Miss Chindiya: The woman that dares

Written by on 02/11/2020

Michelina Chindiya, well known as @misschindiya, is a Financial Advisor based in Zimbabwe who works for one of the fastest growing Wealth Management Firms in Africa. She graduated from the University of Essex with a BSC in Banking & Finance, and has four and a half years’ experience in the financial services sector.

Not only is Miss Chindiya a successful professional, since graduating she has featured on BBC’s – “Focus on Africa” when she gave an in-depth analysis of Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s Annual National Budget and its impact on Zimbabwe in 2018.

Going against the popular theme of nepotism and falling into a role that she was not qualified for as we see in some cases in Africa, Michelina started off as a Business Development Specialist and worked her way up to the role of a Wealth Specialist not only in a top firm, but in a male dominated industry. Her day to day consists of providing holistic financial planning services to high net worth individuals and assists them by growing, protecting and preserving their wealth in the international market by providing efficient investment advice that are tailored to her client’s needs.

When she is not working, she is presenting on and co-producing a business show currently aired on YouTube called State of Business that discusses anything and everything industrial, financial and the economy. As if the accolades weren’t already astronomical, Michelina is also a keen fitness enthusiast with a mammoth following of 19.5k on Instagram.

Cava De Kulca’s @Louldn was able to catch up with her for an interview and asked her 6 questions that gains further insight into the world of Miss Chindiya:

1. As a woman who is a financial advisor in Zimbabwe, what were the challenges you faced when you first started whilst building your client bank?

Michelina: Well first things first, my age – a lot of people questioned and still question my competence and capabilities because of the fact that I am young. Currently I am the youngest advisor in the
office and that’s usually the elephant in the room when I first meet clients.

Secondly, I am a woman – sometimes I can sense that my voice isn’t heard or that no one in the room is giving me the time of day because I am a woman. The old boys & network is somewhat of a barrier that challenges my professional ascension. As a woman in business, I never saw myself as a minority until I started working in the financial services sector because prior to that I had worked for a number of companies in completely different sectors. The male-dominated culture makes advancement difficult and emotionally draining even if you are successful. However, it does not mean that it is impossible for women to achieve their goals and be very successful and ascend to leadership roles.

2. In your view has the role of the women in the professional environment changed
in a progressive manner or is there still misogynist connotations?

Michelina:The industry is still far from where I believe it should be in terms of gender balance
the progress remains slow.

Female representation is growing, without a doubt. The problem is not that the financial services industry does not recognize the benefits of diversity it’s that there has not been a significant effort and investment in attracting more women to financial services and in developing more of them into leaders. Placing more women in senior roles has been a priority in many countries for the past couple of years but despite the notable progress over recent years, female executives remain grossly underrepresented.

3. Apart from a financial advisor, you also model gym wear, are a gym enthusiast
and host and co-produce the state of business show on youtube – how do you maintain a healthy work life balance?

Michelina: For me it all comes down to planning and having a set routine to some extent in my life. I am a firm believer in the saying, “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” I like to plan out all my days down to the hour; my weekly planner is my best friend. In it, I have a schedule for all my work meetings, gym time, my shooting time, which after a while all becomes routine till the rhythm flows like clockwork. Having everything planned out also makes me feel more at ease despite how hectic the day may get, I always have a plan to centre myself. My weekends are less hectic, so my team and I use those to shoot, create and plan content for me page and channel.

4) When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in wealth management/
finance? Were your family and peers always supportive?

Michelina: From a young age actually. See, my mother was an Economist and growing up as my reading improved she would have me read out to her articles in the finance section of the newspapers, during our morning drives to school. It was at this point that I took a liking to finance and because I admired my mother so much and aspired to be like her one day, I decided that I wanted to do something finance related. Due to her background in the finance sector, she was very supportive of the goals that I set out to achieve.

5) Who is your role model?

Michelina: My mother.

Growing up she raised me as a single parent and in that entire time I saw how she was a strong, fearless, go getting, independent woman. She is my role model for the things that she has been able to achieve in her industry and for the values she has spent her life instilling in me. I could write an entire book about the lengths that she has gone to, to get me to where I am and maybe one day I will. For now, I am busy working to the standards she has set.

6) Do you think there is an opportunity in industry for more female finance
professionals in Zimbabwe? What do you think should be done to promote this?

Michelina: I believe that the financial future is female but not enough opportunities are being created for women in finance in Zimbabwe.

Yes, the sector has become increasingly hospitable to women than before, and there’s evidence that more women are entering the business but I still genuinely feel that there hasn’t been enough inclusion and there don’t seem to be any efforts to actively change that. Although women still account for less than 20% of all advisor’s gender balance is an important aspect of diversity.

The opportunity is definitely there because companies are aware of the advantages of female leadership. Greater and more effective participation by women provides access to the entire talent pool, better decision making is made by bringing together different perspectives and better service is provided to clients by better representing them.

The performance of firms that have made female appointments to their CEO and Director positions offers evidence that female executives have outperformed, relative to their male peers. So the need for us is definitely there. I think the best way for companies to promote inclusion is to initiate recruiting, networking, sponsorship and training programs targeted at women. They need to set targets and initiatives in the financial services sector where women are under-represented at the top. Lastly, as I mentioned earlier there needs to be a significant effort and investment in attracting more women to financial services and in developing more of them into leaders.

Often you hear the saying “we all have the same 24 hours” but if Miss Chindiya’s achievements and busy schedule isn’t the benchmark for what it takes to be successful, we don’t know what is!

Take this article and be inspired to achieve all your goals no matter the boundaries or traditional roles and be sure to follow @misschindiya on twitter and Instagram, we have a feeling her journey has just began.

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