Do you hear stories of successful female entrepreneurs and feel like there’s no way you can measure up? With the constant pressure to be perfect, do you feel like you’re the only imperfect one? Well actually, you’re perfectly imperfect!
My guest today, Nwabisa Mayema, is an entrepreneur who is passionate about developing female entrepreneurs and creating a community of women who OWN their perfectly imperfect stories.
‘Perfectly imperfect is the new cool’, and she believes that when you can operate from a place that is open and vulnerable and authentic, you will realize how strong you are, without having to be aggressive.
[1.23] Nwabisa tells of the obstacles that triggered her path of greatness, and the necessity for excellence.
[3.52] Why it’s important to moderate excellence, to stop and recognize that you are enough.
[4.38] It all comes down to ‘what brings you joy?’ She speaks of how excellence is not the complete destination, but rather part of the supporting tools to get you to finding joy.
The Collective Genius
[5.58] How it all began after she participated in the Model UN Debating Competition of South African High Schools competition. It was born from the idea that:
- South Africans had a role to play in building this country
- Young South Africans could do this through the resources of corporations.
[15.10] The creation of the social enterprise and the reasons behind it.
[18.03] How to you create a network that it is functional as opposed to just a coffee meeting:
- Agree on the terms of the engagement of the network – a manifesto
- Continual shared experiences
- Mutual benefit
- Know what your indicators of success are
[20.30] Expanding the impact that she’s making on woman, and the story behind her new podcast.
[23.28] She talks of how she hopes to achieve a global community – specifically of women – who own the idea that they are perfectly imperfect.
[25.13] She goes into detail about the challenges involved in getting a podcast going across continents, and on the other hand what she has enjoyed most about it.
[28.00] She tells us about her learnings from her own perfectly imperfect journey
[33.53] Ten years time? It’s not about WHERE she will be, but HOW she will be.
No matter where you are in the world, the struggles and the challenges you face are similar to other perfectly imperfect female entrepreneurs. On a journey to learn, to grow, and to make an impact, the most important thing? To find joy.
Learn more about Nwabisa Mayema
- For more information on the SheRocks Global podcast, head over to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
- You can also follow Nwabisa on Instagram or Twitter.
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Quotes from this episode
“Excellence is a path out of a situation that maybe you don’t like, but it is also the path into a situation that you desire. And excellence therefore opens up doors and it closes the ugly windows that you need to close behind you” – Nwabisa Mayema
“Even if those decisions are decisions that lead to failure, it doesn’t matter, just do it. Do it quickly, do it confidently and then come back from it” – Nwabisa Mayema
“And so it’s this idea of really saying perfectly imperfect is the new cool. It’s the new excellence.” – Nwabisa Mayema
“It all comes down to relationships because everything else comes and goes but your relationships are what is the invisible hand holding you through” – Lisa Linfield
“So long as you continue to grow, every journey is beneficial” – Lisa Linfield
Lisa Linfield: 00:09 Hello everybody and welcome to today’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. I’m joined by Nwabisa Mayema, who is an entrepreneur and to say she has a zest for life is kind of an understatement. She is passionate about developing female entrepreneurs across the African continent. She is the co-creator of a social enterprise called Nnfinity, which focuses on delivering knowledge and insights to multinational corporations. She also is the co-founder of a group called the Collective Genius, which is a youth oriented consultancy in corporate social responsibility, which reaches around 100,000 students a year. So she is not only passionate about female entrepreneurs, she’s doing it and in doing it has created great businesses, but also already creating a great legacy to help other people. Welcome.
Nwabisa Mayema: 01:15 Thank you. Hi Lisa. I’m so happy to be talking to you.
Lisa Linfield: 01:18 Great to have you here.
Nwabisa Mayema: 01:20 Thank you. I’m so excited.
Lisa Linfield: 01:23 So you’ve done some amazing things for your whole life. You’ve achieved great things. What really triggered this path of greatness for you?
Nwabisa Mayema: 01:32 That’s a really good question, Lisa. I don’t think it was so much a trigger towards the path of greatness as opposed to there were no other options. I’m an only child. I’m born to a single mom and nurse being black in South Africa, born in 1981 so early 80s. Those were tough times in South Africa, and I think that’s was always in the DNA in the household which was the only way we can at least buffer ourselves from the headwinds of the apartheid system, and living in a township was to strive for excellence because the excellence would then either give you access to certain opportunities, or even at some point give you access to the opportunity of leaving the country, because that really was the option that my mom started presenting to me from a young age, which was we’ve got to do the school thing right. We’ve got to do this excelling thing right, because actually what my aim is for you, my child is to get you out of the country.
Nwabisa Mayema: 02:23 Of course then that conversation changed in 1991 and going into 1994. So for me, this whole idea of excellence has always been this idea that excellence is a path out of a situation that maybe you don’t like, but it is also the path into a situation that you desire. Excellence therefore opens up doors, and closes the ugly windows that you need to close behind you.
Lisa Linfield: 02:49 That’s fantastic. I mean it’s true. It’s a little sad that one has to think of it that way, but it is true and it’s real. It’s real for so many people out there that without excellence you might not have those doors.
Nwabisa Mayema: 03:02 Absolutely, and I mean for us that was the one asset that we had because our very little material situation was not going to help us. So there wasn’t money, nevermind wealth. We didn’t have the networks, because of just the way the system was structured and so excellence was that thing that’s like, well you’ve got your brain and make it happen. Even if your brain maybe isn’t the cleverest or the biggest brain in the room, well then work your brain the hardest.
Lisa Linfield: 03:29 Yeah, and that is the path to excellence, especially as you get older. Just the power of it is one aspect, but what really takes you further is how much you can persist in getting the things done that you need to get done.
Nwabisa Mayema: 03:43 True, and it’s interesting though because now that I’m in my mid 30s, am I still mid 30s?
Lisa Linfield: 03:48 Definitely.
Nwabisa Mayema: 03:50 Maybe. Yes, thank you. I think what’s been interesting is to figure out now how to moderate that, the striving for excellence, because I think there is a place for it and then there are times when it can be destructive in terms of the continual striving for excellence, because it starts feeding a little bit of imposter syndrome, it starts feeding into this idea of will I ever be enough? Will this situation ever be enough? Will this person ever be enough for me? Because in your mind you always try and paint this picture of being excellent in yourself, and to others and that sort of thing. So for me, my conversation now with myself is learning how to then pump the brakes when I need to or just stop when I need to, in order to know that I am enough and excellence then isn’t just the thing.
Lisa Linfield: 04:38 Also, it comes down to actually what brings you joy and fulfillment, because once you have passed the basic needs of provision and protection, the real question is joy because at the end of the day, you could have millions and millions and millions and still be unhappy, still be striving for millions more. It’s what brings you joy.
Nwabisa Mayema: 05:01 Absolutely, and I think yeah you’ve captured it really nicely Lisa, because that is then. It’s about knowing yourself and what do I perceive to be my purpose on this planet? What do I perceive to be the things that I need to learn, acquire or share or experience, and what is it that brings me joy and how do I bring joy? Those are the things that I’m grappling with and therefore, excellence then sometimes is not the complete destination. It’s rather there maybe part of the supporting tools to get you to finding joy.
Lisa Linfield: 05:31 Absolutely, and I think as you said, you grew up in a context where excellence was the way out, but now that you’re out, now that you’ve achieved, I guess for all of us it becomes a shift from I love that Bob Buford book, the title of it which is from Success to Significance. Success in its own self, it should be a step along the path to significance, because significance is what brings us joy.
Nwabisa Mayema: 05:58 Quite right.
Lisa Linfield: 05:58 So you at a very young age formed The Collective Genius. How did that happen?
Nwabisa Mayema: 06:06 I did. It’s interesting because I think we’re going to start coming into a certain theme here. It started when I was in high school. I was part of a very special group of people in a very special competition called The Model United Nations Debating Competition for South African High Schools with different schools around the country participate in these types of debates, where you’re actually simulating what happens in the general assembly of the United Nations. So an incredible and powerful tool to get young people to absolutely understand what’s going on in terms of the global agenda, to emphasize I guess because you start having to represent different countries and debate things from a point of view of the country that you’re representing.
Nwabisa Mayema: 06:45 So I think that teaches kids empathy, but through this game and at the same time critical thinking, because you’re researching going deep into like foreign policy and issues. So getting young people to really engage with big issues that maybe they don’t see, but they start understanding what they mean in the big wide world. You start seeing kids explaining global and current affairs to their parents, which is quite cute. So that was something that I was a part of, and it was interesting because that competition then saw a few of us then get selected and eventually represent South Africa in New York at the International Model UN Competition. That competition from the South African point of view was sponsored by a corporation, and a friend of mine who had also been in this competition, he and I started chatting final year of university and he was from Mpumalanga. I would have been from the Eastern Cape.
Nwabisa Mayema: 07:32 He was studying in Johannesburg, I was studying in Cape Town and we just used to talk on a landline every now and again. We just got this inspiration and we were driven by this idea that corporations have a huge, huge role to play in actually shifting the mindsets of young people. One way of doing that is to invest in them from relatively young age, but to invest in them in a rather meaningful way where there is this life changing experience that happens in a young person. A life changing experience that then shifts their gaze back into their country where they either are saying, “Wow, I wanted to be a part of this project of South Africa Inc, or what can I do to contribute to this country?” Of course this was at the time way we were talking about nation building and that sort of thing. So The Collective Genius was born from this idea that one, young South Africans had a role to play in building this country. Two, young South Africans could do this by being enabled through the resources of corporations.
Nwabisa Mayema: 08:32 Remembering that this was also probably one of those waves where we were experiencing a lot of flights from the country, so what we were seeing is that a lot of our peers who were also final year of university, their first option was to think about leaving the country. At the time it was all about getting yourself a two year working visa and going to work in London. So we were saying how do rather than present other options, idea is not to stop people from exercising their choices in terms of if you want to leave, if want to be mobile, that’s awesome. But for you to think that that’s the only option and that’s the best option, how about we present options that come at the same way? So it was this huge audacious vision, which was how do we get young people to see South Africa as the first option? How do we get corporations to then enable young people to contribute to the basement of the country? That was The Collective Genius and it’s very, very sweet and young, and I guess super passionate and driven genesis.
Lisa Linfield: 09:30 It wasn’t naive. You did a great job and you managed to reach a lot of students, 100,000 a year.
Nwabisa Mayema: 09:36 Yes. So I think the difference was that we luckily, I think again driven by context, we were both kids who didn’t come from, again we didn’t come from wealth. We had, I mean everyone loves when I talk about our seed capital was 50 Rand from my mother and a fax machine, a Panasonic X machine. So there was no time for us to operate out of peace and love, and as part of a charity or whatever. We absolutely needed to function as something that would generate at least income for ourselves, never mind then thinking about wealth and that kind of thing. So what I am proud of is that we started that business from the get go as a for-profit, and we were [inaudible 00:10:16] in terms of benchmarking ourselves and saying, “Well if we’re positioning ourselves as consultants, what do the consultants from the big full audit firms charge? What do consultants from the very well recognized management consultancies charge for their hours?”
Nwabisa Mayema: 10:34 So we started functioning in that way, and also the approach we had was we were saying, “Look, this isn’t a nice to have to a client, which would be a corporation.” We’re saying this is absolutely key and fundamental to the survival of your business, because when you start investing in these young people, you’re investing in a future market, you’re investing in future political leadership, you’re investing in future staff. So if you can manage and invest and play a role in their development, you’re actually investing in the sustainability of your business beyond looking at your risk and compliance people. You’re investing in people who are the community that keeps your business alive. So that is good corporate citizenship in that language, but it’s also saying this is a business decision. So because of that approach, we were then cheeky enough and I guess this is where the magic happened.
Nwabisa Mayema: 11:25 We refused to ever engage in our work, which is the same shitty corporate social responsibility that we refuse to let there sit in your marketing department, your PR department, or even in what some companies have, which is known as public affairs. We always would position our work at the C-suite. We would absolutely demand to either have access to the CEO or the executive director of a corporation, or at least then even a chief financial officer or that sort of thing, because this needed to be a hardcore business decision that was looking at a shareholder impact. So because of that, we were then able to scale and operate at scale in terms of the size of the projects we had, even the longevity of the projects that they were working on. So we started our very first project and was doing itty bitty things, but seven years in, we were just rolling machine with staff of 88 people touching directly 100,000 to 150,000 young people across the country.
Nwabisa Mayema: 12:23 Name a town in South Africa and I’ve been there. Name a village and I’ve been there. Name an airport in this country and I’ve ran through it. We have these incredible stories of young people doing amazing things across the country. I think for me, the biggest sense of achievement and pride in this time when I was in The Connective Genius was yes, the young people’s whose lives we touched, but it was actually the young people with whom we worked who were then our staff. To see them grow and to actually see where they are in their lives absolutely blows my mind away. I almost feel like a little bit of this grandmother chat to the younger person’s body because I was young, but I employed these other young people. So to see them and I’m like, “You used to work for me.” People are like, “Well that person’s only seven years younger than you. What do you mean?”
Nwabisa Mayema: 13:07 Anyway, but to see these young people now, some of them became the faces of some of the fullest movement. So when we started talking about fees in the school, roads in the school, these were young people who would have gone through our projects. When we then saw the lawyers who were representing some of the activists or people who are spokespeople for some of these movements, it was people who used to work for us. Now wherever you stand on that actual movement, but to know that some of these young people who are change makers and who are pushing the envelope, would have gone through some of our programs, would have worked for us in our business makes me really, really proud because it means we did actually achieve our goal of getting young people to feel that they have a vested interest in this country.
Lisa Linfield: 13:50 That’s a fantastic goal and as you said, it wasn’t just something you talked about. It was something that you built a great business and did, and I do giggle at the thought of this young person insisting on being at the C-suite with all these people. Whether that’s the braveness of youth or just great conviction, I think that’s fantastic because I think it is at that level that you have to make the decision.
Nwabisa Mayema: 14:12 Yeah, it’s at the boardrooms. In fact, it’s quite interesting. I was in a room a couple of days ago with a couple of gender based violence activists. The question was that so much in terms of the context of what’s going on around the world, and of course here in South Africa with some of the violence that’s directed towards women, what can we do? We always asked this question, what can we do? What should we be doing? We’re now reaching that point where we realize that when we are in the room, we’re just all talking to each other and so we don’t need to be doing anything. What needs to happen is we need to get the boardrooms to do something, because that’s where the decisions are being made. This is where they start talking to bottom line things, to wallet decisions and that kind of thing. So yes, being in the boardroom and being at the top of that building in terms of the C-suite is where it’s at. So yes, the folly of youth definitely drove me there and I also giggle, I’m not going to lie.
Lisa Linfield: 15:04 I love it, I love it. So you went on to create another social enterprise called Nnfinity?
Nwabisa Mayema: 15:11 Yes.
Lisa Linfield: 15:12 Did I say that correctly?
Nwabisa Mayema: 15:14 It’s actually just the word infinity, but we thought we’d be quite smart by spelling it was a double N, because it was founded by two ladies with both N names. So Nicci and myself, yes.
Lisa Linfield: 15:28 What made you start that?
Nwabisa Mayema: 15:28 It was this journey of being in The Collective Genius for 10 and a half years, and looking back and realizing that whilst that achieved great success through the business and materially and also impact-wise and status I guess, something niggled which was the journey had actually been quite lonely me as a woman, as a black woman, as the woman who had no business training really. I mean I only got my business training formally halfway into my entrepreneurial life, and realizing that even when I started the business, the Collective Genius, the word entrepreneur wasn’t like a thing. Hey, you started a business, you ran a business, you were at most self-employed, but entrepreneur wasn’t a thing. So Nnfinity came from this idea of what would it look like in a world where if another Nwabisa wants to start a business.
Nwabisa Mayema: 16:19 How could something exist that would allow for that Nwabisa to have your business grow faster, for her to have a support system and network, for her to maybe every now and again leapfrog certain challenges that’d have come through, and for her to make certain decisions quicker and with confidence, even if those decisions are decisions that lead to failure, it doesn’t matter. Just do it, do it quickly, do it confidently, and then come back from it. So Nnfinity then was start with this idea of social capital being the basis of business success. So we can introduce financial capital, we can introduce human capital when we’re building businesses and when we’re supporting business owners.
Nwabisa Mayema: 16:59 Without social capital, which are then those networks, which allow businesses to either do business with each other or allow for business owners to collaborate with each other, to champion each other, to invest in each other and at the same time to then have the different networks existing above and below each business and business owner. So you create this tribe. This social capital is the thing that actually becomes the indicator and almost guarantor of success. So Nnfinity came from again, this audacious goal of how can you leverage relationships and networks to grow entrepreneurs, particularly women business owners. It came from that idea where I was like, “I think in my first business I was lonely.” Yes, I had a business partner, but I was lonely. So how do you tackle that?
Nwabisa Mayema: 17:45 Of course then realized that there was no ways you could make money from creating relationships. So that’s when we started then being able to offer insights, being able to offer consulting services, training services whilst knowing that as you’re doing this, you’re continually connecting business owners to each other and to opportunities.
Lisa Linfield: 18:04 How do you create that network that it is functional, as opposed to just a coffee meeting?
Nwabisa Mayema: 18:10 Sure. So I think to create a functional network, it starts from everybody having to agree on the terms of engagement that exists in this network. So you’ve got to actually have I guess a manifesto, and everyone who joins into this network or into this relationship has got to agree to all the terms of the manifesto, and we live up to that. Therefore, that starts becoming the accountability factor. Then the other thing for me when it comes to functional networks and functional networking is to ensure that these continual shared experience as well. So you as the driver of the network, and at the drive of the community need to feed it by creating continuous shared experiences that have some learning and therefore, always pick curiosity when you are then calling and convening your network. Then at the same time, you’ve got to ensure that this network has mutual benefit for everyone.
Nwabisa Mayema: 19:07 So from the community driver to the person meeting the next one, to everyone is being connected to each other. So you’ve got to be clear in terms of what you bring to the table, and you’ve got to bring that thing that you said you’re bringing to the table. We’ve got to then eliminate this idea I think so much as women we like to say, but I don’t want to seem like I’m using this person. No, no, use me. That’s why I’m in the room, because this is what I’m bringing to you. So understanding what mutual benefit is, and understanding what your indicators of success are so that you’re also not just randomly sitting in a room or in a conversation and being like, “I’m happy to receive this. Happy to receive this,” and it’s not valuable to you. Know what you want and know what that value is so that you can then know what your indicators of success are, and you can place value and communicate that value back to the people around you.
Lisa Linfield: 19:55 That’s fantastic. Where did you learn all the stuff that you’ve done?
Nwabisa Mayema: 20:00 I think so much of this stuff is actual ancient knowledge. I really think so. I think all of us as human beings actually know this, and that is why when we do every now and again convenience based as we are completely at ease, and we’ve completely maybe not in the job setting and that kind of thing, we actually do this. It is knowledge that exists in us. Perhaps I just have a better way of being able to articulate it for some people and give it words, but we actually all do this.
Lisa Linfield: 20:30 So you’re not looking to expand this impact that you’re making on women, and on encouraging women to step up and reach out through a new podcast that you’re currently working on called She Rocks Global. How did you even get to start that endeavor?
Nwabisa Mayema: 20:48 She Rocks Global yes, is going to be a podcast that we will be publishing by the end of this year, and I’m really excited. Again doing something that I have very little experience in and so I will be calling you from time to time, Lisa. So She Rocks Global was started by me and as I’ve mentioned before, I am based in Cape Town, South Africa. We are a team of three producers, so we have Macarena. Macarena is abased in Montevideo, Uruguay. We have Zoja and Zoja is based in Belgrade, Serbia. So already, this is probably the beginning of a joke in terms of Uruguayan, a South African and a Serbian walk into a bar.
Lisa Linfield: 21:33 Absolutely.
Nwabisa Mayema: 21:35 How we were brought together is that we actually met in the United States of America last year as part of an exchange program through the Department of State in the United States of America, and just fell in love with each other. That being three entrepreneurs who exist in three different continents, three different cities, three different contexts. You can imagine just anything that involved us trying to keep a friendship going felt quite overwhelming, but we were so intentional that we did not want to end up just being Facebook friends and likers of each other’s Instagram posts. So we start on a scheduling fortnightly calls, where we would get on Skype and we would talk to each other. We realized that there was something really, really wonderful and useful and helpful from these calls that we would get onto. Honestly, I think Maca was a person who first identified that what she said, because imagine for her with the time zones and the times we’d like to talk, she would end up talking to us first thing in her morning.
Nwabisa Mayema: 22:35 She’d often say, “Ladies after this call, I literally feel like I can do whatever I want, and I can take over the world and I’m invincible.” I thought actually that’s exactly how it feels. You get onto these calls and suddenly there’s this incredible energy exchange that’s happening, and it’s positive, it’s optimistic and yet it’s real. We’re sharing experiences, we’re giving advice, we’re leaning on each other, we’re laughing and crying, all of that. So we thought, “Well, what would it look like if we shared this energy with people out there? Now we’ll be get 2,000 listeners or 20 listeners? Doesn’t matter, but let’s put this energy out there.” So the podcast came about as a way of three friends trying to stay in touch with each other, and realizing that energy exchange from this global point of view is actually so meaningful and so helpful.
Lisa Linfield: 23:29 What do you hope to achieve through your podcast?
Nwabisa Mayema: 23:32 We hope to achieve a global community, specifically of women who own the idea that they are perfectly imperfect. So we hope to do this because you are starting to hear from the voices of different women, who come from different regions. So the idea being that we are interviewing different women from our regions, so Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and of course the Balkans. When women start hearing other women, I think for us we would want to elicit the response from a listener who goes, “Same.” Or somebody who goes, “Hold on, what is she talking about?” In that, you’re starting to realize that people are just getting on with their lives, and in getting on with their lives, some of the staff is so similar and parallel to what’s going on in your life and some of it is different, which means it’s okay. So it’s this idea of really saying perfectly imperfect is like the new cool. It’s the new excellence.
Lisa Linfield: 24:32 I think it is the next excellence. I think if we would all put some more focus on the imperfect side, that would be fantastic to balance our need for perfection and all of us.
Nwabisa Mayema: 24:43 Exactly, and we just thought there was something really interesting around how as women we are driving and striving towards a perfection that some of it is almost a social construct. So much of it is externalized and very little of it has got anything to do with who you are, what you want, because I think we assume so many different roles as women, and some of those roles then subsume us and then we try and be perfect in that and it’s not always the case. It’s not even desirable, but here we are.
Lisa Linfield: 25:13 What have been the challenges of trying to get a podcast going across the continents?
Nwabisa Mayema: 25:22 So as I said, the one is just sheer scheduling. Just trying to get three people on a call and to agree on a time is challenging, especially when it’s three people who are vivacious, busy bodies and therefore the diaries are mad. So that’s a really practical consideration. I think it’s also three is a funny number. I mean it’s a perfect indivisible number, but it is a funny number which means you’ve got to then coordinate opinions and vision. So sometimes yes, you’ll have your vision laid out in your business canvas, but actually when you start implementing you realize, “Oh gosh, they are three different ideas here.” Three actually all very good ideas, but actually what is a common vision that we need to get, even on again, getting ourselves to remember what our common goal and common vision is is important. Then also knowing who should lead what dance.
Nwabisa Mayema: 26:19 You can’t all three be in charge of the same thing all the time. So knowing who is in charge of this, and then knowing when to fall back and when to step up. I think that’s also quite interesting for three people whose natural inclination is to lead. So that’s been really, really interesting. Then of course, I guess is it curation or is it, what do we even want to call it? Editorial? So you start with an idea, then your conversations go elsewhere. You start recording content in one way and now you find yourself in very different conversations that you’re having either with your guests or the direction of your podcasts. So it’s challenging, but I mean I’m not crying. Most of the time I laugh at anything anyway.
Lisa Linfield: 26:59 What have you enjoyed most about it?
Nwabisa Mayema: 27:02 I’ve absolutely enjoyed the interviews that we have. So at the moment, our interview style is still quite long and rambly. Then the idea is that we pass it down with the help of an incredible sound engineer, but what I really enjoy is that seeing and hearing the shift in gears that happens in your guest. So like in any conversation, we all start off the factual stuff. This is my name, this is the school I went to. This is what I do, blah, blah, blah. Then after a while you have that shift in gear where somebody then says something. One of the running jokes that we have is often most of our guests at some point in a conversation or in an interview, they’ll go, “I don’t know why I just told you that.” Then you know that you’ve just gone somewhere that was completely unanticipated, not scripted. So I absolutely enjoy getting into that moment where the person goes, “I don’t know why I just told you that,” and then you go somewhere really interesting.
Lisa Linfield: 27:59 Yeah, and how has all of this dovetailed in terms of the learnings that you are personally going through at the moment?
Nwabisa Mayema: 28:07 Yes, so I’m busy learning. Yes, it’s continuous present, isn’t it? I think we need to [inaudible 00:28:13] English. So I’m busy learning that there are many, many layers into the things that we do. I’m putting it out there now onto Lisa’s listening audience is that I’m actually about to pivot in my entrepreneurial journey now. So it’s almost been 15 years that I’ve been an entrepreneur. I’ve never worked for anyone else. I’ve always worked for myself and generated my own income, my own wealth and all sorts of things and I’m about to pivot in terms of becoming I guess would that be an intrapreneur? That doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what the title is. I’m looking for a job. I am looking to enter an organization where I can take the learnings of being an entrepreneur and put them into a job, and at the same time use the job to learn something worth continuously looking at how to drive impact on entrepreneurs, people in Africa and particularly women in Africa.
Nwabisa Mayema: 29:09 So the podcasts for me is I think allowing for me to figure out how can I get to that gear change that I spoke about quicker, because once you get there, that’s when you starting to talk about authenticity. You’re starting to talk about purpose, you’re starting to let people in and you’re starting to shine yourself out. Therefore, that’s when you’re actually enabling yourself to receive help and to receive leadership, but you’re also enabling yourself to lead and to make a change and a difference. So the podcast is helping me with that. Then I think the thing that really gets my engine going is this global community. So knowing that part of now my next step is to step into a context organizations teams that have a global outlook, that have global impact. That really excites me because that’s when I can be the best version of myself. That’s when I can be a best version of a South African, and African is when I’m in the room and in conversation with people from around the world. So the podcast is driving that, whether I like it or not.
Lisa Linfield: 30:20 I think it’s wonderful, because the one thing I have learned is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the world. The struggles, the challenges are all pretty similar, and your ability to share and impact the world doesn’t depend on where you physically are located. Especially not these days.
Nwabisa Mayema: 30:35 Absolutely. So it’s exciting. I really am excited, but it’s also interesting because every now and again I have to ask myself, is this a thing that probably drove me to become an entrepreneur? This idea of every now and again emptying the basket, and upending my world and my life a little bit to move on to the next thing. So yeah, pivoting out of my own business to go into a very different way of working and of being is a little bit of upending of my life. So there’s slight discomfort, but I do take joy in knowing that out of discomfort comes creativity and comes answers, and I guess then comes wisdom.
Lisa Linfield: 31:19 Also, you know what I love about your journey is that the vehicle, be it your own business or be it a corporate is actually not relevant. The most important thing is that for each of us, we continue to learn and grow and stretch ourselves. We continue to make an impact in our community and in the world out there, and we continue to find joy and growth in our lives. Whatever that is and whatever that vehicle is, is actually immaterial. The fluidity of being able to go with where life takes you, for me is most important. I always find myself saddened by people who believed that every decision is a decision cost in on and concrete. Whereas in actual fact our decision should be fluid, because there is nothing that is unchangeable. There’s nothing that is unmovable if we find out that that journey is not the one we wanted. So long as you continue to grow, every journey is beneficial.
Nwabisa Mayema: 32:15 Absolutely. In fact, I might even has it to say that getting to that place of accepting that change is inevitable, and change is okay and that you can make changes and know that you will be okay. For me, that’s now becoming my indicator of success, because actually there’s so many people who do want to make changes in their lives and they’re either then completely paralyzed by the own fear, or they’re then limited by certain circumstances that are really real and they can’t make some of these decisions, because of the circumstances in which they find themselves. So for me, I also actually do acknowledge that this comes with some level of privilege that I’ve been able to cultivate for myself. I guess then some indicator of success that well I can do this and I will be okay given the networks that I have, the intellect that I have, the access that I have to certain things, which of course has been an investment.
Nwabisa Mayema: 33:14 It’s been 15 years of building a network through the things that I was talking about earlier around maintaining networks. So my assets has always been my network, which means my network will always catch me. So whether I’m a car salesman or become an academic or become a stay-at-home mom, or become then a hot shots corporate player, my network will always be there to enable me and to support me.
Lisa Linfield: 33:39 That is it. It all comes down to relationships, because everything else comes and goes, but your relationships are what is the invisible hand holding you through.
Nwabisa Mayema: 33:48 Yeah, absolutely. So shout out to all my people.
Lisa Linfield: 33:53 Absolutely. So where will you be in 10 years time?
Nwabisa Mayema: 33:59 I mean, will the planet still be like a thing?
Lisa Linfield: 34:06 You would have conquered it standing on top of it in your high heels?
Nwabisa Mayema: 34:09 Exactly. You know what? Where will I be in 10 years time? I’m starting to have this incredible thing in my life where it’s about going with the flow. So I think for me, I would almost cheekily change the question and say, not so much where will I be in 10 years time, but how will I be in 10 years time?
Lisa Linfield: 34:25 I love that.
Nwabisa Mayema: 34:26 So in 10 years time, I really would like to be content, happy, full of joy, open. Somebody who’s expansive, somebody who shines a light on other people. Confident, fearless, vulnerable, authentic, all of that. That’s how I want to be in 10 years time, and hopefully even sooner. Where will I be? Don’t know. Goes back to this conversation that the vehicle is not actually the same.
Lisa Linfield: 34:54 I love that. I wish for us all to be very much more all of those things and I’m so grateful that you are going out there and that you’ll put this podcast together, that will help so many women globally, get to learn and see what perfectly imperfect looks like.
Nwabisa Mayema: 35:08 Yes, I’m excited as well and I wish all of us well. I just hope that the more of us can start operating from this place of being open and vulnerable and authentic, the more we realize how strong we are without having to be aggressive, and the more we realize that there is actually some good in the world.
Lisa Linfield: 35:29 There is a lot of good in the world. We just zone into all the negativity, when in actual fact there is amazing good in this world.
Nwabisa Mayema: 35:37 Absolutely.
Lisa Linfield: 35:38 How do people follow you and get to learn more about you, and get to hear when your podcast goes live?
Nwabisa Mayema: 35:44 Absolutely. So you can find She Rocks Global on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. She Rocks Global, we’re not making a hang of a lot of noise at the moment, but that will come through as we start building up towards our podcast launch, which as I said will be at the end of the year. Then personally you can find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, which is Nwabisa Mayema, my name and surname. Easy peasy.
Lisa Linfield: 36:09 Easy peasy. Well thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it, and good luck in your journey with the podcast.
Nwabisa Mayema: 36:15 Thank you, Lisa. I’m loving your podcast, and thank you for taking the time to hear me out. It’s been such a pleasure talking to you.
Lisa Linfield: 36:22 Take care. That was Nwabisa Mayema, and I so enjoyed another sense of the fact that this journey of ours is a journey to find our joy, to find our purpose, to help and contribute to those around us and their success and in turn, finding that joy and peace and purpose in our own life. So have a great week all of you, and I really look forward to seeing you either on the Facebook pages, or following me on Instagram, Lisa Linfield they say, or on Facebook Working Women’s Wealth, or on LinkedIn. I’d love to chat with you all, engage with you and find out how you are enjoying the shows, what you’re enjoying, and how I can make it more interesting and meaningful for you. Take care. Have a great week. I’m Lisa Linfield, and this is Working Women’s Wealth.