Design

Muraya is the founder and CEO of Brand Strategy and Design, a regional brand strategy development agency. 

On balance: “I am an advocate of business being an important instrument of development. In fact, business is the fabric for development.”

Joanne Mwangi – Founder and CEO, PMS Group

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Mwangi founded Professional Marketing Services (PMS), a group that currently has five subsidiaries and a presence across the east African region. In 2010 PMS was voted number one in the Top 100 SME competition in Kenya.

On balance: “You are a business leader but what other hats do you wear? If you don’t balance your other hats then you have a problem. Do not sacrifice all at the altar of making it in business.”

Flora Mutahi – Founder and C.E.O, Melvin’s Tea

Mutahi first got into business with money her mother lent her so that she could get a loan from the bank. She started off with manufacturing salt, later progressed into the tea business, and has now delved into rice.

On balance: “Try to find a balance between work and life for effectiveness.”

Susan Wokabi – Founder and C.E.O, Suzie Beauty

Suzie Beauty makes over 20 million shillings in sales yearly. On balance: “We (my husband and I) have learnt to work our schedules around our two son’s lives.”

What other Kenyan boss women need to be on this list? Are you or is someone in your network building the next big business on the continent? Drop us a line and let us know. 

10 TED talks by African women that will inspire you this year

Chimamanda’s Danger of a Single Story remains the most popular TED Talk on Africa of all time. The talk boasts more than 9 million views on the TED website and 1 million+ views on YouTube.

I researched other African women sharing great insight on the TED stage and found 10 of the best that was produced in 2015. Here are 10 African women who gave inspiring Ted Talks last year:

Memory Banda

At 18, I was most concerned with getting the latest Iphone. Memory Banda on the other hand, successfully influenced the Malawi parliament to raise the legal marriage from 15 to 18. After watching her sister get pregnant at 11, Memory vowed to defy the traditional practice of kusasafumbi, a practice in which young girls are forced into marriage once they begin menstruation.

Now an avid girl’s rights activist, Memory shows a glimpse of her strength and resilience in this passionate speech about girls right to choose at the TEDWomen 2015 conference.

Taiye Selasi

Discounted by some as a “First World Problem”, Taiye’s Selasi asks the question, “Where are you from?”  in reference to migration around the world.

Taiye has lived in four continents, and her critically acclaimed book “Ghana Must Go,” details the complexity of human identity.

MaameYaa Baofo

Although Nollywood has established itself as an industry to be reckoned with in Africa, many African parents are still unlikely to be thrilled with a child actively choosing acting as a desired profession. MaameYaa Baofo, a New-York based Ghanaian actress, is also gifted orator.

In this talk, she uses her experience of pursuing acting despite discouragement from others to discuss the importance of being your authentic self without apology.

 Zodidi Jewel Gaseb

Zodidi is a Namibian woman who discusses the impacts of Western beauty ideals on women through her personal journey of wearing her hair natural. She was inspired to grow out her naturally kinky hair after she realized that her daughter perceived her long flowy extensions as the standard of beauty.

She challenges negative stereotypes about black hair in this short but poignant video:

Yawa Hansen-Quao

“Your voice is your Power” is the key message of this inspiring video by Ghanaian born and US raised Yawa Hansen-Quao, the leader of the Leading Ladies Network (LLN).

Her talk aligns with the ethos of the LLN, an organization dedicated to encouraging young women to participate in entrepreneurship and leadership.

Mallence Bart-Williams

Malence is the founder of Folorunsho, a Not-for-profit organization that she says is “not a charity”.  Mallence believes charities in Africa foster the rhetoric of poverty and dependency on the West.

She briefly explores the impact of post-colonialism on African countries as the impetus for her collective which connects a group of street boys aged 14 – 20 living in the slums of Freetown, Sierra Leone Lion Base and encourages them to be self-sufficient through creativity:

 

Ola Orekunrin

Becoming one of the youngest medical doctors in England at the age of 21 was just the tip of the iceberg for Ola Orekunrin’s promising career. She went on to create The Flying Doctors initiative, West Africa’s first emergency air ambulance service.

The success of her initiative earned her a New Voices Fellow at the Apsen Institute and a Young Global Leader title by the World Economic Forum in 2013In this TEDxTalk, she address the sexism women in business and positions of power experience, despite their noteworthy achievements.

Afua Hirsch

An experienced journalist, Afua Hirsch is the social affairs and education editor for Sky News. In this refreshingly honest video, Afua asserts that we do not live in a post-racial society as there are still several stereotypes associated with blackness.

She refutes the popular “ I don’t see colour” rhetoric by explaining that we cannot transcend racial tension and microaggressions without having honest conversations about race.

Ekua Armah

Ekua was a senior at the University of Southern California majoring in health promotion and disease prevention students at the time of this speech.

As a public and women’s health educator, Armah discusses using social media as a transformative tool to enhance women’s lives.

Salima Visram

Visram is the founder of the social enterprise, Solour Backpack. The problem: school children in certain rural areas in Kenya do not have access to lights and electricity to complete their school assignments, thus creating a vicious cycle of poverty.

To address this issue, the backpack company leverages the power of the sun by outfitting their backpacks with solar panels which provides electricity to the school children at night. In this TedxTalk, Visram discusses children’s inability to stay in school and the work we can do to prevent this.

What were some of your favourite speeches in 2015? Do you plan on giving a speech or TED Talk this year? Do share with the community.

What this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 African women teach us about launching a career

When Forbes released its 2016 30 Under 30 list this week, we looked on with excitement and cheered on the African women change makers and innovators in this year’s class.

We celebrate the 6 Motherland Moguls on the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 list by taking a look at their work and the insights these women have to share about launching the careers of their dreams.

1. Haben Girma, 27 – Disability Attorney

haben-girma-and-obama

Girma is disability lawyer acclaimed for her work in education, law, and civil rights. She was recently honored by President Obama as a White House Champion of Change and is the first deaf-blind Harvard law graduate. In an interview with Harvard Law Today, the Ethiopian-American advocate shares how confidence and being “undaunted” built momentum for her career:

“My parents tried very hard to make sure I had access to everything, and consequently I grew up thinking I could have access to everything… I was 15 and I was traveling outside the country without family, without anyone I knew very well, really. And it was amazing. It really helped develop my confidence. If I can go build a school in West Africa, I can go to law school” (Interview, Harvard Law Today).

2. Zim Ugochukwu, 27 – Founder, Travel Noire

zimThe Nigerian-American entrepreneur of the global Black community, Travel Noire, says she began refining her career in college. She shared the following on building community and not needing permission during her interview with Black Enterprise:

“I was very community-oriented in college. I majored in biology with a minor in political science and sociology at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. As part of my political science course requirements, I had to choose an internship with the political campaign for Barack Obama or John McCain. Of course, I chose the Obama campaign. This experience opened my eyes to what it means to be a young person and be engaged.

In addition to working on the Obama campaign, I traveled throughout the country, for the “Forget Tobacco” organization. I educated young people on tobacco use and tobacco industry marketing tactics.

I also started Ignite Greensboro, an awareness campaign to raise awareness about the International Civil Rights Museum. This was the cornerstone of my career. I learned I didn’t need people to give me permission to do anything; I can just do it myself” (Interview, Black Enterprise).

3. Catherine Mahugu, 27 – Founder, Soko

Catherine Mahugu

Hailing from Kenya, Mahugu is the founder of Soko, an e-commerce platform that sells artisanal jewelry. Sharing her long term passion for the IT industry in an interview with WMIA, she shared the following about starting a career in the otherwise male dominated field of IT:

“Don’t be your own barrier. Get rid of the notion that you cannot do what men in IT are doing because it is a male dominated field. Turn every barrier into an opportunity, that is what I have done and enabled me to get this far in tech. Always keep pushing your goals to the next level to achieve personal growth and never limit yourself in a world that is full of numerous opportunities” (Interview, WMIA).

4. Angelica Nwandu, 25 – Founder, Shade Room

Angelica Nwadu

Nwandu who is of Nigerian decent and grew up in foster care. She is a writer and video producer. Speaking on her story and work in a Buzzfeed interview, Nwandu shared a great deal about how her Nigerian culture influenced her early career success, including graduating from college, and then later, as she learned her way building the Shade Room.

She said the following about being among the 6% of foster children who graduate from college: “Nigerians are some of the most successful immigrants in America. And so when I would go to class, people would say, ‘Oh, you’re Nigerian,’ so they would expect me to be smart. Somebody expected something from me”  (Interview, Buzzfeed).

5. Heben Nigatu, 24 – Senior Editor, Buzzfeed

heben-nigatu-e1433316329570Nigatu who is a writer and editor at Buzzfeed, and the cohost of the popular Itunes podcast, Another Round, was born in Ethiopian and lived in the country until she was 5. Speaking on the success of her podcast, Another Round, she shared the following on authenticity in her work:

“Media people ask us, ‘How are you doing this?’ and we just don’t take ourselves so seriously. It’s funny that they think we have a secret sauce” (Interview, The Guardian).

6. Kelechi Anyadiegwu, 26 – Founder, Zuvaa

Kelechi Anyadiegwu

Anyadiegwu, the Nigerian – American Founder, CEO and Creative Director of the premier African retail site Zuvaa, said the this on following her childhood passions and joy:

“I’ve always had an interest in technology, since my parents bought me a computer as a small child. I naturally found myself attracted to online communities (chatrooms, The SIMS, neopets, etc.) and building things (websites, avatars, digital Barbies, etc.). These were interests that really shaped my career aspirations going into high school and entering college. I loved digital design and I loved creating content. Everything from the yearbook club to creating layouts, or putting together short media clips. I loved it all” (Interview, Madame Noire).

How about that for career inspiration? Learn more about this year’s Forbes 30 under 30 class.