Charlotte Nsubuga-Mukasa is the Head of Consumer Brand Marketing at Momentum Financial Services and is somewhat of a warrior who yields a powerful arsenal of passion, curiosity, ambition and a strong sense of community.
In her current role, Nsubuga-Mukasa leads an amazing team of brand designers and social media managers who pursue creating emotional connections with their consumers. But beyond this, she dreams to one day make an immense contribution to an organisation such as UN Women who make it their life’s work to empower women.
It is her intention, to one day use this platform to support women who are living with fistula which is the abnormal connection between two body parts. Nsubuga-Mukasa’s interest lies particularly with Obstetric fistula which leaves behind other complications such as depression and infertility. In some instances, this leads to the affected individual being socially isolated from their communities, which further erodes from their inner worth and self-esteem.
“In some of the villages in North Africa, these women are shunned by their husbands and the communities because of the scent that accompanies this medical condition. But when organisations such as Doctors Without Borders come in and do a 15-minute operation to reverse this condition, which is preceded by the natural birthing process, these women subsequently return to their communities and live well – meaning lives” said Nsubuga-Mukasa. “But it is the access to money and doctors that prevents them from having a simple, natural issue resolved. Organisations that partner with Doctors Without Borders, can help to emotionally support these women, so that this difficult period becomes a catalyst for change.
Women who acknowledge their setbacks and their opportunities, are entrepreneurial and ripe for business skill teachings. More importantly, if they partner with their community, their testimony and improved sense of esteem, motivates the young girl child to dream for a better life – while respecting the duality that mothers play in their communities,” she continues empathetically.
However, what is of most interest to her is the financial prospects that one does not often see in such instances. Once those women go back into their villages, they become economically stable. The experience of living on their own after being shunned from their communities, makes them far more resourceful than when they left. It is not so much about the difficulties that they face but more on how they rise after much adversity. Good medical attention coupled with business and resourceful money management principles, helps them to tap into their inborn talents of making more with less. Their ability to rise through their resourcefulness is what makes for economically viable villages, towns and cities.
But over and above that, Charlotte also reflects on why women’s issues in general, are important. “These issues are important to me because I am a part of this ecosystem; I understand those silent barriers that hold you back. I know what it means not to be given an opportunity in a boardroom. I know what it means not to have money to go to university. I can relate to parents who borrow money from financial institutions that charge high interest rates, all because they want to give their children an education that catapults or gives them a fighting chance,” she reflects.
Ultimately, she wants everyone to always remain cognizant that we are all, from the point of birth, deserving of dignity, consideration and an opportunity to show what we are made of.
“What I like about the concept of birth is that it is both a physical and a beautiful metaphor. As women we are natural born nurturers. We give back to communities in a myriad of ways. So if we fail to encourage and empower them – they may raise men and women who have a low self-esteem. The minute low self-esteem manifests, issues like gender-based violence creep into homes, under the guise of culture, social norms and economic injustices that stem from unnecessary power struggles between the sexes. Men and women are beautifully different but equally capable, she reflects.
Although she believes that women need to be given opportunities that will empower them, there is still a responsibility amongst women to remind one another that they are capable and that it is never too late for a woman to survive, but to thrive and to blossom, is more meaningful.
“Each one of us has our own story so we have to go into our chapters and figure out what are we going to use to propel us to make sure that we are strategically capable. We need to apply this strategy and mix it with the audacity to understand and believe in ourselves. To figure out how we can apply our intellectual (creatively or otherwise), and how we can make sure that we provoke a change in this world. Each generation makes a mark so we have to be the generation that starts to steer things in the right direction and with sass,” she advises.
She reflects also on the importance of movements that are put in place to incite actual change. Whether you resonate with them or not, she celebrates the fact that people are using their voices worldwide to enact change. “And isn’t that the whole point of the #SheOwnsHerSuccess campaign? We need to occupy our place in corporate SA and influence for the things we want changed. It’s time we begun shaking boardroom tables and using your voice for good” she says.
Nsubuga-Mukasa adds that she reminds herself to celebrate and own her own success. She never forgets who she is or loses herself in the process of reinventing herself from time to time.
And if you asked her where her superpower lies, the answer is simple: curiosity. This superpower enables her to connect authentically with people, to gain insights from all her interactions. Nsubuga-Mukasa says that she is curious about people, their cultures and how we can stem from the same human race. But be wonderfully different from each other all at the same time. “It is one of the reasons why I easily integrate into so many conversations and into unexpected spaces – it’s not because I’m brilliant, it’s just because I’m curious. I want to know what’s trending in pop culture and why, who the new entrant is on the stock market and why, and how people from different walks of life shatter barriers and make a success of life their way.
These insights make me expand my horizons every day, but simply put, I am just curious,” she concludes.