Vumile Msweli: ‘Career Success for me is driven by two things having the right strategy and having the right team.’

Vumile Msweli is the Chief Executive officer for Hesed Consulting, a coaching and consulting firm specializing in commerce acceleration; career coaching; women empowerment; facilitation, and training on the African continent, with a presence in Nigeria; South Africa; Botswana; Rwanda, and affiliates in Namibia; Ghana and Uganda.

She has previously worked for reputable multinational institutions such as Barclays, Investec, Nedbank, First National Bank, and Vodafone. Vumile is an Operations; Finance, and Strategy executive with experience in both the telecommunications and finance sectors. She has successfully led global teams in Africa (Nigeria; Kenya; Democratic Republic of Congo; Zambia; Lesotho; Ghana; Tanzania; Mozambique and South Africa); and Europe (Scotland; Isle of Man and England).

As a coach Vumile has carved a niche for herself in career coaching. She also services clients in Executive; Financial; Speaking and Mentoring coaching. Vumile is an avid coach and international speaker having spoken in conferences; expos; workshops around the globe on topics such as leadership; women empowerment; finance matters and conducting business in Africa. She is the host of Vumi and Veuve as well as has her own regular column in Nigeria’s largest publication The Guardian and Africa’s largest blog BellaNaija. She also has her own radio slot in Botswana’s Duma FM and South Africa’s Kaya FM.

Read our Q&A with her and be inspired.

Share a little bit about your background. I hail from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. I was raised to honor God, pursue excellence, and respect others. Ubuntu (the African philosophy of “I am because of others”) was the value that underpinned my everyday life. I studied a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting Science at the University of Pretoria, a Bachelor of Commerce in Finance at the University of Johannesburg, an MBA at the University of London, and postgraduate studies at New York University and Harvard University, respectively. I spent the better half of a decade in financial services in the banking sector, and my last role was as the Client Services Partner for Africa for a British telecommunications firm.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your life so far? I think my greatest achievement has been celebrating 10 years in business. The lives we have changed in the human capital space across the continent. In the space of recruitment, the joy of helping people find employment is exhilarating. In the space of growth through training; masterclasses, and coaching, creating spaces where people have “Aha” and “mmm…I never thought of it like that before” moments is for me the reason I built this business. I truly believe in Dr. Maya Angelou’s words of your legacy in every life you have touched. In my career, my work touches lives, and that will long outlive me, I guess that is why Hesed Consulting is one of my greatest achievements.

In those moments when you feel like throwing in the towel, what motivates you to keep going? Being born in apartheid South Africa where my ancestors weren’t allowed into the spaces I so comfortably inhabit puts a greater pressure on me to do better. I can own businesses, sit in boardrooms, access quality education, live anywhere I choose, and travel the world. They could not do those things. So when I feel exhausted, and feel like giving up. I remember this. I remind myself that I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams made manifest. That many gave up their lives for me to have the privilege as such I do not have the luxury of throwing in the towel because of a momentary lack of motivation.

If you could go back in time, what is one piece of advice would you offer a younger Vumi? I would tell my younger self. You are enough, it is unbelievable how enough you are. I think sometimes I didn’t recognise that and I let my insecurity be louder than that knowing. So I would definitely affirm my younger self in that manner.

In life, who inspires you and why? I am inspired by our beautiful continent. From the enterprising can-do attitude of Nigeria, Rwanda’s quiet elegance in showing forgiveness, Tanzania’s Hakuna Matata (no worries) approach to life, the Congo’s resilience in the face of adversity, South Africa’s zest for life and celebration, and Ghana’s regality in their Africanness. My continent’s every crevice reminds me of where we come from, our rich history, and the need for us to take on our birthright, which is greatness. The hope of passing on a better Africa to our children is what keeps me passionate, inspired, working, and looking forward to tomorrow.

What are the top 3 impactful things you have done or achieved in the past year concerning empowering or elevating women? I think the first was creating my career-accelerating journal, which is a self-coaching tool that allows me to support women without me having to interact with them on a one-to-one basis. This expansion widens my impact and reach.

I am also excited that we have opened up in Kenya with our all-female team leading the charge in growing our East African business. For me, this is making my vision manifest to be able to support African men and women in their career journeys.

I think being selected by the United Nations Secretary-General Banki Moon to be the career coach for his foundation on the program to support African women for me is an honor I am especially proud of.

What is your take on “women supporting women”? I believe we need to leave the door open for other women in every single room we walk into. The time for supporting in words only is no longer enough. Our behavior and actions need to align. Because if one of us fails it impacts all of us, But if we are all invested in our success it can completely change the narrative for women across no only the continent but indeed the whole globe.

What are some career success tips you’d like to share with our readers? Career Success for me is driven by two things having the right strategy and having the right team. There is a beautiful proverb from Tanzania that says: “if you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” So for me to get far you need people you can go with. These people for me are your career coach, your mentor and your sponsor. They help you implement and formulate.

What is one bad habit you are committed to changing? Wow! That is a tough one! I think being better with my health. Eating better; making time for exercise and getting more quality sleep. I think getting better in that area of my life will make the rest thrive.

Time Travel or Teleportation? Oh No! Why can’t I have both? I love traveling so Teleportation would be amazing because I could see the world and not have to worry about visas. I could easily see every country on the continent with a dream! Time travel would let me be able to see loved ones who have passed on like my grandpa and I could see the future and know how to help my clients better prepare. So it would have to be time travel for me.

What would you like to be remembered for? I have always imagined what my tombstone would say. For me, it would say: Dr. Vumile Msweli, Servant of God, Wife, Mother, and friend. Servant of God because I want to fulfill my purpose and use all of my talents and gifts to fulfill God’s calling on my life. I want my family to have the best of me. Often it’s easier to give that to the world and short-change those closest to us and I never want my family to have less than the best of me. My patience, kindness, love and time. Last and not least for me is to give those that I meet the experience of friendship. Holding the best intentions for them, creating safe spaces and cheering them on to be the best version of themselves. That for me would be the ultimate legacy.

Connect with Vumile here

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