This week we get to chat with Zimasa, who apart from working at one of the leading banks is the Editor of The Corporate Canvas, a lifestyle editorial for professionals and entrepreneurs.

Tell Us:

Your qualifications: LLB (Wits University); LLM [Corporate Law] (University of Johannesburg)

Your practice areas: African Financial Regulation.

The reaction when people find out you are a lawyer: “Why didn’t you go into practice” is most definitely the most common one.

A major move in the last 5 years: There are a few, but I would say definitely starting an online store on my platform The Corporate Canvas, whereby customers can upload a pre-existing CV that is the edited and redesigned . Check it out  (thecorporatecanvas.co.za/store.thecorporatecanvas.co.za) .

 

Something you wish you could change about legal practice: : I believe that law firms are cut-throat places to work (this is probably as a result of the long, stressful working hours that many have to endure) and as a result not very pleasant places to work. I do have the utmost respect for people in practice though!

 

How do you network: To be honest, I am still learning the power of this, but what works very well for me is making friends easily and actually maintaining those friendships. Because I usually forge genuine relations with many, people are often very willing and happy to assist me when I need something or seek individuals in their own network to assist me.

A beauty staple and closet item you can’t live without:  
Beauty: any matte Lipcolor

Clothing: a sling back heel

Describe your Werk style:  Either preppy with dresses with stockings – think Blair Waldorf or a great pair of pants and a white blouse. Every outfit I wear MUST either incorporate gold jewellery or pearls.

When stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to refocus: Nothing works quite like sitting on the couch with wine and a good movie on a Friday to truly get me to unwind & refresh. Random “sho’t lefts” (mini break-aways) with my husband also do wonders to get me recharged, motivated and energised again.

A physical or spiritual practice you have adopted:  For years I have been going to the gym in the evenings after work. This year I made a resolution to myself to learn to be an early riser and so I started attending gym in the morning at around 05.30 for an hour or so, then I attend work. It really helps energise me for the day and it actually makes me more productive. It’s March now and I have certainly still managed to maintain this new habit.

Bad recommendations or assumptions about law that you often hear: That you are only successful at it if you practice as an attorney or advocate. I believe I have forged a beautiful career for myself by being a specialist in financial regulation in Africa.

The best or most worthwhile investment you have ever made: My loft apartment which I purchased at age 23. I look at my peers who are about to make their 1st property purchases now and I am so glad I learned everything there was to learn about purchasing and investing in property at such an early age.

Major goal for the next 5 years: 

Rival the likes of the New York Times, Time Magazine, Huffington Post.

Become a mother – and a fantastic one too!

Buy a beautiful home with a huge garden

 

Take my mom to Turkey – she’s always wanted to go!

Quote you live your life by: “Speak all your dreams and desires into existence”

You can say Hi to Zimasa here:

How can people get in touch with you:

Mail: Zimasa@thecorporatecanvas.co.za

IG: @thecorporatecanvas

FB: thecorporatecanas

LinkedIn:

 

Zimasa Qolohle Mabuse

 

Ok, so Beyonce happened this weekend and apparently so did Coachella! I don’t know who has fully recovered from it because none of my social media feeds have.

That’s the Beyonce effect.

 

She was meant to headline Coachella 2017, but she was pregnant with her twins Rumi and Sir, so she came back this year and blew us all away. The epic dance moves, the live band and bringing out her whole squad! I think there is something we can learn as business-minded women from the event!

1. Let’s get information

 

Education and self development are important for us as women, especially in these days where almost every company/ institution/ government wants to be seen to be progressive by empowering the women in their societies. There are so many free learning opportunities that exist we have to look around us and take advantage of them- especially in tech and business management.
If you can’t find free, look for cheap, but credible courses. We can find Chanel on the low low so lets channel that to finding Harvard learning on a budget. MIT has free online course materials; you won’t get a degree but it does boost your confidence.
Beyonce did an interview looking back at her 2013 halftime show and she said “part of the reason I rehearse so much and part of the reason I study everything is so that I can completely let go and relax, so I am not in my head and I am confident.”
Be like Beyonce and study as much as you can so when opportunities arise, you are confident to put your hand up in that meeting! You should lean all the way in!

2. Let’s see that coordination

I won’t get into the political debate, but I think we need to look at collaboration and coordination within the black community. It’s an open secret that women have challenges working together. I have heard this story endlessly and have been a victim of women on women discrimination.
In her song Formation, Beyonce said, “prove to me you got some coordination.” This reminds of a picture posted by Ava Durvenay of 3 little girls with their afros holding hands. The caption of that picture read, “if there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
I think this challenge of working with other girls comes from the ‘just enough’ mentality we were raised with. In our homes, there were just enough resources and we’ve transferred this mentality to our work. We think there is just enough ‘shine’, that the “enemy” is onto us, so they reserve only 1 spot for us at the 18 seater table, and we all clamour for it. We bought into the narrative that it is a mans world, and we should be grateful to be invited. This can be seen in Hip Hop, with the way we constantly pit Cardi B and Nicki Minaj against each other when they are both talented women who are making great music at the same time.
We don’t have to play by those rules anymore, especially if we play together! Come on, lets twirl on the haters together, it’s better for optics!
And can we get another Destinys Child album?

3. Slay…consistently

 

I think this is pretty self explanatory. Beyonce is a lot of things, but consistency is probably number 2 on the infinite list. She was on hiatus for almost a year, but when she hit that stage, it was like she never left. Be known for your craft and excellence: ” You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making!”.
Beyonce sparked something. We have to keep the flame burning so we can afford tickets to her and Jay-Z’s On The Run Tour 2.
Side note to Beyonce: Africa is a part of the world, so don’t be planning world tours and excluding us! We are not represented by our colonisers in France and Britain. You need to come and check up on it 🙂
That said, I think black girls in Africa should start a petition for Beyonce to bring her tour to Johannesburg. So, now ladies lets get in formation!
Leone Nezi

Happy Hump Day!

This week we chat with Leone Nezi, a Human Rights and Family Law attorney who also runs The Pearls Social Entrepreneurs’ Network and is a facilitator at the Pacific Institute.

Tell Us

 

Your qualifications and any accolades:

LLB (University of KwaZulu-Natal), Facilitator for Investment in Excellence (The Pacific Institute), Director of Precious Pearls Trust and The Pearls Social Entrepreneurs’ Network, Days for Girls International-Country Representative.
Your practice areas:
Family Law and Human Rights Law, with a particular focus on Gender Based Violence (“GBV”) and Menstrual Health Management.

The reaction when people find out you are a lawyer:
Hmmm which law firm do you work for?” or  “So this is what happened…”
A major move in the last 5 years:
I have made a few major moves, but one of the highlights was working for an organization that focused on GBV. This gave me a greater appreciation of how culture at time fuels GBV and the challenges that come about when one tries to balance culture, law and family.  
The second thing would be focusing on Precious Pearls Trust. The tears, the long hours, uncertainty and mapping out new terrain, despite that, I would not trade the experience for anything. It was and it is still worth it.  
Why you chose to study law:
I knew from a young age that whatever I was going to make a career out of was going to be people centered. It was going to be law or psychology. 

Something you wish you could change about the legal practice:


There seems to be pressure to fit into a predefined framework and if one steps out of that framework, it is not easily embraced. Doing things differently should be welcomed without necessarily undermining the profession nor the ethics.
How do you network:
I network online and some great friendships and networks have been birthed. I also network in comfortable settings such as attending various corporate/professional events. Such settings are ideal as I get to network without the backdrop of someone identifying me as lawyer and having certain expectations regarding my conduct or thought processing.

A beauty staple and closet item you can’t live without: 
Jewellery, bright coloured lipstick and eyeliner!
Describe your werk style: 
I have to wear heels! If I am in a dress I add stockings to the look.
A physical or spiritual practice you have adopted: 
Every evening/morning I read the Bible and pray. I recently signed up for ballet and ballroom dancing. I’m hoping to include that as my part of my physical practice.
What would you say to yourself in the first year of university: 
Being an Attorney or studying further such as Masters are great options but, there are other possibilities, don’t be scared to chart new territory. Always remember that, in the corporate/business/professional world there are no permanent friends especially when going up the ladder.

The best or most worthwhile investment you ever made:
Personal development is something that I have done over the years and will continue doing so as one needs to keep abreast with new findings and developments.Quote you live your life by:
I am my own person-live unapologetically!!

 

This week Elizabeth Mzungu, a lawyer based in Swaziland tell us about her Werk, style and journey!

Tell Us…

Your qualifications:

I’m an Adjudicator and hold an LLB and a Bcom Law (cum laude) Degree from the University of Pretoria. I’m a certified mediator and am currently completing an Advanced Certificate in Financial Planning.

Your practice area:

Dispute Resolution within the non-bank financial services industry.

The reaction when people find out you are a lawyer:

“Oh, you’re a Law-iar”

 A major move in the last 5 years:

I decided to actively pursue a career in alternative dispute resolution. I left legal practice at a time most people thought was too soon and I took a role at a mediation company.


Why you chose to study law:

 

In high school I loved Condoleezza Rice and I’m not entirely sure why or if I fully appreciated what she did (nor whether she was doing it well). When a relative mentioned how most politicians and presidents often have a legal qualification (and Condoleezza had gone to Law School), I figured it was a good place to start.

Something you wish you could change about legal practice:

I have a great deal of respect for legal practice and the great ends it achieves for Justice. However, the reality is there are many areas that traditional legal practice simply isn’t the most appropriate way to resolve a dispute because it has become so mechanical. I wish the focus would change from primarily being about how to win over against a ‘weaker’ legal position to correctly identifying their client’s real interests.

What apps do you have to turn off to increase productivity: 

I removed the Facebook App from my phone to increase productivity.

How do you network:

I make sure I give time to my personal interests which often leads me to places where attorneys maybe typically wouldn’t go. Connecting with people through a shared interest or on a personal level before they hear I’m a lawyer has always put me in a position to be the lawyer the call when they need one.

A beauty staple you can’t live without:

To be honest I generally live without a lot of product, but the one thing I that I have never ran out of stock of is a red lip color.

Describe your Werk style:

Well, I work in an office that has a uniform so my Werk style isn’t completely mine. I do however give my soul respite  in little ways like adding a touch of something bright wherever I can and a few years ago I declared my hair a “why not” zone (I’ve been experimenting a lot).

When stressed or overwhelmed, what do you do to refocus:

I try and remember the WHY of what I’m doing.

 

If a WHY can’t be found, I try remember the last thing I knew with absolutely certaintyregarding the situation or task(s) I am dealing with. So if I am stressed about all the X number of things I need to accomplish by a certain time, I try and focus on the fact that there are X number of people who had trusted me enough to give me those tasks. If I was certain I could do it then I can go forward with that clarity.

A time you made a mistake at work and how you bounced back:

I had recently been appointed as an acting manager and had to attend to an industry complaint against my team. I recorded that I had done the final steps necessary to resolve the complaint and then forgot to actually do what I had recorded as done.

Later, when my regional manager got a further complaint I immediately told her my error and the was a fault registered against me and shared with the national management. I was sure I’d never get any management responsibilities after that, but that experience just reminded me that failure is not death! I took the hit and kept working and still got an offer to a management position after that.

A physical or spiritual practice you have adopted:

  • I make sure that I have someone ahead of me, someone behind and me and someone next to me that I am being completely transparent with. I particularly always make time for people younger than me in any way I can to make sure I don’t dam all I learn but stay a fresh water source by giving out and getting new input.
  • I try to stop texting after 10pm.
  • I go running at least twice a week.

 

Bad recommendations or assumptions about law that you often hear:

The assumption that the Law affords rights only and no responsibilities along with them.

What would you say to yourself in the first year of university:

Things are most often not going to go your way, but that doesn’t mean you’re still not going the right way.

The best or most worthwhile investment you have ever made?

 The time spent during my University years serving &volunteering and learning about my Faith shaped the foundation for a value system I have been able to apply every place I’ve been since.

 

Quote you live your life by:

What can I learn here?

Where can people reach you to say hi?

LinkedIn: Elizabeth Mzungu

Facebook: Elizabeth Mzungu

*Originally published in She Leads Africa

Earlier today I was minding my business and driving back home and just as I hit the turn to my place, I saw the rear end of Porsche Panamera 4 sticking out of my neighbor’s wall.

After I got over the initial shock, I was like “Yup, that’s an accurate depiction my life”.
Since 2009 I have dreamed of visiting Lagos, Nigeria and every year I passionately talk about it, to a point of breathlessness. In 2017 after I took part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship (“MWF”), my determination hit an all-time high as I got to meet some incredibly smart, fun, talented people from the rest of the continent and I added 10 more countries to my list places I wanted to visit.
In October 2017, I saw the She Leads Africa SLAY Festival would take place on 17 February 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria and I decided that “THIS IS IT”.
I sped off to write the event organizers and put myself up for any type of speaking opportunities that were available and was given the “thank you for getting in touch, we will get back to you.”
But they didn’t know who they were dealing with. I kept idling like a Porsche, waiting to make my move and then it happened!
As I was idle on Instagram I saw an insta-story of a friend/ client and he was with one of the co-founders of the She Leads Africa publication! I decided it was time to switch up lanes and accelerate this process by making a client an offer they can’t refuse, reduced legal fees in exchange for an introduction to the co-founders.
In December, a few days after Christmas I emailed the co-founder with my spiel and she said yes! Then on the other side, I started my application for a Speakers Travel Grant (“STG”) which is one the perks for alumni of the MWF and I was like “Yassss, I am cruising!!”.
So how did I go from cruising to hitting a wall?

Over hustling

The quality of your hustle will determine the kind of results you achieve. Over-hustling is like over-revving the engine, its fun and creates noise but you actually aren’t going anywhere. I turned every trick in the hustler’s handbook! I am resourceful as heck and got some good results:
  • The event organizers invited me to the event as a speaker hosting a masterclass and sent me a Visa application letter.
  • The Southern Sun hotel in Ikoyi agreed to sponsor me with accommodation for the duration of my stay.
  • I was able to negotiate with customs officials to leave me 2 blank pages in my passport which is almost finished.
Some hustles fail:
  • When my STG application was bounced, I decided to send sponsorship requests to every single airline that flies out of OR Tambo and I put them on notice on Twitter. Putting companies on blast on Twitter only works when you can go viral. I had 11 retweets. No bueno.
  • I had 2 pages left in my passport! Travelling under those conditions is very difficult.

The contingency

I put a lot of my eggs in the STG basket instead of working on other leads that would lead me somewhere.
When the STG responded to me I had exactly 1 week to shoot a new shot, which led to the frantic ‘spray and pray’ approach with almost 15 airlines, rather than a targeted approach I had towards Southern Sun which led to success.

Counting the Cost

Applying for a visa generally takes 2 weeks, or it can be more but I decided to travel 9 days before I would need to apply for the visa which was really cutting it thin.
As I would be taking this trip during a work period, which is a time to make coin- I hadn’t set up coin generating targets for the trip- if anything I was going to spend time and money in non-income producing activities.
I didn’t account for the cost of time and the cost of money in undertaking this exercise from the beginning to the end. I believe in miracles, but God isn’t in the business of covering up for laziness and folly!

Know Your Audience

In applying for the STG I wasn’t able to show the people controlling the purse string what they wanted to see, which was a high impact business event that would change and improve my business in a measurable way.
They saw a one-day social event that happened under the guise of entrepreneurship and I was basically asking them to fund a weekend getaway!
On a side note: imagine how much fun it would have been to watch Black Panther in Lagos though!

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HIT A WALL

*Originally published in She Leads Africa

Earlier today I was minding my business and driving back home and just as I hit the turn to my place, I saw the rear end of Porsche Panamera 4 sticking out of my neighbor’s wall.
After I got over the initial shock, I was like “Yup, that’s an accurate depiction my life”.
Since 2009 I have dreamed of visiting Lagos, Nigeria and every year I passionately talk about it, to a point of breathlessness. In 2017 after I took part in the Mandela Washington Fellowship (“MWF”), my determination hit an all-time high as I got to meet some incredibly smart, fun, talented people from the rest of the continent and I added 10 more countries to my list places I wanted to visit.
In October 2017, I saw the She Leads Africa SLAY Festival would take place on 17 February 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria and I decided that “THIS IS IT”.
I sped off to write the event organizers and put myself up for any type of speaking opportunities that were available and was given the “thank you for getting in touch, we will get back to you.”
But they didn’t know who they were dealing with. I kept idling like a Porsche, waiting to make my move and then it happened!
As I was idle on Instagram I saw an insta-story of a friend/ client and he was with one of the co-founders of the She Leads Africa publication! I decided it was time to switch up lanes and accelerate this process by making a client an offer they can’t refuse, reduced legal fees in exchange for an introduction to the co-founders.
In December, a few days after Christmas I emailed the co-founder with my spiel and she said yes! Then on the other side, I started my application for a Speakers Travel Grant (“STG”) which is one the perks for alumni of the MWF and I was like “Yassss, I am cruising!!”.
So how did I go from cruising to hitting a wall?

Over hustling

The quality of your hustle will determine the kind of results you achieve. Over-hustling is like over-revving the engine, its fun and creates noise but you actually aren’t going anywhere. I turned every trick in the hustler’s handbook! I am resourceful as heck and got some good results:
  • The event organizers invited me to the event as a speaker hosting a masterclass and sent me a Visa application letter.
  • The Southern Sun hotel in Ikoyi agreed to sponsor me with accommodation for the duration of my stay.
  • I was able to negotiate with customs officials to leave me 2 blank pages in my passport which is almost finished.
Some hustles fail:
  • When my STG application was bounced, I decided to send sponsorship requests to every single airline that flies out of OR Tambo and I put them on notice on Twitter. Putting companies on blast on Twitter only works when you can go viral. I had 11 retweets. No bueno.
  • I had 2 pages left in my passport! Travelling under those conditions is very difficult.

The contingency

I put a lot of my eggs in the STG basket instead of working on other leads that would lead me somewhere.
When the STG responded to me I had exactly 1 week to shoot a new shot, which led to the frantic ‘spray and pray’ approach with almost 15 airlines, rather than a targeted approach I had towards Southern Sun which led to success.

Counting the Cost

Applying for a visa generally takes 2 weeks, or it can be more but I decided to travel 9 days before I would need to apply for the visa which was really cutting it thin.
As I would be taking this trip during a work period, which is a time to make coin- I hadn’t set up coin generating targets for the trip- if anything I was going to spend time and money in non-income producing activities.
I didn’t account for the cost of time and the cost of money in undertaking this exercise from the beginning to the end. I believe in miracles, but God isn’t in the business of covering up for laziness and folly!

Know Your Audience

In applying for the STG I wasn’t able to show the people controlling the purse string what they wanted to see, which was a high impact business event that would change and improve my business in a measurable way.
They saw a one-day social event that happened under the guise of entrepreneurship and I was basically asking them to fund a weekend getaway!
On a side note: imagine how much fun it would have been to watch Black Panther in Lagos though!

Creating Value

I was very excited to be part of the She Leads Africa SLAY Festival, but I hadn’t really thought of how I would use this platform to create value beyond the day. My talk I prepared was fantastic, but I was going to end up in a sea of speakers because I hadn’t really finessed my differentiator.
The same applies to my relationship with the hotel I should have stayed at. Beyond tweets and pictures, I hadn’t really thought of a way to add value to their brand in return for their hospitality.
After the Porsche hit that wall, it was pulled back and reversed onto a tow truck. In the same way, I need to reverse and get back to the drawing board.
The driver of the car will have to repair that wall, in the same way, I have to explain and apologize to the people who were expecting me.I have set a 3-month target to go to Lagos and this time it will be a beautiful, paced and thought-out journey!

Tell Us…

Your qualifications and any accolades:

 LLB (University of Pretoria), Sowetan Top 100 Young Bosses, Mail and Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans, Mandela Washington Fellowship Alum and Avance Media 100 Most Influential Young South Africans.

Your practice areas:

Commercial law, mining law (Regulatory and compliance) and legal training for entrepreneurs.

The reaction when people find out you are a lawyer?

The most common reaction is

 

  1. “Oh, so you can can help me with a bail application if I get arrested?”
  2. “Guys, we need to be careful what we say because we have a lawyer here.”
  3. “You know, I have this problem…”

       Why you chose to study law:

I wanted to work in the family business which was my parents’ law firm. After my mom passed away in 2001 I was really determined to be my dads business partner, I goal I have achieved.  Currently my focus is on finding ways to practice law more in way that is innovative, giving lawyers a quality life and adding value to clients in non traditional ways- going beyond service to hospitality.

Something you wish you could change about legal practice:

 I wish the culture of legal practice was more inclusive and collaborative. I recently started working with a social enterprise in the tech space and the attitude of people in tech is a complete 180 degrees from lawyers. First of all they dress very casually, which brings down a sense of pretence, they are quick to help with contacts, ideas, content at no cost and without asking for acknowledgment. Similarly to legal practice though is that women are still missing in key positions and conversations.

I think we place too much emphasis on culture fit, as opposed to promoting a collaborative culture- where every individuals personal culture (background, ethnicity, experiences, beliefs, etc) is welcomed and built upon to create an inclusive culture. Right now in most law firms, the traditions dictate the culture and everyone is expected to fit into it and I think its time to question the traditions to see if they are helping or hurting lawyers.

What apps do you use to increase productivity:

 

  1. Microsoft Outlook helps to be able to see my emails exactly as they are on my PC and respond when I am on the go.
  2. Trello is also helpful when organising tasks on a team. I don’t use it as much as I would like to!
  3. Screenshot is great because it allows me to turn my phone screen into a second mini screen

       A beauty staple and closet item you can’t live without:

Beauty staple(s): MAC extended play giga lash, Fenty Beauty Pro Filter Foundation (shade 440)  and MAC Ruby Woo lipstick.

Closet item(s): My penguin suit: A crisp fitted white shirt, fitted black pants and a solid pair of black stilettos.

Describe your Werk style:

I like to wear clothes that “transition” from day to night or “formal to casual” by just changing one thing. Eg Dress and sneakers is a casual-day look but change to heels and its formal-night look!

A time you made a mistake at work and how you bounced back:

 As a candidate attorney I forgot to go to court to note a judgment. The client was livid and so was the partner I was working for. I learned from that experience was that I didn’t want to pursue a career in litigation, which led me to my current practice areas.

Bad recommendations or assumptions about law that you often hear:

“We can just take it to court”- because going to court is expensive and takes a long time. I think people should be informed of other dispute resolution mechanism, which would be cheaper and faster like mediation.

The best or most worthwhile investment you have ever made: 

An investment into my personal development and growth through continuous learning! In 2012 I also decided that every year I would complete a certificate every year until I get my LLM or turn 30, whichever comes first. I am now 30, but I think I want to extend it for the next 5 years.  Right now I am learning to code!

Quote you live your life by:

“Pressure makes diamonds. No pressure, no diamonds.” Anonymous.

Thanks for chatting with us!

How can people get in touch with you to say hi?

LinkedIn: Tiyani Majoko

Instagram: @thelegalwerk // @tey_carter

Twitter: @thelegalwerk

I have been blogging on and off for over 10 years. I have written about my relationships, faith, entrepreneurship and everything in between. In all this time the 1 thing I have been consistently working on is my legal career, starting university in 2007, but I hardly write about it… Until now.

I was raised by lawyers so I grew up in a home where legal lingo was the norm. I knew about subpoenas and rebuttals when I was in primary school! I read Judy Blume and John Grisham novels interchangeably as I waited for my parents to finish work while I lay on the blue couch in the reception area of their law firm.

When my mom passed away when I was 13 I decided to become a lawyer so I could work with my dad,  and keep the legacy of their firm. Fast forward to 2014 I took the opportunity to start my own legal consultancy and true to my vision I started it with my dad as my co-founder.

When I started my business, I missed the people and the Christmas parties! I think lawyers or people with a legal degree are creative, witty and very adaptive to a variety of environments. And my aim is highlight these qualities and many more in this platform.

This platform exists to:

  1. Focus the spotlight on lawyers around the world, learning about their work, style and interests.
  2. Create a global network of lawyers to move from being “learned colleagues” to friends.
  3. Allows for organic mentorships to take place as people gravitate towards those with similar values, regardless of background or location.
  4. Shows lawyers have a lot of personality and ends the lawyer jokes!
People compare lawyers to sharks and that the legal fraternity is very adversarial. Admittedly it is competitive, but on this platform I want to promote a community that encourages collaboration because we are all on the side of justice!
This platform is open to all, we want to hear from the first year students all the way to Michelle Obama and Supreme Court Justices.
I am excited to share and grow this platform with you.
Lets Werk!