As a young black woman in an industry that is dominated by white men, it is so hard to stay on course and maneuver our way through without feeling like giving up or giving in… I have been blessed enough to be surrounded by and to be intentional in seeking out strong women making strides in their spaces and always picking their brains about how they stay on focus, on course and keep rising against the odds. So here are some of the women in my power circle and their advise to the black career women:

Vika Shipalana is a force, a woman who is unapologetic and intentional. She has made strides in the luxury space and it is safe to say, one can’t utter African luxury and round up the conversation without VBS Luxury Group and Vika Shipalana. 

She owns all her roles whilst being a fully involved and amazing mom to two angels.

Her advise: 

“Don’t be afraid to show up fully. Don’t dim your light. It will scare you. But do it anyway. What awaits you on the other side of fear, is beyond even the wildest of your imaginations. Dare to be the best version of you and live your truth.

Bongi Radebe is a young woman who’s dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of other young women. you may remember her from the SABC show One Day Leader. She is also an alumni of the Mandela Washington Fellowship. She is certainly a young woman on the rise and one to watch closely. 

By the way, I am a collector of her tea brand – Taste of Legends. 

Her advise: 

‘When you’re part of a demographic that’s faced with the triple threat of race, gender and class, your career journey is bound to be the most challenging because you can’t exempt personal experiences from it. Even then, your power is in your mission and who you choose to intentionally surround yourself with; we’re all stronger and better together.”Thobile ‘Tops’ Mkhwanazi is a young woman’s dream big sister. She is ever empowering, motivating, a cheerleader and a leader and go-getter in her own right. A dynamic self-motivated woman who is the Founder of Tops Motivations ‘Inspired Girl, Phenomenal Woman. She is also employed at HolGoun Investment Group, where she is a TV Producer & Manager, Fashion PR & Events for D’ORE as well as an EXCO Member.   Her advise:  “Never lose yourself in your work / career. It doesn’t define you. It’s not something that should validate you. Be grateful. Work hard. Stay humble. Keep pushing.”

Elle Williams is a communications specialist. The first thing that pulls you into Elle’s radar is her warmth and gorgeous smile. You cant help but want to be in this woman’s aura.After I’d met Elle, I wondered what industry she must be in. She seems so happy, so peaceful… so content. 

Previously she occupied the seat of Head of Development Communications at UCT but has since left for the daunting but fulfilling thrill of producing multimedia content and live experiences that showcase cool stuff happening on our continent (more so if it’s by women) through her company Nerfertiti Media. She yearns for and works daily towards the goal of getting young people and women employed and exposed to opportunities.

Here is her advise:  “Find your big “why” and tap into that when things get tough. Expect things to get tough, because they will.Always keep your faith, and be grateful for your challenges, because they are an opportunity to level up and meet a better version of yourself.Have the confidence to believe you can succeed, and the humility to put yourself out there and try.Sometimes you’ll surpass your goals, sometimes you’ll fall short of them. Either way, reward yourself for your efforts, then get back out there and give it your best again.Remember, your job is to fill a need, to solve a problem, so always aim to add maximum value everywhere you go – that’s your leverage.If you deliver excellence, you need never be afraid to ask for recognition and fair compensation for your work, so be assertive.Forget the idea that you can do it all on your own. Nobody can, so don’t hesitate to ask for help, and don’t hesitate to give it.Be good. Do good. Have fun 😉 “Ever smiling and ever joyous, Zandile Nkonyeni is the powerhouse that looks after the PR for all SABC channels. With an air of grace and poise as well as ever stylish and fashionable, Zandi is your bestfriend straight out of a Sex and the City movie.  Her advise:  “Even though you may have to work twice as hard as a woman and triple that as a Black woman, ask yourself if what you’re doing now is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow. You gonna get the word “No” often, don’t let that get you down, use that reason for “no” as a lesson to get you to your next “Yes”.”