Ayuma Michelle is Founder at LetS (Leading through Story). She believes in a world where African women stories break barriers, hence her mission at LetS to awaken confidence in African women leaders globally using storytelling as a leadership skill.
Describe the business – What do you do and where are you based?
LetS offers leadership development services like One-on-one Consulting, Facilitated Women Leadership Roundtables, Group Coaching, and Speaking Engagements.
We are currently based in Nairobi and our offices are at Nairobi Garage, Pinetree Plaza.
How did the business get started?
LetS started as a school project in 2015 as I pursued my post-grad Social Innovation Management studies at the Amani Institute. It was then that I discovered how storytelling for leadership could be commercialised to serve Africa, using an old African art of communication.
Is there a set of skills you need to run a business like this? Which ones do you have?
Oh yes. You definitely need to be experienced in the world of storytelling in one way or another to gain the necessary skills to run such a storytelling enterprise. Personally, I’ve acquired the following skills over the years through practical experience or studying:
Journalism (Broadcast and Print), Writing (News, Feature, Theatre, and Animation), Public Speaking, Entrepreneurship (Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Negotiating, People Management, Planning, Organising), Coaching & Mentoring (Listening, Empathy, Strategy Formulation, Personal Branding).
What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced? Lessons learned?
My biggest challenge has got to be having to work 3 times as hard to prove that I can deliver, just because I’m a woman and an African. What this has taught me is that achieving positive change costs something. So if it means working 3 times as much. In the end, my work always speaks for itself as a rebuke to any false narrative.
What has been your proudest moment/achievement so far?
Presenting a TEDx talk about my personal vision and service to African women globally through storytelling. It was called “Good Little Things for African Women” and I can’t wait for the video to get published. I finally got this opportunity after 2 years of regret emails from every TEDx event I’d applied to be part of.
Where would you like to see the business go over the next 3 years?
After talks with phenomenal women leaders in Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Kenya we realised there is a great need for confidence-building and leadership development services for African women and girls. My hope for LetS is that in 3 years, we’ll have setup an online Leadership Academy that trains African women and girls on confidence-building and leadership development using the art of storytelling.
What advice would you give anyone looking to take the leap into running their own business?
- Your vision is your provision, so get clarity on this before you start what could be a 30-year or lifetime journey.
- Give yourself permission to fund your dream. So don’t leave your day job yet. Have a plan that helps you acquire the skills you need while you raise capital for your business.
- Never shy away from knocking on doors to ask for advice or to learn from those with experience or wisdom about the industry you’re getting into.
- Trust your gut and develop a thick skin. Business can be vicious, but even on rock bottom your gut will always point you to your next adventure.
What would you do with a capital injection of Ksh 5,000,000?
Start setting up an online Leadership Academy that trains African women and girls on confidence-building and leadership development using the art of storytelling.
To get in touch with Ayuma or to get more information on LetS, see their contacts and social media accounts below.
LetS Woman Roundtable July – December 2018 Calendar
Join an exclusively facilitated and themed discussions for women in/pursuing leadership. Check out which roundtable themes below speak to you and sign-up Now via bit.ly/LetSWRoundtable
Only 10 seats are available for each roundtable each month, so grab your seat early. Advance tickets going for ksh. 5,000.
7th July: Speaking up with confidence, honouring your journey and getting commended for what you say.
4th August: Selling your personal or business brand using stories.
1st September: Telling captivating stories to inspire, connect and drive positive impact.
6th October: Organising your story for structure, clarity and direction.
3rd November: Leveraging your natural feminine design to thrive at the workplace.
1st December: Designing your own world-class mentorship strategy.