Don’t give up. Back yourself. Don’t be scared to ask for help – Tanya Finnie

Tanya Finnie is a global cultural strategist with expertise in building meaningful relationships and instilling confidence within individuals. As the Director of RedHead Communications she worked around the globe, offering her valuable global experience pertaining to culture and diversity. With her unique skill-set and vast knowledge, Tanya assists organisations in growing their human capital and increasing their cultural intelligence (CQ.)

She is a multi-award winner and passionate to help grow more collaborative teams that leverages their diversity. Whether a workplace is experiencing a diversity of cultures, gender differences, generational challenges or merely language barriers between departments, Tanya is the right person to call.

Photo of Tanya Finnie with The Corporate Escapists logo
Meet Tanya Finnie –

Tanya is passionate about creating inclusive communities. Her passion started as a young child growing up in Apartheid South Africa in an abusive household. She channeled all that energy into becoming certified in cultural intelligence and unconscious bias, but only after she lived with a Masai warrior in Kenya, a Zulu King in Zululand and SOWETO the biggest black township, outside Johannesburg. She used these experiences, in turn, to educate corporates on managing a fair workforce even if one person only needs two hours to attend a funeral and another two weeks. She is currently completing a PhD in this area as well.

As an successful entrepreneur please share your view point if you believe that entrepreneurs are born or made?

It’s age-old question of nurture vs nature and I believe a good mix is always useful. In the end anyone with the stamina for uncertainty and a bit of risk taking can be an entrepreneur. Mix in some grit and persistence and you are well on your way.

My secret ingredient for making it work has been my tenacity.

Nelson Mandela once quoted – ‘I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.’

What has been one fear you have overcome?

It helps to remember every no is one step closer to the next yes. Let’s be honest, I’ve spent some days crying on my pantry floor, wondering what I’ve done. The key is to pull yourself up and conquer that fear because once you have nothing can stop you.

Tell us what the word “empower” means to you?

Leaders should be willingly followed and not drag their followers along. To be able to empower others, you need to educate – not in a preachy kind of way, but inspiring – a way that creates a thirst for your followers. I believe that whenever I walk into a room in a paid capacity, the majority of people should take something away that they can immediately implement else I have not done my job.

What has been one of the biggest business ideas you have had and how did you have the courage to implement it?

I went to bed one day after feeling pressured in not being up to my corporate salary yet after venturing off to start my own business. I woke up the next day and doubled all my fees. I wrote a short justification to my clients including highlighting the value they get from me and sent it off. I lost a single client and gained so many more. Back yourself!

Running your own business can be scary. Success requires moments of courage to push through to the next level, please tell us one of the moments you have had to push through to take your business to the next level?

Above was certainly one of those moments. Another would be…I created Cultural Intelligence month to educate people around the theme of growing your cultural intelligence and the benefits it will have for you personally, the team and ultimately to create a better world. Ultimately it also helped to drive not only my bottom line but also colleagues who play in the same domain.

Tell us what attributes you feel make a good leader in business today?

One who leads by example. To me the key ingredient is curiosity. If we are genuinely curious about other people, we will explore their perspectives and widen our own world to be better leaders.

What is your favourite quote about empowerment?

“I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.”

Nelson Mandela

We can replace friends with colleagues. We can only empower others if we can approach the world from the third perceptual position. Not my point of view or yours, but that third position, incorporating both.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?

Don’t give up. Back yourself. Don’t be scared to ask for help.

What would be one (1) question you would you ask the person who most inspires you? Also share with us about this person and why they inspire you?

I’m a huge fan of Nelson Mandela and met him once. I often quote him in my work. He is a true inspiration for what drives the essence of cultural intelligence. He walked out of prison (where he was a political prisoner for 27 years) and became a boss who not only empowered his nation but inspired the world to do better.

I’d love to ask him what he think he had to give up (if anything) to become the person he was.

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