Vunzai T. Yeazel is a leadership and business consultant and is also founder of LiveBold Consulting Inc. Her company works to help businesses execute their goals. As the child of African immigrants, she understands the meaning of hard work and what needs to be done to achieve your goals. We spoke with her about her background and how she deals with obstacles as a successful woman in business.
What inspires you to show up at work every day?
It took me a while but now I love what I do, so simply put passion and I would also add legacy. I am from a family of African immigrants. I did not come halfway across the world for the fun of it. I came to make an impact and help my fellow brothers and sisters along the way too. I am doing something I love, so I go to sleep with an agenda and wake up every day with an eagerness to execute various plans.
How did you determine your career path?
In truth it found me. I never knew what consulting, speaking or what organizational leadership was. I actually went to school for computer science, then got my master’s in media management. As fate would have it, I launched Gorgeous Within as a speaking brand then years later launched LiveBold Consulting.
Describe the skill sets that will be essential to future business leader and innovators.
I believe creativity is an essential function of leadership. One must be agile enough to know when to adjust their course or scrap an idea all together. Humility and perseverance are the two greatest tools that have served me well.
Define innovative methods you apply to your business and life.
Growth and travel: One must be willing to grow and experience new cultures and ways of thinking. I frequently take myself out of my regular day to day environment to push my creativity. I also attend various workshops and social engagements that I have no idea what to expect. Above all I surround myself with people who are way smarter than myself so I can lean into their expertise to elevate my ideas and business.
Describe goal setting methods you use and how you evaluate your success.
Growth, engagement, profit.
Names three books that changed how you saw life that you would recommend to others.
ReWork by Jason Fried (ReWorking your workday)
Creativity Inc by Edwin Catcall (Leading creative teams)
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (The story of success)
In a nutshell they all taught me to think differently, to step outside my preconceived notions, then shift my paradigm.
Why is lifelong learning important to you?
Our mind is the key to everything we do. The minute you stop growing it and filling it, everything else in your life will begin to reflect that same stunted growth. We are changing every day, it’s just pure chemistry, shedding skin cells, hair, etc. But the responsibility of growing your skill set every day depends on yourself. Every day you must make a conscious decision to learn on your own.
What are the three most important factors of being a successful woman?
Grace, integrity and faith in God and yourself.
Grace: Being a minority woman in business I have run into my fair share of bigotry and chauvinism but the ability to smile and still close a deal took me a while to master. Keeping my main goal main has helped deal with a lot of despicable individuals and organizations characters and mange to move our ultimate goals forward.
Integrity: It takes seconds to destroy someones trust. You never know who you might need a few years later. In the city and industry I run in the circle is small. It might not be popular but always conduct business honestly.
Faith: I am a believer and a daughter of a king first trusting in my faith and self have led me to make very successful and unconventional decisions.
Technology plays what role in your daily life?
My cellphones and iPad equal my life. I work with virtual teams every day in Africa, Austrailia, India, Europe and Ireland — [and] without technology I am pretty sure I would not be in business.
What social media or digital tool has made the biggest difference in your life and why?
Facebook & Instagram
If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
The worlds perception of black women & Africa.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I wish I was taller and stayed the course to study journalism in my youth. Either way I am pretty sure I would have found my way to what I am doing now.
Who or what motivates you and why?
My mother and my faith. My mother has lived in 5 countries and lived through 3 civil wars. My great grandfather is Zulu so fighting for what we want comes naturally to me. I am to be a light in dark places, that is the least we could all do.
What are the do’s and don’ts for young women in business?
Taking short cuts; please don’t believe the hype on Instagram. Hard, consistent work is the only secret sauce you need.
Compromising your ethics, not utilizing their mentors correctly and being afraid of hard work.
Name three successful female role models and explain why you hold them in high esteem.
My mother, Gertrude Musiandapo
@vunzai.yeazel @gorgeouswithin @liveboldconsult