Joy Eneghalu: Using Strategy to Conquer Social Media

Joy Eneghalu is a social media strategist. She helps businesses and teaches individuals how to leverage social media to boost their brand awareness, increase their sphere of influence and make a profit.

She is also the founder of the Influencer Marketing platform called Influensah.


Can one thrive in today’s marketplace without social media?

Social media has taken over and has the potential to expose one’s business to a larger audience. It is highly important to have your business on social media so you don’t lose out on the goodness.

However, there is the offline part that people also have to maintain. Social media has become a must-have tool for every business to thrive in today’s marketplace.

So, if social media is here to stay, what are the career opportunities open to young people?

There are tons of career opportunities open to young people and the beautiful thing is that some of them are largely untapped and it costs almost nothing to get started.

Young people can now go ahead and become some of the following professionals:

  • Online TV Hosts
  • Online OAPs
  • Social media and community managers
  • Online event planners
  • Influencers
  • Data specialists and Facebook ad experts
  • Funnel experts
  • Website designers and social media graphic designers
  • Content creators 

All you basically need is a phone, internet, knowledge, skill, and visibility. If you are wondering if people do these as actual jobs and cash out, there are many of them and they aren’t even enough for the market.

What were the mistakes you made when you started out? How can others avoid them?

When I started out, it was basically trial and error. Eventually, I invested in courses that helped sharpen my skills.

The number one mistake I made was not documenting an agreement with a client and that cost me lots of money because of the lacking proof. This lesson was very important for my success.  

Before discovering the essence of a community, I played a lone game for a while. However, I now belong to about 6 communities that have provided me with immense support and knowledge.

With many people coming on to the social media space, what would you advise to stand out amidst the noisy marketplace?

This may sound cliché but nothing beats being authentic, genuinely caring about people and adding value. These have been my own sauce and it works pretty much for everyone you see doing great things.

If you are fake, people will find out. Let your style of delivery on social media speak for you.  

Overnight success doesn’t exist as a social media strategist or manager; you have to put it in the work - @joyeneghalu Click To Tweet

What are the myths in your line of business?

Overnight success!! It beats my imagination when many say to me ‘Joy, I want to blog or I want to start managing an account. They said this thing is like oil money. If I do it like this now, by xxx time, I will have xxx amount of money’. 

It baffles me a lot. Overnight success doesn’t exist as a social media strategist or manager; you have to put it in the work. Some people even take 10 years! Money doesn’t grow on trees in the online world. 

Secondly, just because one is visible and popular online doesn’t mean the person has billions sited in their account. It can be very annoying to have people asking you for money because of your online fame.

If one is being visible on social media, please understand that it is part of the journey and not the destination.

 

Could you briefly share with our Motherland moguls on WhatsApp for business?

WhatsApp for Business is a highly innovative tool that businesses can use to offer fast and efficient customer care services to their customers.

With a range of different features such as analytics and labels for pending payments; WhatsApp for Business is a highly effective tool for online business. 

I personally advice having the ‘Click to Chat’ feature on your website or social media platform. This feature enables people to easily chat you up and maintain a human relationship with your business. 

Final Words

You can do this. You can achieve anything you want with the right mindset.

Hone the skill of recognizing opportunities and jump on it before the crowd does - @joyeneghalu Click To Tweet

I look forward to having lots of young ladies kicking butts in the social media/online space.

 


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

Samah Zingran: I’ve struggled to be an entrepreneur in Sudan simply because I am a woman

Samah Zingran is one of those rare women often spoken of but rarely encountered in these modern times, kind of like a unicorn! Maya Angelou once described this type of woman as, “a woman in harmony with her own spirit”.

This Khartoum born entrepreneur, who aspires to learn 7 languages- Russian being one of them, is interested in history, anthropology studies and psychology and is currently working on obtaining a masters in Folklore from the University of Khartoum.  

Samah is the founder of the eponymous brand, Zingran, which creates gorgeous handcrafted leather accessories and bags.


 

What led you to start your own business?

I launched my business on two separate occasions. The first was as a result of what I call “a graduate rush”. I wanted to start making a living as an independent fashion designer as soon as possible. Sadly, my business failed to grow. I was doing it part-time and had just begun my postgraduate studies.

During this time, I volunteered many times to do other artist’s projects from different fields, theatre, music bands, fine art exhibitions…I was even once a translator! I never said no to a job, and rarely considered the financial gain.

My second chance at business came in 2017. At this point, it hit me that I must depend on myself and do what I’m passionate about.

I quit my job at the Embassy of Venezuela in Sudan and with the help of a friend who became my retailer in Juba, I got the boost I needed.

I never said no to a job, and rarely considered the financial gain - Samah Zingran Click To Tweet

How has your journey been so far? 

This year, God awarded me generously by giving me the opportunity to attend a training given to selected creative entrepreneurs working in the East Africa region by the British council in Kampala and Nesta.

It exceeded my expectations and allowed me to connect with wonderful and enthusiastic teachers as well as students, build an essential network and learn many lessons- my greatest lesson being, “its okay if you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, you plan it anyway.”

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while running your business so far?

The most valuable lesson I learned was first taught by a friend, a very successful businesswoman in Sudan. She said to me:

No one will do the job for you, you should take hold of every detail of your work, only then, will your work be done the way you want it. - Samah Zingran Click To Tweet

I must say, from my personal experience, this has proven to be very true.

What drives you to achieve the goals you set for yourself?

Love to create, and my passion to create new things has kept me going. I also find myself continually motivated by my Father- the first supporter of my work, my friends with all their great insights.

I love the look on people’s faces when they see what I’ve made for them, it’s a wonderful feeling when I see they like my work. It’s also incredibly humbling and it’s where I get my satisfaction from.

What is the business environment like for young female entrepreneurs in Sudan?

I’ve struggled to be an entrepreneur in Sudan simply because I am a woman. People ruin professional relationships by harassing girls or making them uncomfortable. Many don’t believe in the possibility that a woman can actually make great achievements in business.

However, the few times I overcame these challenges resulted in great networking opportunities with suppliers, retailers, and buyers.  The experience has taught me to expect to be treated unfairly, to be undermined, not just because I am female but mostly because I am a female artist.

Through it all, the conviction instilled in me by my father, that I am no less than any other man kept my heart solid to these challenges.

Do you think being a female entrepreneur in a country like Sudan is an advantage or disadvantage?

I think it’s a huge advantage since recent studies show young women in our generation are more advanced both in higher education and work. Traditionally, in Sudan, women often times overtake the responsibility to provide- even if this particular fact is openly overlooked.

Therefore, despite the obstacles they go through, women in my country like all African women, are strong and thrive to work, invent, create and provide.

What I’d love to inspire them to do is to dream. To get inspired by recalling the heritage we have from ancient Feroh–queens (Kandake) who led wars and led nations, whose biggest dream wasn’t to simply provide for their families.

What has been your greatest challenge so far? How did you overcome it?

While a student in art school in 2017, I fell sick of Myasthenia Gravis.  My desire to overcome this pushed me to work hard in school and I completed with flying colors.

However, when business pressures rushed in, I struggled, being a solopreneur and working 14 -16 hours a day to deliver took its toll on me. I eventually had to scale back on my business.

To support myself, I started working part-time with other artists temporarily which exposed me to some of their struggles. Eventually, I also educated myself on the disease I had and trained someone close to me so that I wasn’t alone in my journey.

Keep feeding your passion because you are your own knight in shining armor - Samah Zingran Click To Tweet

If you could be mentored by anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

I admire Meryl Streep, a well-known actress. I believe she is strong and has a great body of work- she has been nominated several times for the Oscars and various other awards.

She is a living embodiment of pure talent and is clear about her political and social opinions.

What advice do you have for female entrepreneurs both in Sudan and across the African Continent?

Remember that dream of yours you once had when you were a little girl? Draw out its details and bring it to life.

You will struggle one way or another, you will meet pessimists and those who have given up on their own dreams-but never ever give up, keep feeding your passion because you are your own knight in shining armor.

 

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.

5 Things a Motherland Mogul Leader is Not

Leadership is an art. It means taking courage to maneuver a group of people with common intentions, goals, and objectives in an organized manner. Not everyone can be a good leader! 

Of course, you have to bear in mind your follower’s individual strengths and weaknesses while walking on eggshells trying not to annoy this group of people – even when they throw their frustrations and aggression at you!

With all these pressures, leaders quite often fall into bad habits as they struggle to achieve their goals. To avoid this, as a Motherland Mogul and leader, you are probably asking, what is a leader not?

Bossy

There is a wide difference between being a boss and being bossy. A bossy person is a maniac! They operate like a machine put in place to juice their subjects in order to extract what they want for the company.

A great leader is none of these. They are diplomatic and understand that more is given willingly than forcibly.  A good leader is compassionate. They do not exclude others from contributing their part towards the common goal.

Nepotist

Yes. We all have that cousin or friend that we think would be the best at this job. But what would your followers think if this was the case? Would they be committed to your family company?

It is very sad that nobody nowadays values meritocracy. Leaders give more attention to those who massage their ego, than those who tell them like it is.

However, true leadership requires building the right team that will challenge you and helps you grow your organization.

A jolly old person

The truth is, great leaders do not try to keep friendships with others by satisfying their needs at the expense of their followers and the common purpose. When you start pleasing everyone, you start compromising.

This then causes your standards to get a tilt and you’re not the same leader anymore. It doesn’t hurt to make friends, but don’t let your friendships compromise your value and your objectives.

A Narcissist.

Have you ever heard the tale of Narcissus? According to Greek Mythology, he was cursed by a God to look at his reflection in the water and fall in love with it every day. He fell in love so much that it actually ruined him!

As slay queens, we need to love ourselves. But we shouldn’t let our self-love turn into overconfidence, self-adulation, and self-centeredness at the expense of our followers and the common purpose.

A prejudiced discriminator.

In 1949, sociologist Merton illustrated prejudice and discrimination with four categories of people:

  • Unprejudiced non-discriminator
  • Unprejudiced discriminator
  • Prejudiced non-discriminator
  • Prejudiced discriminator

The prejudiced discriminator is the worst kind of leader to experience. They are a chooser and not a trainer. This kind of leader doesn’t believe that followers of a particular sect, religion, ethnicity or region can offer the common purpose any productivity due to insufficient justification and undue prejudice.

Great leaders do not just build visions, but they also build people. If one doesn’t avoid these habits of bad leaders, they end up attracting the wrong crowd, or no crowd! 

As Motherland Moguls, let us strive to make sure we are not bad leaders. Build your dreams on the right and with the right attitude. Let’s make Africa better with the advent of good leadership and fellowship.


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

Rinae Sikhwari: I want to be a change driver

Meet Rinae Sikhwari, a 26-year-old young woman from Tshikwarani Village in South Africa. She currently resides in Polokwane finishing off her BCom Economics and Business Management from UNISA whilst working at New Leaders Foundation.

She is a fan of reading African literature books, watching series, traveling and discovering new places. Her favorite pastimes include going to food markets, organizing activities for the children in her home church, as well as watching TED Talks and writing. 


Rinae describes herself as a change driver and a learner at heart. She is an advocate for providing quality education, especially for children in disadvantaged communities.

Education has always been one of Rinae`s biggest passions and she strives to gain a stronger understanding of the complexities, challenges, and milestones of the South African Education System.

Part of this is to not only be a solutions bringer but also a change agent to see the education system transformed to cater to the needs of all the children across the country.

 

The South African Education Government spends 6.4% of its GDP on education, however, performance levels are lower than many other countries in the region. Not all children have access to the same quality of education, a legacy left behind by the apartheid government.

Rinae is a consultant at New Leaders Foundation, a non- profit organization that is committed to transforming South African Education. The Organisation founded the Data Driven Districts Dashboard Programme, an approachable, highly intuitive dashboard that displays appropriate education-related information to education officials at all levels in the South African Schooling system.

She emphasizes the importance of data – “Having accurate data ensures that informed decisions are being made, data determines all the decisions and interventions that need to be undertaken.”

Her work involves a lot of interaction with stakeholders from the department of education in driving data-driven conversations and decisions. Engagement with these stakeholders is based on data attained from schools through the South African School Management System.

“I’ve learned to understand how essential it is to have people skills and managing working relations with officials of different levels and rankings”. Her work ranges from assisting Department of Education officials from district directors to curriculum advisors and school principals attain data that will assist them to make informed decisions.Her work also takes her into the field where she can see firsthand how the policies of the Department of Education affect local communities.

“Working in the field has offered me the context to understand the data we extract from schools on a daily basis.” This has brought visibility of complexities of the department and an understanding of the massive gaps and inequalities in the education sector.

Central to her beliefs is the importance of advocating for the education of young women especially those that are growing up in areas where they are faced with so many socio-economic issues, who face so many challenges and a lot of the times education becomes a pillar and an enabler for them to defy the odds against them.

Her own upbringing in a rural village made her understand that it is through education that a woman becomes independent and attains opportunities.

“I am still such a firm believer that not only does education enable one to critically think and analyse but also education gives one the opportunity to be inquisitive, seek to explore and know more and the more you can do better, a learned/well-read/educated woman is able to challenge the status quo, I believe being educated gives one option and looking at how marginalized women are in society particularly black women it is imperative and essential for women to be educated.

Rinae established a reading club in the township of Seshego in 2015 for children aged between 4-14 years old, currently, the club has over 50 children and has strong support from the parents.

She describes the reading club as a platform for children to learn to read and write for enjoyment, it’s a space in which children learn mathematical, social and literacy skills.

“I’ve just observed how children enjoy our sessions and most of them have become avid readers, I love how they speak their minds and express their opinions that is actually what’s important for me.”

Rinae has always wanted to do work that has a meaning to her and her development as someone aspiring to be a change driver. What does this mean? Being a change driver means doing more to better her community whether it be through mentoring and tutoring or supporting community development initiatives started by her peers or young people from her village.

It also means giving a voice and a platform to those who need the change most- raising awareness about initiatives and shinning the spotlight on the developments in the community.


Know of anyone impacting your community? Share their story with us here.

How to be a BAWSE: Lily Singh’s best tips on how to conquer life

Lily Singh is best known for her Youtube channel Superwoman which has over 1 billion views and has featured guests ranging from Michelle Obama to Zendaya.

Her book, How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life describes a BAWSE as a`a person who exudes confidence, reaches goals, gets hurt efficiently, and smiles genuinely because they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side`. 

She emphasizes that life is not about surviving but rather taking the decisive steps to have more effective control over your life, choices, and actions.  

Here are some of our favorite tips from the book to get you started on your ride to be a BAWSE.


Conquer your thoughts

We are the products of our thoughts, what we think affects how we treat others and allow others to treat us.

Conquering your thoughts put you in charge of yourself. It means being accountable for the things you say and do. So when you find yourself in a situation that challenges you or makes you feel a certain way ask yourself WHY you feel a certain way, WHAT made you perform a certain action, and HOW you could do things differently.

The information you discover is powerful because it helps you to discover patterns and in turn use your mind productively and efficiently.

Words lie, actions lie too, but consistency speaks the truth

Now if that line doesn’t speak truth to you, I don`t know what will! Consistency is key: people determine who you are depending on what you do.

If you are always late to meet that deadline or never do that task you said you would do, people will come to know you as the unreliable person. That is not the reputation you want to have.

Consistency and habits breed good behavior, you begin to create patterns that show people that they can trust, rely and count on you. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to show people who you are and then keep showing them.

Seek out situations that make you uncomfortable 

Comfort Zones: we love them, they make us feel happy and safe. When we are in a situation that we do not feel is tailored from us we tend to panic and act out. We basically do not cope because it is not the reality we know or are used to.

Use an uncomfortable moment as a learning tool, what does it say about you, what are you doing to address this uncomfortable situation. What can you learn? Being uncomfortable does not mean sit back and refuse to do anything, just because its no longer the norm for you.

You have to be proactive, take matters into your hands, see what difference can come out of this experience.

If you want to stay in the league, keep up to date on the game

Learning is a lifetime process. There is always room to further your education and skills, no matter how high up the career ladder you get. Do not become too self-assured that you do not think you have any more lessons to learn.

Learning more about advances in your field can help you shape your goals, enhance your career and keep you above the rest. Do not presume you know it all or that you have become an expert whose opinion is the only one that matters.

Take time to refine your skills and competencies. This does not just refer only to taking short or online courses to nurture and grow your skills, it also refers to the lessons you can learn from others around you.

A brilliant quote from the book is “Being the dumbest person on your team doesn’t make you a stupid person; it means you are smart enough to select people to work with you can learn from”.

This means surround yourself with people you can learn from. Asking questions when you don`t know is not a shortfall, it is dedicating yourself to learning something new.

Don’t be afraid to ask for things. 

The worst that will happen is that you’ll be told no!

Too often than not, we tell ourselves `no` before we even do what we wanted to achieve. We become the roadblocks to our own goals.

But, what if you denied yourself a yes, an upgrade or a promotion? ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE. It is a famous line for a reason. If you do not ask, you will never get what you want. You do not even open yourself up to the option of getting it.

Do not be afraid to put yourself out there, to request for more when you know you deserve it. Sure, we are all scared of rejection but that allows us to adjust and try again with something better that works.

A Motherland Mogul knows her worth and when to ask for it to be respected. Do not talk yourself out of asking for that raise, state your case and demand your prize. You may just surprise yourself by getting exactly what you asked for.


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Thembelihle Khumalo: I never want to look like I feel apologetic for being African

thembelihle khumalo

Thembelihle Khumalo is a branding guru with 20 years experience in the media industry. She specialises in translating the stories of individuals and corporates into compelling brands, through her consulting firm Brandbuilder. She is also the founder of Labour of Love, an organisation contributing to the financial empowerment of African women artisans.


What are you current career goals?

My main career goal is to build my businesses in order to provide multiple streams of income in the short and long term. These businesses are strategically independent so that the problems in one sector don’t have a ripple effect on the other businesses.

 

Would you say multiple sources of income are necessity for the average young woman?

For an ambitious entrepreneur you need multiple streams of income because you need to be able to cushion yourself against financial peaks and troughs. Established and experienced wealth builders tend to employ this strategy.

 

What are 5 insights you think every young woman should know early on in their career?

  1. Get rid of any psychological and emotional issues you have with money.
  2. Start investing immediately, invest in both long-term and short term goals.
  3. Leverage your assets, if you are talented at something, find a way to make it work for you.
  4. Understand how to get along with people, and that anybody can add value to you and vice versa.
  5. Learn how to make smart decisions quickly, by deciding on your set of values and vision for your life, then narrow down your options based on this.

 

How did you create “Labour of Love”?

My grandmother was a talented seamstress who passed these skills down. Initially I made a few things to sell in high school, and then went on to create a short-lived start-up with my sister.

 

Labour of Love only became fully operational in 2015. The advent of online shopping and social media created new opportunities, and tremendously heightened the global appetite for all things African. Subsequently changing the ball game for entrepreneurs and marketers.

Hence my current business model of creating opportunities for African women artisans. To use their homemaking and craft skills to increase their financial well-being, build their individual self-esteem, provide for their families and develop their communities.

 

thembelihle khumalo

 

Tell us about Brandbuilder

I’ve worked in media and advertising for more than twenty years, but left full time employment to pursue a passion project. I realised that I was leaning on the skills that I have expertise in – brand building and storytelling.  I then spent a few months figuring out exactly what my value proposition would be, where my competitive advantage lay, in essence, developing my own brand.

 

How does one get to a place of consistency in business?

Timing is one of the factors that largely influence the success of a business. This encompasses the market you intend to service and timing in your own life. You have more resources to input into your business when you are single with no children; responsibility has a way of diminishing your willingness to take risks. There are also political and economic factors that affect your timing and at the end you have to listen to your gut.

 

What are the top three places on your travel list?

Definitely Morocco, Zanzibar and Nigeria.

 

What tops the list of African countries you’ve been to and why?

Definitely Rwanda! It’s well-led, that’s an important factor for me. The seriousness about achieving the vision they have for their country is seen in the mechanisms and systems they have in place to enable that. A close second is South Africa, the land of my ancestors and for its very cosmopolitan pulse.

 

Would more women leaders make a difference to the African economy?

Better, braver leaders would make a difference. If women are better and braver, then yes, more women in leadership. If women are not already competent, then we make them competent and compete on a level playing field. Competence and character should be the only things that decide those best suited for leadership.

 

Tips for a woman trying to enter a male-dominated industry?

I’d give her Lloyd P. Frankel’s book “Nice girls don’t get the corner office” and tell her to focus on doing the job properly because we can get distracted by the whole gender conversation. If you don’t get an opportunity, don’t assume it’s because you’re a woman. Ask yourself what you could have done better, where were the opportunities for improvement.

 

What’s your take on leveraging your femininity in a business setting?

It’s capital – employ it! It’s no different from your intellectual capital; if you have morals and ethics that can create boundaries for you, you shouldn’t have a problem.  

 

What governs your style, what you choose to wear, how you choose to wear your hair?

I’d like for anyone who sees an image of me to see a proud African. I never want to look like I feel apologetic for being African.

 

thembelihle khumaloSeasons in your life tend to govern this and they can be different. Some require healing, nurturing and mending bits that have been chaffed and bruised. Then there are other seasons, where you are chasing something so big that you might even forget to brush your hair, and that’s okay too, for a season.

 

What are the biggest relationship lessons you’ve learnt?

  1. Listen to hear, as opposed to listening to answer.
  2. Understand yourself and the lenses through which you understand what people say. Invest in knowing yourself.
  3. Embrace pain and understand that life is going to be difficult, you’ll have painful experiences and that shouldn’t be the end of the world, learn from it.

 

If you were to have dinner with anyone, who would it be, where and why?

I would love to have time stand still and spend a few hours with Malcom Gladwell on a beach with the drinks flowing and take time to understand his mind. He is a real thought leader, when I read his books I always wonder, “How would you apply this to Africa?”

 

Who would you like to have as your BFF?

Definitely Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because she writes so well and her imagination is interesting, yet she has a real home-girl vibe like she could be the girl next door!


Do you have a business or career story to share?

Share your story here.

 

 

 

How to Approach and Connect with your Dream Mentor

A few days ago, I was reading a piece by one of my favorite bloggers and it started like this: “There will come a moment when all that matters to you is that you experience growth, not comfort. When that time comes, it will shake your world up. It will cause you to expand into areas of thought that you never thought possible”. As I read those first sentences, the words jumped out at me, and me stand up.

Those first few sentences resonated strongly with me because it took me back to how I felt at the beginning of this year.  I have noticed many of us desire growth, but we never really actively work towards it. On the other hand, some of us actually start to work towards it, but we never grow all the way because we lack a few things. One of the things that I discovered going into this year, is that I had been lacking having a mentor, specifically for my career path.

The truth is many of us have people we look up to from a distance. We admire them, we even observe what they do and try to emulate them. Very often, I would hear people refer to such individuals as their mentors. Can we really regard them as mentors if there is no interaction with them at all?

Can you imagine if these same people you refer to as your mentors actually had conversations with you on a monthly basis or quarterly basis? Imagine you being able to reach out to them whenever you needed advice, insight or help navigating a difficult stage in your life, job, business, academics or ministry. When these kind of interactions begin to happen, that’s where active mentoring takes place.

A mentor is someone who takes the initiative to join you on your life’s journey and willingly helps you become all that you were born to be, so that you are able to do all that you were born to do. A mentor can also be described as someone who gives you a vital push at a certain stage in your life and without whom you may not have done so well.

Sounds like a real life superhero right? Believe the hype! A great mentor is an invaluable asset to anyone who wants to grow. But how does one approach and connect with a mentor especially when the person is far away or sometimes has no idea that you need them? I will share three steps I have learned to use this year.

Step 1: Identify your Mentor

Approaching the right mentor to come along on your journey is extremely critical. In very rare cases, will your mentor approach you offering ‘mentoring’ services. Usually, it’s the person who wants to be mentored who will need to take the initiative.

In this step, it is also very important that you have a good grasp on who you are, where you want to go, and most importantly, why you need a mentor. You can’t invite someone to help you on your journey if you have no idea where you want to go.

After you have answered these questions, you can now begin to look for someone you would want to have by your side on your journey – as a student, wife, parent, entrepreneur, working professional, creative etc.

Great mentors have a variety of characteristics but here are a few that you can be on the lookout for. A great mentor is someone:

  1. Who has achieved what you hope to achieve, and could potentially provide you a platform to get started.
  2. Who could give you advice or insight and help you see the bigger picture.
  3. Who has values you would want to emulate.
  4. That can help you navigate difficult terrain.

After identifying this person, get your hands on any material about the person, do your research so that you are able to establish if the person is a good match.

 

Step 2: Making the First Connection


You will need to reach out. This is usually where most of us get stuck because we don’t know what to say. You can reach out physically if the person is close by, but if the person is in another city or country, you will need to reach out virtually. Email is a great way to make a first connection, but when email fails, try social media. In addition, if you know someone who already knows your mentor, you can ask the person to make an introduction on your behalf.

When it comes to what you have to say, keep it simple. Start by telling the person a little about who you are. Next, tell the person where you are right now and where you are hoping to go. This is a great time to share your story. Follow up with why you need a mentor and end by telling the person why you want him/her to mentor you. Be honest. Be real. Mentors see through ‘fakeness’ and flattery.

 

Step 3: The Pursuit

This can be one of the hardest aspects of establishing an active mentoring relationship. But when you know how valuable a mentor can be to your success, you’ll take this last step seriously. The pursuit involves following up, especially when the mentor is far away, in a different city, country or time zone. You will need to be deliberate and intentional about communicating, asking questions, and giving your mentor feedback on what is happening with you, so they are able to give you the input you need for your next step.

Be serious about the mentoring relationship. Even when you aren’t having that physical interaction in person, endeavor to keep learning from them. If they have books, blogs, or other material- read them. If they are active on social media – participate with them on those platforms. If they are members of a particular organization, volunteer at that organization. Observe what they do, and always keep a book of questions.

Finally, this year I’ve learnt and seen first-hand how valuable having an active mentor is for one’s growth. Mentors are growth catalysts that many of us are not exploring. My dad said something few months ago, that I can’t forget: “When people don’t know what they can become, what they have become blinds them.”.

That’s what I love about mentors- they make sure we see much more than we possibly could by ourselves. So take the plunge today, find a mentor who is willing to come along on your journey. Happy Growing!


Do you have an inspiring mentorship story to share?

Let us know here.

 

Take Stock of Your 2017 Goals

December is around the corner. The last few months of the year seem to fly by and we seem to have that looming anxiety about the 2017 goals we made at the start of the year. So, have you managed to tick off all the boxes next to the goals? Or an even better question, do you still have the list? Should we still be making year long goals that we seem to forget by mid- January or should we go with the flow?

Having goals and ambitions is not a bad thing at all. It empowers you and drives you more when you know what you are working towards. There is nothing like that feeling when you finally achieve that dream you’ve had for a long time, whether it’s buying that car or getting a promotion at work.

Goals are great and accomplishing them is even better. But what happens when you fall short of your own expectations, or even completely forgot what you wanted to do at the beginning of the year? Does this render the whole year meaningless? I don’t think so!

Right now is actually a great time to take stock of the last 10 months. We always drive ourselves to the ground worrying about what we should have done or could have done, but actually fail to realize what we have actually done. Take a step back and account for your last few months.

 

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Remember the small wins

Remember that amazing project you got to be a part of from start to finish, remember that park- run your friend forced you to join? Our goals don’t have to be these large, wonderful sky- high achievements.

It’s the little things that actually show that you haven’t been chilling all year doing nothing. It was the ability to send out all those job applications, it was standing up for yourself in that meeting, it was the ability to ‘do’ when the world said you couldn’t.

 

Take stock of what you have managed to achieve

There is definitely nothing wrong in having the grandest dreams about where we should be. However, it is wise to take stock of what you have managed to achieve. This balance is necessary.

Write down a list of your accomplishments so far and stick them up on your fridge or office cubicle. Look at where you have been and how amazing it was. How does this help your mindset for the rest of the year? Well for starters your track record shows that you have accomplishments worthy to be proud of.

You have done some pretty amazing things this year. Appreciate what you have done, appreciate yourself and use it to propel your success even further.

 

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Evaluate your January goals

If you still have your list of January resolutions and none of the items have been crossed off, this may be a good time to consider why you haven’t done the things you promised to do.

Look at what has changed, where were circumstances out of your control? You also have to hold yourself accountable, why did you not go for that promotion or not save for that trip you wanted to take? I don’t recommend this to make you feel bad, Motherland Mogul, but if we do not ask ourselves the hard questions who will?

It’s also about considering the shifting priorities and incentives. If the year did not go how you thought it would, how did you respond to that? What did you have to change to accommodate your different reality? This will help you re-evaluate your goals for the rest of the year based on what you know, as well as help you manage your expectations.

 

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Consider how you can add to what you have already accomplished earlier in the year

Looking back is an amazing way to create motivation for what feels like both the longest  and shortest year. Also, your achievements so far can help you plan for the last 2 months of the year. Consider how you can complement what you have already done earlier in the year.

Maybe you could come up with another project that takes the previous one to another level. Maybe you could motivate a friend to join you for that park- run. Look at where you have been and where you want to go, what could you do to bridge that gap? Create new goals for these last two months, what do you want to do that could make the last part of the year exciting and different for you?

 

Create weekly and monthly goals for these last 2 months

One of the great ways to avoid this looming anxiety about not achieving your big goals, is to actually create weekly or monthly goals. This helps you create goals for the reality you actually are in, not what you thought the year would be like.

This is important because achieving and celebrating the small things can really motivate you to push for the bigger goals. Writing down and shaping smaller goals is more realistic. You are holding yourself to attainable goals, founded on what’s happening here and now.

 

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So, what have you done this year to be proud about?

Let us know more about you and your story  here.

Dumisile Mphamba: Striving To Maintain Excellence, As A Form Of Worship

Dumisile Melody Mphamba is a 19-year-old Zimbabwean young lady who will be starting her undergraduate studies at Stanford University, this fall, under a full scholarship.

Growing up in a country with a ‘broken’ health system, she aims to contribute solutions to eradicating the inequity in the healthcare sector. Dumisile  hopes to becomes a medical doctor and public health professional, who focuses her career on optimizing access to healthcare, for low-income Zimbabweans. 

She describes herself as an artistic scientist. During her high school days, Dumisile co-managed 26 extracurricular clubs  including: Public Speaking Captain and Toastmasters Vice President. She is also an active She is a Worship Leader, actress, Youth Music Director and volunteer in her community. Dumisile is the oldest of three girls, and lives with her parents and sisters in Harare, Zimbabwe.

In this interview, she takes us through her incredible story to Stanford…


My core belief is that I was created to praise and please the Lord Click To Tweet

 

What has been your motivation for excellence and what impact have you made as a result?

My core belief is that I was created to praise and please the Lord. What better way to honour my Creator and Source than to give Him my best and nothing less?

In this same regard, I take pleasure in developing other people, so that whether they share my spiritual beliefs or not, they can live to get the very best out of life, and share the very best of their gifts with the world.

I do this in many ways, my particular favourite being, as a mentor and Youth Group Leader in my church, as well as the Youth Music Director and Worship Leader. In addition to that, as a Cultural Captain and leader in my school.

I believe that, by striving to maintain excellence as a form of worship, I inspired several of my schoolmates to pursue academic, extracurricular, sporting and other equally important forms of excellence, and thus obtain a sense of fulfillment.

 

By striving to maintain excellence as a form of worship, I inspired several of my schoolmates Click To Tweet

 

Take us on a walk through your journey to attaining a full scholarship at Stanford University?

I began considering applying to the US for tertiary education when my school Guidance Counsellor suggested that I consider it as an option. Anyone who knows me, knows that at the time (I was 17) I had made a solid plan to complete my GCE A-levels, pass and go straight to medical school, without going through the relatively complicated American path to becoming a medical doctor.

It took a lot of convincing from my Guidance Counsellor and my mentor, Dr Charlene Kembo-Chideme. But, I joined EducationUSA Harare, took the SATs, sought guidance from the EducationUSA advisor and fellow Zimbabweans in the USA (in crafting my application essays), applied, and the rest is history.

I was accepted into the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, also on very generous scholarships, but Stanford had always been my dream school, and their package was the most generous of the three. So I am very grateful for having such an easy choice to make!

 

 

What principles have been fundamental to you and why?

My defining element is my constant motivation to please God, and pursue a close relationship with him. But, this was not always my conviction.

When I was about 14 years old, I experienced a time of loneliness and rejection by friends I had trusted for years, as well as tragedies that led to angry questions: What was the point of living? What was the point of God?

It is then that I began to realize, through prayer, introspection, and a bucket load of tears, that my job was not to understand why things were the way they were. But, what was important was for me to flourish in those circumstances, and please God by doing my personal best, no matter what my surroundings looked like.

 

Flourish in your circumstances, no matter what your surrounding looks like Click To Tweet

 

While in high school, you balanced having an outstanding grade while managing over twenty-six extracurricular activities. How did you achieve that?

The most important element was my close relationship with God and our often brutally-honest conversations. I also received constant encouragement from my parents, and had a strong support structure of older sisters, particularly my mentor, who affirmed me especially when I needed it.

I also have to mention my artistic outlet. I studied only science subjects at Advanced Level, and so it became increasingly important for me to deliberately let out the artist in me on stage, through public speaking, theatre, music and worship.

 

 

What qualities are essential for young Africans?

Resilience is key. One of my favourite quotes is “A river cuts through the rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.” – Jim Watkins. As young Africans, we must believe in the unique gifts and ideas we possess.

We must be resilient enough to seek new ways of pursuing our goals if ever we fail, and we must refuse to allow our gift to die without being tapped into. I believe that leadership is the ability to use our gifts to unite people; Towards a vision that benefits  followers, and to inspire them to develop their own vision for their lives, so that they may use their gifts to, in turn, benefit the lives of others.

 

A river cuts through the rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence -Jim Watkins Click To Tweet

 

What are your plans for Africa and Zimbabwe in particular in the coming future?

My goal is to become a medical doctor and public health professional, who focuses her career on optimizing access to healthcare for low-income Zimbabweans.

I look forward to collaborating with many like-minded individuals, both in Africa and the world at large, who are also passionate about developing healthcare infrastructure in our part of the world.

During college, I aim to involve myself in service initiatives that can, in one way or the other, enable me to begin to work on developing Africa.

 

 

Tell us how you sang your way to Paris in 2014

I first heard of Alliance Francaise de Harare’s annual national contest ‘Sing Your Way to Paris’, when I was 13 years old, and purposed in my heart to win it someday, even though I had never sung in French before, let alone in front of the audience.

I entered the contest when I was 16. With the support of my family, French and Music teachers, and my musical genius of an aunt, Aunty Tammy- I sang and performed ‘Je Lui Dirai’ by Celine Dion, and became the first teenager ever in the country to win the contest! It was a dream come true.

 

Reading a book or watching a movie, what would be your preference?

That is hard to answer. I tend to watch movies upon recommendation from trusted sources. The same goes with books. It is my own elaborate form of laziness. And I am proud of it!


What an inspiring young lady! How has the belief in excellence helped you achieve your goals?

Let us know more about you and your story here.