A mentorship is a powerful partnership. It allows the mentor to share their knowledge, advice, and resources with their mentees to help them excel professionally. It is also the reason why many women are making it to the top of their careers, and why many local businesses are successful. In South Africa, there are many organisations who actively promote and support these partnerships.

Here is a story of Maud Masiyiwa-Wakatama, Managing Director of Capstone Training and Development, and Philile Nzimande, one of Maud’s mentees and co-founder of a local travel business, to give an insight into how powerful these relationships are.

In 2014, Philile required a mentor due to being new to the responsible tourism industry. Philile wanted guidance from a black female who understood what it is like being black and female in the industry. This was when she met Maud.

Maud has over 27 years of experience in Tourism, as well as experience in SMME development and training in the Tourism and Hospitality industries. She holds national and international qualifications in Travel and Tourism, Community Development, and Women’s Enterprise Development.

To Philile, Maud is a wonderful woman as she never gives up on her ambitions and is someone who is always seeking ways to be better and impactful. Philile has said that she has benefited from their partnership in more ways than just decision making. She has learnt how to stay strong and feminine, while also balancing family life. Susan Taguma, another mentee, said that Maud has had a big impact on her business and life, as Maud always shows willingness to guide and pass on skills that alone have helped her gain confidence.

Maud didn’t initially seek a role as a mentor. However, when she started her journey in the tourism industry, there weren’t any women for her to turn to, or they were so far up the ladder that they weren’t looking down. Maud only had her male colleagues to ask, but there were a lot of things that she couldn’t share with them, or they would be looking at the situations under a ‘male microscope’. Unfortunately, this is still an issue in business, and it is the reason why Maud decided to become a mentor, to make a difference in women’s lives – something she finds truly fulfilling.

Maud’s personal mission is to see the next generation take this battle to a whole new level. With women helping each other and millennial business women taking the lead and breaking down the doors of the board rooms.