Recently, Africa Talks Business spoke with Charlotte du Plessis, a successful businesswoman making a significant difference in the lives of women and young people in South Africa.
Affiliated with the Woman of Stature, the tenacious businesswoman considers her difficult history, but with fortitude and confidence in her gut, we watch Charlotte rise above and build a lovely company.
Charlotte, who is based in South Africa, explains what success means to her and offers some guidance for young women who want to have an impact and expand their enterprises.
Read more on this story below:
Just a background on you & how your journey started.
“I am a Wife to Bernie, a Mother and Step-Mother to 6 gorgeous women, a Grandmother to 7, born and raised in a small town on the Far East Rand, Springs. It is here that I started my career in the travel industry, got to travel around the world, became an Air Hostess for our national carrier and after 32 years in the travel industry, started my own event company in 2006 at the age of 50. I relocated from Springs to Roodepoort in 2002 when Bernie and I got married, lived in Little Falls for 21 years before moving into Eagle Canyon Golf Estate in April this year.
I am a Woman of Stature who happened to be born in 1956, the same year that marginalised South African women decided to protest the Pass Laws and the inequitable rights of South African women. I believe I am now leading other women to march towards greater levels of sustainable economic and psychological freedom through the powerful, national networking and empowerment platform which my organization has created. At the age of sixty-seven years, I am demonstrating that age or any other challenge has nothing to do with owning a vision and relentlessly working on a BIG DREAM. I am a destiny-seeker, a peace-finder, and an Inspirer of holistic, female empowerment with a particular focus on the economic empowerment of ALL South African Woman from ALL walks of life. While our South African Constitution was democratised in 1994, it never translated into equitable and fair practices that would truly and sufficiently empower South African Women in the workforce, entrepreneurially and from a human rights perspective. No one can ever develop if they are not given the tools to be empowered as well as the opportunities for their development and empowerment to be witnessed and quantified. Woman of Stature, as an organization successfully attempts to do all the above.”
Tell us about Woman of Stature.
“Woman of Stature Foundation seeks to celebrate diversity in all its forms, it also seeks to bridge cultural and social differences that can so easily sabotage the gift of collectivism and the building of an inspired, empowered collective psyche of South African Women who will settle for nothing less than their rightful place in every space: personal and professional.
I believe that as we empower ourselves and assume every bit of responsibility to do so, we are empowering and building a new nation of women and men. The only time that abusive and limiting practices are repeated and re-cycled is when they are permitted to be! Woman of Stature Foundation inspires Women to become nothing less than the grandest, most authentic versions of their economic, social, spiritual and psychological selves in a non-competitive, non-comparative and non-critical way.”
“The Woman of Stature Foundation’s unique value proposition is its commitment to empowering and supporting women entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey. Through a comprehensive range of programs, mentoring, networking opportunities, and resources, the Foundation aims to equip women with the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to succeed in the business world. The Foundation’s emphasis on personal development, leadership, and community building sets it apart, creating a supportive and collaborative environment that encourages women to take risks, pursue their dreams, and achieve their full potential. Ultimately, the Woman of Stature Foundation is dedicated to promoting gender equality and economic growth by empowering women entrepreneurs to succeed and make a positive impact in their communities.”
On your journey as a businesswoman, what was the toughest challenge you had to face?
“I would say the toughest challenge I had to face was rejection. By rejection I mean that not every appointment or call is guaranteed to be a sale. I soon realised that a sale is not a sale until the money is in the bank. What I also soon realised is not to take everything people say literally. To trust my instincts and follow my gut. There were those who said they will support me when I open my business but didn’t follow through which made me quite despondent, but I soon realised that I had to toughen up, stand on my own two feet, be wary of those who talk too much, and not take everything so literally. It’s tough but I wanted to make it on my own, so I intentionally surrounded myself with people who take me higher.”
What does success mean to you?
“Success can be interpreted is so many ways. It depends on where you are in your life’s journey. And you shouldn’t measure your success against that of someone else. For me success means happiness. When I feel good about my accomplishment, and it brings me joy, I consider that as success. You don’t need to live in the biggest house, drive the fanciest car, wear designer cloths, to represent success. Success is a very personal emotion and doesn’t necessarily have a high-ticket price tag.”
What advice would you give a young upcoming Business woman ?
“My advice is to surround yourself with the people who truly have your back, and to be very careful who you take advice from. Invest in your personal and professional development. Consider getting yourself a business coach and a mentor who can guide you in the right direction. Take your time in deciding who this will be as this can have a huge impact on you and your business. Join a network where you can tap into resources that can help you in your business. Be open to collaboration for this has great benefits if you have done your due diligence and they align with your values and your vision.”
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