The best advice I can give anyone about this is to say yes to every learning opportunity even if it feels out of reach. The more you do, the more confident you become in your abilities.
For those living under a rock, today is International Women’s Day. A day when we get to celebrate women who’ve made social, economic, political and cultural achievements as well as advocate for gender parity.
At Fuzu, we’ve got every reason to celebrate our women, in particular, Linda Kimaru, our Content Specialist. She ‘got the sauce’, the creative ‘sauce’. This remarkable woman with unprecedented experience is never afraid to speak her mind out. But isn’t that how a woman is supposed to be? Linda talked to us about being a woman on this special day engaging us on questions meant to bring women and men together in dialogue.
A lot of research has been done on what is known as ‘confidence gap’ in women professionals. What do you think women should do to gain confidence in themselves and feel they are ready for their next role just as their male counterparts who have the same experience and skills?
I don’t doubt that this research is valid, but I only believe in what is known as the imposter syndrome – the feeling of you’re not as good as you think you are and at any time someone will call you out. The best advice I can give anyone about this is to say yes to every learning opportunity even if it feels out of reach. The more you do, the more confident you become in your abilities. A great piece of advice that I live by is if someone asks you to do something and you don’t know how to, say yes then learn how to do it later.
As women rise up in their career ladder, most of them get caught up in a conundrum of what sacrifices they should make especially about family matters. For example, will my career take me away from my family? As an aspiring woman, how would you get your head around this?
I don’t think it’s just women but men that should consider this question as well. Work takes all of us away from our families and the only way to get your head around it is to ask what decisions you’re willing to live with. Ambitious women who put their career ahead of anything have to contend with that decision. As do those who chose to put things on the back burner and focus on family. There is no right or wrong – there is only the decision to do what feels right for you at that point in your life. I don’t think I consciously choose between my job and my family but I definitely do strive for balance. That means no carrying work home on the weekends or evenings and being fully present when I’m at work.
Who’s your biggest influence?
I don’t think I have a particular one, but I definitely find myself listening to the voices of women who have gone before me, starting of course with my mother. She’s definitely my guiding compass, especially on the huge decisions. Outside of that is a fictional character called Leslie Knope from the show Parks and Recreation. She was relentless in the pursuit of her dreams – and she did it all with hilarity. That’s definitely who I want to be – passionate and laughing every chance I get.
What male-dominated industry have you ever thought of joining?
When I was much younger all the doctors I ever interacted with were male, so I figured only men could be doctors. I really wanted to be one until high school biology.
Looking back at how far you’ve come, what has given you the greatest satisfaction or fulfillment in life?
My steady commitment to always jump at the next opportunity. My friends often think I’m crazy because I’ve jumped from one career to another but I’ve learned so much through this and it gives me great satisfaction.
I’m sure you’ve got an important message to share with all the women on today’s occasion.
Definitely! The only person standing in your way is you. And if you’re ever unhappy with your current situation, move! You are not a tree.
Assuming you’ve been dared to prank call one of your male colleagues, who would it be and what would you say?
I’m not the biggest fan of prank calls so I don’t even think I would do this!