In celebration of Women’s Day, I have chosen three talented, hard-working women who in their own ways are leaders of the industries they are active in, to be the focus of this week’s article.
They are Spa and Beauty Industry titan NOLI MINI; theatre industry publicist extraordinaire, ALLISON FOAT; and seven foot platinum blonde bombshell CATHY SPECIFIC, South Africa’s self styled First Lady of Flying (and alter ego of award winning performer Brendan van Rhyn).
Women empowerment is such a vital element in South Africa. Do you agree and if so, why?
MINI: Ooh yes, I completely agree. Empowering woman is so vital. It is key and is crucial in building the future we want for all – especially empowering woman with choices, opportunities, freedom and knowledge.
What I have noticed and experienced is that the way in which economic progress is mostly judged in our days tends to give a larger role to men’s need and demands, despite all the progress that has been achieved in enhancing the voices of women to date.
So we still have a long way to go in curbing this. I am not disputing the positive changes, opportunities and systems that have been put in place in South Africa for women and that have been implemented to better women in our society and for all.
These have definitely achieved greater prosperity and progress for all and that is how I am able to enjoy my freedom as a female entrepreneur and change-maker in my industry. But there still exists an overwhelming need to pay attention to the needs of woman in all aspects.
FOAT: Yes, definitely. It comes down to equality and fairness. Women should be given opportunities to prove their abilities within various environments.
SPECIFIC: I most certainly agree. We might be at the most Southern tip of Africa, but no one wants to be left behind.
We want to be on par with the rest of the world and not have to stand back for anything, or anyone. It just allows us to compete on any international stage. Individuals are so quick to judge and say that South Africa is a Third World country – believe you me, as SA’s poster girl for Travel and Aviation, there is literally not a place I haven’t been to, but when that jet touches down on home soil, there is no greater feeling than to know I have returned home where I know that as an empowered woman I am making a difference.
I am in great company…my fellow high-heeled heroine’s are flying the flag high.
You contribute so much to your industry and the growth thereof. What inspires you?
MINI: Having moved from fear to love in my journey – both personally and in business – inspires me. I am blessed to have family and friends that inspire me and challenge me to be the best that I can be. The diversity of business opportunities in my industry inspires me; waking up in the morning knowing that each day brings an opportunity to leave a footprint and brand that none other has created before.
I am inspired by the individuals and businesses that have given me the platform to give back to our community by first believing in my entrepreneurial being and ideas, which allows me to create job opportunities as well as creating wellness awareness to every person we come across through this platform.
FOAT: Thank you. I work in a very vibrant industry, the theatre, with a heartbeat of its own. With no two shows the same, it’s dynamic, interesting and exciting. Being around creatives and producers – those who are top in their field – challenges me to be the best I can be time and again and I get a kick out of promoting other people’s talent. My inspiration, oddly enough, though comes from a change of scenery.
SPECIFIC: Thank you. I’d like to think that I contribute and possibly make a difference in some way. People are my big inspiration – those with talent; those who defy the odds; those who are not afraid to take risks; and those who will do anything to realize their dreams (you’re speaking to the converted here). The fact that I am able to share my craft with people also keeps me inspired, as well as motivated and ensures that I always just want to deliver of my best.
Any words of advice for young women who want to become leaders in their chosen industry?
MINI: I believe in taking one step at a time and understanding what your goals are; what your fears are; and tackle them. Be authentic. Believe in your capabilities. Be bold. Live and follow your dreams.
FOAT: Let your passion drive you. Do what you know you do best and keep working on upping your skill set. Be the best you can be. Own your talent. There’s nothing wrong with knowing you are good, but there is a fine line between an ego driven confidence and one built on humility. Never accept mediocrity and always go the extra mile.
SPECIFIC: Empowerment starts as a young girl and by finishing your education, as this is the basis upon which you build your wings. Ladies, just say to yourselves, “I am not a one-in-a-million kind of girl, but rather a once-in-a-lifetime kind of woman.”