Nkandu Beltz helps women in business develop leadership qualities
As an advocate of creating lasting social change through the philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’, Nkandu has also been a passionate voice for the voiceless over the last few decades and is a supporter of women’s empowerment as a member of UN Women.
Nkandu was awarded the Pinnacle Professional of the Year award by Continental Who’s Who for her dedication to professional excellence. She is also an ambassador and mentor for STEMSEL youth (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and Social Enterprise Learning).
Today Nkandu continues to help people live better lives, to strive for greatness and find their leadership qualities by unlocking their true potential and by challenging their beliefs on leadership.
Nkandu has authored several books including I Have The Power: Unlocking Your Potential To Change The Worldand Fierce and Fabulous: The Feminine Force of Success
Her most recent work is Fierce and Fabulous: Phenomenal Women in Network Marketing which helps women discover authenticity and meaning in their lives so that they can find success and become leaders.
This book features many tenacious female change-makers and businesswomen who have found success in business using proven direct marketing and network marketing techniques.
‘Most of the time people look up to local or international leaders for guidance or inspiration but the truth is we are all leaders in our own way.‘ -Nkandu Beltz-Philanthropist, Author & Speaker.
Here, Nkandu tells Nativa World about her humanitarian journey, women’s leadership and why she remains unyielding in helping the world become a better place
Nkandu, can you outline your philanthropic journey?
The word philanthropy to me means, “to love humanity” and that is just a natural thing to do for all of us. From a very young age, my grandfather taught me about the concept of Ubuntu, “I am because we are”. This is an African philosophy that describes the oneness of humanity. I learned the importance of giving and caring for others from a very young age. By the time I was 10, I was introduced to the works of the United Nations. The main success I have seen through my work is helping people believe in themselves. People not giving up and people going to great lengths to make our communities a better place. The main challenge I personally encountered when I started in the Not for Profit sector was funding, which is still a problem for many organizations. But if I had to go back in time, I would start with setting up a ‘profit for purpose’ venture.
What set you on this path?
I came from a family that had enough. I watched as my parents and grandparents gave to others. They cared for people; they accommodated people who had nowhere to stay and gave food to people who had little or nothing. I remember on several occasions in my life that my grandfather and mother would make food parcels and ask me and my uncle to drop them at various households. When I asked grandpa why we did that, he said “we have people in our communities who cannot afford to eat three meals a day. When we realize that some people cannot help or look after themselves, we need to help them. He mentioned it’s good to give temporary relief but also look at teaching a man to fish instead of giving him fish everyday as he will become dependent on you”.
From Zambia, we moved to Botswana as my Dad had lost his job; my mother then applied for a position as a Home Economics Teacher in Maun, Botswana, After I finished high school I went to Study Journalism and News Writing. I met my husband Erik in Botswana. We then moved to the Netherlands but after eight months we moved to Australia to work. My husband Erik is a GP Obstetrician.
What moves and motivates you every day?
What has moved me is seeing a lot of people wanting to help. We have a lot of caring people in this world; we all want the same thing, to love and be loved. What keeps me moving forward is the fact that I want to contribute in making this world a safer place. To leave a legacy and create something meaningful so that in 200 years people can still make use of my teachings. My main goals are to live a balanced life, to create a business that is sustainable, to study the human mind and how we can reach our maximum potential. In the near future I plan to host my own TV show.
How is ‘Ubuntu’ applied to business?
Ubuntu is described as the oneness of humanity with the direct translation of ‘I am because we are’. This philosophy can be applied to anything and anyone. It’s about caring and making sure that you are doing your part. It’s about making sure that you are a person of integrity. Ubuntu in business is about being ethical and creating an environment for your clients and employees to flourish. A place where people take inspired action and they have a balanced life at work and home, good health and affordable living. Ubuntu encompasses the whole value system. Its about having integrity, doing the right thing and making sure that the people you are with are well looked after. Its about providing the best service and being the best you can be at whatever it is you chose to do. Ubuntu can mean so many things to so many people. In leadership, it’s about being a great person and having a good vision, being able to direct others in a positive way with proper outcomes. Nelson Mandela was the perfect example of Ubuntu. Both in deeds and words.
What has been your most inspiring moment?
My most inspiring and uplifting moment in my career was interviewing his Holiness the Dalai Lama. He is one person I have always followed and I remember as a child wanting to shake hands with him. Not only did my dream come true, we got to talk about important issues. For example the issue of domestic violence and how people are using religion to justify abuse of women and children. I draw inspiration from many people. I’m very much inspired by my husband Erik. At times he gets little or no sleep and yet gets up everyday to treat his patients. The hospitals are under staffed and most medical professionals work extra hours and yet he does not complain. He goes above and beyond his call of duty. The little things he does for his patients and those little things make a big difference to them. People who never give up and continue to fight for excellence inspire me.
What changes do you hope to see in the world over the next decade?
The changes I hope to see in the world for the next five to ten years is a reduction in poverty and an increase in basic education. This will go a long way in improving general health. We need to look after our environment and make sure that the earth can actually sustain us. We need to make sure that we are very conscious about the way we farm our lands and the amount of pollution we cause. The issues that need urgent attention is global economics. We need to make sure that third world countries play a bigger game in global trade. Our world leaders need to be transparent with the way they deal with businesses.
How can we challenge our perception of leadership and improve our leadership qualities?
A person can challenge his/her perception of leadership by asking him or herself why we are here on earth. Most of the time people look up to local or international leaders for guidance or inspiration but the truth is we are all leaders in our own way. I do my best to encourage people to realize that they have so much power within them that they can create meaningful and impacting change in their own communities themselves.
We have grown up believing that men are great leaders and most leadership roles will go towards men. We need to change the narrative and give women the same opportunities in business and life in general. In order to improve our leaderships qualities we have to listen and act on what is best for his or her workforce. The vision needs to be aligned of that of the community.
I think the top five leadership qualities are communication skills, empathy, having a clear vision and flexibility, inspired action (a great leader needs to inspire people and take action) and confidence (in him or her self as well as those he/she is working with.)
In your new book Fierce & Fabulous: The Feminine Force of Success how did you discover the women you featured?
I found some of the women on Facebook after a callout and others I had personal connections with. These women have shown resilience and they work hard to make this world a better place. They have gone through what quite a few women go through, but they did not give up on life.
What key issues do businesswomen face?
The real issues women face in business today is ‘stereo typing’. A businesswoman should be at home looking after children and the house. We still have a wide pay gap in Australia. This shouldn’t be the case at all. Women have to fight hard for the same positions as men.
Do women generally chose to make decisions for their families and communities, over making decisions for themselves?
As a mother I have to make decisions regarding my family and community everyday. It is actually a positive thing and we need to invite women to the table to participate in making important decisions like on policies and the economy. For example; lets look at local councils and how they operate, most local councils around the country will have few women compared to men.
How can we strive to achieve ‘oneness of humanity’?
By having honest and open conversations and by supporting one another, creating opportunities to flourish. Having a deeper understanding that we are all affected by what is going on around us and that we are responsible for the world that we have created. By making little acts of kindness on a daily basis, these little acts go a long way as they create a ripple effect.
Nkandu’s Leadership Tips:
- Learn to listen actively
- Learn from great leaders and those around you
- Have mentors
- Action- Need to take action
- Be patient
Nkandu’s key issues for businesswomen and her solutions:
- Gender Pay Gap- Make sure that women and men are paid based on skills and capabilities, not gender
- CEO positions – Making sure women are given equal opportunities in the workplace
- Boards of Directors- To have equal representation of women sitting on boards
- Politics- Women to be respected and treated with respect. People join politics to make a positive difference and just because people have different political views does not mean that we have to loose respect for them. The way we treat our female politicians is quite disgraceful as a country.
- Women are not taken seriously in business- Respect is a big issue because women are working in male dominated environments.
Photography courtesy of Nkandu Beltz