Nokuthula Chari is an African woman that is dedicating her life to be a key ingredient in the development of Zimbabwean Artist and Events Industry Brands into first world and beyond standards. This includes my children all three of them. Changing the short cut mentality into establishing long time, generational entities through value of proper business practices. I just seem to have “appeared” as John Cole and Adrian Tate’s Manager.
How did you get into Business Administration?
I guess I was destined to be in administration. My mother bought me a typewriter back in the day, in the eighties. I then did a Business Management course in 1994 in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England since then I have had jobs in the Corporate world. I had been doing events in tandem with my employment from 2005 to 2016 and it moved me how gifted and hardworking events industry people in Zimbabwe are. However, they were operating as “cowboys” or hustlers because their administrative processes were so lacking. Human Resource Management, Documentation, Communication Skills, Marketing, Service Delivery and so on were in dire need of correction.
What prompted you to create Lionheart Strategists and what is the mission of the company?
At the time of my deciding to venture into starting Lionheart Strategists I had been managing one venue for several years. The overall management had been changed and I strongly disagreed with their business ethics. I also found that I couldn’t dedicate my full attention to my full-time job and decided the best thing to do was leave and branch out on my own and work using my own ethics and standards. It was one of the scariest things I have done, hence the name Lionheart.
What is your process when it comes to choosing a client?
That’s a funny question because they have chosen me. When I stepped out, I put a portfolio together, did a website, Facebook account but it has been a very long while since I had to do any soliciting. People approach me through the work I do for other people. I worked with John Cole and Adrian Tate on the inaugural Events Industry Awards in 2019. I was the Operations Manager of the event hosted by Classy Zim Weddings.
With your experience as an event coordinator what would you say needs to be done for all Zim events to achieve a high standard?
The middle to lower end service providers need to take their craft so much more seriously. If they are blessed with the money or means to start a business, they need to invest more in building teams of dedicated expert staff members. A lot of them are too casual, cut too many corners and employ according to how little they can pay. Carol Matibiri has pioneered the cause for upgrading the industry through her company Classy Zim Weddings and her introduction of the Events Industry Awards and the Vendors Network.
What would you say have been the highs and lows of life as an entrepreneur?
Starting with the lows. Getting to financial stability and growth is so hard. I took the path of literally starting with nothing and going from the ground up, no borrowing, nothing. It’s an experience that I use in encouraging others going through the same but with a few tears to accompany the lessons.
Highs – in the words of Hannibal from the A Team…”I love it when a plan comes together!” Seeing the success of months of planning something, stress and strain along the way and bam the venture is a success, with a nice pay cheque to boot!
What are your thoughts on the current state of SMEs in Zimbabwe?
There is room for much improvement. From the top down. The governing bodies need to understand that businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of a nation. SMEs are the seeds that will feed the nation for centuries to come, but they are being suffocated and killed before they can grow to big enterprises. Corruption being the biggest culprit. People are paying their way to getting and maintaining contracts and so on. This is bringing down the operational standards of too many sectors.
Regarding the artists that you manage, what steps do you take to build and improve their brand?
With the Artists I work with I mainly ensure that their administration is in top form. Contracts, Client Liaison, Staff Management and, I am that stern voice that keeps them in check as well as encourager when the road is tough. John Cole is a go getter who works extremely hard all by himself. I spend most of the time catching up to him! I ensure that his paperwork is literally in “real time” with his movements. Adrian Tate is a mega perfectionist and pays attention to the finest details of his musical craft. These two hardly sleep and are constantly on the grind.
I coordinate their shows from conceptual stage to execution as well. I have just started working with a super talented emerging superstar called Shyeden. Another dedicated hard-working artist to look out for. She has literally just released her first single.
How are you keeping yourself busy during the lockdown?
I am working from home. I have literally gone around the world with the work I am doing England, South Africa, Atlanta and Canada through sourcing work for the Artists as well as through their own contacts and efforts too. I have only left our neighbourhood once since lockdown was initiated.
What is the one thing that you can’t live without?
Hmmmm, after food I suppose it is my phone at the moment. It has been my money maker and so much more, bless it!
What’s your proudest achievement in life?
My children 😊 they are shocking me with their brilliance!
What is the soundtrack to your life?
I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly. I need to touch the sky in my lifetime.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as that African girl that was instrumental in the emancipation of the African mindset from aiming for employee status to multi billion business building thinking and achieving.
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