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Fellowship Diary - Day 2 by Rozina Myoya

iSaturday, Jul 5th, 2014 comments by MariamO

Day 2

The previous night we had been given an overview of what the future holds for WomEng, but today we were given the chance to come up with our own ideas of where we want to see WomEng - what we would do differently or what we would improve in the organisation.

The first workshop for the day, presented by Hema and Naadiya, was the Art of Networking. I know we’ve all heard that your qualifications will get you that dream job, but in reality it is who you know that drastically increases your chances.

Networking is an integral part of job seeking. The biggest challenge most of us face when it comes to networking is the feeling that we will be irrelevant. We ask ourselves why a CEO would be interested in talking to a mere student. What we don’t realise is that we are extremely relevant. We are the future professionals and those same CEO’s will need our services in a few years’ time.

As a first-timer when it comes to networking the best place to start is at networking events - everyone is looking to connect, including that intimidating CEO. The thing you should be most aware of is that first impressions count! The first thirty seconds of the conversation is very important, as it is the time you should use to make the other person aware of your strongest traits. Most of us had a good laugh when we were told to make business cards, to jot down an ‘introduction’ and memorize it ahead of networking opportunities and about the three Day Rule, but it actually prevents you from missing out on potential employment or business opportunities.

For those looking for a chance to network there’s a WomEng @Network event happening on the 2nd of September at The Wanderers Club, Johannesburg. The topic of the night: Energy Africa.

After some ‘lab time’ with our groups we met Lianne du toit, currently a business developer at U-Start in Africa, organiser at #GovHack SA, Silicon Cape Executive member (Events Portfolio) and Talent Fusion founder, who presented the Pitch-perfect workshop. Now, no, we did not do song mash-ups. What we did was learn to mesh all the important and relevant details of our ideas into the perfect sales’ pitch. Your idea may be brilliant, but if you cannot sell it to the public or potential investors it remains just that, an idea. As Lianne says, “If you believe in yourself you can sell ice to an Eskimo.”

All the information we had gathered was a lot to take in for someone who always considered themselves an introvert. This week will prove to test my networking and presentation skills. Both of which need a lot of refining, but the Fellowship week did promise to push us out of our comfort zone…

My group was yet to decide on an App idea and we decided to mull over it during dinner at a restaurant called Bo-Kaap Kombuis. From the balcony it had the most breath-taking view of Cape Town.  That, combined with a delicious meal gave us the perfect conclusion to our second day of Fellowship.

During dinner we had the chance to share what our vision for WomEng was. We all came up with amazing ideas, but what was clear was that in order for these ideas to come to life we had the responsibility of giving. “Give love, have passion, stand for something,” were the wise words of Naadiya as she emphasised the importance of paying it forward.

The only way to do this is to share all that we had learned from the week and in so doing, inspire more young minds to bring about the change they want to see.

Lessons of the day: Get out of your comfort-zone; network; believe in yourself and your product; pay it forward.

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