The UCT GSB hosts an annual conference for the Women in Business; the latest held on the 17th August 2018. It is always a privilege to attend events like these as one never leaves empty handed. The line-up of speakers is always outstanding and they speak on various topics under one theme.
The theme for this year was From Passion to Action. The theme was so relevant for us, we’re young and bursting with creativity and vibrancy. There’s always that one thing though… procrastination, self-doubt, whatever it is, always lurking in the background ensuring you don’t take that step of action forward. With our Passion brimming from within – we can’t contain it – we just need that push so that everything is in place to take the first step.
As one of the speakers present, Mimi Kalinda centred on the single most powerful weapon – your story. Your story is what sustains you – this story is your WHY. Why you do what you do, why this is your passion. She says through telling the story you let it inspire others so that they buy into your vision. Talk about who you are, what you bring in the room, what you’ve been through; speak it in an authentic manner. What is the impact and what you want your audience to do with your story (Call to action).
Now the issue comes when you struggle to get the platform to communicate your story because you are prejudged as you enter the room.
Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng ( Vice Chancellor – UCT) spoke intently on this and went to the heart of the matter that this is an even bigger struggle when you’re a woman and black, it doesn’t help either when you’re of a small frame(lol). The crux of it being if I don’t show you, you won’t give me the opportunity to tell you. Therefore she needed something that announces her presence before she even entered the room.
By her admission, this came from a place of insecurity (especially coming from a previously disadvantaged background) but she used this as an ally. To push herself to work harder, to achieve the unimaginable, it also helps her to be comfortable with who she is.
As a result owning the insecurity and being able to use it to her advantage and not use it as a crutch and an excuse to not achieve anything. Her being aware of “what it is”, the status quo, she works to qualify (2 Tim 2:15) and not be ashamed. She wanted to prove that she could do it and do it well.
She spoke about the beautiful burden of having been the “first” to achieve certain things in the country and took it upon herself to ensure she’s not the last, and used her opportunities to change the way things are. She did not wait or ask for people to support her initiatives; rather than complain about what other people must do, she got started because it was her passion.
So MyLady as Prof said it so eloquently, change makers take on the responsibility to do things; they do not hand over the responsibility to other people when they see what needs to be done. There’s no time for excuses; no “if only this was in place”. They make things happen – from Passion to Action.
We will be sharing some of Prof’s quotes in this women’s month and hope you’ll be inspired.