Tumi Frazier, a passionate South African entrepreneur, is a powerhouse in every sense of the word. Through her inspirational leadership, combined with an ambitious vision and an endless source of energy, her company, Tumi Frazier International, is helping to develop thousands of new women leaders in Africa.
Tumi Frazier is one of those women who believe they can make a real difference in Africa through their efforts to uplift, motivate, inspire and develop other women into powerful leaders for change on the continent. Lionesses of Africa chatted to her this month to find out a little more about her own entrepreneurial journey to success.
What does your company do?
My company, Tumi Frazier International, assists individuals and organizations with personal and organizational development interventions to improve accountability, effectivess and commitment in order to cultivate high performance culture. This ranges from Leadership Development and Change Resilience Workshops, through to Keynote Addresses and Inspirational Sessions.
What inspired you to start your company?
I have a natural ability and passion for people development, and consider myself an embodiment of empowerment, a teacher, researcher and most importantly a student. Even in high school I was always the one other students consulted when they needed advice on any issues. I actually became a "self-appointed resident mentor". On those occasions when I was presented with a difficult situations that I couldn't give straight answers to, I would request my "mentees" to let me sleep on it, when in fact I would go and read up on the situation and return a few days later with sound answers. I played the same role in my immediate family and particularly with the many cousins I have. Being the very first one in my immediate family and extended family to ever graduate University made them defer to me in the mentorship area. In essence I turned my passion into a business.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
I am one of South Africa's sought after female speakers with an ability to inspire audiences to take positive action and achieve results, on both personal and professional levels; irrespective of nationality, race and creed. Through relevant, practical, innovative, inspirational and informative resources, I am able to promote long lasting learning. As one of my clients put it in his testimonial - "The best teacher is the one who shows you where to look but doesn't tell you what to see". This is the kind of a teacher I am.
Tell us a little about your team.
I have an incredibly talented and supportive team of professionals from agents, editors, strategist and administrators. This team makes my work so much easier as they allow me the opportunity to focus mainly on what I do best and they do the rest. As a creator and speaker I'm always coming up with new and exciting ideas that perhaps sometimes, to onlookers, can seem like pie in the sky. Yet, I am extremely blessed to have a team that is in touch with reality and able to dissect my many dreams and help turn them into achievable goals. They assist in putting in place the essential structure, processes and systems to what I do.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
No, I do not come from an entrepreneurial background. I'm actually an epitome of struggle, overcoming setbacks and ultimate triumph, although I haven't arrived yet. I don't think I will ever arrive, anyway - as long as I'm alive, I'm open to learning, inventing and new opportunities. So, I was never born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but instead worked extremely hard to turn my passion into a business. Was it easy? Absolutely not...business is not for the faint hearted! I had to overcome major obstacles and challenges in my business and life in general.
The business took a while to get off the ground, and I toiled for years but had little to show for it. I would take five steps forward only to take ten steps backwards, to a point where those close to me started doubting that I would make it. There were times when I wouldn't draw any salary just so I could pay my team and cover operational costs, as I started business with my savings. At some point, things got so bad that my car got repossessed by the bank and my properties were due to be put up for auction. However, I kept going despite all the hardships because I believed in myself. Besides, I had come a long way and had sacrificed far too much to quit by then. I figured out that I must be close to the finish line, especially when things got worse. As Dr. Robert Schuller once wrote, "Tough times never last, but tough people do". I developed resilience and a tough mind and worked on my business like my life depended on it. In fact it did depend on it like the air I breathed. Before long, I made a breakthrough.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
My short and medium term plans are to establish myself firmly as a Professional Speaker globally; to launch a television programme focusing on women on a global platform; and to build an Internationally recognized, 21st century Leadership Academy for entrepreneurs, graduates and future leaders that are effective, accountable, principled and ethical - leaders that are going to inspire confidence and steer Africa in the right direction as well as lead in global economies.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Receiving positive feedback from clients and readers whose lives and/or businesses have been positively changed as a result of my interventions or books.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Never underestimate the importance of the preparation. Everything begins with preparation, whether going on a journey, performing on stage, or attending a business meeting. Preparation positions you correctly and is often the differentiating factor between losing and succeeding. Sometimes the preparation process is long and slow and often requires that you invest in self-development to develop qualities and disciplines that the average person lacks. Ultimately, people support the person behind the business so, work on yourself so you can be ready when your moment comes. As a business person, you attract who you are.
Get in touch or follow Tumi:
Email Address: Admin@tumifrazier.com
Why LoA loves it....
It is not surprising that Tumi Frazier inspires so many others, as her own personal entrepreneurial story on the road to success is an inspiration in itself. Although she has experienced many ups and downs on this road, she has never once stopped believing in herself, her abilities, or her business, despite the challenges faced. She is proof positive that if you have the will to succeed, then that success will be forthcoming. At Lionesses of Africa, we love Tumi’s approach to life, and her entrepreneurial journey that inspires so many others along the way. --- Melanie Hawken, LoA founder and editor-in-chief