Between locs, Tina Turner, meditation, Malcom X’s autobiography and a distate for office politics, here is what Mimi Kalinda- Group CEO and Co-Founder of Africa Communications Media Group, has to say to our Career questions.
What is your number one hack for dealing with difficult colleagues/bosses?
I don’t know, I might be that difficult boss, haha! But one thing I have learned in my over-20-year career is to always treat people with respect and have a level of empathy towards them so practically that means getting to know them, finding that one positive thing about them and focus on it. Do they like tea? Pre-empt a bad day by bringing them tea
2 things you do when you are having a bad day?
Meditate and drink Moringa tea.
When you are creatively stuck, you…?
Look to my kids for inspiration. They are so full of creative energy in their own ways. My oldest son has a huge passion for music and content, my daughter loves her arts and my youngest son is learning to play the piano. I literally cannot be mentally blocked around them, they are so stimulating.
2 tips for navigating office politics?
I just don’t entertain them. We have systems and procedures in the office that we always follow and that doesn’t allow room for any office politics. Every issue is tabled accordingly either in private or if it involves the entire team, we sit down together and work through it.
If you could have a lunch date with one woman you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her?
Tina Turner. I admire her strength, her style, her resilience and her story of triumph in what seemed like the worst situations. I would ask her how she rose through it all.
If you could wear the same hairstyle to work every day, it would be?
I wear my sisterlocks to work every day and I love it!
Your all-time favorite book is..?
It’s hard to choose between The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Conversations with God. Two extremes but I love them both.
3 greatest career lessons you have learnt on your journey?
Firstly, I learnt not to stretch myself too thin, burn out does not serve anybody and I finally learned that busy does not necessarily equal productive. Secondly, I have learned what I love doing and that is writing, mentoring and growing businesses. I have also learned that everybody has strengths and weaknesses so if it’s in my power, I make sure I play on those strengths both for myself and my colleagues.
About Mimi Kalinda
Born in the DRC of Rwandan heritage and raised in South Africa, Mimi Kalinda is the Group CEO and Co- Founder of the Africa Communications Media Group (ACG), a pan-African public relations and communications agency headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. ACG clients include MTN, Barloworld, Accenture, AFIG Funds, Nesta, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Dalberg Group.
Mimi sits on the board of Catalyst for Growth and the Africa Brand Counsel. She frequently speaks about the African narrative and its impact on economic development (specifically FDI). Most recently, she led workshops on Storytelling and Narrative in Leadership as a trainer for the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa program, as well as for the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business Women in Business Conference, and the Africa Trade and Investment Global Summit 2018 in Washington, DC.
Previously, as FleishmanHillard’s Africa Lead, Mimi was part of the team that won PRISM Awards for the Barclays Africa “Prosper” campaign as well as the African Union’s campaign against Ebola. She also worked for Weber Shandwick, where she managed social impact accounts, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
From 2003 to 2006, Mimi worked in New York City, where she was a Production Assistant for 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, specifically on the film Inside Man, directed by Spike Lee. Mimi was the first African woman to host a show on MTV Europe and the recipient of the One World Media Award for Rien Que La Verite, a television program advocating the prevention of HIV/AIDS and an end to violence against women in the DRC.
Mimi is a New York University graduate. She is the Rebranding Africa Champion for Africa 2.0 and she was a finalist for International African Woman of the Year at the Women4Africa Awards 2016. Mimi is an Archbishop Tutu Leadership Program Fellow. Her first book, Talking to Africa: Considering Culture in Communications for a Complex Continent, was released in January 2017.