Women must leave a legacy

Leaving a legacy means leaving footprints that will inspire and drive other women, says Fin24 user and president of the Businesswomen's Association of SA, Liepollo Lebohang Pheko. She writes:

WHEN we talk about women in business in South Africa and leaving a legacy, we first need to understand what we mean by creating sustainable economies, sustainable growth and empowerment.

Leaving a legacy means having something to show for the time that we have spent in our areas of expertise and areas of endeavour.

It means leaving inspiring footprints that will drive the people that we leave behind, the people that we work with and inspiring others with our ideas even after we are long gone.

It’s about making a tangible impact and giving birth to ideas that can change communities today and in the future.

One of the challenges faced within the country and the continent as a whole is that we don’t always inspire innovations amongst women.

Yet Africa has some of the most exciting and fantastic pockets of excellence and islands of brilliance.

Rewarding innovative thinkers, those people that are daring and have the audacity to do that which most people would not do will help create a new pool of innovative thinkers, who can contribute towards community development and economic growth. 

The continent needs to establish more business support agencies to recognise innovative women so that we are able to inspire the younger women of South Africa to mimic such actions.

Governments need to develop policies that will protect intellectual property of innovators and the creation of ideas, enable access to funding, collateral loans and create more flexible and longer pay back terms to boost the growth of women in business.

These are important conversations that we need to take on to enable the creation of wealth for Africa’s communities.

Future leaders

There is also a need to change and shift focus on the older generation of business people who keep winning the same awards, getting the big business deals to cultivating a new mind-set where the older generation of business leaders groom a new pool of future leaders.

It’s about time that we start seeing new faces and new entrants into spaces of excellence.

It’s about time that we build up the expertise and participation and profiles of other emerging entrepreneurs and professionals and move away from selfish leadership to producing a generation of leaders, who have the interest of the community as a whole at heart.

Unfortunately this is something that can’t be legislated. So we need to have these conversations amongst ourselves to embed this culture in our thinking and within our workplaces.

This is because the key to empowerment really is to have a culture were business leaders are held accountable for the contributions they are making towards grooming the next generation of business leaders, businesswomen and entrepreneurs, and successful women in the workplace.

This approach will enable us to leave something for generations to come and in turn enable the sustainability of businesses into the future.

Recognising excellence

We need to celebrate those leaders who have done this, celebrate our islands of excellence constantly and continuously to be able to create an environment where we are encouraging more women and men alike to mimic these actions to help foster a mind-set of excellence. 

The concept of blazing a trail is about recognising excellence to influence others.

It’s about breaking new grounds and exploring new paths and this is interlinked to the concept of a legacy. It’s a forward looking approach that seeks to create a vision to be pursued by women to encourage excellence, and inspire, and excite them to take the plunge and want to do more than just the mundane in business and workplaces.

It’s a kind of progression that challenges women to be more daring, in their imaginations and vision, to have audacity to think beyond today and enter new paths that they’ve never entered before.

Although headway has been made by the women of South Africa to mentor and support other women and organisations such as that of Bwasa who have helped facilitate support and empowerment efforts aimed at uplifting women in business and women in the workplace, more work needs to be done in recognising the contributions of women in the various sectors like agriculture, in teaching and within the NGO space.

Making a difference

At Bwasa we want to create dialogue and a platform for women to be able to participate in businesses  to a point where they can leave a legacy at their places of work or places of enterprise whether in the public or private sectors.

We want to create meaningful conversations about what it means to be a woman in business or the workplace and help enable a future generation of women leaders and women in business by exciting and inspiring the next generation through the works of today’s women.

So as we blaze the trail into the future, we are calling on the participation of all women in South Africa to identify ways in which they can participate in making a difference in their areas of endeavours.

They can be helping contribute towards the creating of a new pool of women in business, women entrepreneurs.

They can and provide support for other women in the workplace to begin the process of creating a culture where excellence and recognition are nurtured and used to inspire incoming generations.

- Fin24

* This is a Fin24 user submission. Add your voice to our Women's Wealth Issue and help empower others this Women's Month.

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