An advocate for women power, it is no surprise that Tumi Mbaakanyi speaks candidly about the endless roles that women play in society.
“Being a woman means being a torch bearer, a home builder and the epitome of balance between work and professional life. A woman exudes love, attention to detail and sensitivity in all she does,” she says.
Forty- year- old Mbaakanyi is many things; a chartered accountant/certified auditor (finance professional) and a business woman.
And she is unashamedly unapologetic about her ambitions.
“At our firm we specialise in internal audits, external audits, due diligences, corporate renewals/turnarounds, corporate strategy facilitations, risk management, quality management systems (QMS) development/implementation, judicial management, business valuations, business brokerage etc. In the long term, I intend to find space within the ‘Big 5 now Big 8’ audit firms playing area and settle there. I’m building an empire, a brand which will be a force to reckon with worldwide.”
The vivacious Mbaakanyi extends her expertise to others, notably through her engagement with the Women in Business Association where she serves as the association’s President.
Her role is intertwined with her business and feeds her love for finance.
“What I love most about my field of work is the absence of routine. Each day is different. My job allows me to add value to a special group of people; entrepreneurs. Our services are centered around business development and what gives me the greatest joy is seeing my clients take a leap towards business prosperity and remaining going concerns.”
It is with exhilaration that she shares WIBA’s mandate which is centered around encouraging networking and lobbying for women’s businesses and to assist in regional and international market linkages for its members.
WIBA exists to encourage increased input by women in economic decision making and business leadership in the country.
The president’s role together with the executive committee (EXCO) is to facilitate and lead the processes and activities, which support the WIBA mandate.
“It means a lot to me that women in business, our members, trust us to change the business landscape of this country to a better level for women through lobbying and other related means.”
The association has grown in leaps and bounds and celebrates having an active office and secretariat.
WIBA Membership is open to all women in Botswana who are running/owning registered businesses (either as a corporation or having a registered name)
Some of the highlights include a signed MOU with the North West Business Forum (NWBF), in South Africa, to forge effective relations between WIBA members and the North West business community.
The inclusion of WIBA in various quarters has ensured equitable lobbying across all sectors by women in business.
Point in reference is the successful lobbying for Business Botswana to reserve at least one seat for WIBA members in all the Ministerial HLCC committees.
Members are exposed to corporate relationship building, funds raising and networking with a vision to grow women to have economic social networks.
Some of the activities undertaken include the annual WIBA excellence awards, the inaugural WIBA Motshelo High Tea, the annual WIBA Golf Day, WIBA quarterly meetings which continue to be an information dissemination and networking platform for members as various entities including government departments make presentations to the members .
On the backdrop of the imminent Women in Business Awards 2016, Mbaakanyi underscores the importance of the annual awards.
“WIBA members who were respective winners in the six categories of the WIBA 2015 Awards participated in the SADC Quality Awards last year which is a commendable feat that underpins WIBA’s fruitful relationship with SADC continues. We also look forward to the graduation of the 35 beneficiaries of the Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED) programme in September 2016.”
In addition there is an upcoming WIBA ‘Women In Business Directory’ which will be a means of exposing members’ profiles to national, regional and international networks.
The WIBA awards are hosted to unearth and celebrate women in business in Botswana who are doing exceptional things whilst running their businesses and creating employment for others.
This year 36 women drawn from 6 categories have been nominated.
Winners will be announced on October 21 at Travel Lodge at a glitzy affair themed ‘An Infinite Sparkle; Her Success Story’.
The main sponsors are Stanbic Bank Botswana and Debswana.
Tickets go for P750. The guest speaker will be a phenomenal Motswana business woman, Petronella Mathumo, who amongst her other investments, is a majority shareholder/managing director at Private Collection, an exclusive jewellery shop.
Mathumo also serves as a nonexecutive director on various boards of directors.
Mbaakanyi sings deserved praises on women when she says; “I’ve had more PHU (pull her up) than PHD (pull her down) cases in my life, when it comes to working with other women. Therefore I enjoy working with women as I have been supported mostly by them at the early stages of my career. It is truly a welcome duty to give back to others as well.
Though she admits leading a hectic life, Mbaakanyi prides herself in not only having a drive to be a force to reckon with in the business arena but also speaks passionately about being a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend to count on.
She however acknowledges that striking a balance between these roles and her career is still a challenge.
“I am still on the path of learning and yet to get it right! Someone with a reference manual out there, kindly share,” she says with laughter.