One of the things I enjoy is to engage with young women. So, once a quarter, I host a "Girls Lunch with Dr Lulu". We sit, eat, talk, question, laugh, and share experiences about life in general.
It is a no brainer that the most impactful investment to a nation one can make is on young women. Young, because they are the future. And women, because they are more inclined to take others along as they grow. As the saying goes – you educate a woman, you educate a nation. This is my singular reason for betting on young women.
A combination of our guest speaker, Dr Judy Dlamini, our chief facilitator, Nothemba Mxenge, and our six Peer Group coaches raised the game at the last Girls Lunch to a completely different level. I was left confused whether the discussion was aimed at the Girls or at me as a parent to these Girls. I am more and more convinced about the need for ongoing, but purposeful, intergenerational conversations.
This business of being in relationship with “self” is a big challenge. Because of our socialisation, it does not come naturally especially to women. Yet it is the biggest breakthrough to many challenges we face. In this regard, I left the Lunch with a fresh appreciation of the importance of self-compassion, which is not the same as self-indulgence. Dr Judy emphasised to the Girls the importance of value systems, trust and respect in any relationship. She summed it up for me when she insisted that “When respect leaves the table, leave the table”.
Fortunately, the Girls have their coaches to lean on as they work thought their personal development plan. The journey is long, but it’s worth it!
8 June 2019 - Constantia Hotel, Constantia Park, Halfway House, Midrand
Central location between Johannesburg and Pretoria, easy to locate and navigate to. However not a particularly safe area as it seems somewhat secluded from the main residencies and surrounding business areas.
Equipment used for the presentation worked without fault throughout the day and was relatively easy to utilise.
The conference hall itself was quite spacious, had sufficient natural lighting and comfortably allowed us to move about between presentations. It was however cold and somewhat lacked character and the warmth that would be required for this type of intimate occasion.
The main door to the conference room we utilised did have a wheelchair ramp, this was positive to see however there was no such ease of access to the nearest lavatories which I believe is somewhat inconsistent. Similarly, there did not appear to be a ramp leading to the main dining area.
The food was warm and wholesome. It was not spectacular and did lack variety in dessert and salad options.
The maître d’hôtel was friendly, helpful and went over and above to ensure we were comfortable and knew where to find the food, drinks and nearest lavatories. The bar staff was also as equally friendly.
On Saturday 8th June 2019 we had our 2nd Girls Lunch with Dr Lulu Gwagwa for the year. The theme of the day was “Being in Relationship”. I was anxious to hear how Nothemba and the coaches would unpack this topic. So, I went to the Lunch eager to take in everything. The sub- topics that we touched on were being in relationship with self, being in relationship with others, being a leader and being in relationship with the community.
What I found interesting when dealing with the topic of being in relationship with self was the discussion regarding the “inner critic “and how to deal with the negative voices in my head. The voices can express themselves as the perfectionist, inner controller, task manager, under miner, destroyer, guilt tripper and moulder. The coaches shared various tools we can use to ensure that these voices do not own us. I have decided to allow the voices to keep me in check but not to allow them to make me feel overwhelmed.
We then looked at “Being in Relationship with Others” and we dealt with issues such as trust and forgiveness. An aha moment was the realisation that in order for me to trust and forgive easily I must perhaps remind myself of the times when I broke someone’s trust or when I needed forgiveness.
The highlight of the day for me was Dr Judy Dlamini. One of the quotations from her that stands out was when the imposter syndrome creeps in I should remind myself that “I belong here”. Another one is that “When you master conversations you master relationships”.
All in all the day was very impactful. I left feeling like I am on the right path but there is a lot of self-work that I still need to do. Being surrounded with women who look like me and are where I would like to be one day, makes it easy for me to visualise my future.