Name & Surname
What things/people/roles have contributed most to your success?
DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme- this is an exceptional mentoring programme which is run by myself and five other remarkable ladies. DreamGirls dares underprivileged teen girls to dream the “impossible” dream, our mission is to ensure that underprivileged girls are enrolled into institutions of higher education and actually get the opportunity to study further. We organize educational workshops every month which equip the girls with the necessary tools to succeed beyond high school. We also ensure that we teach the girls life skills, leadership skills and the importance of being active citizens.
Red Leadership- this is a dynamic private company that I co-founded this year. My business partner and I designed an inter-generational leadership model that aims to bridge the leadership generational gap.
What has contributed to my success is a combination of many things, my family’s support and love, my business partners belief in me, my mentee needing a great role model, my mentee’s trust and faith in me. My passion for people and for what I do. The need for exceptional young leaders. The need to be active as a youth. The work I do has resulted in me being selected as a candidate for the One Young World Summit in Dublin 2014. I have been asked to represent my country.
If you knew all that you now know, what would you tell your 18 year old self?
Take the chances, take the risks, do not do what everyone expects you to do. Its ok not to fit in, its ok to not be popular. All that matters in life is you, when you go home and you are alone, what matters is that you can look at yourself in the mirror, recognize the person staring back and be satisfied and content with the refection. In essence follow your passion and success will follow you, do what makes your heart smile. Please only yourself cause those that matter will be happy that you are happy no matter what you are doing.
When things get tough, how do you keep yourself going?
I start to think why I chose the path I chose, I think of all that I have achieved, the lives I have changed and touched, the role I played in changing the lives of young girls who had lost hope. I keep going cause if I stop who will champion DreamGirls? who will encourage and motivate our potential future leaders to dream big? Sometimes it falls on us to be that generation that encourages greatness and grooms excellent young leaders. Serving others and seeing the difference I am making and the huge potential that DreammGirls has to grow into Africa and change more lives, the gift of giving is what keeps me going.
What leadership qualities do you most admire?
Confidence, Selflessness, Decisiveness, Compassion, Good Communication Skills, Great Listener. A great leader must also be able to do three things;
1) Lead from the front- a great leader must know when to take charge and have the ability to get his/her followers to rally behind them and follow…
2) Lead from the back- a great leader must be able to instill confidence in his/her followers that when the situation calls for them to lead they can do so…
3) Lead side by side- a great leader must be able to exercise inclusive leadership, he/she must be able to include and involve his/her followers in decision making…
They say a great leader motivates and inspires followers so they can lead better than they do.
Victimhood, does that stance serve women’s causes? Women are still exploited, so what would you tell them?
They need to equip themselves with the tools to become leaders. They need to educate themselves so they are not seen as inferior, so they are able to do things for themselves. Women will remain exploited if they do not educate themselves. There is power in education, it frees one from being dependent, economically enslaved and socially crippled. It ensures equality.
Do you mentor any girls as part of your personal and/or corporate responsibility?
Yes I do… I run a mentoring programme for underprivileged teen girls. The DreamGirls International Outreach and Mentoring Programme has branches in Gauteng, Polokwane and Cape Town.
What are some of the leadership challenges/obstacles that are unique to women?
Most women always seem to reach a plateau in their career because, their male counter-parts always assume that they need to spend more time at home planning a family or raising one. The role of a women in a boardroom is often overlooked.
Another challenge is that as a woman once you have climbed the proverbial corporate ladder, you are expected to “act and think like a man”, you femininity must be left at home. The top of the ladder is seen to be for men and so once a woman reaches the top she needs to be a “man” so she can remain at the top.
Why did you choose your career?
I am a law graduate, I graduated from the University of Witwatersrand with a Bachelor of Law Degree. I worked for a legal clearing house called ProBono.Org situated at Constitutional Hill. ProBono.Org existed to uphold the Constitution, to ensure that justice is equal and the poor get granted access to the courts and are privy to a fair trial. I am a social entrepreneur at heart, I managed and championed the satellite office in Tokoza (an impoverished township, East of Johannesburg) for the clients that were too poor to travel to our Johannesburg office. I advised, consulted and drafted wills for clients. I helped them find the best legal minds in the country to represent them in court. I liaised with the best private attorneys to assist the clients. I am an instrument of service first and a slave to the corporate world second.
Are the lives of famous women leaders a lot easier than those of the average women today?
Every woman has a challenge no matter what your social standing is, no challenge is easy whether you are famous or not, to someone on the outside a challenge facing someone famous might seem easy whereas if you walk in that person’s shoes, and live their life there is nothing easy about what they are going through. Challenges can not be compared. Challenges differ from woman to woman.
Gender quotas on boards are a contentious issue, what do you think about it?
It is needed. The only way to be taken seriously in the corporate world is when women are given a voice. The quotas are needed to accelerate progress towards a better gender balance on the corporate boards and will allow the qualified and capable women to be allowed in the boardrooms and make the necessary and much needed change.