Young SA girls too can soar – North Eastern Tribune


Despina Senatore is on a mission to inspire young South African girls to live purposeful lives through her newly published guidebook Soar!

Senatore, mother of three children, said she had personal experiences and keen insight into the challenges of balancing being a wife, mother and full-time career woman. Thus her desire to raise a generation of young women who feel confident to thrive in a modern world led to the birth of Soar! – a book filled with stories and articles to inform, empower, motivate and inspire high school girls.

Senatore is from Linksfield and has worked in the financial services industry for more than 20 years in various roles and multiple work environments. In 2016, she realised that her passion lay in people's development, with a particular focus on helping women to step out of their comfort zones, face their self-limiting beliefs and to ultimately realise their potential.

She said she understood the importance of having support mechanisms in place, not only at home but also in the workplace, especially for new mothers to transition back into the workplace after maternity leave.

"After leaving corporate in late 2018, I then started my own company, Purposeful Woman, which provides professional business coaching, personal development and imposter syndrome [feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success] workshops and maternity transition coaching," said Senatore. My passion, however, is empowering women and more recently young women in university and high school, she said. Senatore added that she constantly looks at ways to achieve her passion through continuous research on gender equality challenges and solutions in South Africa and around the world.

Her coaching sessions and day-to-day conversations with women from all backgrounds provide her with the insight she needs to focus her efforts on relevant topics. Having trained more than 200 women in corporate and mining, Senatore said she noticed that a lot of what was holding the women back from stepping out of their comfort zones was the messages they received, citing society, cultural upbringing or social comparison when they were much younger. "These messages create self-limiting beliefs or self-limiting assumptions that if not addressed sooner rather than later, hold women back from achieving their potential.

"To create a generation of confident, empowered women, it's necessary to start 'interventions' sooner before women enter the professional workforce." By speaking about imposter syndrome, confusion around career choices as well as the pressure to always be good and perfect, she normalises things for women.

Senatore is mostly invited to career days or to other events to give talks and she even visits schools as well to motivate young girls.


Thabo Jobo
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