This Woman’s Month, Momentum is airing its third annual #SheOwnSherSuccess campaign which includes a series of empowering workshops. The first workshop, hosted by Sherlin Barends on 12 August, explored the topic of women speaking up with authenticity in the workplace. Empowering stories from leading women in various fields shed light on the subject, offering insights into attaining success in whatever they are doing by being bold and expressing their authentic selves.
Amid the tension and financial uncertainty that the current pandemic has brought, this message offers a way to rise up and be an inspiration to others. Nontokozo Madonsela, Group Chief Marketing Officer at Momentum Metropolitan Holdings who opened the event, said that this campaign is extremely important to Momentum because it aligns with its brand values of enabling success and celebrating the silver linings. “To me, the key take-out of the event was that it’s critical to use your voice,” she said. “Be clear on what you are seeking. If you are not clear on where you want to go and what you need, other people’s agendas will get you onto their tracks, and you will be leading a life of resentment.”
Keynote speaker Luvvie Ajayi Jones, a bestselling author and a self-professed “professional troublemaker”, emphasised the value of practising the art of speaking with honesty in public spaces. In college, she intended on becoming a doctor and diligently pursued that path but early on, she reached a moment of clarity, realising that her desire to become a doctor was planted in her mind by society. Dropping her medical subjects was an easy decision because she knew it was not her authentic dream. Ajayi began writing blogs, airing her thoughts across mediums, and getting whatever was on her mind out into the public space. Before long, she amassed a social media following and only when she won her first award for her blog in 2009 did she stop to really consider what was going on.
She asked why people loved her blog so much. She realised, “When you put your unfiltered authentic self out into the world, people can sense the sincerity. If they relate to the message, they will connect with your work and respect you for making it.” She said that writing that blog gave her practice in speaking her truth and living with integrity. “Knowing that you aren’t lying about anything gives you the confidence to accept your own success.”
It’s important to know that you are adding value and to know what you are doing is truly worthy. One of the issues many women face in the workspace is being underpaid for their efforts. Antoinette Prophy, founder and managing director at 88BCAfrica, said the key is getting out of your own way, not letting your limiting beliefs stop you from advocating for your value, researching what people in parallel jobs are getting paid, and becoming comfortable affirming that that is what your work is worth. She said it’s important to not be afraid to confidently negotiate the salary you deserve. For women to get what they deserve in the workplace, they must constantly be negotiating and it’s important that they don’t feel ashamed about it. Prophy says there is nothing wrong with fighting for what you are worth.
Having the right support structures in your life can make it easier to speak up about what you want. Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp, a well-known South African radio presenter, spoke about the support structures she had on her road to success and how she found them. She noted that when you want to be supported it is important that you be supportive. People we can draw strength from are all around us, whether it’s at your church, your family, your co-workers, or your partner – you need to cultivate a supportive relationship in order to have one when you need it.
The day’s proceedings concluded with an open discussion between the host, Farah Fortune and business owners Aisha Pandor and Sarah-Jane Boden. They spoke about being politically correct and whether the fear of saying something that the public might respond negatively towards is stifling the voices of South African women.
The workshop was a success, reaching many women across South Africa, empowering them to express themselves with authenticity and to advocate for their worth. This first day of Momentum’s annual #SheOwnSherSuccess campaign was just a taste of what the rest of the event has in store. Momentum intends to keep empowering women and nurturing their success, ushering in the next generation of powerful and successful women.
For more information and to register for the next events, go to www.momentum.co.za