To say 31 August 2017 was a day of inspiration is an understatement. The Thebe Ya Mosadi (TYM) “Leading From Any Chair” event was spectacular. Everyone looked regal in their vintage clothing, and the air was filled with excitement and joy from the moment you stepped out of the car.
The day started with a goody bag for all followed by a chance to peruse fascinators, books, paintings and beauty products. Once inside, the women were treated to brilliant prizes, a heavenly two-course meal, moving poetry and the breathtaking Divas. But as amazing as all this was, it was by no means the highlight of the day.
The day’s speakers included: Ms Samke Mhlongo (founder and CEO of TNC Wealth Partners) as the MC; Ms Refiloe Nkadimeng (TIC Group Financial Director and TYM custodian); Ms Marcia Eugenio (Phela Wellness CEO); Ms Malebo Sephodi (author of Miss Behave); Mr Jerry Mabena (Thebe Services Division CEO); Mr Richard Mabaso (Caring for Girls Founder); a panel of Thebe women; and closing remarks by Ms Neliswa Booi (General Manager: Media & Telecommunications Portfolio).
They shared their lives and experiences, and although their stories were different, they all conveyed a clear and specific message – it doesn’t matter where you are or what you do, you can lead. “You can lead from any chair, as long as you lead with purpose.”
A women’s true strength lies in how she can fail, learn, stand up, and try again. Society has created an ideal that women should not fail and that they should be perfect at everything they attempt. It is time for women to break this ideal. Strength and leadership lies in being able to be unafraid of failure, to continue trying in spite of getting it wrong, and to take responsibility when things take a bad turn.
“Stop leading with grace; instead lead with what makes you great.”
No two women face the same struggles or roads. It’s time to stop looking at others and their accomplishments and comparing it to your own. Look at your own life, your own chair, and find your own power. Find your strength and purpose, and lead in your own way. Search your soul and acknowledge your unique greatness; now, let it shine.
“When you build on your greatness with intent, you will achieve it.”
If one woman can stand up to change history (or herstory rather), just imagine what 10 or 10 000 women can do? Society determines how women should sit, act, look and what they should become. It’s time to tell society no. Breaking society’s box and the rules created for women will not be easy, but as a collective and by working together against stereotypes, women can become the change to break the box and change society for the better.
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are power.”
It’s important to understand that women are not trying to be men, feminist do not hate men and they are not trying to take men’s seats at the table. Women are different, a difference that should be embraced, not to be added to the table but to redefine it. Only by embracing this new table together, as men and women, will we be able to enrich the workforce and build a stronger tomorrow for all our children.
“It’s up to the workforce to take women off the sidelines; we put them there.”
The day closed on a high note with R15 000 being raised for Caring4Girls by our speakers. Ms Neliswa Booi, Malebo Sephodi and Samke Mhlongo. To add to the generosity of our speakers; Timrite, GROW and The Next Chapter have all pledged money to the initiative bringing the total amount raised to R81 000.
To the organisers and Thebe Ya Mosadi, thank you for all your hard work. And to Thebe Investment Corporation, Mr Vusi Khanyile and all of our speakers, thank you for allowing us a day filled with fun and inspiration and showing how much women are valued in the Thebe Group.