The GLAMOUR Women’s Month Series is an ode to women who are following the beat of their drum and doing it successfully.
The woman we are chatting today is not only a powerhouse, but she has schooled a lot of people including is at GLAMOUR HQ about marketing, social media and branding via her social media platforms.
Lebo Lion is The voice of marketing who has transformed over 500SMMEs. Speaker, Founder of the biggest Podcast in Africa called Lessons With Lion, who believes that Africa's most valuable resources is its people. Social media strategist and Co-founder at BEOPLE SA and SMME Growth specialist. She has been honoured as one of the 40 under 40 African Business Icon 2020.
Lebo was part of our CNI Partners In Creativity webinar and she is a woman whose voice is changing the way we look at marketing when it comes to Africa. She is one of our favourite people and we couldn’t imagine doing this series without chatting to her. We are super glad she agreed to talk to us.
Which woman has positively impacted you in your career/business? And what is the one lesson she taught you?
I believe that impact is energy. It is how someone else’s energy significantly influences how you see things or do things. So even though I might not have met these women, their energy resonates with me. As someone who has benefited from the power of social media & its power to connect people, teach people, & heal people, I find that the women who have significantly impacted my career are women who have dared to live their truth & pursue their wildest dreams. I find so much value in studying & witnessing how powerhouses like Beyoncé, Oprah, Michelle Obama, & Hillary Clinton have navigated through the challenges of being a woman who wants to control her own narrative & forge her own path. Their stories & lessons have grave significance for me because they show us what it means to lead as a woman, & they show us that it is possible.
What are the three words that spring to mind when you hear Women's Day/Month?
Opportunity, Unity , Beauty.
In your industry or in general, have you seen any more movement to gender equality in the workplace?
There definitely has been more public conversation about female inclusivity in the workplace & in the marketing industry, however we need to start placing a greater priority in implementing the policies & the systems that we speak of. Women are often caught between being grateful for the little progress that has already been made, and feeling the frustration of needing more meaningful change to happen. We still need to move towards a society that doesn’t include & treat women fairly because they are forced to, but because it's the right thing to do. I would like to see more women in leadership having bigger voices, and work in environments where their gender is not a weakness but a strength.
As a woman who looks to inspire young girls that look like you, what are some of the measures you think should be put in place to assure young girls have an equal say in society?
Gender equality needs to be driven by how we educate boys and men. The biases & injustices that women face, are directly related to the privileges that men face. For one group to be privileged another group has to lose. We need to flatten the curve of male privilege & fatten the curve of males active awareness. To achieve this we will need more diverse teams that have a significant mix of women that hold different positions of seniority & influence. We need to have programs that not only teach female employees how to assert their power & rights in work places, but also programs that teach leaders how to be inclusive & fair.
With Black Lives Matter being at the forefront and black people calling out racism and transformation. What do you think we can teach the next generation about inclusion and representation?
There is a potent lyric from Jay-Z's song called Family Feud, that I use as a reference to describe the value of inclusion & representation. “Nobody wins when the family feuds'' These lyrics highlight various things. Firstly we need to see our team members, colleagues etc as a part of our family, not as foreigners, or “other” but as human beings whose existence is just as important for the success of the human race as the existence of anyone in a position of power. For me the term “feud” highlights imbalance. When there is inequality in your family it creates an imbalance. For an ecosystem to function optimally, there needs to be balance. Often people think that equality is about sameness when actually equality is about fairness. While people aren't the same, they need to be treated fairly with respect & dignity.
Gender Based Violence (GBV) especially women and children abuse has been prevalent in the country for a very long time and there have been various initiatives that speak to this but the scourge of abuse still continues at a large scale, what would you advise as a solution going forward? And who should be involved?
I think that we need to start opening up these conversations to men, and asking them for their solutions to the problem that they are pioneering. If we change the narrative that GBV is a woman's problem, and perhaps highlight how it is a societal challenge that needs everyone's collective contribution, I think that we can create meaningful & sustainable solutions.
What does women’s month mean to you and what would you like to be done to push or commemorate this month?
Women’s month serves as a reminder to remember the women who came before us and the sacrifices that they made for all women. Their collective strength shows us, as women, the amazing feats that we can achieve when we band together. Women’s month teaches us that there is significant power in sisterhood.
As a modern African woman, who is a powerhouse in her own right, how do you manoeuvrer the African expectations for what Africa believes a woman should be, particularly in countries that are rooted in patriarchy like ours?
It has been challenging to manoeuvrer around an unproductive system that is designed to keep women silent. I have had to find stability and comfort in breaking down doors, when they are shut in my face. I have had to learn that No means try a different way, & I have found strategies that allow me to be heard even if they’d rather not. When you sit in the rooms that you belong in, & you are unapologetically yourself, people will eventually like you or at least learn to respect you and work with you.
What are some of the great possibilities about being a woman in the world right now, that may not be easy to see but you feel women should take full advantage of without being ashamed or afraid?
The time has never been more ripe for women to explore whatever they want to become. The sky is not even the limit, your mindset & will to succeed are your only limit. With technology & social media being more accessible than ever before, women have the power to talk about and expose the behaviors that unethically make life challenging for them. This allows us as women to step out a little more comfortably onto the stage that is our own dreams.
The imposter syndrome is something a lot of women confess to suffer from or have suffered from. Have you ever had to deal with it? What would you say to another woman reading this about not letting the syndrome run one’s life in anyway?
I think women will have to deal with imposter syndrome for as long as patriarchy exists. It's the consistent narrative of “you don't belong here” that society communicates to women in many subtle ways. I deal with imposter syndrome by having a mantra that I repeat throughout the day to remind myself that I am worthy, & able, & I deserve all the good things that I seek.
How has self care contributed to the woman you are in all facets of your life? Why is self care important, particularly for women, as most of us are raised to believe we put everyone else first before ourselves?
Self care is very important for women. I often say that we are taught to be nurturers, we are taught to be selfless but we are not born that way. This idea is liberating for me because it means that I have the power to change my life through daily habits that teach me how to be who I want to be. The act of self care is the first step in learning how to put yourself first and understanding how beneficial it is for you and the people you serve.