As we celebrate Women’s Month, we speak to SAIBPP's CEO Vuyiswa Mutshekwane who has faced challenges in business, particularly within industries believed to be the preserve of men.
But she is proving that determination, integrity and empathy can move mountains.
After building a promising career in fashion retail, marketing and events management, Vuyiswa Mutshekwane was propelled by an insatiable need to do more. She wanted to contribute directly to the country’s development and the institute’s mission resonated with her.
“Over time, what was initially a small spark of interest evolved into a full-blown obsession with the industry and I believe wholeheartedly in the property sector and am committed to seeing the industry thrive and grow.”
What are some of the challenges that you, as a woman, face constantly, or have faced in your career?
If I am honest, many of the challenges I’ve encountered have been self-inflicted. I sold myself short, settled for less than I was worth, and said yes when I meant no. I did not believe I was worthy of certain opportunities and did not fight for what I wanted.
How have you overcome these challenges?
I believe that one of the biggest hindrances that women face in business is risk aversion and shortage of confidence. Confidence is built over time and I find that exhaustive preparation is often a good way to overcome self-doubt. Some degree of risk aversion can also be healthy, as it allows for sober decision making, but we should never allow ourselves to be governed by fear.
What advice do you have for other women getting started in the industry?
Building relationships matters more than networking – work on cultivating strong and meaningful relationships in the industry. Also note it’s not about how many people you know, it’s about how many know you, so seek opportunities to make yourself known by joining professional associations and volunteering or joining the committees. It’s a great way to meet others and expand your influence.
Who are your female role models?
I am inspired by all the amazing global women leaders who are changing the world for good and leading by example: Sanna Marin, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Greta Thunberg, Jacinda Ardern, Ayanna Pressley, Mariana Mazzucato, Angela Merkel… the list grows every day. All I can say is: The future really is female.