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ELLE Boss 2016 Alum Vumile Msweli finds the idea of connecting people fascinating and meaningful. The winner in the 2016 ELLE Boss Award Corporate Category shares more about career, life and balance.

As Executive Head of Client Services Partner for Africa at Vodacom, she formulates and executes service strategy for top-tier African corporates globally with a specific focus on Africa.

On her mantra:

Umuntu umuntu ngabantu (A person is a person because of others).

On being an ELLE Boss finalist:

I loved that feeling of connection with the other ladies. It was amazing how to, in that short space of time, have experienced each other’s essence; we instinctively knew who had said what. That feminine energy of sharing is powerful.

On why you should enter:

From my experience, you will meet incredible women whose presence and accomplishments will push you to be a better version of yourself.

On learning from failure:

Failure is feedback. Dust yourself off, learn the lesson and try again. I take a moment to accept it for what it is. Then I quickly remind myself that it is not a refection of who I am, just something I did that didn’t work out the way I hoped. I then give myself the opportunity to take the feedback and move on.

On Womanhood:

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say the shoes we get to wear are incredible. Literally and figuratively, we dance, even if at times clumsily between worlds of motherhood, career, friend, daughter, spouse, partner and caregiver. We as women live in the space of hard and soft. We don’t have to choose either but be both comfortably.

On work/life balance:

I think no 100% balance exists, but I’ve become fluid in my balancing. I try to make time to call my friends and family when I am in the car or meet up for lunch. But if I should work late and only go to sleep at 2am, I will treat myself to a late lie-in on Sunday.

On the next generation:

You are always enough, lead from your womb and be present and conscientious to bring all of you as you pursue excellence.

On staying calm under pressure:

Meditate, breathe, and remember the situation – no matter its form – is here to serve me, empower me, and make me better. Besides, konke kuyadlula (this too shall pass).

On life long learning:

I believe education opens the world, and studying is a life-long commitment that sharpens your skills and makes you better. I have always found that a curious mind makes for a colourful soul.

Inspired? Enter ELLE Boss 2017 today.

These answers first appeared in a print edition of ELLE.

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