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Q&A with Alison Chiwara

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Alison Chiwara, Director Human Focused Ltd & Co Founder Flosverse CIC

How could you describe your career path in few words?

A surprise to many, I have had various career paths stemming from nursing, to sales all the way to being an entrepreneur with social impact at heart. I have often reacted to opportunities that rose due to gaps in the market and society and tried to close those gaps.

Female leadership pathways require a specific approach in order to ensure success. A willingness to learn anew, take unknown risks and accept the potentially volatile challenge of becoming a leader in uncertain grounds, is something l  have always bought into at the onset of any business or career change. Where some women find comfort in developing a sense of confidence in their existing abilities and knowledge to ensure job certainty, I have always certainly done the opposite and challenged myself in terms of my own growth.

 Nurturing my strong and supportive networks and building strong links with other professionals, both male and female mentors, allies, and peers has being most valuable along the way. Sound advice and guidance has always been from people who come from safe and non-judgmental environments and who genuinely want to see me win and they have allowed me to view failures as learning curves. I have never shied away from asking for help and often people will gladly step up and assist. Learning to establish my own brand of leadership and trying to be distinctly different from the classic leadership styles has been key. My hearts beats first, then my brain engages and it’s always allowed me to be the mindful leader and coworker I seek to be.

 In all of the changes, twists and turns I am always reminded to be kind to myself and those around me. Reflecting, questioning your purpose and role and changing what needs to be changed is something I have constantly applied to my journey. You are never too good for your role there is always room for improvement. 

What was your most challenging experience and how has it changed your mindset?

Observing so much lack of diversity and inclusion coupled with the impact on mental health in our workplaces everywhere during the pandemic, changed my mindset in terms of empowering others especially women. It has solidified the importance of lifting up others, so that they are afforded same access and opportunities as everyone else. I believe in empowering, educating, creating tangible, scalable and accessible opportunities for various communities that will equip them for successful and independent lives. I think that in order to make yourself adaptable in life, you must be graciously aggressive about your own growth journey and mindset becomes everything. When you cease to self-sabotage yourself, your possibilities become limitless. You begin to dream big and your circles begin to evolve and be in alignment with your growth mindset. It takes passion, a positive mindset, vision and dreams that seem impossible to begin to create a purpose driven business that’s serves and saves those around you. It was during the pandemic that l began to live and work towards a  purpose driven life when I was instantly  pushed to take on a more active and visible role in advocating for the things that mattered to me  and were having a profound impact on our communities globally. For me, diversity, inclusion and corporate mental health became my focus. The value of lifting and empowering women is too great to be underestimated and it is a crucial component in creating lasting and meaningful change in our communities.We have to be the change that we want to see. Having faith in yourself and your vision can make all the difference

Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader / manager?

 Albert Einstein said “strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value”

A leader who is an effective communicator with a positive mindset is every organisations dream in todays’ economic and social terrain. You have to be your very own cheerleader with a strong belief in yourself, this is what builds confidence and gives birth to all the qualities for success. Emotional awareness coupled with an understanding of diversity and inclusion are also critical for a successful leader. Being in control, understanding and being able to regulate your emotions as well as the ability to read a room and apply empathy when needed is vital. The ability to build meaningful relationships and connections with the right people is important for aligning yourself, and those your serve with the right opportunities and access. Some foresighted person once said “A boss has the title, a leader has the people”. Employees have a habit of falling in love with their leaders first before they can buy into the mission and vision of the organisation. The art of possible is truly realised when you start to see your own efforts and availing of resources start to inspire others to do more for themselves and the communities they serve.

What do you do when you are presented with unusual or uncertain context?

 I usually like to take time to think critically and try to understand what is being conveyed in the context before making a hurried assumption. In these instances, we need to be emotionally aware and apply a lot of control in order to arrive to a rationale judgment. I may perhaps consider paying particular attention to who is presenting this information, do l know enough about the source of the information, and is it credible, may l have misread or viewed the context? All of this often helps me in comprehending what’s before me before I make what maybe an unreasonable or unwarranted or chaotic response.

In some cases if l happen to know the source well enough and have good reason to believe it may need the content producer to rethink I always do it privately to cause less alert and harm to what may have been an innocent and unintentional action or even oversight. Before making a judgment, a bit of research and getting additional information and /or facts may help in gaining better insight into the situation. Staying open minded in the absence of concrete or verified explanation is something l always commend one to do lest you make the wrong and detrimental conclusions. We always have to be accountable for our actions at the end of the day and always approach even bad situations and narrations of events from a place of healing and with a positive approach.

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