Having lived and worked in several countries, in 2015, Kudzayi, a certified Corporate Trainer with over a decade of experience, felt that the timing was right to head back to Africa and use the experience she had gained to transform perceptions of training and leverage her knowledge to increase business productivity and profitability in developing economies.
From Johannesburg, South Africa, she provides an inside-out view of Philstem Communications.
Tell us how the idea for Philstem came about?
Well, Iris and I have had a million long conversations about how we can do things at work, and in our lives in general, better…by that I mean to elevate them to a higher standard. We’ve both been in the corporate and non-profit world for a while and around the time that Iris told me about the idea to set up Philstem, it hit us that by integrating excellent communications with effective training, companies could really boost performance in a way that you could evaluate and say, “Yes! That made a decisive difference.”
I’d already had the idea to provide international standard, value-focused, impactful training in Africa for several years. The only thing holding me back was the fact that I was not on the continent full time, so I felt I could not yet service my clients to the high standard that I aspire to. The timing of my move to Africa also coincided with Iris’s decision to set up shop on her own and so a dynamic synergy was born.
Philstem was founded in 2016, and already we’ve provided training solutions to a number of SMEs across the continent and are right now modifying our offerings to suit China, where we know that the market is hungry for an effective way to attract inbound international business. A big part of that, of course, is a workforce that is skilled and confident in communicating key messages and equipped to deal with the rigors of international business with the tools we provide through training.
So it’s important for you to be based in Africa?
After 15 years in Europe, travelling and working in over 20 countries I quickly realised that if I am going to bring about change I would need to be on the ground and working with my clients on a one-to-one basis. This is the best way for me to understand their needs and deliver client–centred training solutions. My travels have really opened my eyes to the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. As a daughter of Africa I am excited about being back on home turf. However, having worked internationally, I know that it’s not so much about where you are but abut how well you know your client and how well you meet their needs.
What three words describe Philstem?
Passion. Purpose. Tenacity.
Could you imagine doing all this anywhere else?
Nope – I believe that I am exactly where I need to be.
What means the most to you?
What means the most to me is the ability to create and deliver something unique. To be able to take ownership of something and walk away knowing that I’ve done a great job. The best part about what I do is that I have a chance to empower people by imparting knowledge. I also gain. I always leave my sessions feeling enlightened because I truly believe in that saying: “Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.”