Rethabile Phoofolo is a young African woman from the
Majestic Kingdom of Lesotho. She owns 360 Communications, which is Research
company within corporate communications.

360 Communications adds value by making businesses
smarter and minimize risk through use of research information.
The idea is to simplify research information so that
it is accurate, easy to understand and implement. A number of people can
collect data and look at a spreadsheet, but it has no meaning if it has no
relevant insights on how to make business decisions efficiently and have impact
on the bottom line.  
 360
Communications was created when she noticed that, most small companies fail
within 12 months, because they enter the market on a hunch not having enough
funds to conduct market analysis and customer research. Big organizations
conduct research, but, it is too expensive to conduct a long year market
survey. Her company adds value within Customer Relationship Management,
Targeted Advertising, Process and Quality Analysis, Supply Chain Optimization,
and Algorithmic trading to support businesses in different fields. 
She was recently part of Young African Leadership
Initiative in the SADC Region. 360 Communications is currently under the
incubation process at Vodacom Innovation Park Lesotho, where she is improving
on the data collection methods and growing 360 Communications into a Big Data
Analytics company.
Rethabile Phoofolo is passionate about contributing
to knowledge and specifically on African content. She sees the concept of
creating platforms for African knowledge, as a way to help businesses in making
smarter and efficient decisions as part of her purpose.
She is authentic in her approach to business and is
highly passionate about businesses that have a greater social impact towards
the development of Africa. Her perseverance to pursue a business in a field
that is still in an infant stage within the continent, and commitment to
ethical business makes her a force to be reckoned with. She aspires to be a
pioneer within the field of data processing, and casually says that Information
is said to be the new oil and she intends to be a captain of industry in that
field.

Things were not always easy, after a very bad car
accident at 11, where her left foot was almost amputated, she had to learn to
walk again at 16. Even with the scars on her feet, and ankle that has been
replaced by pins and steel, she does not look at herself as a victim. She often
says that she forgets that she still has those scars. She has faced fear many
times, especially allowing the fear of failure to paralyse her, until she
started owning her story and facing her failures. Within every challenge, my
mother never allowed me to pity myself, or make excuses because of anything.
The biggest lesson I have learned so far in my life, is that regardless of what
challenge comes my way, I still have to live and that life goes on, no matter
how painful things may be. One has to wake up and show up for their own life.
MY GREATEST INFLUENCES
The
biggest influence on me, is my mother and how she allows my sister and I to
dream. She practically listens to all my ideas and still supports them, by
challenging my thought process. Since she challenges my reasoning, thought
process and how I came to make any decision, I always have to do a small
analysis in head before I present something to her. Hence the concept of 360
Communications and making decisions based on facts and insight not just a
hunch.   Even if I fail at something, she is always
looking at how we can get things right the next time. The biggest influence to
go into business is my father, he early every morning, and is out of the house
by 7am for work or business. I think looking at his life, I have learned that
consistency creates success. Small action towards the goal each day, eventually
bring one into greatness.
The
second big influences are books, I love reading, especially books related to
self-development and I use the information learned to constantly upskill my
mindset, allowing my world view to be dynamic. My third biggest influence was
Tara, a friend of mine in varsity, she helped me become more conscious and get
a mind shift about existence and the universe. I am inspired by people who just
make a decision to follow through regardless of challenges.
THE NEXT FIVE YEARS…
 
In the next five years I plan to have an automated
running business, where I have created quality employment for other people. I
plan to own an innovation hub, where creative, high potential, people can have
a space to work and create. I plan to use technology to improve the way
businesses operate. Apart from the Vodacom Innovation Hub, mentorship which
helps with product development, I also have a two mentors who are dedicated to
helping me stay on track with my goals. I look forward to having my own family,
and grooming strong men and women who will understand that they are in this
world to contribute to the advancement of humanity.
THE AFRICAN WOMAN’S
CHALLENGE:

Firstly, I believe that we have to build the
self-esteem and courage of the girl child and woman. In most cases, challenges
come from the lack of belief that they too can succeed. The two challenges I
see, are that woman do not have access to education and business opportunities.
The ones who do become powerful and emancipated, have to somehow try to balance
the fit into a predominantly patriarchal society and not be authentic about
their own power. We also have a challenge where women themselves do not support
each other, and instead compete with each other. My role is to help woman
understand that their power is not in the hands of a man or any other person,
and that movements and protests towards the woman’s cause should be internal
more than external. When a woman knows her own power she stands in her truth
and African woman should be able to handle themselves in a powerful manner. 
HOW DO I RELAX?
 
In order to get the tension off, I meditate or read.
I am most at peace around water and being silent. I spend a lot of time with
God, as part of relaxation. I absolutely love traveling, with family. 
MY   –  
I.C.E. [INSPIRE|CELEBRATE|EMPOWER] VISION

 

African
woman should be Inspired, Celebrated and Empowered because they have been very
active in building Africa. African women are strong, not necessarily because of
choice, but because of the environment that they find themselves in. They
should be celebrated for their perseverance through so many challenges, and they
should be empowered to believe more in their own capabilities and gifts. 
MY AFRICAN UNION PLANS:

Within the African Union in the women advocacy
empowered – I would choose to work within education. The idea is to co-ordinate
the role of traditional education and skill development. Creating opportunities
where young people can get access to the job market and career guidance in
order to inspire them into different careers. The main idea would be to have
programs on career guidance, using technology as a tool to make information accessible.
FINAL WORDS
OF ADVICE:

My advice to every female, is to learn to stand in
your Goddess. This means to stand in our own power. I believe that power is
internal and then radiates external, no one else will give us permission to be
powerful. African woman, you are beautiful and strong.
“Step into your Goddess” – Rethabile Phoofolo