There is a well-trodden saying “Behind every successful man, there is a woman”. It is a figure of speech that was clearly born in an era where success was strictly synonymous with men. Earlier this year I took the decision to work fulltime to support my wife, Olwethu’s, vision of building the Art of Superwoman (AoS) into a global business. My journey is a relatively unconventional journey, that I hope we will see more of in our modern-day society.
As a qualified Chartered Accountant with experience in public and corporate sectors and various entrepreneurial interests I am fortunate to have several career options available to me. In the early days of AoS and as the business started gaining momentum, I was supporting the business as a “side-hustle”. Playing Instagram husband, looking over contracts and the like. Shortly after the lockdown it became apparent to us that there is a very loyal, growing AoS community and what AoS stood for also resonated deeply with various brands.
I took the decision to put my own career aspirations to the side, to join AoS as the full time Commercial Director, and do everything in my power to help Olwethu realise her vision. Too often it is the woman in relationships who need to suspend their goals for the benefit of the family. If we are going to address gender parity and for women to take their rightful place in society, I hope to see more men taking a backseat to support the dreams of their spouses.
It has not been smooth sailing, with significant business experience and not having a boss for close to a decade. I’ve had to learn not to impose my ways on how Olwethu wants to run her business. I have had to learn to be an employee all over again and remember that my role is support. Taking a step back and not being the main act, has required humility, but most importantly, to remember not to cross the lines between husband and employee although sharing a bed with the boss has its own benefits.
The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has made me alive to the demands of childcare, an issue that was a blind spot given my upbringing and male-bias. It has been a conscious growth area to be more conscientious and disciplined in contributing to childcare and household responsibilities. Including doing more house chores, spending more deliberate time with the kids and of course home-schooling.
What was initially a difficult and complex decision, I now see as a binary and obvious choice to have made. I feel it is my purpose to support my wife’s aspirations and work together to build a global movement that creates multi-generational wealth and has a positive impact in the lives of millions of women.