Today my WCW is Amanda Makhapela, entrepreneur, finical wiz and my very own friend. Having studied a BA Communication Management specialising in Creative Brand Communication at Vega, Amanda has been everything but predictable with her career path. Today she is a both an Investment Trader & Analyst and co-owner of The Sneaker Shack, a sneaker valet service in the Maboneng Precintc’s Maverick Corner. I went down to the shop to up my cool creds, get my Stan Smiths valeted and chat about the inspirational woman that she is. See our Q&A below.
- What are your thoughts on the relevance and or importance of Women’s Month?
Women are the glue that holds society together, it is of extreme importance that we celebrate each other and take cognisance of the strides we’ve made, more especially as South African women. A lot of women across the globe are still fighting vigorously for basic rights that we may sometimes take for granted, so it’s important that we remember that our gender should never hinder the size of our dreams. Not only on this month but every day of our lives.
- Tell us a little bit about your background, how you went from toughies to stilettos?
I’m not sure if I’ve made it to stilettos yet, I’m still learning how to put on lipstick properly ha ha! But I’m originally from a small town in the Eastern Cape known as Queenstown where I was raised by my grandparents and only made the big move to the City of Gold mid-primary school. From there on I was raised by an incredibly strong and go-getter of a single mother who consistently and constantly showed me that nothing is impossible. After High School I went on to study Advertising then went on to start my own media company and after a few years into it I realised that the Media industry just wasn’t for me & found my hidden passion in numbers. I then got into Finance as an Investment Trader & Analyst at a small Hedge Fund known as Smart Billion Investments. However, the Entrepreneur in me has never died and after having worked on the idea for a few years I also finally opened up The Sneaker Shack earlier this year.
- What is your number one social media don’t?
Don’t compare your real life with what happens in cyber space! Run your own race at your own pace!
- Would you say you are street smart or book smart?
A solid mix of both!
- If you could visit yourself five years ago, what advice would you give to yourself regarding work, friendship and love?
Be present. Whether you’re working, enjoying time with friends & family or experiencing love- just be present. Everything will eventually be a memory, so make sure you create memories worth remembering instead of trying to re-live those moments in your head long after they’ve gone!
- Complete the following sentence: Women are, what Oxygen is to the Earth- everything!
- What have you learnt in your industry that tertiary education didn’t teach you?
Independent thought will get you everywhere! You don’t always need to do things the way you’ve been taught or believe to be true, trust your instincts & try something new!
- Many young women are looking for mentorship and don’t know what they can bring to the table, what would make a mentee perfect for you?
Be like a sponge, absorb absorb absorb! Someone who can humble themselves to the idea of receiving uncapped knowledge would be perfect.
- Is there something you do daily that keeps you motivated and inspired, if so can you share it with us?
Yes, I have a few things I do.
- I say a prayer of thanks before I even open my eyes every morning!
- I read anything that will get me in a positive state of mind. Just as we’re careful of what we feed our bodies, one has to be careful of what you feed your mind! Starting the day off by feeding your mind with positivity will have an equally positive effect on your day & how you handle challenges throughout the day. This trains your mind to focus on the good and not the bad. Therefore nothing and no one can defer you from achieving the goals you’ve set out not only for the day but life in general.
- I keep a vision board folder on my phone that I update daily, so I find images of things that I’d like to acquire be it internally or externally. It’s just a small way of keeping yourself in-check and reminding yourself of your goals. You can start of small like achieving a desired weight goal or go big and work towards your dream mansion!
- What does a day in your work life look like?
I wake up around 6, squeeze in a quick work out. Head to the office, analyse the markets, maybe get in a few Trades. Then I liaise with my business partner and check in on the shop, sort out operations for the day and set targets for the day or the week. Leave work around 7pm, go past the shop and do a bit of admin. Head home around 9, have a one hour chill-out session with my mother, then I study for a bit and head to bed around mid-night.
- What do you think are some of the things we as women can do to decrease the instance of uninspired young women opting for blessers instead of growing their careers?
I think firstly we should decrease the amount of judgement & hate speech we throw at one another as women. Life is relative, what may seem like an uninspired, gold-digging, blesser hunter to one person may actually be a whole family’s last hope at survival. Instead, I think we should start having honest & open conversations amongst each other and on various platforms about ways in which we can empower each other. A lot of the times women will only want to share the glory of their success and with hold the horrors that may have come with it. Young women need to see healthy examples of how hard work can lead to success and in turn excellence. So instead of just constantly sharing stories of how you made it over night or being quick to post shiny material things on social media, take other women on a journey of what you’ve gone through or are going through in order to achieve your dreams. There’s so much beauty in the struggle that social media pressures have all of a sudden taken away from us. It’s ok to not have it all together, be a little lost, a little broke & a little fat. It’s ok to feel the heat of love and not money, to be single or to not know how to get the perfect brows! So I think of putting pressure on other young women, aim to inspire and encourage those who also dream to be in your position. Show other women nothing comes easy and hard work will get you every where, show them that you sometimes also don’t have it together but you’re winning because at no point do you entertain the easy way out. Having money is great, but having your OWN money is fucking fantastic because you’ll never have to answer to anyone for anything. I myself have had it rough & anyone who knows me or has watched me from a distance knows that that’s no secret. I haven’t reached the level of which I want to be at yet and that’s perfectly ok because I’m working towards it every day.
- What are some of the perceptions (from strangers, family and friends) that come with being a successful young black woman? These can be positive or negative depending on what your experience has been.
Once again I consciously choose to always focus on the positive, even criticism can be a good thing. I’ve realised that people are so hungry to be inspired themselves, so your success pushes people to also achieve their own goals. There’ll always be one person out there that looks you and thinks “hey, look what she’s done with her life! I can do that too!” Which is why it’s important to always be a real representation of yourself & your journey so you can have a positive and ever lasting impact on peoples lives.
- What is your number one networking do? A piece of practical advice that has helped you improve your networking experiences.
Don’t ever limit yourself, approach even the most unapproachable people to sell yourself or your idea. Secondly, always have conviction in yourself and your idea. If you don’t sound too convinced, then no one else will be convinced either.
- As Oprah would ask: What do you know for sure?
Experience is the best Teacher!
- If you had to have a payoff line, what would it be?
Shake it off, it’s not that deep!