By Gilmore Tee
As a child, Michelina Chindiya, known to many as Miss Chindiya, was influenced by her mother who was an economist by profession and worked in the finance sector. From quite a young age, she knew that her journey was going to lead her into finance, but wasn’t sure of what she would be doing exactly. She speaks fondly of how her mother shaped what she is now, a Private Wealth Advisor who also doubles as a Fitness Trainer.
“Growing up I looked up to my mother and aspired to be just like her. I had a keen interest in finance and also, I just wanted to have the skills and confidence to explore and venture out into the world, to play and learn. I simply wanted to achieve and be successful to the best of my abilities in areas that were required of me within my occupational roles e.g., as a student at school or as a player in sport or a daughter at home, because that is what I saw my mother do”
One might say the apple did not fall too far from the tree when talking about Michelina. Just like her mother, she works in the financial sector and aspires to get into fitness full time, hosting large-scale boot camps for women and girls, with the end goal being to start a health and wealth wellness centre for women.
Michelina graduated with a BSc in Banking and Finance from the University of Essex in the UK and is also a Certified Personal Trainer with the American Council of Exercise. On a day-to-day basis, she helps her clients grow, protect and preserve their wealth, working under one of the fastest-growing wealth management firms in Africa. She specialises in providing high-net-worth individuals with wealth solutions in the international market by providing holistic financial planning services through institutions such as JP Morgan, Investec, Credit Suisse and BlackRock.
“I utilise a large spectrum of financial disciplines available, such as financial and investment advice, legal or estate planning, accounting, and tax services, and retirement planning, to manage an affluent client's wealth. What I love about my job is the fact that I get to meet new people, hear their stories and help them build towards achieving their future goals and dreams. I love having the opportunity to walk their financial journey with them. Their success becomes my success, and this for me is very fulfilling”
Talking about young people and financial management, Michelina urges youths to start saving up as soon as they can. As much as it is exciting to be a young person earning a sizeable income, it is just as important to save up and invest for continued financial security. She emphasizes saving up one dollar at a time and embracing the fact that one’s financial success is a journey that will be strengthened by the ups and downs. More importantly, one will learn throughout this journey and should remember that wealth is not measured by the money in your bank account, but by the peace of mind, it affords you as you travel this beautiful journey called life.
Her passion for finance led to Michelina landing a position as an Economic Contributor for BBC after she ranted on Twitter about her expectations for Zimbabwean Finance Minister - Mthuli Ncube’s maiden Annual National Budget. Through retweets, the thread ended up being picked by BBC, which later approached and asked her if she can be interviewed on their flagship show “Focus on Africa.”
“I was 24 when this happened, I remember agreeing to the interview and the same night I was on BBC. It was nerve-wracking but to my surprise, it went well and lead to more opportunities to regularly contribute my takes on the Zimbabwean Economy for BBC Africa. It was my regular work with BBC that led to work as a narrator and producer of a show called Introspect that then got picked up by and aired on CNBC Africa.”
Social Media has really helped Michelina in growing her brand and creating partnerships with brands such as META, Philips Africa, MUKURU and CIMAS. She encourages those on the digital space to take control of their own narratives through unique storytelling and engage with their audience, not treating them like fans. On her recent twitter space with eMoyeni Digital Storytelling Cohort 2, she zones in on the importance of being consistent with one's content distribution, identifying your audience, how to get to them and creating content that serves them.
“In the digital space, be yourself, the world lacks and craves authenticity. Protect your brand/reputation because honestly speaking, corporates and big brands are reluctant to work with individuals that are always linked to controversy because they themselves don’t want any association with controversy. Lastly, develop your personal brand because this can also help you build trust with potential brands and clients. If they can see that you're an expert in your field and have a solid personal brand, they'll be more likely to do business with you.”
According to Michelina, juggling between finance, fitness and day-to-day life is all about planning. Early in the morning before going to work, she takes time to go to the gym, work out and also train some of her clients. She plans her days to the hour, with weekends reserved for photoshoots and creating content for her brand and other collaborations. Sharing how she ended up in fitness, Michelina mentions how she always had a passion for fitness and living healthy, but lost her high school discipline the moment she went to university in the UK. While studying in the UK, her weight rose to 80kgs, which lead to her rekindling her childhood passion for fitness and undergoing her own weight loss journey. She remembered documenting her weight loss journey and getting a lot of positive feedback from those that followed her online. This is how she began to strengthen her online presence and used that to tell her stories, with the hope of uplifting and empowering other women and girls through fitness and finance.
“I started off just by sharing my workout videos on my stories and found that some people were following along and trying them out, that’s when I decided to give my content some structure and be more deliberate with the content I was creating, and that’s pretty much how it all started! I started to create content intentionally, making sure that each image or video shared served a purpose in terms of contributing to the bigger picture, which was to share my journey and message with my followers and use it to serve as an example of what self-love through the discipline of daily fitness can look like. The way we care for our physical well-being, speaks volumes to the way we feel about ourselves.”
On women who inspire her journey, Michelina mentions Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Caster Semenya as strong women who have faced so much adversity and obstacles that most have not in their respective fields but still come out victorious. She highlights how these incredible women have faced so much scrutiny of their bodies, racism and misogyny, but still stood up for themselves, remained focused, never gave up and believed in themselves. Michelina goes on to note them as strong and fearless women who are unapologetically themselves, embodying the grit, resilience and mental toughness that she aspires to possess.
Before parting with Michelina, we asked her one last question which is, What would you say to your younger self? And this is what she had to say:
“Dream big, go for whatever it is that you want in life, the sky is not the limit, you are. Don’t allow the fear of failure to hold you back, rather look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Be ready and prepared to adapt to change. If life gives you lemons make lemonade. Nothing will ever be straightforward and very rarely will things go as planned. Rather than sit and cry about it, wipe away your tears, get up and keep going. Find a way to make things work for you because if there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that the world will not wait for anyone. Time won’t wait for you to feel ready. So, adapt and evolve because the more you resist change the tougher your life becomes. We are surrounded by change and it is the one thing that has a huge impact on our lives. There is no avoiding change as it will find us, challenge us and force us to reconsider how to live our lives. If we ignore or hide away from the challenge of change, we deny ourselves the opportunity to learn and grow. When it’s all said and done, the power to adapt to change flows from your mindset. We can’t choose our feelings, but we can choose our thoughts and manage what we do with our feelings”
Written by Gilmore Tee