When I first moved from Johannesburg, South Africa to Stockholm, the thought of expressing my passion for impactful leadership in the public sphere, was a far-fetched idea. Yet, eight months into my masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management at KTH, I set out to organise a panel discussion where females shared their experiences about entrepreneurship.
Given that the subject alone is quite broad, the discussion was centred on the obstacles encountered by females throughout their entrepreneurial journeys and the practical ways to overcome them. What started as a heap of challenges, concluded with glimpses of hope to unleash the capacity of female entrepreneurship to uplift individuals, communities and nations.
Photo: FEMIC event
The common barriers highlighted, ranged from social stereotyping to a lack of self-confidence and the limited access to unbiased funding. These issues were quickly outweighed by various solutions such as adopting a mindset that empowers females to ‘take a seat at the table’ without waiting to be invited. This mindset requires dedication to a passion and adding value where it matters the most by guiding others who face similar setbacks.
Creating awareness is another approach, which involves engaging in networks that endorse the same principles as yours. Last but not least, this mindset also translates into the ability to celebrate even the smallest victories along the road to success.
This summarises a two-hour long event which took months of efforts to materialise. However, reaching this milestone of hosting such a discussion did not happen by chance, in fact, it was inspired by a visionary leader Kapi Fumbisha Gabriel who firmly believes in empowering others, including myself to be uplifted to their fullest potential.
Through this initial panel discussion, FEMIC was launched. FEMIC is a platform that “combines the power of femme through co-created expression and dialogue. It encourages leadership by engaging with brave and compassionate hearts, who recognise the impactful significance of individual voices”.
In essence, FEMIC aims to establish authentic connections based on experiences that are relatable beyond age, gender, race or even passports.
Photo: FEMIC event
Behind the scenes of hosting this event, a theme that echoed the loudest was that facing discomfort is a sure indication that growth and success are within reach. From collaborating with The Castle who graciously opened their space to serve as the venue, to back-to-back meetings with experts, including the panel members who willingly contributed to developing the concept, the frantic pace of pulling this off was worth every discomfort.
Overall, I am grateful not only for launching FEMIC through this experience but for the opportunity to make the most out of leaving the familiarity of living in South Africa, to pursue my ambitions on the opposite side of the world. I also appreciate the support from my scholarship networks (SISGP and NFGL), which encourages me to take absolute advantage of what is available beyond my academic journey in Sweden.
This goes to show how much the combination of individual actions has the power to set the foundation for greater achievements. On this note, FEMIC will continue to arrange more events that promote engaging dialogue for impactful leadership.