AEC Strategic conversation with Mickey Roothman, Chief Executive Officer of Mickey Roothman Coaching & Consulting

Mickey Roothman, Founder and CEO at Mickey Roothman Coaching & Consulting, South Africa

Born in South Africa, Mickey Roothman is a Life & Business Transformation Coach, Speaker, Strategist & Author who is on a mission to help organizations and individuals to self-actualize to reach their highest potential.

Her podcast show called Breakthrough impacts hundreds and thousands of lives across South Africa.

She gives Afripreneur Conference an in-depth and perceptive interview on the place of women in African business world.

What was your journey like to get where you are?

My journey has been a real roller coaster ride with ups and downs, scary parts and exhilarating parts. But just like after your first roller coaster ride, in the end its all totally worth it and you want to go again. When I finished school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. So I just followed what society dictates one should do and went and found myself a job. Getting a paycheck was great but it wasn’t very satisfying at all. In my early 20’s I felt the urge to do something else and that’s really where I think my Entrepreneurial spark surfaced. I didn’t really want to work for a boss, so I decided to go and study to become a Health & Beauty Practitioner. I very quickly realized that it was the thought of being able to become my own boss that was really the driving force behind that and that being a Health & Beauty practitioner was definitely not for me. Not knowing what I really wanted to do, I parked my dream of starting my own business and entered the job market again. I was very fortunate to receive several really amazing opportunities that afforded me to learn on the job despite my not having any qualifications for most of the positions that I landed. That season of my life was where I realized I don’t just have a passion for Marketing, Branding & Strategy, but that I had a natural gift for it. In fact I believe its because I didn’t go and study and have any pre-conceived ideas that made me so successful at it because it caused me to think outside of the box. I spent about a decade in the corporate world as a Brand & Marketing Manager for several local and international brands. At the age of 27 I landed what most would call a “dream job” with what was a very popular international brand at that time. I loved what I did but something in me still just wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I took a massive leap of faith, resigned and moved to another province not knowing what I was going to do or how I was going to earn an income. Whilst unemployed I began to notice that many of my friends, old colleagues and even old bosses were phoning me for advice and help or just to pick my brain about projects and endeavors they were busy with. I remember I was searching the internet one day for jobs when I came across an advert looking for a company to provide promoters for a corporate event. Now keep in mind I was living in a new province where I literally knew no one, but something in me just jumped into action. Within 1 hour I had created a company profile, emailed the company that advertised and placed an advert that I needed students for a brand promotion. Well to make a long story short, I got the client and raving reviews on our delivery of what they paid us for. At that stage I was offered a 6 month contract as Brand & Marketing Manager for a new brand that was launching which was also my ticket back to Gauteng. This sucked me back into the corporate world and I ended up doing a few short term contracts for a variety of companies. At the end of one of my contracts I once again got a call from one of my old bosses asking me for advice. When I hung up, the thought occurred to me that I should be charging for my advice since I was dishing it out so often. That was the birth of my very first business. It started as a Brand Promotions Agency and eventually evolved into a full service Brand, Strategy and Marketing Agency. I loved what I was doing at that time but there was a nagging feeling inside of me that still said there is more. At that point in my

career I was often asked to speak or teach on Branding & Marketing related topics at events, corporates and in the media and I began to realized that I absolutely loved it. Something in my soul lit up and came alive when I was imparting knowledge and empowering others with it to empower and grow themselves. That was really what ultimately propelled me into the Coaching, Speaking & Training & Development arena where I still find myself today. I’ve since added Life Transformation and Personal Development to my repertoire which I’m really passionate about. I ascribe my success today to finding my “why”, my reason for doing what I do which is to help others to consciously create a life and a business that they love. Was the journey tough? Absolutely. Did I want to give up at times? More times than I care to admit. But ultimately what got me up and pushing upward and forward was my “why” behind what I was doing and creating.


Could you tell us some of your experiences doing business in Africa? Moreover as the woman that you are?

What I love about Africa is our willingness to always adapt, expand and evolve. I’ve found South African companies to be a lot more open to innovation and growth than anywhere else in the world.

Are there any specific challenges faced by businesswomen in Africa?

Today I know that the only challenge I really faced as a woman in business was myself. My own mind and beliefs. Although gender bias certainly exists in the corporate world, I never encountered it. My advice to any woman in business would be to believe in yourself and in what you have to offer and nothing can stand in your way of success.

Have you ever felt that you encounter specific obstacles in your career because of your gender?

Again I think my own beliefs and thoughts created it, but the only obstacle I faced as a woman in business was that I felt I had to be “masculine” in order to succeed at the beginning of my career. I dressed in corporate suits, showed no emotion or mercy and spoke in a loud and domineering way. I realized through my journey however that the business world needs both men and women to thrive. And by us bringing our true authentic femininity to the equation magical things happen.

Do you think you are a role model for other women?

I’d like to think so. Nothing in my upbringing shouted “massive success in her future” and to me through my own success, I’m just mirroring and modeling to other woman what’s possible for them too. And through coaching, speaking and training I get to impart what I learned on my journey to help them in accelerating theirs which is why I’m passionate about it.

Does female leadership exist?

Absolutely. The corporate world is rapidly going through a transformation where leaders are awakening to a more conscious and empathic leadership style where personal development, relationships, EQ and company culture are moving up on their list of KPI’s and KPA’s. Woman tend to lead more naturally from their empathic side which helps them to connect to their teams and their clients on a much deeper and more impactful level. Gents have the same ability and are fast waking up to that as well, but it just comes more naturally to us ladies.

Is there a company operating in Africa that particularly you admire? and why?

I would have to say that King Price Insurance comes to mind. I love their continual innovation and their number 1 priority is their company culture which I believe is what’s continued to propel them forward and upward.

Professionally, is there someone who inspires you?

Definitely Oprah Winfrey.- she is the epitome of an empathic powerhouse with a solid why and business sense to go with that.

And outside the professional world, is there an African figure that particularly inspires you?

Mine is probably a bit of an unconventional one, but the person that comes to mind for me is Jarette Petzer, the Founder and CEO of a Facebook Group that became a powerful movement called #ImStaying. Truly inspiring to see what he has been able to achieve and create in such a short amount of time.

What do you do to relax after a day’s work?

Just about anything that makes me feel good. Whether it is spending time with loved ones, watching a series, meditating or taking a long bubble bath, my mission at the end of the day is to switch off and just enjoy the present moment I am in for a while.

What kind of girl were you when you were 20 years old?

I think I was very confused as a 20 year old. I didn’t really know who I was, but something inside me always knew I was meant to achieve something great. Like many 20 somethings I think we need to go on that journey of making a few mistakes to find our true selves, our true passion and purpose in life. I was always very driven, but I needed to believe in myself first before that became a gift.

What is the next country in Africa you want to visit and why?

Tanzania and Zanzibar. I’ve seen the most beautiful pictures of both and have always wanted to visit there for a nice long holiday and to write my next book.

Today, are you where you have always wanted to be?

I love where I am now, but I’m excited for what’s coming next. I don’t think we’re ever really are where we want to be because we as humans and life is ever expanding and evolving. So there will always be another dream, goal or desire we reach for.

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