By Amanda Ellen Nicola Jojo
AS women are progressively setting pace in various industries, womanhood and entrepreneurship are turning out to be a remarkable duo. In the quest of following her dreams, United States of America based Dr Rutendo Mudzamiri is an enthusiastic serial social entrepreneur whose 15 years of work is anchored on creating platforms that mainly allow social impact leaders to thrive.
On the woman she is today, Dr Ru as she is affectionately known described herself as someone who has been molded by her background which incorporates knowing pain, suffering, failures, success, fighting, building up, and ensuring that those who are around her are empowered.
“If I were a dish, I’d be one made with a mixture of ingredients to make a perfect meal for those meant to be fed and be full of the nutrients from the served dish. All this illustrates that the process of becoming what you refer to as the ‘woman I am today has been in the warm season, cold season, and indeed some fire. Yet, all keep producing the resilient warm-spirited woman who cares about empathetic service in any work, project, or interaction with me,” Dr Ru said.
Dr Ru is the brain behind a leadership training institute called Center for Leadership and Public Service which is currently focused on virtual coaching and targeted local training programs in the United States.
“My second venture, Her Next Level is focused on accelerating social impact focus startups by women globally, creating platforms for effective mentorship, training, and funding,” she added.
Dr Rutendo remains authentic through every stage of entrepreneurship inspiring and empowering audiences by sharing her struggles even in the presence of extreme success. Thus, she has a philanthropy-focused non-profit in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, called Girlotherapy, which focuses on providing for the needs of disadvantaged young women-led homes.
“While we cater to their needs, we ensure they get the help that propels wholeness emotionally and economically and finds opportunities for these incredible young women to go back to school or to get back into the workforce and take care of themselves as well as their children,” she stated.
The burning need to serve the community acted as a magnetic force that pulled Dr Ru into entrepreneurship.
Voicing her views on that she said: “SERVICE! I wanted to be able to combine philanthropy and making money while not being bored. You need to have a calling and love to serve because sometimes you do so with limited resources. When it’s a calling of love and service, you keep going, and you find ways to keep the lights on because destinies depend on your leadership.”
Over the years, there has been a wave of momentum that ignited a global reckoning around gender inequalities. As such, Dr Ru held two editions of the Bossbabe Summit which convened transforming and trailblazing leaders who have moved society forward and changed both the face of the women’s power and exercise of it.
“We attracted more women in the corporate world, in business, in the start-up phase, and social impact work.
“The goal was to create space to engage, encourage and provide solutions for women-led initiatives in building stronger families and communities globally. We started with a network of 200, now 15 000 strong, and Boss Babe Summit has evolved to Her Next Level! The 3rd edition is one for the books; we can’t wait to make it happen early next year,” she commented.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), identifies the instrumental involvement of the Diaspora to the continent’s structural transformation aspiration as enshrined under the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Against this background, Dr Ru echoed that the Diaspora is a vast reservoir for human, financial, intellectual and social capital.
“Simply put, serve with skills and resources (not limited to money), invest in thriving startups, and partner with organizations, businesses, and ministries to provide service in any way you can. Be aware of the opportunities for business investment available and if interested, do due diligence and pursue them,” she stated.
For women, juggling work along with family life is a precarious balancing act since naturally, women play multiple roles.
Sharing her insights on that Dr Ru said: “I don’t always balance- one suffers (personal – social life mostly). While I start my day quite early, I now switch off the laptop at 5 pm EST to enable myself to rest and have time for myself and my support system. My motto is “if there is a fire, call 911” that means I achieve my work during the day, and in the evenings, I decide what to do with my time. It’s important to set boundaries and standards, and once you make it a habit, your mind and body adjust. Train yourself to take care of the body that works because it will serve you and your significant other(s).”
Managing businesses today requires an interdisciplinary approach, hence by virtue of being a doctorate holder, Dr Ru is of the view that formal education can also provide entrepreneurs with knowledge, skills and opportunities. She attributed her success in the education spheres to her mother.
“Thank you! This is because of my mother, who cared about books as much as we do with all our other passions and talents. Invest in developing your mind by reading, acquiring skills & getting a certificate in something. While it’s possible to drop out of school and become successful in your talent, you still need to value the ability to grasp concepts.
“When you love education, even if you didn’t go through school, you will be able to appreciate the workforce that is committed to building your empire. So, if you can read, research, study, and be your best at it- it works for you, especially in this ever-changing world. When you can back it with your gifts, incredible doors stay open for you~ choose to be knowledgeable,” she expressed.
Since impact is not something that can be attained in isolation, Dr Ru draws her inspiration from folks who despite facing tribulations, have stayed up at the same time lifting up others up the ladder.
She said: “They win and serve! My role models are women who wear many hats in the marketplace and still look forward to being mums, wives, aunts, friends, and impact leaders. My role models are women and men who choose spiritual, emotional, mental, financial, and social wholeness and still be barrier breakers where they are called to serve. I’m all about WHOLENESS- passionately so.”
Dr Ru has been on a drive to set new benchmarks because of her fresh appearance, humility, self-confidence and vibrant nature. For that reason, it is with no doubt that she is an exemplar to many.
As a role model herself, she said: “Do not be afraid to crack some walls of limitation; when you believe in yourself, your spirit has a way of producing guiding you- spice it all up with mustard seed size faith and go through the walls, and once you break through, carry others with you. Set goals have integrity, keep knocking, be resourceful, find allies, treat everyone with respect and never stop working hard.”
Because she is a purpose-centric being, Dr Ru is grounded on her Christian faith, she strongly believes that her attempt to change the narrative towards an equitable world is an extension of God’s hand and He determines His impact on the mission where she is only a vessel available.
“My desire, though, is to see wholeness in home leadership, community, and nations as people, businesses and communities thrive. It affects me deeply to see our communities bleeding due to poor leadership, resolute followership, or meaningful accountability.
“If leadership and followership were committed partners to each other and committed to less selfish gains, our communities would be in a better place. There would be more success stories in entrepreneurship, service delivery, workforce, and global leadership. I hope we each take responsibility and play our part in serving the best where we are and leave the world a better place than we found it,” Dr Ru said.
The faith driven entrepreneur and leader, believes that she is an essential and indispensable piece of how God is instrumental on the achievements that she has so far.
“First of all, it’s all grace; now that you mention it, I credit it all back to grace. Without His grace, I don’t know where I’d be, so because I didn’t bring myself to this place of honor and impact, I’m safer letting Him guide and surprise me in marrying my deepest desires for all things service to Him. Sis is just an available vessel,” she expressed.