Need a new job? Well in case you didn’t know, LinkedIn can be one of the best places to start. This is why we’ll be taking you through 5 major tips for how to find the job of your dreams on LinkedIn. Play your cards right and you’d be surprised when potential recruiters are the ones reaching out to you!
Update your profile
Think of LinkedIn as an online CV but with more. Don’t hold back, use this opportunity to detail the work you’ve done and the skills you have. Apart from a brief summary of your work experience, have a LinkedIn bio that’s interesting enough to read through with hobbies and a bit of what you’re passionate about.
Set up job alerts
You can set up job alerts on your career interests dashboard so that LinkedIn notifies you when a new job is open. With this feature, you can be one of the first to apply for jobs you’re interested in.
Build your connections
Be sure to connect and engage with things and people that interest you on LinkedIn. Following companies that you’re interested in and connecting with their employees and recruiters is always a good idea.
If you have a list of emails of people that you have connections with offline, all you need to do is upload a CSV file of those contacts and LinkedIn will automatically send connection requests to all of them. This can also help to give your LinkedIn profile a little boost.
When you’re looking for a job on LinkedIn, you’ll need to reach out to recruiters in your choice organisations. One way to make this easy is to have a message template that you can tweak
Here’s a good example:
“Hello Ms. Archer
My name is Lerato. My background is in software engineering. I’m exploring job possibilities and at this stage, am thinking that Maverick could be a fit for me because I can design systems exceptionally well. Can we meet for 15 minutes to discuss?
Recruiters are busy people so you want to make sure you give at least a week for a reply.
Let Recruiters Know You’re Open
Showing your profile to recruiters is another great way LinkedIn helps you find a job. To do this, enable the open to job opportunities feature on your LinkedIn profile. You can also choose to opt in to appear in recruiter searches that match your career interests.
LinkedIn tries to protect your privacy by not showing your preferences to recruiters in your current organisation but you need to know that it’s not a 100% guarantee that you will not be visible.
That’s it! You’re now on your way to applying for the job of your dreams!
Since Covid-19, we’ve all been in search of new ways to do things from the comfort of our couches. Figuring out how to find a mentor online can be a bit challenging because successful people are usually booked and busy but it’s very doable!
When you’re looking to find a mentor online, sending a bunch of emails or LinkedIn messages requesting that they take you under their wings may not be the best way to go. If you’re looking to have someone to mentor you, they probably get tons of similar requests every day. You’ll need a strategy that helps you stand out.
Here are some hacks to help you find a mentor online and possibly a friend for life:
Find relevant people
If you haven’t already, make a list of people in your field who inspire you. You can then boil it down to 3-5 people. When you have your list, make sure you find out as much about these people as you can. To find a mentor, you can also use the LinkedIn Career Advice feature, a great tool for finding new mentors.
Make yourself visible
The next step is to make sure your LinkedIn is popping with your work experience and accomplishments. The CEO of a company is not very likely to reply to a message from an account with no bio and 5 connections. Apart from LinkedIn, you want to make sure your presence on social media is clean and reflects who you are in the best way possible.
Hit them up!
Now it’s time to send a message to your mentor. Don’t say who you are and then go on to ask for them to mentor you. What you want to do is show that you respect the work they’ve done and talk about how this has also impacted your own life, you can then go ahead to ask if they can help with a specific area of your career.
Once you do this, don’t forget to give a reasonable time for a reply, preferably a week. Make it easy for them to contact you by providing your contact information.
What can you do for them?
Don’t forget that mentors are people too so what you want to do is gain their friendship. One of the best ways to get a mentor is to build a personal connection.
Volunteer to help them with a project, help out with a cause they’re passionate about or offer to help with some research. You can even interview or write an article about them – this is a great way to get to know who they are and connect with them in the process.
According to a World Bank article published in November 2018 on women entrepreneurs and the future of Africa, enterprises owned by male entrepreneurs have more capital than women-owned enterprises.
This month, we shine the spotlight on a fierce lady who has bootstrapped her way into starting not just one – but two – businesses while holding down a full-time job.
Siyamthanda Makhwabe is a professional town planner, a wife and mother, owner of Kuhle Bags and Accessories and a town planning consulting business.
Fellow Motherland Mogul, Zimkhitha met with Siyamthanda to talk about juggling work, business, a kid, and a briefcase.
The Many Hustles of Siyamthanda Makhwabe
Determined to gain financial freedom, Makhwabe took the leap in 2019 to start two businesses while keeping her job as a town planner.
Leveraging her background in Town Planning and Housing, Makhwabe started a consulting business catering to SMEs and startups. Using the power of her network as a launchpad, she has run this venture in the past year purely by word-of-mouth and industry referrals.
In October 2019, Makhwabe diversified her business portfolio to include a fashion business named after her daughter, Kuhle. Here she offers affordable bags and accessories to South Africans online via social media.
She coverts a lot of customers via WhatsApp and uses Instagram to advertise what’s in stock, which markets she will be visiting and pop up stalls.
Entrepreneurship: A seat at the table
As a STEM woman working in a male-dominated space, Siyamthanda has not always found it welcoming. She explains that this dismissal boils down to the most basic things. For instance, in meetings, men are more readily acknowledged and engaged than women.
“When you sit at that table, it can be very easy to feel invisible and like a fraud, hence many women rather take the back seat”, she says, talking about the dreaded imposter syndrome that creeps in even when you know you have both the qualification(s) and relevant experience to be seated at the proverbial table.
With her ventures, Makhwabe has found autonomy and confidence in being a decision-maker and leader. This remains a key motivator for her in moving her business forward.
Siyamthanda’s Top Tips for every Hustler
Here are Siyamthanda’s top tips for female entrepreneurs on the building – not only a sustainable – but profitable business, from the ground up:
1. Before you throw money at it – innovate
There is a temptation to think that money will solve your problems. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to learn how to be scrappy. Think on your feet, look at the competition and see how you can offer more value to your customer base.
2. Stay learning and find mentors
As you grow your business, you will find out there is a lot you don’t know. It is necessary to stay curious, take short courses and prioritize soft skills. A mentor also gives you an edge in the game. Having someone who’s been there in your corner is invaluable. It’ll save you money, time and headache.
3. Never stop networking
You don’t know what you don’t know until you know.
Reach out to those in your market and those outside to get inspiration and to see what is out there. This will help expand your mind into untapped segments.
My interview with Siyamthanda was eye-opening. I think it is important to emphasize how necessary it is for female entrepreneurs to be more transparent about their experiences. The hustle does not always look glamorous and that’s okay. To all you Motherland Moguls out there, keep on SLAying and exuding your #BlackGirlMagic!
Simply put, when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, your confidence shines through.
Need I say more? I also recommend wearing something unique that grabs the attention of others.
In my case, I typically wear one of my custom made African pieces because it’s both flattering, and also always acts as a conversation starter allowing me to share a bit about myself right off the bat.
You may have an article of clothing or accessory that always gets complimented, wear that and it will almost always serve as an icebreaker.
Do your homework
Make sure you find out as much about the event as you can before going. Who is organizing it, who is attending and what opportunities are you looking for?
Prepare different pitches you can potentially deliver to attendees, bring the appropriate materials (brochures, pens, business cards, etc), and focus on your goals.
Knowing what you want to say and showing up prepared will increase your confidence, showcase your level of seriousness and leave little room for frivolity.
Be natural, not transactional and pushy
People like to joke, smile, converse and mingle without feeling pressure, and the most impactful connections start like that.
You want people to be attracted to your personality, and not feel hounded by business right from the get-go. The key is to place an emphasis on relationship building.
Earlier this year at a crowded event, I ended up sitting next to a lovely woman, sharing a few laughs over coffee while the event carried on.
Later, I learned that she is a very high ranking official at the UN, but our relationship had already been solidified in a friendly, convivial tone. When you get to the event, go get yourself a drink or a snack, relax.
Don’t focalize on the VIPs.
Please, you do not want to be the first one to bumrush the speakers after they immediately after they finish their presentation- they will not remember you.
I have watched attendees wait fifteen-thirty minutes for their chance to simply say hello or offer their praises to my clients, wasting an opportunity to make more meaningful connections in the room.
If you would like to introduce yourself to one of the heavy hitters, patiently wait your turn. Know what you want to say, find a reason to follow up, and find the best method to get in touch.
Have an appropriate business card etiquette.
Effective networking is not about collecting or distributing a million cards, so the first thing you do should never be to hand out or ask for a business card.
After you have established a connection and potential for collaboration, that is a good time to hand them your card. If they do not have one, but you wish to follow up, ask them for their email address or phone number on the spot.
If that does not happen, connect immediately following the event on social media with a follow-up message.
Follow up within 24 hours
Most people forget that networking does not stop at the event, it requires diligent and thoughtful follow up. Jot down notes during the event about the people you have met, and write them the next day to recap your conversation and propose a next action point.
This could be as simple as staying in touch, suggesting a meeting, or a direct ask about something which was discussed.
Since people are busy and attend many functions, it needs to be done within 24 hours to ensure they remember you and your conversation.
Always remember to stay calm and cool. Chances are slim that you will land your dream job or sign a big investment deal at a high-level networking event, but they are great places to plant the seeds that can grow into your next opportunity.
Always remember your value, make friends, and have some fun. It may turn out that people start lining up to hand you their business cards!
Missed our Facebook Live on August 22nd on how to drive social change through your business/ Career? Click here to watch.
Curated within the beautiful landscape of Jozi on a peaceful Sunday, She Leads Africa in partnership with The Cut Life and Originals by Africa’s Best held a Boss Brunch and panel with the finest Motherland Mogul influencers of Africa.
The location was a hidden oasis of tranquility, The Gabriela’s Tea Room, perfect for some girl chat, champagne was flowing, the crowd was buzzing. What a beautiful Sunday.
In the era of feminism and self-love, you do find some false prophets that don’t live up to their campaign inside as loudly as they may be online.
What was important about the #IAMORIGINAL panel and brunch was that it focused on the challenges black women struggle through.
The theme that stood out from the event was the need for women to back each other up and actually mean it.
For the older and younger generation to join minds and create solutions for the Motherland Moguls that follow.
The event kicked off with a warm welcome from the bubbly Shanon Stanislaus of Originals by Africa’s Best. She spoke about the benefits of their new Coconut Creme range that has nutrition rich formulas, helping your natural hair with the foundation its needs for hair goals.
We then proceeded into an hour-long networking bingo session, that had our Influencers and Motherland Moguls buzzing through the room, the energy was so lively- It felt like the best girl chat session I’ve been to in ages.
We held bingo cards that had questions such as “Who in the room has three pets, Who is an only child”. These were great ice breakers, especially for an introvert like myself.
Back to our tables, we were served incredible dishes by The Gabriela’s Tea Room patrons, everything delicious and mouthwatering.
“ You don’t know what you want to do until you’ve tried it all”.
This tied in so well with the events hashtag of the day #IAMORIGINAL, when you apply yourself and work on what your secret sauce is, what do you really have to lose ?
All in all, this was an event, unlike any other networking event I have been to, which is saying a lot as I have been to a ton of networking sessions and gone home feeling as though I barely received much value from the speakers.
It could be just how intimate the brunch was or the fact that everyone left their egos at the door and simply wanted to celebrate each other.
I have nothing but praise for what these women aimed to share through the event and I believe that we can all learn from them.
As Motherland Moguls we are constantly inspiring those around us, we may not realize it a lot of the times, the best thing we can do is live an intention-driven life in our goals, decisions, and actions.
Work within the passion and not ego, power or status.
I’m definitely looking forward to more events from these powerhouses.
Moving to a whole new country, a whole new continent may seem like the scariest choice you could ever make. Will you like your job, will the move be worth it, or what if you never manage to settle in?
These are just a few questions you may ask yourself. On the upside, what if it becomes the best decision you will ever make, what if you find a great group of friends and your job is the best career choice you could have made?
Chiedza has previously detailed her experience on immigrating to Canada to be a lawyer. Starting as a Masters student, she got an internship at one of the biggest law firms in the country and currently is completing her articles at McMillan LLP. She details below her experiences moving countries to kickstart her career
There are various ways you could immigrate to a new country – as a student or as a professional. The choice may lie with your experience and qualifications.
Professionals who qualify have the option of applying for an Express Entry Visa into Canada whilst students have the opportunity to qualify for a post-graduate work permit. Consider what your best option could be.
Making the move…
Going in blind when making such a seismic change to your life requires preparation. Moving to a new country takes a lot of research, time and money.
Plan what you need to do to, how you’ll do it, then take the huge leap and DO IT! Sometimes it means finding new ways to create opportunities for yourself and opening doors through your own initiative.
Chiedza describes the experience of moving to another country as challenging. In particular, moving to a country where she did not know anyone. It felt like starting all over again.
“To prepare for my move I connected with people on LinkedIn who had made the same move as I wanted to make. They, in turn, connected me to other people. I was very lucky to connect with helpful people.”
The power of networking…
Qualification and experience from back home may not always be recognized by potential employers. Some may prefer someone with Canadian experience and those with prestigious work experience or attended Ivy League or Oxbridge universities may fare better on the job market but not everyone has this experience.
Networking has a major impact on the impression you could make to your future employer. Before approaching someone to discuss opportunities it is definitely worth it to research the company and anything else you can find out about the person off LinkedIn (i.e. Google them).
This helps you determine how to approach them- what do you have in common and more importantly what do you specifically need help with.
“I found the best way was to network with someone in the company/firm/organization and they would recommend me.Most companies trust recommendations from their employees. I have noticed that broadly worded networking emails are not very helpful. Being specific with emails always shows that you know what you want So in essence what makes one the best candidate as a foreigner is effective networking that will result in getting recommended for the job you want.”
Be mentally prepared…
The job hunt is one of the hardest processes you could go through, but remember, perseverance is key.
“You have to have a thick skin and be resilient. You will be told “no” more than “yes”. Don’t take it personally – just keep going until you achieve your goal.”
Nobody deals with rejection well, but one small setback does not necessarily mean you should give up.
“I believe that what is meant for me will be for me and that rejection is not a denial of my dreams. So, I keep it moving. In terms of managing my expectations, I hoped for the best and prepared for the worst.”
Managing the corporate world has been extremely busy. “I struggled with impostor syndrome the first days. I had to remind myself that I worked very hard to get where I am so I deserved to be at the firm just like everyone else.”
Chiedza shares the key lessons she has learned from her immigration to Canada:
Failure is the best form of feedback because it forces you to change and grow – so failure works for you and not against you;
Don’t let your achievements set you back. It is very easy to relax after getting successful at something; and
Be grateful. Each time you want to complain (even when the complaint is valid) – just think of what you’re thankful for. This is one of the best ways to deal with stress.
Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.
Life nowadays is more hectic, busy and can be downright overwhelming at times. A lot of us, if not all are itching for a time out or a method to handle the numerous demands life brings our way.
We need to be okay within yourselves and with those around us if we are to navigate this thing called life in a fulfilling and positive way.
A few life hacks I have come to find useful are listed below in no particular order – try to incorporate them in your own way and life as you know it may be a little easier to get through.
I know, I know… an article like this, you’d think I’d be advocating for more alone time and silence, BUT more people time is actually not such a bad thing.
The reason I say this is because you never know who you could meet out there who could easily be the missing link you needed for a job you were looking for, a position you were looking to fill, a service you needed, a friend you never thought you needed, and possibly a life partner who would never be if you hadn’t gone to that event, that meeting or that party.
Growing your network is never going to be a bad thing and the more often you put yourself out there, you learn to network smartly.
Socialising more also helps develop your people skills, boosts your confidence and self-esteem and it helps you grow as a person.
There’s a reason the saying ‘no man is an island’ exists. Humans are co-dependent, we require interaction, connection, and engagement with others like us…
Get out more, interact more, connect more with like-minded people – it can be a literal lifesaver.
We want to make 2019 our best year yet yes? So why not incorporate better eating habits to our lifestyle? It’s much easier said than done for sure but there are simple hacks that can help you achieve a perfectly balanced diet on a daily basis.
First – Control your portions
Using your hands will help you manage the number of carbs, veggies and protein and fats you ingest.
The rule is usually, a palm of proteins with each meal, a fistful of veggies, a cupped hand of carbs and one thumb length of fatty foods if you are adding fats to your meal.
It may read like a lot but if you think about it, it actually fills your plate with proper portions and you don’t miss out on the essentials.
Second – Drink your greens
Drinking your greens has got to be one of the easiest ways to get all the veggies you need into your system.
Celery juice is all the rage right now and for good reason – a hydrating juice with vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants that relieves bloating, helps with digestion and gives me an energy boost as well, where can I get one now??
It’s a perfect pick-me-up first thing in the morning, pushing the Apple cider vinegar phenomenon aside for a bit (not saying that it doesn’t have its benefits).
Green juices, especially those made at home with no artificial additives are great for you and fill you up, leaving no room for indulging in cravings. They give you all the nutritious elements you need and keeps your skin popping all day every day too, who doesn’t want that?
Put down the sugar-laden latte sometimes and pick up a green juice, or better yet a green smoothie that will keep you fuller for longer.
Third – Manage your eating schedule
Most of us have a 9 to 5 job which means we have to actively make time for meals – do it in a way that doesn’t add to your waistline but still fits in your schedule. Never ever miss breakfast.
Eat a healthy filling breakfast, be it at home or at work to avoid snacking badly throughout the morning hours. Carry packed lunches more often – this helps you avoid eating out and saves that coin as well as your diet. Drink more herbal teas instead of copious amounts of coffee.
Green tea, for example, is great because it keeps your metabolism going and still has a substantial amount of caffeine to keep you going for the day.
When you get home, have an early dinner, around 6 if you have a 10/11pm bedtime and a dinner devoid of starch if you can if you can’t – try to apply the hand portion control rule mentioned above.
As much as people time is necessary, protecting your space is also very key in getting through life. Creating boundaries with your friends, colleagues, family and everybody else you interact with is important as it keeps your sanity and lets others know you’re not one to be messed with.
Some people detect a weakness in someone and immediately use it to their advantage, therefore, making that person feel disrespected and defeated.
Boundaries at work help keep your working relationships strictly professional and keep your mind clear of any drama thus helping you focus on the task at hand. Boundaries with family members protect your peace, some relatives can be toxic and if you aren’t careful, it can put you in a negative space that doesn’t end well for either of person.
You love your family definitely but you also have a life to live and sustain, if someone is actively coming in between that in ways you cannot handle, it is okay to love them from a distance.
Friends are great and we all need that tight-knit squad we can always count on and trust. But we also need to make it clear when friends have crossed the line with us.
It’s never easy but some people can get too comfortable in your life and treat you in whatever way they like, thinking you’ll never have an issue with it.
Letting friends know the non-negotiables with you, and vice versa, keeps you both accountable to the friendship and in most cases, it helps cement the already great foundation of the relationship/friendship. It also helps you filter out the genuine people from the non-genuine ones as well.
Positive Financial Habits
We all like money, we all want more money but how do we utilize the money we already have? How often do you save? What do you do with said savings?
Financial responsibility is a harsh reality of adulthood and in this world of flashy lifestyles and doing everything for the gram it’s important to practice good financial habits. Saving and saving smart is one habit to incorporate this year.
You may want to finally move out this year, or finally go on vacation to one of the destinations on your bucket list or perhaps you want to get a car. All these things need money and a good chunk of it.
A good saving hack I picked up from YouTuber Shameless Maya was to always save 10% of anything you earn.
It can be more than 10% if you would like but it should never go below that, try it and see how much you save at the end of the year.
Another positive financial habit is to immediately put money for all your bills aside as soon as you get paid.
You can put it in a separate account than the savings account so that the account is solely for bills. Once the 10% is put aside and this other amount is stored away to cover all the bills you have throughout the month, you are left with a nice little fraction for your monthly survival.
Usually, people tend to treat themselves to something once they get paid, either by going out or buying something nice which isn’t bad, but can also be avoided if your goal is bigger than that meal or those shoes or that one night out at the club.
If you focus on the end goal of where you want your finances to go, you’ll learn to compromise on the little things you spend money on like buying a coffee every day or eating out on the weekends or going out every other Friday.
When you’re in Greece giving us all the FOMO with your vacation pics, you’ll be glad you saved that 10% and carried packed lunch instead. Save those coins!
Social media is our new normal. We cannot seem to escape it and it’s been developed so much to a point where we somehow cannot live without it.
The baby boomer generation before us who never even understood social media are now the ones on Facebook and showing us YouTube videos and sending constant forwards on WhatsAppp.
(Thanks, but no thanks mum).
Unplugging is reiterated a lot more now because of how addictive the internet has become.
This is another life hack to keep your peace of mind and to give yourself a break from all the noise and chaos that is social media.
I think of social media as a machine that refuses to turn off, it is constantly on and constantly going and if you’re not careful it can swallow you up and spit you out in the worst way.
Social media is not horrible, not at all, but it can consume you very easily so taking time off it from time to time will give you clarity and calmness you never thought you needed in the already busy life you lead.
A simple hack I learned from a friend was to pick one day in the week to completely be offline from everything.
I chose Sunday. Every Sunday I switch off my data, wifi and I don’t get online for anything the entire day. If anyone needs to find me, they can just call or text me directly.
There’s no WhatsApp to keep me chatting, no Twitter to engage in and no Instagram to scroll through. At first, it feels difficult because you want to know what’s going on, you want to know what people are doing, where they are etc… but after one or two weeks of doing this, you actually anticipate that one day offline because of the peace that surrounds you.
You have a lot more time on your hands, you can get into other non-internet activities such as reading, cooking, calling up a friend to talk and catch up, going for a walk, spending time with your parents or siblings… you’ll start to realize how much you don’t do just by being on your phone/computer all the time.
You can do it for a day or a couple of hours, whatever you decide – try it and see how much fuller your life becomes with a simple break once in a while.
All these plus many more life hacks I’m sure you can add on here are just little ways to make your life a little easier, more manageable and just easing the stress of everyday life, in the long term keeping you happier and fulfilled.
How are you growing and glowing this month? We want to share your story! Click here to share.
Congratulations! You just got into university – that is an amazing milestone (and you should celebrate).
Now, it’s one of two things, you are excited about this Bachelors or Masters degree you are about to start, and it was your choice, or on the other hand, you are not so excited about this degree.
Perhaps you were forced or coerced into it, or you are just plain confused.
Here are some points that I have put together that will help you maximize your time in school beyond your degree.
Your Grades are Important
I know you were hoping I wouldn’t say this, but your grades are very important. They might not be the ‘be all and end all’ of your career, but good grades can be very crucial to helping you land your first job or helping you get your foot in the door.
So, attend classes, be diligent with your assignments and study! Learn about the grading styles of your professors and lecturers, learn from your seniors, ask questions and do well academically.
Your grades are not everything
I know you think I just contradicted myself, but grades are not everything. Your abilities to apply knowledge and add value to everything you do are far more important than the numbers that make up your grade point average.
As much as it is good to well in school, you need to gain skills that will help you stand out from the crowd and can give you an edge even above people with higher grades. The best ways to do this are to gain practical experience; you can do this by volunteering for causes, events, leadership roles, etc.
Be alert: University is the land of opportunities – whether they are opportunities to learn, get scholarships, earn, fellowships and so on.
Ensure that you have your ears to the ground and are aware of the opportunities around campus that you are eligible for. Apply for as many as you can – it never hurts to try.
Joining associations are very helpful for this, most student associations receive firsthand information about campus opportunities and share them with their members.
Pursue your Passions:
I mean this with all sincerity, pursue your passions. If you have a flair for fashion, beauty, technology, writing, art, media. University is an amazing launchpad. As a student, people are more likely to be helpful and to want to mentor you. Organizations usually run campus ambassadorship programs or have student groups, as much as is in your power, join these groups.
I know it is cliché, but you have probably heard the saying – your network is your net worth. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it is very true. In school, you will meet tons of people both on and off campus that can shape the course of your life, personally and professionally.
Try to attend events beyond class, join clubs, associations and societies, volunteer and put in your best so that you can stand out.
Your friends, classmates, lecturers might be the greatest source of opportunities for you while in school and even beyond.
Have fun, but stay out of trouble
Don’t forget to have fun, whatever fun means to you that is legal and safe. But as much as is in your power, STAY OUT OF TROUBLE. Know about the rules/laws that apply in your school and your location and act accordingly.
University is a great place that can serve as a launchpad to the fulfillment of your dreams. So make friends, study, put yourself out there, and do great things! I’m rooting for you.
Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.
With just a few minutes for the event to begin, I barely managed to get a seat at the packed venue for the “Pearls for her” event. The garden was abuzz with the vibrant voices of Uganda’s future- young, hungry and fierce female entrepreneurs.
Some still at the idea phase of their dream businesses, looking to network and learn some valuable nuggets of wisdom from their peers. Others, already seasoned entrepreneurs hoping to learn something new.
The group of paneliststook their seats on the stage, all of them highly respected young female entrepreneurs ready to share their stories- the good, the bad and the ugly with an eagerly waiting crowd.
This scene has been repeated many times at different events organized by Pearls for her- an organization that supports, educates and encourages female entrepreneurs in Uganda through their seminars, panel discussions, and networking events.
Rowena Lubowa and Dushiime Kaguliro – the founders of ‘Pearls for her’– share their fascinating story and insights on how they came to build such an amazing brand.
On how their entrepreneurial journey began…
We felt like there was a gap in the market for women empowerment platforms and there was a need for more events that focused on developing women.
Gogontlejang Phaladi is a philanthropist and development practitioner from Botswana. She is the founder and executive director of a non-profit making NGO called the Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope Project (GPPHP).
She founded the organization over 10 years ago in response to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children affected and infected with HIV in Botswana. She is currently a Board Member of the Global Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH), and a member of the National Vision 2036 Council.
GPPHP is an NGO that is mandated in capacity building, civic education, human rights advocacy, promoting gender equality and doing humanitarian work.
Gogontlejang is also the team leader of a company called SWAHIBA (PTY) LTD which provides leading Technology and Innovation solutions for human and social development issues and broad internet services.
In this interview, Gogontlejang talks about her humanitarian work, running a non-profit organization, and how she manages her leadership roles.
Tell us what we don’t know about Gogontlejang in detail
Gogontlejang Phaladi is an African woman leader who is passionate about transforming lives and believes a world free of poverty, with equity and dignity, is possible with more youth driving the development agenda as agents of change.
You can say I’m a seasoned human and social development expert who has served as a member of the African Union High Level Advisory Group on Humanitarian Effectiveness in Africa, Botswana Presidential Task Team of Vision 2036, UNICEF Botswana Child Ambassador, a former Radio Presenter, member of the WHO external advisory group on the Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA) Framework and a Motivational Speaker.
I am also a trained SRHR, CSE and HIV and AIDS educator, Governance and Leadership trainee and campaign facilitator having worked on several campaigns aligned with UNFPA, UNAIDS, WHO and UNESCO.
I am currently pursuing my undergraduate studies and doing humanitarian work, motivational speaking as well as development work consultancy. During my spare time, I mentor girls and women through an initiative dubbed #SIMI (She Is My Inspiration) and I also enjoy farming.
You became a leader from the age of five. As a young woman now, what three personal values have you appreciated that are transcendental to the Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope?
I think three things are essential for a leader regardless of at what level you are:
Discipline and integrity
These two values were central to my upbringing. My mom is a tough disciplinarian and continues to instill discipline in me and everyone around her. She is an innate leader and does not tolerate any form of indiscipline. So I have always known that wherever I want to get to in life, discipline is the vehicle to take me there
Doing my best to apply discipline in every aspect of my daily living has been very helpful in getting to where I am today. My dad believes in being a person of integrity so that part was instilled in me by him. He is a man of principle and consistency, often says little and shows more through his actions what he values most.
My parents have always taught me to do my best to stand by my principles no matter how compromising them may seem temporarily convenient.
Not leaning on your own understanding
It is important to appreciate that there is value in listening to others’ opinions. Even if you may not agree, they bring the much-needed objectivity to your point of view.
I value conversations with people who come from a different background from me. There is a lot of humility you learn through listening to others and allowing yourself to be guided by the wisdom of others. This also helped me a lot professionally, personally and socially.
If you don’t love what you do how will you get the motivation to keep doing it? Challenges are inevitable. Obstacles, setbacks and even sabotages are all things you will face in your workplace and as a leader.
If there is no passion you will quit, be consumed by your detractors’ negativity and give in to their predictions of your downfall. But where there is passion, there is an undying spirit of persistence, perseverance and a thirst to thrive and succeed.
What are the responsibilities of the GPPHP with being a member of these local and international organizations?
The GPPHP is a member of the UNFPA African Youth and Adolescent Network (AfriYAN) and of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) Adolescents and Youth Constituency.
Membership is sought once an organization believes they align with the core mandates of the global/ regional bodies. The purpose of belonging to such entities is to encourage a culture of fostering partnerships with stakeholders who work together in order to harness and enhance capacity.
The networks also enable a space of learning from all the other members.
There is strength in numbers when advocating for certain issues, in concerted efforts, consistent messaging and capacity building. Currently, the GPPHP is a member of the two networks and is involved in various initiatives of both networks. it is also in the executive leadership positions.
I am the board chair of the Adolescents and Youth Constituency of the PMNCH while one of my colleagues is an executive committee member of the AfriYAN network in Africa.
Give us an insight into how your typical day looks like
It’s difficult to say what a typical day looks like for me. To be honest I would be worried if I saw a 23-year-old with a typical day. We are at a lucrative and fertile time to take risks, try out new things, apply ourselves fully and be active.
I think at this point in my life, it makes sense to have days that add value and growth in all aspects of my life.
During the month I’m doing plenty of NGO work, the mentorship programme I run for young women, traveling locally or internationally, visiting the farms, spending time with my parents and nieces, watching a lot of comedy/ sarcastic shows and audio books and a lot of alone time which I value highly. Oh yes, watching football whenever I get a free weekend.
About twice a month I am traveling, either outside the country on UN, AU or NGO missions, or locally visiting local communities and doing community outreach initiatives. Every quarter, I spend the time at the Bokaa farm vaccinating livestock and dogs.
Sometimes, twice or three times in a week I can be found inside an office like any other employee and of course the usual meeting drills. I spend several afternoons and weekends doing school work. I spend many nights up working. Most of the time, I work at night as it is quiet and the internet is also faster at that time.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about establishing a non-profit organization, especially with a small society?
The misconception that the main motive is money. I have been doing this for almost 20 years and have never received a pay cheque with my name on it for doing humanitarian work.
This has never stopped me from doing the work I love. When I started my organization, I was using my parent’s resources. I have since continued to do work and have successfully undertaken several projects using my own resources and kind efforts of people who are also passionate about human rights advocacy and philanthropic work.
I believe there are more people who are active agents of change and catalysts of development in good faith than those ulterior motives. Nevertheless, we must continue encouraging a culture of giving back no matter how trivial the gesture may seem – our collective efforts are what eventually make the world a better place.
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