Corporate Heelz is a growing community of Zambian professional and entrepreneurial women who seek and share advice, inspiration and tools for success. To kick start the new year, Corporate Heelz hosted an event dubbed “Powering up for 2014” on January 31 2014. It was tailored to help women achieve all their career and business goals in 2014 and beyond.
I have worked with Corporate Heelz before and interviewed the founder of the organisation, Janice Matwi. But I had never actually attended a Corporate Heelz event before, and I was not quite sure what to expect. I knew there would be women there and we would be talking about “powering up” for the year ahead but that was it. I threw on my heels and determined to find out what all the fuss was about, a little disgruntled as I had a busy schedule. I promised myself I’d only sit in for an hour …
The venue was at Taj Pamodzi Hotel. As soon as I arrived with a workmate of mine, we were quickly guided to the conference room where the power up event was taking place. Due to a slight delay, we arrived just 10 minutes after the proposed time, and were surprised to find that the event had already started. I was impressed. I had expected to find them only setting up as is common at a lot of these events, but clearly these women meant business.
We were asked for our contacts and given little name tags to make it easier for everyone to know each other — another great idea as there is nothing more exhausting than having to tell people your name over and over again. We were ushered to a table with a group of other women who all smiled to acknowledge us as we sat down. What a positive atmosphere!
The master of ceremonies for the first part of the event was the bubbly Karen Nakawala from Afro-Media. Her infectious sense of ease and her ready laugh soon put everyone in a good mood and she was quick to introduce the first few speakers of the day.
Session 1 What Top Recruiters Look For
The first speaker was Eve Banda, HR expert, author and entrepreneur. Eve immediately struck me as a woman you can’t ignore. She has a bustling personality that shows through her presentation. She explained that she had held many positions in industry that were mostly traditionally roles held by men and that she had always had to prove herself. There was no doubt she had achieved that and that she knew her stuff, we all sat up and paid attention. Eve shared her top tips for the interview process:Discover your passion: Know what you’re interested in and what your needs are. This will open up your career path.Have a vision board: Make a deliberate effort to draw out what your plan for your career is. Be passionate about it.Have a marketable CV: Your CV should be precise (not more than four pages) and should boldly state your contributions, and successes.Prepare for your interview: Know the company that’s interviewing you and the position you’re applying for.Powerup: Dress appropriately for the interview, be confident and use technical know how to get interviewers’ attention.
Session 2 — Success Strategies
The second speaker was Mubanga Chipimo, Executive Director of Mac Recruitment Ltd. We later learned that Mubanga was due to fly out of the country on that very day but had cancelled to be at “Power Up” to share her knowledge from years in industry (girl power!) Mubanga shared seven success strategies:Build your career: use every opportunity to growDetermine a niche: where do you see opportunities? Choose a career/business where you can stand outConnect emotionally with your business: your business idea should impact you before it can impact othersHave a vision board: vision and plan for your businessHave a mission statement: State your values and beliefs to guide youBe financially astute: Learn about finances, be conversant with numbersBe excellent in all you do: Excellence is a habit
Session 3 Transformative Thinking
The third speaker of the day was the woman behind Corporate Heelz, Janice Matwi. Her opening statement received many nods: “When most people are told to come together for an all-women’s meeting, they are reluctant. They think all that’s going to be there is gossip. But we are setting a new standard. We know that women have a lot of useful information to share so we are looking beyond the petty issues and coming together as women to build each other up.” Janice shared some tips on transformative thinking:-Challenge yourself: you cannot grow through life if you are always afraid. Invest in yourself, invest in continuous self-improvementBe persistent: “If you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”Rewrite your future: Make a new ending for yourselfMake the most of life experiences: The key lies in experiences. Your experiences and the experience of others encourages and teaches you.Change your attitude: A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You won’t go anywhere until you change it.Have a positive mindset: See failures as a lesson, a setback is a set up for a comebackTake action: “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
After Janice spoke we broke off for lunch. This was also a chance to meet with the other ladies and network. I met some lovely people. Surprisingly we not only talked about business but also about kids, about things we do over the weekend and even about some good shopping spots. Now that’s what I call all round networking!
After lunch Managing Director of Zoona , Lelemba Phiri, took the floor and shared tips on personal finance management. I’m not big on numbers but I really enjoyed her presentation and a lot of her points hit home.
Other speakers were Chisenga Muyoya and Lucy Lungu.
The best part was hearing some of the feedback when we were asked what was the main thing we were taking away from the event. While some cried “I’m learning to save” or “I’m starting a business”, one woman in the middle of the room summed it up by announcing “I’m ready for 2014, I’m powered up! My time is now!” We all agreed.
Time seemed to have flown and the event was over. Not only did we walk away with some great tips to surge through 2014, we also made wonderful connections with some really great women. I look forward to attending more Corporate Heelz events.
Note: Membership to Corporate Heelz is free and open to anyone who is interested. The subscription to the Corporate Heelz magazine is also free. Find out more on Corporate Heelz on the Best of Zambia, and stay connected via Facebook page and Twitter.