Five great tips for women leaders


Nachilala Advice
Learning from those who have travelled the path makes the journey a little easier. We asked ONE Campaign Executive Director (Interim) for Africa, Nachilala Nkombo, for a pep talk to women leaders in Africa. This is what she said:

Be the best that you can be in your field

You need to be good at what you do. Even at your best you will face opposition. This means that you need to study, you need to be equipped and know exactly what you are talking about because when you are in a conversation in a male dominated setting and you don’t have your facts and understanding it limits your engagement and influence. So if you are an engineer, if you are an economist, whatever expertise you chose, make that investments to be the best that you can be in your field because the field is not levelled. Society is more forgiving of an incompetent man than an incompetent woman. They don’t teach you that at school, so knowing that reality means you continually equip yourself.

Be humble, surround yourself with people whom you can learn from

Before you hit a challenge, be proactive, surround yourself with people who believe in you and have been there before, this will help you avoid some of the mistakes they have made or at least equip you on how best to respond. While learning is continuous, this makes the journey for you slightly easier than it was for them.

Know yourself and seek mentorship not only from women

Seek mentorship from fellow trusted women but also from trusted men because they understand better the game and the constraints that play out there, that work against women in the work place and in industry.

Never forget where you are from

In everything that you do, whether you are operating on a global stage or regional, always bring things back home. For me, it means I have to ask the question, what does it mean for Africa.

Stay true to who you are and where you are coming from. If staying true to who you are and where you are coming from means walking away from opportunities that may undermine or disrespect that I will say do that. Because where you are coming from is your foundation, it’s your pillar, it’s your strength. For instance, I am working from the African level but I don’t forget where I come from. I come from Zambia, I come from a particular community that are facing certain issues, that has achieved certain things. So I draw my strength also from that.

If I go somewhere else and someone say it is not possible, because I have seen it happening in my country or elsewhere on the continent, I will say no, we will try. Source: SHE Leads Africa.

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