“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?” ― Anaïs Nin
The above statement challenges women to be part of the process of building the world they want to live in. That is exactly what successful women have been and are working on. Women have their own definition of success and share certain traits that are specific to them in excelling in their respective fields. Being part of building that success ensures inclusivity in all spheres. I spend a good part of my time attending women business sessions and reading about women who’ve gone beyond the glass ceiling in different fields. One point I noted is that many young women want to be successful in their personal and professional lives, and they know that navigating the path to success requires them to be very proactive. They understand that success is not a doorway but rather a staircase but they aren’t bold enough to step up and step out.
When I think about successful women in Kenya, the list is endless. I think of people like Dr Kakenya Ntaiya who set up a school for girls and a foundation to draw attention to the dangers of child marriage and female circumcision. I also admire our first lady, Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta who through her campaign, Beyond Zero, has galvanized the nation into mobilizing resources to save the lives of women, girls and children. People like the late Wangari Maathai who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her actions to promote sustainable development, democracy and peace. And do you know that Dr. Prabha Choksey, an award-winning ophthalmologist at the Aga Khan Hospital set aside Tuesday, a day to treat children with albinism only and for free? There are so many other amazing Kenyan women who have curved their niche in their respective careers and transformed the society in one way or the other.
That’s why Business Daily through its initiative of top40Under40 women recognizes and celebrates women who have made significant contributions to the economy and the community at large. These are women who’ve not just excelled in their respective fields but have also left a positive impact on the society and are representing Kenya’s promise in the corporate world, research, science, arts, theatre, professionalism and entrepreneurship. Not every amazing woman is recognized but the nominees are a representative of the several trailblazing women. Nominations are ongoing HERE till 31st August 2017.
Do you ever wonder how successful women manage to progress in their respective careers and still be able to balance their lives outside work? They say that successful women are better at managing work-life balance. Well, others don’t marry at all. Does that mean that the growing incursion of women in the workplace has reduced their private, family and domestic time? Not at all. And this has been debunked by the many successful women I come across in different forums.
A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” — Diane Mariechild
I met one lady in 2015 during the GES Vibes organized by Women In Tech Africa Kenya Chapter. This was a session for women entrepreneurs who had attended the GES summit and those who didn’t attend but wanted to learn from those who had attended. The lady was running a FMCG company and specifically manufacturing and distribution of maize mill flour. She had branches in three towns across the country. At the same time, she was running a very successful fashion line catering for the African market. I sought to find out how she had managed to cut through this tough industry as a woman and it was evident that her passion for the job was unparalleled. She was categorical that her love for what she was doing motivated her to go above and beyond, and to stand out. She also reiterated that many women are very choosy with the kind of careers or businesses they venture into and are afraid of taking risks. The idea is to take a calculated risk, not something that could ultimately hinder your goals. Like either taking up or letting go of an opportunity for a promotion at another company or quitting employment to start a business.
Interacting with other women in different forums has also made me realize that successful women are very good communicators and great at networking. You see whether you’re employed or in business, it’s about who you know and not what you know. One of the best ways for you to create contacts and expand your set of connections is to network. If you are not telling your story and explaining what you do, your business or career could remain stagnant.
Successful women are bold. You see women are usually perceived as being overly humble. Being just humble doesn’t mean that you’re wise all the time. Being confident is also not being arrogant like the society has made us believe, however this will help you make quality connections and build strong business relationships. Someone is likely to believe in your idea if you present it in a confident manner. It’s not arrogant to accurately communicate your skills and expertise.
Women are usually passed off as being hefty spenders and shopaholics. My mentor told me that many would-be successful women are lagging behind because they don’t understand what budgeting and saving is. Or if they understand, they don’t adhere to it. Knowing where your money is coming from and how you’re spending it will help you control your finances more effectively. Impulse buying is the major hindrance to their saving patterns.
Lastly, successful women dress the part. Women are known to care much about how they look and they understand that good grooming is more important than just making a fashion statement. Do you know that dressing up can open an expected opportunity? There is this Facebook Vlog by Mr. Musalia Mwenesi an image consultant called Get Yours With Mwenesi. He oftenly talks about how the way we dress impacts on the kind of relationships or interactions we make and the kind of opportunities we invite in our lives. Dressing the part is just one way of looking the part and ultimately being the part. Mwenesi believes that certain outfits lend you special treatment and others might yield the silent treatment. You want to be a lawyer or successful businesswoman? Start dressing like one.
She Believed She Could, So She Did