Kundai Marunya Lifestyle Writer
Failure is not always the end of the world.
There has been a rise in suicide cases especially when one fails their high school examinations.
Some fail to live with the pain of being a disappointment to those who would have invested large sums of money in their education.
However, those who persevere despite failure, often testify of how it builds character in the long run.
This failure is then viewed as a launch pad for greatness.
When Rutendo Mudzamira stands on a podium to deliver leadership lectures to different groups of university students at Duke University, she breathes life in what some may have thought were hopeless situations.
This may be because Madzamira, affectionately known as Boss Babe or Dr Ru, does not have a perfect score.
In fact, the Kambuzuma raised life coach wrote her high school exams a few times before finally getting it right and moving on to tertiary education.
“I wasn’t always a top student. I wrote exams and failed a few times in high school before I got it right. I learnt at a young age that tenacity is a prerequisite for success,” said Dr Ru.
“It’s important to know who you are, where you are, where you are going and why. Purpose will push you to focus and get it right eventually.
“Don’t ever stop at one negative experience, life truly gives you what you push for and it’s important to never stop knocking especially if you know your purpose.”
Dr Ru’s failure inspired the recently held inaugural ‘Boss Babe Summit’ in Harare. The opening was graced by several diplomats among them United States Ambassador Brian Nicholas, Canadian Ambassador Rene Cremonese, Rwandan Ambassador James Musoni, and World Bank country manager Ms Mukami.
Keynote speakers at the summit were US based entrepreneur Ms Tsitsi Mutendi, also from the US Nancy Speidel of iSAW International.
“My passion for young women’s leadership and development work started when I was 17 years old in Kambuzuma after failing my O-Levels for the first time,” said Dr Ru.
“I remember being terrified that time that I’d always be a failure if I don’t put my life together. There weren’t many options at the time in Kambuzuma so I needed to create platforms for young women like me to encourage each other on how to eventually win.”
Dr Ru refused to follow the trend of many young girls who after failing in school resort to early marriage.
She wanted more out of life, and more she got.
She studied Arts and Cultural Management in Germany, a Masters in Community Arts at Maryland Institute College of Art in United States and last year completed a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University.
She now lives in the US where she does leadership coaching and consulting work under her company Sparklead Consulting. She also teaches leadership at Duke University.
“I honestly remember telling myself that I wasn’t going to be pregnant with no purpose at 17. I wanted more out of my life even at that young age. I remember literally painting a picture of my future,” said Dr Ru.
“In that picture I had a young woman in four graduation gowns and a doctorate. I still remember that very well.
“I also remember a picture of a school I had built for people who needed second chances to win in life. I didn’t want to be idle so I started volunteering for a few organisations as well as hosting small gatherings with not more than 20 young women to talk to about life and encourage each other to win. That was in 2006.”
From then on she started working towards empowering young women hosting bigger events including high profile High Teas, and Speaker Series sessions.
“In 2007 I hosted a gathering for 88 young women in leadership from 23 African countries,” she said.
“I realised then that these platforms work and propel people to the next level.”
Dr Ru continued her work in the country on a low key, focusing mostly on self-development between 2009 and 2019.
“I spent most of my time between Zimbabwe and US, studying and working because I knew I didn’t want to give what I didn’t have,” she said.
“I invested in self-development.”
During that time she became a fellow of the prestigious Women Leaders for the World Program, International Leadership Program, Vital Voices, and British Council’s Africa Leadership Program Fellow.
“The programs changed my life and enhanced my appreciation for leadership development. I however, realised that while all these were important, I needed more of leadership studying so after my masters I enrolled at Regent University for a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership,” she said.
Whilst in school and living in the US, Dr Ru was exposed to powerful platforms for global leaders and women such as the Forbes Women’s Summit.
“That ignited every passion I had. Passion for leadership, development, women empowerment and desire to bring solutions to situations,” she said.
Dr Ru said she realised the need to be inclusive in order to ensure a constructive discussion
“With ‘Boss Babe’ I appreciated the world was changing so I knew to succeed in initiatives that celebrate women and build communities and nations we need to bring everyone to the table,” she said.
“The hard tone wasn’t always going to bring the young woman who cares about fashion, entertainment, or business to the room to discuss ways to alleviate poverty or to discuss why it’s important to be aware of the state of public service and what we can do in our areas of influence to be the change.
“I wanted to bring a different demographic of smart women who embrace their femininity yet care about every important issue.”
Dr Ru intentionally chose the name ‘Boss Babe’ because she wanted to push important issues with a flair of enjoyment.
“It needed to represent the authentic Dr Ru and all the amazing ‘Boss Babes’ she knows,” she said.
“Boss Babe is a lifestyle of hardwork, persistence, passion, learning and purpose.
‘‘It’s my hope that we build a tribe of powerful women who care about their welfare and community.
“We do so by intentionally working with supportive men. We acknowledge the important role men play as our friends, brothers, partners, husbands, uncles, bosses in some case and we are on this journey with them.
“Wholeness in our approach is key and we do all this work embracing that we are ‘Boss Babes’ and we acknowledge that you become a ‘Boss Babe’ by mentorship, coaching and dedication to purpose.”
Following the resounding success of the first summit, Dr Ru and her team have come up with a series of summits and smaller events and lectures running for the next ten years.
“The summit was aimed at not only celebrating women thriving in very challenging times economically and politically. It is a summit founded on the purpose to merge and ignite passions for more effective solutions to society,” she said.
The second edition of the summit is billed for March next year.