The first ConFab of 2018 was held at CN&CO headquarters in Illovo on 19 March 2018. These ritual gatherings are aimed at bringing together people who would otherwise not be in the same space. Building lasting and valuable relations is at the crux of our Confabs as many of these encounters have led to new friendships, business relations as well as personal discoveries.
With his wide network range, one of Carel’s privileges here at CN&CO is to choose a guest speaker for the ConFab. Our guest speaker was the fabulous Ntombi Langa-Royds whose CV is quite extensive. In addition to being a close friend of Carel’s, Mam’Ntombi is an advocate, deputy chair of Saints as well as being on the Board of Directors at Europ Assistance South Africa among many other roles.
Guests were gifted Mike Sharman’s business book “The Best Dick” which is aimed at opening the eyes of many that entrepreneurship is a marathon and not a T20. The room was abuzz with conversations between business associates, friends and future business partners. Some of the people in attendance were MD of Advicement Investment Services-Igor Rodionov, Alban Atkinson- MD of Ince, from Sharpeville Breweries– Motseki Majake who was accompanied by brewster Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela.
An articulate speaker, Mam’Ntombi’s talk was about the level of relationships between us as South Africans particularly, what it is we need to do to improve diversity. An important conversation especially with the current political landscape in our country.
A few takeaways from the talk:
What this means is that fierce and sometimes uncomfortable conversations are necessary in creating unity. She also reinforced the importance of listening to understand in lieu of listening to respond. This type of constructive communication occurs more fluidly when we remove words such as “but” in fierce conversations.
Additionally, due to complexities surrounding fierce dialogues, it is vital that you do not judge that which is foreign to you and keep in mind that two monologues don’t make a dialogue, hence the importance of listening to understand. As much as conversations need to be had, Mam’Ntombi also reiterates that there will be times when silence is all the conversation you need- there are times when silence is also a form of communication and can be just as effective as verbal dialogue.
In closing, Mam’Ntombi urged all of us to take responsibility for our emotional work, obey our instincts not just trust them and lastly in the spirit of “umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”, know our neighbors.
As per interactive nature of confabs, the floor was open to the guests post Mam’Ntombi’s talk. Here are a few comments from the guests:
“So often we don’t share what’s on our minds because we’re afraid we might offend or hurt someone. But honest communication is vital! It helps us to understand where other people are coming from and allows us to see things from a different perspective. I think Ntombi hit the nail on the head when she said we have to have the tough conversations sooner rather than later.” – Benedict Siyotula, First National Bank
“There is so much that each of us has to share. Like Ntombi said, our life stories and talents might seem mundane to us, but to others they may be inspirational and life changing. So get out there! Tell your story! Share your knowledge! Just rock up where you feel you may be needed. Don’t wait to be invited or try to make an appointment. Just get out there and do it!” – Zintle Mtyeku, Ster-Kinekor
“At the moment I have been doing a lot of brewing training and seeing other young black women in my classes has been by far the most exciting thing. I would love to get to a point where having female brewers is a norm rather than an exception. I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t obey my instincts as Ntobi pointed out. We have loved sharing our beer with the ConFab guests and hope they love its as much as we do! Thank you for inviting us guys, lets do it again soon!” – Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela, Sharpeville Breweries
“A wonderful evening with a highly pertinent talk for today’s South Africa. Many lessons to be taken forward and applied by all who were in attendance!” – Alban Atkinson, INCE
“ConFab was a humbling experience to say the least. Ntombi was brilliant and introduced topics ranging from understanding the meaning of conversation to the power of authentic communication. I look forward to applying the lessons learned in my conversations both personally and professionally.” – Kush Padia, Brolink
“While there were many gems from Ntombi’s talk last night – one that stood out in particular for me is “to be comfortable with yourself” and that this process never stops. No one is perfect, despite what we all think of ourselves and by making peace with who you are at a current stage in your life you will be surprised at how many other opportunities manifest themselves simply by accepting you for you.” – Rob Christian, CN&CO
“Really loved being part of a #ConfabSession at @cnandco offices. Thank you for my invite. Loved listening to Nthombi Langa-Royds talk about having a dialogue in the 21st century. #Inspiration #WomenPower #WomanLeader” – Igor Rodinov, Advicement
Another successful and thought provoking Confab. Join us at our next one…