From start-up to success: Women rolling the dice in business
The stereotype in the entrepreneurial world is that women are too risk averse to lead companies. But is that true? Kim Chakanetsa talks to two women who turned their start-ups into successful enterprises.
Linh Thai is one of Vietnam’s top female entrepreneurs. She was brought up in the USA, after her mother fled their war-torn home country with Linh and her sister, who died during the journey. Her mum’s leap of faith inspired Linh to move back to Vietnam and become an entrepreneur. She is now a co-star on the investment reality show Shark Tank Vietnam and founder of TVL Group, a workplace skills training company focused on early- and mid-career professionals.
Monica Musonda is a Zambian lawyer who decided to quit her high-flying corporate career to start her own company. She’s now the CEO of Java Foods, a food processing company providing affordable nutrition to the southern African market. She is one of the few Zambian women involved in manufacturing and agro-processing and she is a member of the UN Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement.
Produced by Alice Gioia
(L) Linh Thai, courtesy of Linh Thai
(R) Monica Musonda, courtesy of Monica Musonda
Sisters of skydiving
What does it feel like to fall through the sky? Two women who have broken barriers and mastered the art of skydiving from India and the United States tell Kim Chakanetsa the answer.
The very first time Rachel Thomas flew in an aeroplane, she jumped out of it at 4,500 feet. Fast forward to 2002 and she became the first Indian woman to skydive and set foot on the North Pole. In her 25-year career she has completed 650 skydives in 11 countries, has been a judge at skydiving competitions and has received many awards including the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award.
Danielle Williams is an African American disabled skydiver who is an advocate for greater diversity in outdoor adventure sports. She graduated from Harvard in 2008 and spent a decade in the U.S. Army. She has completed over 600 jumps, and in 2014 co-founded Team Blackstar Skydivers. This team, originally made up of six African Americans who linked up in a "black star" formation skydive, has now grown to a diverse group of over 330 skydivers in six countries. She is also the Founder and Senior Editor of Melanin Base Camp, an outdoor blog promoting diversity.
Produced by Emily Naylor and Alice Gioia.
(L) Rachel Thomas, courtesy of Rachel Thomas
(R) Danielle Williams, credit Ro Asgari
Taking a leap into single motherhood
There are many different routes to parenthood. For a growing number of women that route does not involve waiting for a partner to start a family. Kim Chakanetsa talks to two mothers by choice about the joys and challenges of single parenthood.
Marie Stern Olsson is from Sweden, where single mothers have only recently been given the same right as couples to access state-funded fertility treatments. She had her son through insemination in 2017. She believes that having a strong support network and a single parent-friendly welfare system made her choice possible.
Supriya Deverkonda is based in India, where single people are allowed to adopt children, but there is still a strong stigma around single mothers. In 2013 Supriya decided to adopt a 5-month-old baby, defying cultural stereotypes around traditional family and marriage. Eight years on, she is still having to deal with bureaucratic hurdles and scepticism, but she says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Produced by Alice Gioia
(L) Marie Stern Olsson, courtesy of Marie Stern Olsson
(R) Supriya Deverkonda, credit Arti Anand
Message in a mural
Street artists from Switzerland and Uganda talk to Kim Chakanetsa about creating public art to enrich lives and bring about change.
The Swiss artist Mona Caron is best known for her multi-story murals celebrating the rebellious resilience of weeds. She first became a muralist in her adoptive hometown of San Francisco, and creates images on a massive scale in public spaces. She blends her artivism with social movements, and enjoys working in collaboration with kindred-spirited artists and activists.
Fatuma Hassan is a painter, graffiti artist and muralist who lives and works in Jinja, Uganda. She says she's never met another female street artist in the country and people are sometimes shocked that she's climbing ladders to paint her murals on buildings. She likes projects that raise community awareness and celebrate the African woman. She's part of the Afri-cans festival and has created murals in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya.
Produced by Jane Thurlow
(L) Mona Caron, credit Chris Carlsson
(R) Fatuma Hassan, courtesy Fatuma Hassan
Musical theatre stars
Dazzling lights, fancy costumes, thrilling dance routines and the nightly applause of an adoring audience - what's it like to sing on the world's biggest stages? Kim Chakanetsa talks to two musical theatre stars about life on stage - and the challenges that Covid-19 restrictions have brought.
Australian actress Jemma Rix is starring as Elsa in Disney’s Frozen the Musical. With no formal training she moved to Japan to start her career singing and dancing at the Universal Studios theme park in Osaka. This is where she was first cast at everyone's favourite green witch, Elphaba in Wicked - a role she went on to play on stage to great acclaim for eight years.
Filipino actress Christine Allado has returned to the stage in London's West End after a break of 15 months when theatres were closed because of Covid-19 restrictions. She’s currently starring as Tzipporah, the wife of Moses, in The Prince of Egypt. She took a year out after university to work at Hong Kong Disneyland, singing some roles in Cantonese despite not knowing the language, and she’s never looked back.
Produced by Jane Thurlow
(L) Christine Allado, credit Roberto Vivancos Studio
(R) Jemma Rix, courtesy Jemma Rix