Women of Zambia, from Mums to entrepreneurs, Corporate Heelz is for you

Sara Drawwater
30 August 2013
You can’t really ignore a name like Corporate Heelz can you? Well, we took notice. There was something about this group that made us dig a little deeper. We interviewed Janice Matwi, the business…

You can’t really ignore a name like Corporate Heelz can you? Well, we took notice. There was something about this group that made us dig a little deeper. We interviewed Janice Matwi, the business woman behind Corporate Heelz. We found an inspiring leader and an organisation we want to work with. Building the individuals we work with is a key part of our reason for being at the Best of Zambia. We’re excited to partner with Corporate Heelz, and to be able to give the ladies on our team the chance to go to Corporate Heelz events. We believe Corporate Heelz events will give our girls the opportunity to be inspired, to learn and to grow — something we are deeply passionate about.

Sara: Tell us about Janice Matwi. As the driving force behind Corporate Heelz, what has your journey been like so far?

Janice: I am a passionate and focused person. I feel these are the qualities about me that have kept me going whenever I hit rough patches. Corporate Heelz is run by me and two other partners so it’s not all me!

Sara: The story of Corporate Heelz is that it begun as a Blackberry messaging group for friends. Was its beginning a happy accident, or did you have plan to make it into what it is today?

Janice: Its beginning was a happy accident. I had been procrastinating for a while about starting Corporate Heelz. I had come up with all sorts of reasons why it would not work. It was my friends who gently nudged me in the right direction.

Sara: We are glad your friends cheered you on. The name Corporate Heelz is very suggestive of women doing great things and making an impact. Why did you choose to focus on women?

Janice: We chose to focus on women because there aren’t many platforms for women to network and increase their sphere of influence. Women work and then head home to take care of their families. Men on the other hand have a chance to go to after work networking events. Corporate Heelz was formed to also give women a chance to network in a socially charged environment.

Sara: Do you feel the name “Corporate Heelz” may put off less confident women, who may never come along because they feel they won’t fit in, but who actually need the help and inspiration from other confident women?

Janice: I don’t think so. Corporate Heelz is meant to depict the true picture of women trying to succeed, whether in business, or in a career so it is really speaking to all women. Women have so many things they are juggling whilst trying to climb the ladder. And most of them do it in heelz!

Sara: How would you define your target audience?

Janice: Our target audience is women aged 21–39. We target Zambian women whether they are working moms or entrepreneurs. We are a resource for them to grow themselves. Though we target women, we have had a lot of men following our networks lately!

Sara: How exactly does Corporate Heelz connect and empower like-minded women?

Janice: We have bi-monthly power events where women get together. These are focused on highlighting tools to success. We also have a bi-monthly free online magazine that highlights stories of Zambians achieving success. These stories are meant to show women that it is possible to achieve success with the right tools and most importantly, the right mind-set.

Sara: Is Corporate Heelz a private business, or more of a charity support group?

Janice: Corporate Heelz is not profit making at present. There’s a higher percentage of self-funding and some sponsorship coming in from time to time.

Sara: Corporate Heelz events so far have only been hosted within Lusaka. Can we expect growth in different cities?

Janice: We are currently just in Lusaka, but we have been getting requests from the Copperbelt. We are considering it in our plans for next year.

Sara: Tell us what you aim to achieve with the magazine?

Janice: The aim of the free online magazine is to tell Zambian success stories in our own Zambian voice. We feel that there are not enough success stories being told to inspire women to achieve more. We read a lot of stories from environments that are miles ahead in terms of development, environments that have different cultures that they are so disconnected from our everyday Zambian life. So disconnected in fact, success seem impossible. Our magazine carries content that is meant to inspire by showing that IT IS POSSIBLE. Content aims to enlighten readers by providing tools that will change their way of thinking, positioning them to achieve more, and reach out to others, forming powerful connections and a strong sphere of influence.

Sara: Do you believe Zambian women are making an impact today? What do you think needs to be improved for more women to take up the challenge of going fourth and doing?

Janice: Yes Zambian women are making an impact. But it’s not quite as many women as we would like. More women need to come to the front and add their voice to this revolution of women leaning in towards their dreams and goals. Women need to believe in themselves more, they need to be confident in knowing they are also valuable and able to rise. And we need women to have more meaningful conversations that will build them. These conversations and spheres of influence will then show the value of women helping women to climb the ladder.

Sara: Where do you see yourself in the future?

Janice: Long term we see ourselves becoming the number one women’s networking platform, a resource that builds women. Our core philosophy and mission is creating inspiring, enlightening and powerful connections. This is what guides all of our operations and plans. We see a future where Corporate Heelz is instrumental in changing laws that will bring about positive change in Zambia.

Sara: How can women join Corporate Heelz and keep up to date with your magazine, events calendar and more?

Janice: Membership 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 our Facebook page and Twitter account.