Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dream Chasers!


I used to have another blog called LiT!
LiT means something that makes things visible or affords illumination
It’s an illuminating agent or source, as the sun, a lamp, or a beacon.
The radiance or illumination from a particular source: the light of a candle.

The blog was called LiT because of the meaning of the word.
It was created to celebrate all the people in and around my life, fearlessly living on their terms.
I have since deleted the account, but I wanted to note some of them down here as a form of encouragement to the rest of us to not give up on our dream lives.


To all the DreamChasers
To the Dream-chasers and the dream-doers!
Here is to your defiant spirit and colourful creations!
Here is to you, for daring life and colouring outside the lines!
For your passion and tenacity that blesses us all!
For your boardroom 9-2-5 victories and excellence on the streets!
Here is to celebrating your excellence in all its forms!

LiT is a celebration of you all!
Thank you for teaching us that we too can try

Meet Laverne.

I call Laverne 'Light' because every single time I talk to her, I walk away FULL of life!
That is because my Laverne is one of those people who are blind to the world - blind to the limitations, naysayers...
She is literally re-creating her life by chasing her dreams...and in the most defiant and unapologetic way, its breath taking!
I met Laverne a few years ago, when she came to work at our company.
She was colourful and bubbly and loved to chat to people.
Nothing about her, told me she would be one of my greatest teachers, teaching me about hope, trust and dreaming.

Laverne would soon leave the business, pack her bags and move down to Cape Town
She had decided to chase ALL her dreams, including working for an amazing agency and starting her own business.
There is no place as colourful and inspiring as the people and scenery of the Mother City, Cape Town

Laverne started VintagePeacock, an online fashion boutique but has since moved on from that.
She is knee-deep, sleeves-rolled-up and hands-in, deep in HungUp, an online magazine.
See: hungup.co.za

She takes amazing photographs, reupholsters old furniture, makes the most amazing paleo dishes and is still the most simple and beautiful girl to chat and giggle with!
That's Laverne's life - full of colour and creativity and dreams coming true!
 She reminds me, by how she lives her life, that all things are possible if we only believe.
This LIGHT is not just a dream chaser but a dream do-er.
She not only says she will do it, but will do it!

Every time I talk to Laverne I am left so inspired and a tat scared.
Her boldness scares me since I am one of those people who colour between the lines.
I just pray that as I grow into myself and learn to fight for my life and my dreams, that a lil bit of her LIGHTNESS will rub off me.

Meet Akosua.

Akosua, or as I call her AK, has always been a dream chaser.
I can still see her zigzag through the open plan at Unilever, coming to sit on my desk and tell me about her business idea.
It still feels like yesterday, when AK told me about her love of fashion and love of business and how she planned to merge these two, into a business venture called Vintage Swap.

We were both 20-something, single, caught in a 9-2-5 profession, far from Joburg and had lots of time to dream and plot!
But AK was not just dreaming...she was also making it happen!
I love it when #DreamChasers actually get to the doing and not just the talking...there is something so captivating about someone who is busy bringing a dream to life!

Vintage Swap did materialize! AK did make it happen. She started with a series of events in Durban, where ordinary ladies met and "swapped" clothing and accessories. We didn't actually swap the items, we sold them to each other at a small fraction of the original price.

People were bringing in brand new clothing...some still tagged and some big brands.
See, Akosua had realized that even though women wanted to look fashionable and on trend, they were also spending less money on clothing and were looking for ways to save money.

And she also understood that women loved "borrowing" items of clothing from their moms, sisters, cousins or girlfriends closets, and Vintage Swap could capitalize and formalize this insight into fun girly events.

AK would eventually leave the coast and move up to the city of lights, Joburg.
She executed multiple Vintage Swap sessions in the city, and the ones I attended, were amazing.
Then I heard that big brands wanted to get involved, and that AK's simple venture was now supported by the likes of SKIP and DESTINYMag.
Vintage Swap grew up to SKIP Fashion Exchange

I cannot tell you how proud I am of AK.
Proud that the security of a 9-2-5 didn't let her kill off her dream.
Proud that, even when the "big brands" came on-board, she still remained at the helm - even with the name change.
Proud that she continues to dream and plot...
I will definitely be watching her...I have a feeling there's more is to come from her!
Determined business woman!

Meet Angela.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines "re-create" as:
"to create again; especially :  to form anew in the imagination"

And if someone had to learn this skill fast, is Angela Githuthu!
Angela and I meet at a telecomms company. She was the marketing manager based in Kenya and I was the programme manager based in Joburg.
Because of this and how our deliverables were mapped, we would have to spend countless days and calls and texts, pulling projects together.
Working so close to someone, you get to see their rise...and also their fall.

Angela was an amazing professional. She loved her job, her colleagues, her company.
But Angela thought that this amazing job loved her too...but not so much.

I saw Angela struggle as the workload increased and staff counts decreased.
Angela did leave the company and like many of us, who unfortunately intertwine our identity with our work, she spiralled deep into depression and pain.
I was so worried about Angela but with 2912km of flight distance between us (Nairobi and Johannesburg), all I could do was pray for her.

But Angela would resurrect - stronger and more amazing as ever!
After her "long night" Angela came back to us, stronger and more assured.
She had learned to value her mind and might, and not love corporate as much as she had done in the past. She realized that working for a corporate was a tricky relationship, a fragile transaction and that reciprocity can never be expected.
And the best was yet to come...

Angela rediscovered her love of baking, whilst recovering at home.
She makes the most amazing cakes and now sells to a niche clientele in Nairobi.
She is still such a corporate chick and now works for an amazing FMCG, based in Nairobi.
I wish that one day, her baking business will be big and strong and that she will leave corporate all together and build this empire.

To see some of Angela's amazing cakes, follow her on Facebook:

Meet Shekara!

When I met Shekara, she was sitting super still, working in a sun-filled PONDS brand office.
She looked so elegant and poised and she perfectly complimented the soft-pink brand office, with its soft pink brochures and nice smells.
As a newbie, I relied heavily on Sheks and the other girls in that Face Care office, to show me the ropes. She was always so willing and so kind to me.

And after spending some time with her, I realised that Sheks was a fun and crazy girl...kind of like me, and I loved it!
She invited me out one day, to my first Bhangra dancing experience. It was at Krakatoa, Sibiya. I had tons of fun with her and the rest of the crew.

I was also so blessed to witness Sheks settle down, get married and build herself a sweet life with her husband Gareth.
Her hubby is one of the kindest people in the world. I rented a place from him whilst in Durban and he was so kind and helpful and sincere.

Attending Sheks wedding ceremony with her multi-cultural, multi-racial and interfaith guests was awesome. It perfectly symbolised who I understood Shekara to be...so open, so inclusive and loving, unconventional and yet so beautifully traditional, and also so devastatingly and excitingly international.

Shekara is one of those people who can’t be packaged into a tiny box, with a label on top.
She is an enchanting contradiction...crazy and calm, serene and wild, collected and adventurous, traditional and cosmopolitan.
It always seemed to me that she lived her life on her own terms and would not be limited by others' opinion of her.

She is truly a master of her own destiny and fearlessly goes after her dreams.
Shekara is now also co-owner of two amazing companies.

Being a classically trained marketer was not enough for her, and she loved design and planning, so she studied and evolved into an full-fledged and experienced interior decorator.
After her studies, she co-started 6th element decor & design (visit: www.6thelement.co.za)

This did no surprise me.
She is all elegance, all colour, all decor, all style.

To compliment this company, she and Gareth would later, start and manage an online home and lifestyle retail store (visit: www.shopscoop.co.za)
Shoopscoop has the most amazing product range and their service is incredible...trust me
I just know that with her incredible design skills, wits, her sense of humor nd cool confidence, Shekara is going to change the interior landscape of SA and then the world!

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