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Becoming a human catalyst. Aspire to inspire!

Shihaam supported Die Urban Boer in building sustainable communities in Cape Town, South Africa. The social enterprise was born as an agricultural project establishing and training communities on Food Security Gardens at home, using their own resources to sustain a veggie garden. Shihaam took this as an opportunity to continue living a life of purpose. After the program she committed to continue sharing her experience to motivate others. This is her impact story.

Why did you decide to participate in the program?

Coming out of the midst of a global pandemic and having faced so many trials I felt like I needed to do something that would ignite the fire inside me to continue living a life of purpose.

My drive and motivation in life stems from what lies close to my heart. I believe that when you do something that you are passionate about you deliver your best and you’re bound to make an impact. This is what I’ve wanted to do for so long, to make a deliberate impact on the lives of others. I am very passionate about people and what better way to make an impact than to help make the world more resilient?

I knew that I wanted to grow, not only as an individual in society, but also as a woman in corporate and as a leader. To do this I knew I had to be uncomfortable (so much so). I pushed myself to embrace who I am on this journey of discovery.

What does purpose-driven leadership means to you?

A leader that makes others feel empowered and allows people to take ownership and accountability, but most of all to believe in the people and thereby motivate and create the opportunity for people to believe in themselves. There is an unspoken level of importance in staying true to your authentic self. When you create the environment where an individual is able to embrace their own diversity, you create a platform for an individual to grow and flourish in a space that allows them to bring their best selves. A purpose driven leader speaks to how you show up in every aspect of life and how you get others to show up as well.

What impact has BOOKBRIDGE had on your private and professional life?

For my private life I was able to improve the following skills:

  • Time management and prioritization.

  • Delegation: allowing yourself to trust others, allows you to take care of yourself and provides others with the opportunity to grow.

  • To take the plunge: it took me so many missed opportunities to realise that if only I took the first step to just getting started I could have done so many things that I love. After all, it took me just one step in confidence to apply for this program.

  • Confident and courageous leadership: You have to be bold and you have to be brave to get to where you want to be. Giving and receiving constructive feedback has done wonders not only for my growth but for the growth of others.

  • It is also important to reflect, to be self-aware, and to have an open/growth mindset. This is where most of the learnings in life happen.

For my professional life I learned different tools and methodologies through this program:

  • Design thinking: the art of listening to your client and presenting solutions suited to their needs and not what you think those needs are.

  • 80/20 rule: perfection never got anything done!

  • Passion and purpose are the driving forces underneath a clear vision and goals.

  • The importance of establishing/building networks and partnerships.

  • It’s good to have a business plan, but you also need to have a focused implementation strategy.

  • The value of diversity and diversification of skillsets in a team. To use the right people where it makes sense.

  • The importance of setting timelines and monitoring these timelines for implementation.

What did you learn from your social entrepreneur?

You don’t have to have much to make a difference. The smallest contribution by every person can add up to something big. Each and every one of us have the ability to become a human catalyst. Aspire to inspire!

Ricky Johnson, founder of Die Urban Boer.

One last question, what is your commitment towards a world of purpose-driven leaders?

To share my experience with others. If every person I share my experience with takes away one thing from what I’ve learned, I guess that’s one step closer towards a world of purpose-driven leaders :)

Die Urban Boer alongside BOOKBRIGE and Swiss Re Foundation have literally changed my life and how I show up in every aspect of living. Definitely started my journey with a bang to becoming the purpose-driven leader I've always dreamt of becoming – with the journey and quest of Die Urban Boer my dreams are becoming a reality!

Thank you, Shihaam, for sharing your impact story with us. We are grateful for your commitment to the BOOKBRIDGE Family!

Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone? Do you believe in leading others effectively? If you are a motivated professional, with solid spoken English and at least at least 2 years of post-graduate work experience, join our next action-learning program for a unique learning journey.


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