South African Lady Boss -Vumile Msweli, as an entrepreneur wears the crown, CEO, Hesed Consulting, a consulting firm specializing in commerce acceleration; career coaching; women empowerment; facilitation and training with presence in Nigeria and South Africa.
With an MBA from the University of London, a post graduate degree from New York University and Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Vumile has worked in Europe; Asia and across the African continent for reputable multinationals.
She is a multiple award winning business woman who has received honors such as the Women’s’ Economic Forum’s Woman of Excellence Award, Destiny Magazine’s Power of 40 list, 34th Most Influential Young South African. As a CEO and entrepreneur, she shares her journey with us.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
I am an entrepreneur, career coach and speaker. I hail from KwaZulu-Natal the eastern part of South Africa. My background has been in finance and telecommunications where I worked in strategy and operations. I studied accounting sciences, honours in finance and masters in business administration. I love to travel, read and learn, I suppose I will remain a student at heart.
Hesed Consultants (PTY) LTD was established in 2012. We are a pan-African organisation that facilitates leadership; executive; strategic and operational learning and development skills within a global context. Our solutions and engagement model aims to educate and empower our clients to efficiently execute on their goals. Our service offering consists of coaching, training and speaking.
Our life coaches and facilitators are experts who have worked with senior executives, graduate employees and managerial teams across various industries and countries. They make use of coaching techniques such as neuro-linguistic programming; negative emotional therapy and transformational coaching in an interactive and engaging manner.
What is it like being a female entrepreneur, and why did you chose to be one?
My decision to become an entrepreneur wasn’t a conscious one. I grew up in an entrepreneurial family and perceived it to be a way of life. So it was not really a route I conscientiously chose as opposed to it being a world I was thrust into. I was working in corporate when I began my entrepreneurship journey as an additional revenue stream.
Being an entrepreneur is to face at times the insurmountable in order to achieve a vision that is borne out of your dreams. This in itself is a great challenge and as a female entrepreneur one has additional challenges. These make women have to work hard to prove that you can accomplish what your male counterparts can in order to shatter the glass ceiling.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?
Our coaching practice has been revolutionary in that we are one of the only coaching firms that are 100% female owned whose coaches have senior management and executive experience. And because we practice across the continent we are able to share best practice learnings not just globally but continentally with our clients who are both individuals and corporates.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
I would have to say there are a number of factors the first being God. It’s funny how when you decide what it is that you want and decide to pursue it that the Universe rises up to meet you. The second is a solid support system having family, friends and fellow entrepreneurs who are patient and encouraging as you map your entrepreneurial journey. The third factor is faith. It is to hold onto the vision despite the unexpected obstacles that arise.
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face?
Female entrepreneurs need to overcome a double edge sword, the first being the natural challenges of being an entrepreneur as well as the additional challenges that come by being a woman. Failure as a female in business is often penalised by a reflection of all women as a pose to an individual’s personal failure. We as women are also establishing networks which men have historically had for a longer period. This puts more pressure on women to succeed with at times with more limited resources.
What values and principles have helped you so far?
I have learnt collaborating to compete is key to growth. Find your “ikigai” meaning do work that you love, that the world needs, that you are good at is the key to getting having purposeful and satisfying work.
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business?
I became a career coach because there was a gap in the market when I was growing in my career. I created in essence a service that I needed at that point.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going?
I have had to dissolve an arm of my businesses due to change in market. It felt like a failure, in retrospect I realise that this failure was in essence one of the best educations I have ever received. I have learnt that failure is feedback, and the best way to learn from this feedback is to fail forward. Being an entrepreneur is learning from failure, being flexible in how you arrive at your goal and having the tenacity to keep going.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
My Plan is to continue growing Hesed consulting in Nigeria and South Africa as well as expand our geographical footprint into East Africa. It is to make sure we become a leading consulting company.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
Be willing to commit to the goal, work hard, learn how network effectively, have the ability to learn, unlearn and re-learn what they think they know. Above all leave the door open for other women who come behind you.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.