What You Learn From Interviewing Some Of The Most Powerful Businesswomen In Africa

Updated on 30 May 2017

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What You Learn From Interviewing Some Of The Most Powerful Businesswomen In Africa

On his television show, Inside Her C-Suite on CNBC Africa, personal branding expert and author, Timothy Maurice, spends his time traveling across Africa interviewing some of the continent’s most influential women – from business owners, entrepreneurs and business executives to influencers and entertainers.

He has featured the likes of Fly Blue Crane airline founder, Siza Mzimela; former Botswana government minister, Dr Gaositwe Chiepe; Mo Abudu, the Nigerian CEO and founder of Ebony Life TVTasha’s restaurant founder, Natasha Sideris and Ndalo Media owner, Khanyi Dhlomo, among others.

With Inside Her C-Suite, Maurice is hoping to highlight the full spectrum and power of women leadership on the continent by sharing with viewers each of the women’s leadership journeys.

“Over the past decade, I’ve been inspired by my mom who early in her career, performed the same job as my father but got paid less. From researching the women’s suffragette movement to analyzing gender injustices as well as successes on all sides, my goal has been to research and share insights that will help balance the gender playing field,” says Maurice.

Maurice shares with SME South Africa his top 5 insights gleaned from Africa’s captains of industry on leadership, finding the right balance and the power of women. 

1. Sacrifices Must Be Made 
“Just about every woman I have interviewed from around the world has highlighted the need to be geared up for sacrifices in family and social life. Most have noted that these sacrifices ease up later in the career but early on, working long hours and proving to workplace culture that they can contribute at the same frequency and intensity as the men, seemed to be important. As they proved this and established patterns of impact and effectiveness, integrating family time more was less of a challenge.”

Pearl is handling this American success with such African style & class. It was so gripping to hear her tell her story about humble beginning in KZN while New Yorkers where going crazy over her. People where so excited to see her we had to stop the shoot a few times. She had so many lessons to share but one that stood out was her understanding of the power of spirituality when she was at her lowest and had nothing… stay tuned for more #InsideHerCSuite @cnbcafrica Keep you posted on the show’s air date. #newyork #quantico #zulugirl #newyorkcity

A post shared by Timothy Maurice Webster (@instatimothy) on 

2. Make Your Voice Heard
“I always ask women to offer advice to younger women and the majority recommend that young women step up at meetings and insert opinions and contribute their ideas without second guessing themselves. Many observed that men will assert themselves even if they aren’t sure, and women will hold back even if they are 90% certain. Making a habit of contributing and speaking up seemed critical.”

3. Embrace The Power Of Womanhood
“Some of the most powerful women I have interviewed have been adamant that women should resist the pressure to become a woman in men’s clothing. Owning your femininity as a strength and knowing the subtle pressure will be there because so many environments have been conditioned to see male characteristics as equal to leadership traits [is key]. Enjoy the journey of inspiring people to see femininity as a strong leadership quality by delivering excellence.”


4. Collaborate And Don’t Underestimate Male Support
“A reoccurring theme has been that women have often been surprised at how many men would sponsor them on their leadership journey. Sponsoring meaning championing their cause and vision even when other women did not. Networking and collaborating with males or females seemed to have been deeply important to many powerful women. Making time to network and speak specifically about goals and opportunities for collaboration was key.”

5. Balance Is A Relative Term
“So many women have made it clear that each woman will see balance differently. Some will have helpful partners and others wont. Many will have supportive families, others won’t. So defining what balance is to you has come up more often than not. Seeking to define your own idea of what happiness is, what family balance is, what short and long term success is, and defining your own journey independently of what appears conventionally seems to be key. “

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