Monday, May 6, 2013

A Bold New Perspective in South Africa


Johannesburg, South Africa - A Bold New Perspective in South Africa  A friend contacted me about the Women’s Advancement Forum, they offered an opportunity of a lifetime to travel to South Africa.  Knowing what I am up to, the Director proceeded to ask me if I would lead a session at the Women’s Advancement Forum of South Africa.  The participants included a group of elite African women leaders held in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 29th.  I said, “Yes” to leading the pre-conference workshop and then it became so much more for me, I was appointed the Ambassador of the Women’s Advancement Forum and I visited a developing school that inspires creativity and skills.  This being a new experience, I had to admit was a little frightening.  I am passionate about what I do, I lead leaders and because passion can take you to some frightening places. It can leave you facing seemingly insoluble problems. But it also brings friends, magical experiences and a range of understanding that just continues to increase.

When I arrive in Johannesburg, I am welcomed with an opening gala where women diplomats and president’s wives, honorary dignitaries and secretary-generals along with teachers and professors making a difference in their country introduced themselves.  “It was my first time traveling to South Africa and I didn’t know what to expect.  I have to admit, I didn’t listen well to my history teachers during my high school days and it’s been a long time since then.  Some say that people have selective hearing when they are young and it comes to learning.”

I am piloting my new workshop called, “Leadership Essentials & Emotional Intelligence” and “Women and the Glass Ceiling” which goes along with my new Leadership book coming out this summer, Fostering Progress for Leaders.  It is an applied approach to teaching leaders.  I begin touring the U.S. in August.  I was surprised at the immediate HIT and how people took to these new ways of approaching leadership concepts on as if it were their own.  What followed my 3 hour leadership workshop was two-hundred person audience gave me a standing ovation, then appointed me ambassador of the Women’s Advancement Forum and I received a surprise honorary gift as a token of their thanks.  Each person wanted to meet me, tell me the impact my presentation made on them and share how they were inspired to apply these concepts to their lives and they wanted a copy of the film I produced, Advice from Extraordinary Women, to as some stated, “…watch it again and again.” 

Key leaders stood up and shared what they got out of the workshop and the film to the nearly 200 person audience, sharing the messages they gained, which were Focus, Do what you say and say what you mean and live a purposeful life.  

After the workshop, the Secretary General of South Africa graced me with a special Ambassador appointment, where I will advise this group of inspiring women toward achieving an impact and taking action on the many problems that were introduced during the 5-day conference.  I was recognized as an honorary VIP at the events, meeting people like the First Lady of Ogun State, Nigeria and her Honor (Mrs.) Nkeiruka Onye­jeocha, Chair­person at the Federal House of Representative, Nigeria.

These leaders offered me private tours of their villages in Southern Africa.  It was important for them to share how people “really” lived in South Africa and to meet, “their people” in person, to learn from experience.  I received deep history lesson while in Africa too.  I visited Mandela’s home located on the famous Vilakazi Street, where two Nobel piece prizewinners once lived, Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2011 and Nelson Mandela.   I had a quick history lesson about how young students in Africa made a historical difference but at a cost. I visited Hector Peterson’s memorial that represents those lost in the protest of wanting to be taught English as their primary language in the schools.  This was not so long ago, in the mid-70’s only becoming democratic in 1994.   I thought,“You can feel the passion, everyone wants to build on achievements together, and there’s a real entrepreneurial approach to teaching here.  I think what these women leaders are doing is very progressive!”









The Secretary General, Tintswalo Makhubele, introduced me to Phyllis Malope Founder and Director of the Philani School. On my way to the school I ran into Elephants blocking the road for over 20 minutes. All people could do was wait, as to not disturb the Elephants path. Phyllis graciously welcomed me into her school sharing the many applied concepts of creative teaching. I was introduced to Anibal Mondlate, the Technical Director and television broadcast owner, who developed an applied engineering program for high school students, at the school. This incorporates hands-on learning, while they create beds and box springs to sell; they quickly learn to be entrepreneurs at a young age. I learned of other programs where students are taught how to sew clothes, and then make uniforms to sell to parents for their school-aged kids in the community. Being a seamstress myself, I found amazingly professional stitchery in the works. Another group of high school students performed several beautiful African classical music pieces for me. I learned that the music program is only one week old. I felt like,“It was like I was sitting in the middle of a concert hall.”


Now back in the U.S., I received a letter from Phyllis, it reads: “What a wonderful, memorable and short moment we spent together! You graced our organization with your presence on Friday, the 3rd of May 2013. You impressed my officials and staff with humility. You blessed our children with a sweet smile of a mother. We would not ask for more. SAFE JOURNEY AND HAPPY LANDING.”

I take home with me the grace and kindness of African women leaders, whose spirits are bountiful. I uncovered that everyone everywhere is gracious; each person wants to share their love and their passion for a better world.

What I learned on this trip is that it takes a bold change to uncover what your passion is, and the world needs each of us to follow our passion, right now.




About Me: 
Kim is an leadership coach and business consultant, social media strategist, content developer and trainer that has been actively involved in Higher Education, Government, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Insurance, Banking and Start-up Industries for over 25+ years. Kim believes that each person is a leader and can be motivated to pursue their goals. As a leader in innovation, Kim skillfully and creatively leads people in organizations and personal endeavors and is eager to help you start to maximize, prioritize and monetize your efforts! Kim has a passion for helping you find your passion and developing it in a way that can create a meaningful livelihood for your family. To learn more about her programs, look her up on the web or contact her at kim.groshek@gc-strategies.com.

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