The saying that excellence is never by accident but achieved by high intention and intelligent execution describes Pakama Tsabedze and her career journey perfectly. A mom to a smart, funny and budding scientist six years old boy, wife to an Engineer, an Engineer herself, an MBA graduate, Pakama juggles a demanding career and life with absolute grace and excellence. Changing careers, after a successful career as a Senior Engineer in the oil and gas industry, to a Sustainability Manager, Pakama’s success is no accident. Having lived and worked in the UK and Sweden, Pakama’s passport reflects great travel adventures with her recent visits including China, Russia, Finland and India.
Here are questions on getting to know Pakama Tsabedze:
- What is a typical day like for you?
The day starts early as I get myself and my son ready. and we make our way to school and work. This is the highlight of my day as we sing and play games during our commute. Sometimes I wake up even earlier (around 3 am) to do some work, earning me the title of work slave from my husband.
- What tips and tricks do you have for living a balanced life?
A balanced life for me has meant an investment in all areas of my life to ensure holistic growth. I would not be able to achieve any semblance of balance without my support system.
My mom, who has been my best friend all my life has sacrificed her life for our success and has co-raised my son. My husband has been my rock, a critical sounding board and always directs me to my life’s true purpose. My son’s nanny, Elizabeth, my friends and mentors, my church family have all been a great support in many ways.
I think if I can now get a dietician and personal trainer than life will be perfect.
- How do you deal with Mommy guilt?
Can I just say I’ve improved in this area? I used to feel guilty for leaving my son for every business trip. The guilt has lessened somewhat because he’s usually with my mom and he’s happy to see me when I get back.
- What is the most rewarding part of being a mom?
From the first moment when my son was placed on my chest at birth, I experienced goosebumps with my heart expanding. I can no longer go back to who I was before I met my son. He has enriched my life in such a way that I cannot put into words, and in sweet and tough moments, I’m just so grateful to be his mom.
- What is your profession or business and why did you choose this path?
Growing up with a single mom in Matatiele, I am grateful that I got a bursary to study chemical engineering. I then went on to work for a world-class oil and gas company for nearly 10 years with wonderful project exposure and international design work. I wanted to broaden my business exposure, so I did my MBA and joined my current company. My current role and the MBA has exceeded all my expectations in terms of personal and professional development, overseas travel and opportunities to apply myself and make an impact.
- Have your career or business goals and inspirations changed since becoming a mom?
Yes. My son makes me brave and decisive. I remember when I discovered I was pregnant I decided to finally do my MBA and I think we did a great job! And what a journey it was to complete an MBA pregnant and then with a tiny baby and finding encouraging classmates. The MBA was also a wonderful leadership journey and subsequently opened me up to new career opportunities.
- When stressed or overwhelmed or lost focus temporarily, what do you do to refocus?
I pray. I can be completely honest and real and I get the necessary perspective on life as it lifts my gaze and my heart above my current difficulties or situation to who I am. Secondly, I’ve read books and blogs by and about Elizabeth Elliot and a few of her sayings come to mind in moments of uncertainty, such as: “Do the next thing.”
- What are your “Go-to” beauty staple and closet items?
I swear by the Body shop body butter. I also love Clinique “morning java” eye shadow because it has earthy colours that go with everything.
- What books have you read or listened to that have greatly influenced your life?
I’ve loved the depth of wisdom from Elisabeth Elliot on faith and life.
In general, I love having book companions for every journey in my life. So, on parenting, I’m currently reading “Shepherding a child’s heart” by Tedd Tripp and “The whole-brain child” by Daniel J. Siegel, MD.
For work, I’m currently listening to the “Making of a manager” by Julie Zhuo and “Selling Vision” by Lou Schachter and Rick Cheatam.
To get to know Pakama follow her on Instagram – @pakamagcabo