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I have been playing small. Subconsciously, self-sabotage has been rampant in my life. It has diminished and contained me in a small cup. For as long as I can remember, I have been afraid to stand out in a crowd. However, my mouth just won’t keep quiet so I tend to be noticed anyway.

As a child, I was one of the tallest in the class and yet the youngest. It felt awkward to stick out like a sore thumb. Instead, it was easier to hide away in books.

Growing up, I always thought differently. Which is hard, especially when you live in a conservative society. I could see people for who they really were. And when I said something, it would not be received well which created a dynamic that was unsafe for me to be myself.

We all know my 20s were a hot mess and there’s no time to rehash that. But I think in my 30s I have slowly but surely been reclaiming my voice as I really begin to understand who I am.

Yet there is more to reclaiming my voice than just speaking or writing. Stepping into my fullness and purpose requires me to have an unwavering core belief in myself.

Upon examination of my beliefs I found that I did not credit myself. Which means if someone asked me, “Chulu what do you do?” I would say, “Not much” which is such an understatement. It wasn’t even that I was being humble, I just did not believe that I was GREAT.

So, I sat down to think about all that I have done and achieved. My findings are very clear. Even when I made myself small, I was still GREAT. Imagine, what I will do when I actually own my greatness? The facts are, when I walk into a room, eyes turn. When I speak, people listen. This is not by accident. I am a natural born leader and I have the experience to go with it.

The time has come for me to accept myself so as I move from my zone of excellence to my zone of genius. Allow me to re-introduce myself

My name is Chulu, like the colony of ants that build a mountain, my purpose is to build an empire through community. Born in magnificent Zambia. Educated on three continents, fluent in diversity, equity & inclusion, a boundless creative, whimsical mother, producer and commander of words.

I am a Davies Scholar, YALI Southern Africa Fellow, Founder of Exceptional Youth Zambia, International Council Member of United World Colleges, Member of the Hale Centre Advisory Council, first CNC Africa Representative, Founder of Zambian Podcasters Hub, Serial Entrepreneur, not forgetting Best Wedding Cake Designer in Zambia nominee.

I am a sought-after international speaker, top notch moderator, mentor across generations and an A-class Interviewer.

As the founder and CEO of Africana Woman, we are reimagining networking for African Women. I curate safe spaces for women to be vulnerable and authentic to themselves. How? You ask … You have to experience it to understand.

There’s nothing else like this out there. This is a space where women are not in competition because we believe in abundance. Instead, we tap into each other’s genius and share freely. It is not built around an individual. Africana Woman is centred around the collective, the community.

If this is me playing small, I can’t wait to see my BIG.

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