Forbes Business Coach talks about Owning Your Brilliance

Forbes Business Coach talks about Owning Your Brilliance

International Business Coach, Tamiko Cuellar, will be in Cape Town this November (more details to follow) to deliver a keynote address and host a FREE business workshop and book signing to emerging businesswomen.  We ask her a few questions about her life, business, and contribution to Africa.

Tamiko Cuellar is the CEO and Founder of Pursue Your Purpose. She is a proven leader in the marketplace among small business owners globally. Recognized for her leadership abilities, she has been invited to speak at corporations, churches, conferences, on several radio and TV programs, and more. She has been featured on, in The Huffington Post, and on the cover of the UK-based Small Business Owner Magazine for her work with entrepreneurs. In 2016 she was recognized by The Women’s Business Journals as a Woman on the Move. She also served as an Adjunct Professor of Entrepreneurship/Small Business Management at City Vision University. In 2016, she was appointed as a Mentor to emerging entrepreneurs in Kenya and Uganda as part of Tony Elumelu’s Entrepreneurship Programme which funds and develops new enterprises throughout the continent of Africa. She is also a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW).

Take us through your journey of entrepreneurship

My journey as an entrepreneur started about 12 years ago while I was still working in my corporate career in the financial services industry. I’ve been a freelance consultant for foreign entrepreneurs wishing to enter the U.S. marketplace, I’ve run a tutoring business for elementary students and I was co-owner of a roofing and construction company prior to starting Pursue Your Purpose LLC in 2012. Since then, I’ve coached aspiring and emerging women globally on strategies to transition into entrepreneurship and grow.

In five words, how would you describe yourself? 

God-fearing, leader, wise, strategic, and enterprising.

Your business is aimed at helping high-performing women transition into entrepreneurship, how do you achieve this?

My ultimate goal in coaching/mentoring women to transition into entrepreneurship and grow their businesses is for my clients to be satisfied with my services. Survey results and testimonials are a great measuring tool. Coaching effectiveness is contingent upon if I’ve helped a client to accomplish her own goal(s) that she has set for her business. Helping women to succeed in establishing and growing their businesses is largely dependent upon the women themselves and how they apply my instruction. When women start bearing fruit in their businesses in areas they did not prior to my coaching, that is a great indicator that the coaching was effective. Sometimes, clients think they need only business strategies but walk away with life strategies that help them overcome obstacles that affected their business. Some common obstacles I’ve identified are fear, a poverty mindset, lack of self-confidence, and/or a lack of clarity of their purpose. As needed, I deal with root issues that will affect business success.

You are an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council. What does this mean for you and your business?

The Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only organization for leading business and career coaches in the U.S. To my knowledge, there are less than 500 of us presently that have been chosen. Being an official member means that I have been vetted and recognized by the prestigious and world-renown Forbes brand as a thought leader in my field of expertise. Although I have worked very hard to earn this distinction, I am very humbled to be a part of the Council. This also means that I get to impact more aspiring and emerging entrepreneur women with the articles that I publish on the leadership channel of

How do you plan to impact Africa?

I have an unexplainable affinity for the women of Africa. For the readers who understand prophecy in the biblical sense, from approximately 2005 until recently, I’ve had several ministers prophesy to me about my calling to Africa. My first international client in Africa was a woman from Namibia in 2014. In 2016, I was selected by the Tony Elumelu Foundation as a mentor to emerging women entrepreneurs in Uganda and Kenya.
In November 2017, I will be presenting my research on entrepreneurship at the International Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development Conference in Cape Town, South Africa to help shape policies in Africa and around the world in the field of entrepreneurship. My research will help universities, non-academic training organizations, business coaches, and anyone within the global entrepreneurship ecosystem to identify trends and develop best practices to train and equip aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs around the world.
Also in November, I will speak at a women’s entrepreneurship conference and then host my first international book signing of my 3rd book: Own Your Brilliance! – A Woman’s Guide to Hiring Herself in Cape Town, South Africa. I will also introduce my new coaching program exclusively for aspiring and emerging women entrepreneurs on the continent of Africa, expected to begin in January 2018.

I expect coach women in Africa on an ongoing basis and at some point partner with organizations and government entities in Africa to develop entrepreneurship and leadership training programs.


We can’t wait to partner with you Tamiko!


Social Coding for Girls

Social Coding for Girls

Social Entrepreneur, Thembiso Magajana, shares her heartwarming journey of how “Social Coding for Girls” project started.

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My journey to becoming a Social Entrepreneur is not a very profound one. There are no heartfelt antidotes of how from a young age I knew I wanted to save the world or be a champion of the community. In fact, I grew up pretty self-absorbed, only concerned about my little bubble.

That was until my aunt had a baby and I soon became cousins with the most extraordinary little girl you have ever seen. Although technically my cousin, I referred to her as my niece because she was 16 years younger than me and I was fiercely overprotected over her. Anything she wanted, I got for her. And as fate would have it, When she turned six years old, what she wanted, was to become a computer engineer.

Now wait, let’s go back a few paces.

Firstly, I come from an accounting background. That’s about as far from Computer Engineering as Paris is from Timbuktu. And to be completely honest, the only thing I really knew about using computers was how to do an excel spreadsheet.

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Fast forward to the morning my “niece” turned six, and decided that she would be an engineer who would build the worlds next Facebook and her “aunt” who could barely tell the difference between the on and off button on a computer, (although to be fair, the same button works for both functions) would be her teacher.

So that’s what I set out to do. I spent sleepless nights researching, reading “Computer programming for Dummies” and watching Youtube tutorials. Soon I was teaching her, what the internet was teaching me.

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One Saturday, She arrived at our lesson with 3 other young girls. And that’s how Social Coding was born. With 4 six years old’s and one laptop.

Presently, we’re an organization of 185 girls, all of whom are being taught digital entrepreneurship through computer programming by a teach of dedicated Social Coding Volunteers. We are so set on ensuring that EVERY GIRL in South Africa has the opportunity to be exposed to Coding, that we even developed a special curriculum, where the girls are taught input and output programming using a blackboard, for workshops run in rural areas where girls may have never even seen or touched a Computer because it’s important for us to introduce technology to at a level that every girl can understand. Our Workshops not only teach young girls from as young as six how to be innovative creators, but how they can be leaders..conceptualists of community solutions because our mandate is “The sustainability of the creator and her community”. This organization is my life because I have seen it GIVE LIFE to others.

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So perhaps I didn’t set out to change the world.

But the World certainly changed me.

She Don’t Stop : Music Review

She Don’t Stop : Music Review

The song, “She”, is about the undeniable strength of a woman. Depending on where you are spiritually or mentally, this song will either make you weep before it strengthens you or it will push you to continue.

Taken from her first album, Sing to the Moon, “She” was shot in South Africa and melodically picturises the perseverance and persistence of our women.

The line “She’s tired – but she don’t stop” encourages me every time to continue to press towards the goal. It gives one hope that you can indeed move mountains and do your heart’s work.

Laura Mvula is a London based soulful vocalist known for her inventive, atmospheric mix of R&B, jazz, classical, and pop. She’ll be back in the country this December for the first Afropunk in South Africa.

She don’t stop.


“Scholarships for Africans” an eBook by Bojosi Gamontle

“Scholarships for Africans” an eBook by Bojosi Gamontle

We had the absolute pleasure of connecting with “soon to be Doctor” Bojosi Gamontle. She is a Botswana-born trailblazer, who has spent time studying in Australia and is now based in Canada with her family. We ask her about life abroad, family and her e-book “Scholarships for Africans”.


Please tell us about yourself.

Firstly, thank you for the inspiring work that you are doing. The time is ripe for Africa to manifest her purpose, and what better way to have young Africans like yourself, hold the reins and create inspiring platforms that can potentially affect and change the lives of other Africans and indeed other people around the world!! Keep up this great work! (blushes)

Briefly, about me. My name is Bojosi Gamontle. I am married to a great Zambian-born man and together we have 3 children. So, I am a mother to 21-year-old, 12-year-old and an almost 3-year-old.

I was born and raised in Botswana, but I have had the chance and privilege to live in 3 other countries outside Botswana. I have lived in Australia – where I did my first degree which was in Occupational Therapy, sponsored by the Botswana government. Following my first degree, I went back to Botswana where I worked for the government as an Occupational Therapist. I learnt a lot, during that time, and got to appreciate how the Botswana health system functioned. I began to develop interest in broader policy issues and decided to search for a scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree. I was fortunate to be awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship in 2006, and went and pursued Master of Public Health with a focus on Environmental and Occupational Health, at the University of Arizona in the United States of America. After that, I went back to Botswana again and worked for about a year, then came to Canada to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, where I am a Ph.D candidate.

We currently live in Vancouver, Canada, but my husband and I remain in constant touch and up to date with what is happening back in our home countries and the rest of Africa.

Outside of my career, my husband and I co-pastor an international church, Faith Impact Ministries International, which also has a branch here in Canada. I also believe in the power of social entrepreneurship, and so I am also involved in designer luxury fashion, and I show women around the world the power of leverage and how they can become financially independent. I run a personal (non-academic) blog which can be found at

I engage in public leadership life as required. For instance, back in Botswana, I was once invited by the then Minister of Health to be a co-master of ceremony for an event where high-ranking government officials, including the country’s vice president were in attendance. This year, I am part of the committee that is organizing the Botswana independence celebrations here in British Columbia, Canada.

Juggling all those hats, how do you achieve a balanced life?

Balance…Hmm! What is that? (Laughs). Basically, I do what I need to do! I have time management tools like a journal, physical – I am old school! I usually write out what I need to do, a week in advance, I then keep updating it daily. My family is such a great support and they take off the pressure as necessary. However, the most central aspect of my life which helps me to be centred is my faith in God! Prayer calms me in a way that nothing else does, and I have seen over the years, an unequivocal power of God upon my life, which helped me to overcome great challenges. Ultimately, I have techniques to keep me balanced, but the centre of my balance is God.

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What’s the most important lesson you have learnt from living abroad?

How people in general view Africa and Africans –a monolithic charity case basically. This inspires me to assert my “Africanness” and to support and stand in solidarity with Africans at home and in the diaspora, who refuse to listen to this message of hopelessness and stand firm in the believe that Africa can and will reach a point of ‘glory’ (if we do not give up on ourselves!). Of course, we understand that Africa isn’t one giant country which the late Mandela presided over, but there are over 50 independent states with some doing economically better than others. Yet, we understand that we are stronger together and it would be easier to ‘rise’ together.


What motivated you to write a book?

I wrote a brief e-book and published it on Amazon kindle. The book is entitled; Scholarships for Africans: A guide to successfully applying for admission for Masters and PhD degrees. The e-book covers areas such as: things to consider before searching for a scholarship; different resources where one can search for scholarships; how to write personal statement and research objectives. It also contains sample of personal statements that I have written in the past.Honestly, I did not venture out to write a book for the sake of it! I wrote it out of self-preservation and for a broader reach. As I mentioned above, over the past 15 years, I have been able to successfully apply for different scholarships and grants. In the first few years of my Ph.D, I literally used to receive at least one email per month from someone somewhere within the African continent requesting guidance and/or mentorship as far as searching and applying for scholarships is concerned. It came to me that if I wrote a brief e-book on how to apply for scholarships based on my experience, every time someone requests such guidance, I could just send them a link to purchase the book which costs less than a Nandos meal. Obviously, this method may not be a solution to everyone, but I figured if they truly were searching for a graduate school scholarship, they would at the very least take this first step.



Final words to all the Womandla subscribers and friends…

Dear my African sister: Many of our countries gained independence in the last 50/60 years. Most have been led by men and we know how that story has gone and is going. This is not a call to fight against men, but a call to stand together and do what we know we are capable of doing! Sister, you know of the potential in you. I know of my potential too.

It is our time to “stand women” as Botswana anthem implores. There are many stories within the continent that are a testament to the power of united women in our communities. Imagine, if we could determine that we are going to stand together for our continent…imagine what we could do! It starts in our small corners, doing what we can to uplift one another, then move it to community level, then country level—with determination, before we know it this continent will NOT be known as the ‘dark continent’! Not that our aim is to untangle ourselves from this unfortunate label, because the labellers may not necessarily be persuaded by our attempts. Our aim will be for our great, great grand-children to have a completely different Africa! An Africa where they could easily cross the border to a neighbouring country to receive a high quality Afro-centric education, in any field, right at home, if they chose. An Africa with flourishing economies where everyone will enjoy freedom, and not be a second class citizen.


Bojosi’s book can be found at or  and retails at $5.70.

Follow her @bojosigamontle


Meet a Singaporean Woman in STEM

Meet a Singaporean Woman in STEM

Meet Melissa Tan (22), a final year undergraduate in Materials Science and Engineering at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.


Melissa is an avid scientist, innovator and educator. Her passion lies in developing human-machine interfaces particularly for medical care and educational uses. She also enjoys teaching and mentoring students in research and in materials engineering.

Seven years ago, as a high school student, she embarked on her very first research project, mentored by her biology teacher. Leading up to now, she has co-authored two publications, patented an invention, shared her research in international conferences, and traveled across the globe to learn and conduct research in a top research lab.

“Research is not for the faint-hearted. Being at the very edge of the discovery of new knowledge or the creation of a new technology means that failure is bound to happen. It is important to develop the resilience to try and try again despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges, because eventually, you will be the first human being to understand a new phenomenon or the first to develop a device that has the potential to help millions. That’s what keeps me going.” says Tan.

However, she describes the challenge that women scientists face even greater challenges than her male colleagues. She’s heard teachers commenting that it was not feminine for a girl to be involved in serious research in the physical sciences. “There was even fellow scholar who commented that it was more difficult for women to achieve tenured faculty positions in academia because the tenure grace period coincides with our reproductive window.”

She says she has met scientists, both men and women, who allayed her doubts about going into research and these are the mentors and role models who have guided her through this path over the years.

Melissa is pictured here with her mentor Dr Kwok Sen Wai, holding up a conductive filament that they developed for 3-D printing electrical circuits, back in 2014.

Her advice to aspirant scientists and engineers: “It is crucial for young girls in STEM to identify role models and mentors whom they can rely on to guide them during difficult times and to give career advice.”

She hopes that more senior female scientists will share their stories of how they’ve overcome gender equality challenges so that others know that they are not alone in the struggle, and so that their younger counterparts have role models to look up to.

It’s been said that the more diverse a team is (in terms of gender, race, culture, educational background, etc), the more innovative it(team) will be. The next time you see a young girl tinkering away with a machine or playing with a chemistry set – encourage her.

We need more women in STEM!


My (unforgettable) United Nations experience

My (unforgettable) United Nations experience

And so everyone is asking me the roving question: “How was your trip to the United Nations?”

Amazing seems to be the automated answer, but there’s so much more to the journey than that!

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We arrived in humid Bangkok, jet-lagged and sweating like pigs. I received ample warning about the weather, but nothing can prepare one to the actual feeling.

Many delegates arrived in groups representing their communities and societies. I came to learn that I was part of the very few representing myself. Well not just myself but the vision.

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Besides the well-themed motivational talks, UN panel discussions and the remarkable, young world-changers who graced the stage with a wealth of insight and experience, what stood out for me were the individuals of the delegation.

Never have I been in a room bursting with such passion, energy and honest hunger for knowledge on how to change the world.

That kind of environment leaves one curious for more, excited to make a difference and overflowing with new ideas.

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Another invaluable opportunity was that of networking and joining forces with not only like-minded individuals, but with people who can share the vision to other communities. Making friends is so easy when your hearts are in alignment. It makes the relationships more meaningful and purposeful.

I have added the well-curated video of the journey, which leaves me tearful every time I watch it. It’s crazy to think I was part of this, I witnessed all that was happening. I will write another entry of how Womandla aims to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 in Gender Equality.

Stay tuned and follow us on Facebook  for more!


Tesla just welcomed black female CEO to its board.

Tesla just welcomed black female CEO to its board.

Tesla has bucked its trend of appointing mostly men to its board of directors. And the move could mark a new direction for other Silicon Valley companies as they make their leadership teams more diverse.


Tesla recently welcomed Ebony Media CEO Linda Johnson Rice, the second woman out of a group of nine board members and the first African-American to hold that role, according to Fortune.

“We’re very excited that Tesla has named Linda Johnson Rice to the board,” Ronald C. Parker, chairman of the Alliance for Board Diversity, tells CNBC Make It. “Tesla is an innovative company and we’d like to see more blacks and women in these tech spaces.”

Tesla’s announcement this week marks a break from the more common appointment of white males to board positions.

Here’s to celebrating more women this Women’s month!