The older I get, the more I realise how small the world is. The big cities in which we choose to pursue our careers and businesses don’t seem that big when we realise the degree to which our circle of acquaintances, family, friends and business associates are connected. Knowing this makes the simple virtues our parents taught increasingly important: be kind, be polite, give before you worry about getting, listen more than you speak and have respect.
As a child, I wasn’t given any reason for doing these things – but the more I did them, the more the reason revealed itself. The way we treat others is how we wish to be treated and what we say about others says more about ourselves. This is the cosmic truth that a particular energy shared begets a particular energy received.
During the “adulting” phase of life, having your name spoken of positively in rooms you haven’t yet entered – and having it shielded from being dragged into social media conversations – indicates the degree to which others can vouch for you. They do this based on what they personally know about you, not on hearsay. The more they’ve experienced the positive in you, the more they vouch for you. At this basic level lies the importance of effective relationships and how they create a network that works for you, especially when forces out of your control may be working against you.
I’m in a position to write this not only because of my efforts, but also because of the strategic relationships I’ve chosen to leverage. Relationships are a choice. My talents would have been rendered useless had it not been for the career relationship opportunities to which I was exposed.
Whether you’re embracing a journey of new beginnings (the theme of our first issue, featuring Amanda Dambuza, whose life typifies this) or managing your 9-5 while trying to set up a business (which Precious Thamaga-Mazibuko’s career has exemplified), one thing both powerhouses have in common is their knack for building and maintaining strong and strategic networks.
Which brings us to this issue’s cover star: businesswoman Savita Mbuli. Best known by some for being the widow of the late, great broadcaster Vuyo, she’s also an entrepreneur with an uncanny ability to build strategic relationships in both the public and private sectors. Her husband’s passing left her to raise two school-going children under the scrutiny of the media. As a woman of Afro-Asian descent, Mbuli tapped into her cultural compass by redirecting her life with the help of her community of friends and family: her “village”. In this way, she reshaped her life through the strides of her own work, fortified by her natural knack for leveraging strategic relationships and networks.
Today, her many accolades include being one of the few black owners of outdoor media in SA. For many years, she was the quiet storm brewing a significant portion of the success behind the Mbuli name, one strategic relationship at a time. She’s proof positive that women can rebuild their lives in their own way, and in their own time, at any age or stage.
In The Set-Up, we give you the tools to break out of your shell and get into the game, while in In-Sight, we feature a career based on relationships. We unpack the value of the networking business in Industry Insider, while Moodboard helps you understand the power of colour therapy pairings in fashion. Body Bible unpacks the pairings no-one told you about with unisex products, while a new feature, Nowhere to Now Here, introduces you to women who’ve rebuilt their failed businesses by networking.
Ultimately, relationships are about the power to influence. This issue aims to help you discover the influential power within yourself and unlock it through strategic relationships which will create opportunities for you, turning dreams into reality.