Creating her own luck

Tshepo Maphanyane
LOVING: Hopkins family

The only girl in a family of boys, Tsame grew up spoilt by her brothers and hardly imagined a time she would need to fend for herself away from her loving family.

However in 2008, the girl from Tonota with a protected childhood was hit by a reality check when she was suddenly thrust into a whole big new world when she arrived in the UK to pursue her MBA studies as a self sponsored student.

“ The first six months were a nightmare, I honestly hated it. Nothing seemed normal. The icy weather, environment, language, culture; everything was foreign and unsettling Talk about understanding how a fish must feel out of water. I was in the deep end and had to swim or sink,” she says.

Eleven years later she remembers someone telling her that if she can live in London, she can definitely live anywhere else in the world. “I cannot emphasis how true that statement is,” she says.

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Explaining how she survived in a fast paced environment Hopkins says she was clear on the rules of engagement right from the beginning.

“I decided on a strict lifestyle of very little play and total concentration on school.” Eventually her determination paid off and she successfully attained her MBA and got a job with Lloyds banking group, one of the biggest banks in the UK. Ambitious and career driven, she poured herself in the job and progressed quickly.

“I met and worked with some amazing people, learning so much along the way. It was exciting to work in various divisions, including Insurance, Savings &Investments, Group Reference Data Systems, Change Management and now the unique chance of working on one of the biggest transformation projects within the business. In addition to her role, Hopkins extended herself to her Bristol community through her volunteerism with Refugee women of Bristol.

“I was not only giving my time and assisting with projects but I too got to learn more about myself. It also helped in keeping me centered. Corporate can be competitive and demanding especially when one has also set themselves timeframes for success,” she notes.

Luckily, it was opportunities outside of work that allowed Hopkins seven greater discoveries of servitude and allowing nature to take its cause.

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“The charity was a fantastic organisation and led to my involvement with others as I discovered my interest to live a more meaningful life giving back. The truth is self-reliance and financial freedom of women goes a long way in building stronger communities,” says the woman who has become even more curious to explore being involved in charities back home especially those geared at social and economic upliftment of women.

As she got comfortable and happier in her role as a professional and community builder, Hopkins started a family.

“I met my husband in 2011. He proposed three months later and we got married three months later, so we were together for six months in total before we tied the knot. I did not only take up my friend’s name but we also got blessed with the most beautiful baby girl. My husband is fantastic and I couldn’t have asked for a better companion. The Lord really listens and exceeds expectation,” she says with a smile.

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What she likes best about working in the UK is the fact employers understand and encourage strong families to the point where career breaks and flexi hours are recommended and encouraged for new moms.

“I appreciate that there is a strong culture of family and therefore it is not frowned upon to choose family over work. This can be the man or the woman. In fact one could be judged harshly for choosing career over one’s strongest asset: the love and bond of family ties. So now that I am a mom, I work reduced hours while looking after my little girl. That has also given me time to reflect on my life and consider my next interests,” Hopkins explains.

Commenting on her home country, Hopkins is adamant that only until one has travelled the world can one truly appreciate the unmatched quality of life that Botswana offers.

“Botswana is truly one of the most fortunate nations. However, people must not be complacent. We need to be open minded and driven to build on as much knowledge and experiences as we gain to keep building on our own,” says Hopkins.

As a reminder to herself and others, she says, “Life is not a competition of who has more of what, so there is no need to be envious of someone else’s life. I just wanted to be me and very proud to be me. As I continue to discover more I can’t help but thank the almighty for his blessings.”

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