Ashalia Maharajh, is the CEO of Sivuka Youth – a 100 % Indian female owned company that focuses on youth training, coaching & recruitment services to various corporate and private organisations and youth in South Africa. Six million young people out of work is a crisis for South Africa; our future workforce is not being educated, trained or employed. Ashalia’s aim is to develop and make a marked difference to the youth to enable their success.
As a sought-after speaker, ICF Coach and CEO of Sivuka Youth, Ashalia is highly skilled in entrepreneurship, Coaching, public speaking and facilitation.
Ashalia holds an Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees in Psychology and is a SACDA (South African Career Development Practitioner), ICF Accredited Coach and Insights Discovery Practitioner. Within her 15 years of experience in HR & Education, she has developed Learning Initiatives for some of South Africa’s largest corporations, governmental institutions and small companies alike. Being passionate about her work, Ashalia uses her knack for people, love for learning and motivation along with her solid experience and knowledge to enable and motivate young minds.
Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.
I am a mom of three amazing young girls and a wife. My life journey is finding balance, alignment and doing the inner work for a truly purposeful life. I grew up in Durban and moved to Johannesburg in 2011 and shifted careers at that stage to HR from Learning. The tough transition taught me that I was made of some strong inner metal and this helped me see that I could conquer anything in my career! I built some phenomenal relationships and have taken on projects that were sometimes bigger than myself! My enthusiasm and sheer determination to conquer has always offered me space to learn, fail and succeed at once.
Please tell us a little more about your company, Sivuka Youth (Pty) Ltd, and how it came about.
Sivuka Youth was born out of the desire to support newer generations entering the workplace to acclimatize with ease and build a strong foundation for a sustainable career. I founded the company after taking on a few mentoring and training roles for young people and finally launched the company officially to build a business that supports our youth in becoming more aware of their environment and being more effective as an employee. We run an Integrated Learning Model where we not only train youth in their first roles in corporate but also embed the learning through Youth Coaching. This allows for more meaningful learning and more importantly, the personal mental health tools every young person needs when they are starting out.
Many young people from marginalised backgrounds, and even those from more affluent ones, struggle to transition effectively and therefore lose motivation and drop in performance in their first few months of working.
Sivuka Youth (Pty) Ltd is born out of my passion for helping others succeed authentically. We aim to effectively grow transformation of our country and unleash personal potential to effect change within organisations. Skills lacking in today’s graduates cost South African business dearly as there is frustration experienced by both the business as well as by the new employee. The new employee finds it difficult to fit and adapt into the work environment and thus is unable to perform optimally in their new role.
It was a long time coming for me, for years always feeling like my purpose was different and that a business would be the form it needed to take. I wasn’t always sure that this would be it… so throughout my career I remained true to always learning – about myself, my impact, my learnings from every role I took on and what I could possibly do one day. When I began the company, I did not expect to receive the support I received…it was at the right time for me and the work.
Should you be busy with any interesting initiatives, please tell us a little more about it.
I am conceptualizing a Young Women’s Mentoring Programme where we develop young women in their first year of work to support their professional aspirations. We hope to not only develop the young women but also provide the Youth Mentoring Skillset to the female mentors that will support them.
I am also working on a wonderful project with a client, where we are offering them the full 3 tier support i.e. training and coaching their interns, mentors and managers (who function as coaches internally). This is a game changer in that we not only develop the interns, but their direct support system bringing varying generations together using shared language and common understanding.
What is it that you are passionate about?
Living a mindful, purposeful and intentional life. I believe that living a life that is aligned to what you came here to do, is the key to our happiness and joy. So remaining tapped into this inner guidance and allow my life and myself to unfold in line with this is a priority for me. Building a resilient, stress tolerant brain is also really important to me, therefore, daily meditation and strength training offer me the base to connect to myself and build calm in my brain, body and being. I am very passionate about brain health in supporting balance and calm.
What is your personal “motto”?
It is from the song by Lauryn Hill, “The man who knows everything knows nothing at all”.
Do you have any tips and tools to help equip graduates and young employees to succeed in the business world?
Firstly, remain open to learning with every conversation, meeting, conversation. Learn from everyone – from the Janitor to the CEO…everyone has something positive to teach you when you are starting out.
Secondly, begin self-reflecting and create a habit of exploring what thoughts, beliefs and ways of behaving to support your current path. Reflect on what you may need to let go off and also adopt. Learning new ways of being is difficult, however if you do so in this authentic way – you build a professional brand that is true to you and your career.
Lastly, observe people that you admire in your organization. They don’t have to be in your department of even senior to you. Just people that you admire based on the way they work, connect with others and communicate, for example. Then reach out to them to mentor you in the area that you find interesting and could learn from.
What advice would you give a woman wanting to follow her dreams?
Tap into yourself …the deepest parts of you that guide you to your life’s path. Begin exploring your values, priorities and your biggest more audacious goals. Do they align? If not, how can you make small adjustments to your life right not to bring them to alignment? Are there goals truly reflective of your deepest work in this lifetime or have those goals been directed by others?
I believe that it is utterly important to remain true to your dreams, vision and mission for your life. And sometimes this requires no action and taking time to explore and get in touch with your inner self. Once this is done, you will see opportunities, and synchronicities unfold and show up almost magically! It’s quite a superpower living an aligned life!
Once you are on your path, do not listen to nay-sayers – protect your dreams as if they were your child! Fear of others can deeply contaminate your focus and path.
Who or what is your inspiration and why?
My husband is one of my greatest sources of inspiration. I have witnessed him overcome life’s circumstances, his own self-limiting beliefs and move beyond what life has often told him he was not able to achieve. His levels of discipline, dedication and duty inspires me daily. When I am at my lowest, I am reminded of how courageous, resilient and powerful the human spirit can be, just by looking at him and his life.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It will all work our one day! Go slowly, remain patient and stay the course… it will unfold beautifully!
Your favourite daily affirmation:
I am open to all the abundance and opportunities the day has to offer! I remain open to all that serves my highest path and willingly and easefully let go all that does not.
Your favourite quote:
“Our deepest fear is that we are not inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure”- Marianne Williamson from the Poem, Our Deepest Fear.
Which book are you currently reading?
What I know for sure by Oprah Winfrey.
What are your top 3 business tips?
- Culture eats strategy for breakfast, No matter how big or small your business is, the culture of your company will either lead you to success or misdirect your energy and efforts.
- The two most important groups of people in your business are: your staff and your clients. Treat them with A+ levels of respect and care. Taking care of them will take care of your business.
- Invest in yourself. As a business owner and leader, it is important to invest in yourself, your growth and support. Finding Coaches to support your journey is vital to a healthy business, especially in the early stages. Take courses, join networks, learn from mentors, never stop learning.
What would you say is your secret to success?
Knowing my bigger life purpose and never giving up. Creating a force field of positivity, moving forward with focus and determination and aligning with talent that uplifts the work I aim to do has been the recipe that has not failed me.
One piece of general advice that you’d like to share:
Remain true to yourself in your greater vision for yourself and diligent in building your craft no matter where you are in your career.
Is there anything that Xtraordinary Women can do to assist you on your journey?
Connect with us and let us know if there is an opportunity to work together! We love working with purpose driven women and the more we work together, the more divine impact we can make!
Submitted by: Clayton Morar Media