By Charndré Emma Kippie
Young entrepreneur and certified life coach, Sthabile Mavundla, began her journey in Margate, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, completing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science, as well as an Honours Degree in Biological Science. She is also certified by Harvard Business School after completing the Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies Programme, and by the Achology Professional Training & Coaching Institution.
As the CEO of Zanda Zonke (Pty) Ltd. – Transformational Game-Changing Leadership tailor-made for Women – Sthabile believes that empowering women means empowering a community because women are naturally givers; a woman will give of her time, resources and expertise to those around her: men and women. So, if a woman is empowered – everyone will be empowered too. Sthabile has more than 10 years experience in leadership and her passion for inspiring others to live out their purpose in their true potential, is what led her to her international speaking career.
What are your main career objectives?
I aim to inspire and empower women to be the best they can be, and make a real difference in the spaces they occupy, without feeling like they need to behave/show up as men.
Please tell us a bit about your background – how did you get to this point?
I grew up in the small town of Margate, on the South Coast, where I occupied leadership positions from a young age. I used to play sports and do well academically, but I always had a love for speaking and inspiring others. From the age of 10, I knew who I wanted to be and where I wanted to go based on my faith and my upbringing. I studied in university and went to work abroad, which is where I launched my career.
What excites you the most about the work that you do?
Nothing excites me more than seeing the lives of others changed for the better. Whether I’m facilitating it, or just an onlooker – growth in another human being excites me as it reminds me of my own potential and how I can keep growing too.
Do you live by any life mantras?
I live by the Bible verse of Colossians 3:23, where we’re urged to work as though unto the Lord and not unto men. So, regardless of other people around me giving the bare minimum of what is required, I strive for excellence at all times as my standards are irrelevant to my surroundings. I’ve got a supreme judge who watches even in secret.
What tips do you have when it comes to reaching KPIs in your field?
- Allocate only a few highest performance priorities and pay attention to them first.
- Make sure you keep the priority measures at the forefront of your mind. Display them everywhere. Your priority performance targets can be graphically represented and displayed around the office; they can be mentioned during meetings and displayed on the meeting agendas.
- Take deliberate action toward actively focusing on your priority measures. Your day-to-day tasks can be geared toward achieving the performance targets set out.
- Keep it practical and easy to follow through in order to achieve the KPI – simple and effective to reach the objectives set out.
Have you read any books or listened to any podcasts that have inspired you and your career thus far?
Dr Myles Munro’s material – most of his videos and his books have truly been phenomenal, as his values align with mine too.
What is your ‘why’ i.e. Bottom line? And how do you stay motivated?
I want to leave this earth having used up all the talent, resources and skills I’ve been blessed with in order to deposit them into the next generation of people who can pass on the baton. I don’t want to die with a gift. I want the world to be a better place as a result of me having been alive.
Outside of work, are you involved in any extracurricular activities and/or community outreach projects?
I’m part of the Zanda Zonke Foundation which gives back to the community through a feeding project of the homeless. So far, our company has been funding the project, but we’re hoping for sponsorship soon. We are also involved in women empowerment initiatives and passionate about early childhood development.
What inspires your work ethic on a daily basis?
I have a goal of retiring at the age of 35 and having my money work for me. I’d love to have a family and be a present mom who gets to decide where she wants to be. Hahah! That is great, but also understanding that my work isn’t only about me. I’ve got families to feed; people to take care of and a purpose to fulfill. Some days are tough and difficult yes but you rest a little, dust yourself up and keep going.
What does it truly take to be a ‘transformational woman leader’ in Africa? Do you have any tips?
A transformational woman leader in Africa takes being comfortable in your own skin. I mean, truly being comfortable in your own skin. Being a little weird is fine! Being quirky is cool. Embracing who you are and showing up as that person in the world.
Leadership isn’t about being a cookie-cutter of the visions of those preceding your reign. It’s about truly showing up for the people. It’s not about what you look like. People couldn’t care less about the things you own. People care about how much you care about them. Africa has been through too much turmoil and despair. We don’t need any more motivational speakers. We need people who will roll up their sleeves and get down and dirty to dig in the trenches and come out with gold for the nation.