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20 Questions with Tanzania's Tanya Mulamula

Occupation: Managing Director (& Founder) of Studiored Communications

1. Why Did You Pick The Career Path That You Did?

I studied economics and a year before graduating I decided I didn’t want to be an economist at all. I applied for a mentorship program and luckily, I got the paired with the Chairman of a very well known global public relations agency. After spending some time at their offices, seeing how they work and the creative geniuses that come up with the most amazing ideas, I fell in love with the communications industry and the story behind every successful campaign we see today. It is all very fascinating to me.

2. What should every woman try at least once in her life?

Love herself fully and wholly - without any ounce of self-doubt.

3. What is on your bookshelf?

Good News Bible

Day Designer – Ultimate Planner (It organizes my life)

Celebrating Friendship Among Women – Margery Kabuya

Break Your Own Rules – Jill Flynn

4. What item in your closet do you wear the most?

I have this long flowy Kimono and I feel like a QUEEN when I wear it – it goes with everything I own. If it doesn’t match a particular outfit, I’ll force matters and wear it anyway. I want to retire it from my closet but it’s too beautiful and comfortable to keep hidden in the back. The good thing is I haven’t been photographed wearing it, no one can keep tabs of how much I wear it (so I think!)

5. What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

I’m nervous in social settings when surrounded by people I don’t know. I want networking to be easy. I want to establish an instant connection with everyone so I can get comfortable right away however, that doesn’t always happen. I wok in communications, I’m quite an extrovert so people assume I can be dropped in a room full strangers and be fine. I’m working on that though.

6. What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

Not be intimidated by my dreams and ambitions. Not to seek validation from peers who are not going to always support or see your vision. It isn’t always about what other people think, it is about what you think of yourself. I wish I knew how to trust myself and my instincts. I learned that every feeling is a state of mind – depression, happiness, sadness, excitement and so forth. I wish learned how to control my own state of mind and focus on all the positive emotions. Self control and self awareness are powerful traits that every human being and most importantly, every woman should have.

7. What is your beauty secret?

I’m quite blessed to have gotten majority of my mom’s genes – she has flawless skin and a very healthy mind, body and soul. I don’t do much apart from wahsing my face everyday with regular soap and a scrub every three or four days. I just learned how to wear make up a few years ago and my skills don’t go further than some mascara, eyeliner and lipstick.

8. What’s the biggest personal change you’ve ever made?

Accepting GOD in my life in a way I never could before. I lost touch with him through out the years, but I’ve found a new way to understand what it means to be a Christian. It has helped me become a, better business woman, better sister, daughter and an all around better person.

9. What motivates you to improve yourself?

My personal standard of always delivering a high quality of work. I don’t do mediocre.

10. What are some struggles you faced in your life that came about because of your gender?

The industry I’m in is very male dominated and having a seat at the table is quite difficult. Being a young female business owner gets people thinking you don’t know what you are doing. Men are allowed to be confident, they are allowed to be cocky, allowed to be assertive and they are allowed to be ruthless. As a woman and even more, a business woman, I am all those things and more however, people expect women to be subtle, emotional and understanding – regardless of the circumstance. It is a constant struggle to fight off perceptions that insist women should only act a certain way. We all have an equal role to play in the field – we just need to work a little bit harder to make everyone else believe we deserve it.

11. Who and What are some of your Influences?

My close friends and family. TED talks on entrepreneurship and inspirational women.

12. Do You Wish You Could've Done Things Differently if given the Chance? Please Explain

Not at all, everything happens for a reason – as cliché as that might sound. I’ve lost tenders for projects I really wanted, I’ve been rejected from many of these entrepreneurship societies that I believed I was worthy to be in and I’ve started businesses that have failed. Sometimes we aren’t ready to receive the things we want. I learned to be patient, strategic and aware of what truly drives & motivates me.

13. What and Who Inspires You?

Real individuals making real change by staying true to who they are. People who speak their mind and are not afraid to be categorized as different.

14. What Do You Count As Your Greatest Achievement?

Being able to pick myself up from failing at my first business venture and loosing all my money to starting over and getting to where I am today – running a successful communications firm in Tanzania.

15. How have you overcome these struggles and/or insecurities?

By staying focused and true to who I am. Self awareness is very important. It always helps to know who you are, where you want to go and how you want to get there.

16. In your experience, what do you think are some of the prevalent issues women face in everyday life, professionally?

Balancing a career, family life and financial responsibilities. People say Women can’t have it all at once, something has to give. I don’t believe it, you have to learm how to balance and plan things out, not everything can be left to chance.

17. What Do You Think Needs to be Done to Address These Issues?

Understanding & accepting the many roles a woman can play in our society.

18. What Would You Tell another Young Woman who wants to go down the same path that you have chosen?

The truth. Entrepreneurship is not easy, it is a long and lonely journey. Be ready to learn from your mistakes & accept that failure is part of the process. Celebrate every milestone and achievement, no matter how small it is. Keep on learning, never compromise on quality and keep perfecting your skills.

19. What do you do to give back to your community?

I speak at Vocational Colleges to young entrepreneurs on the importance of building a brand that can speak to your audience and inspire them to be part of your story.

20. If you could tell young women one thing, what would it be?

Speak your dreams into existence. Do not be afraid of yourself, do not be afraid of your potential and do not be afraid of your strength.