Awakening Africa Magazine

Interviews

Naomie Cilumba

4 Mins read

She is best known by her closest friends as simply Naomie, but in the professional world, Tshioba Naomie Cilumba is what she prefers to be called.

Ms. Cilumba is an educated multi-lingual woman with professional backgrounds in banking, education, finance, marketing, and healthcare administration.
She’s a young woman impacting her community in the world of business as a serial entrepreneur. She wears many hats, and she is thriving as one of the youngest female leaders as she continues to rise from one state to the next as a business owner.

  1. What shifted your mentality to be self-employed versus working for someone else?

NC The shift happened when I saw myself always providing ideas, disagreeing with my bosses, and my vision not aligning with that of the companies I worked for.

One of the main reasons I was quickly motivated to start my own business was the fact that the employers for whom I had the skills to work would refuse to offer me a job.

I was dressing decently, was speaking professionally, was creating the best resumes, I met the training requirements, I had work experience, but for some reason, the less skilled than me always received the offers.

Every negative response I received reassured me that my purpose on this earth was to be a leader.

2. Tell us about your first entrepreneurial venture: How did you come up with the idea and how did you start your business?

NC My first entrepreneurial ventures were in sales, marketing, media, and money management. I have always juggled several activities at the same time.

Whether it was selling phone cases online or promoting local events from door to door.

The idea to start my own business came when I saw a lot of my friends making money through entertainment, but not knowing how to multiply it or invest that money. I forced them into investing in me by creating an online boutique and entertainment company.

That was also the best way for them to see how their money was working for them. In the summer of July 05, 2012, Sérénité Groupe, LLC was created.

3. Can you tell us about your business, and why you chose the name Sérénité?

NC The name Sérénité was the best way, to sum up, all the pain, mistakes, doubts along my journey, and served as hope to consistently remind me of where I was and where I am going.
It’s very dear to my heart and comes from my favorite prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Sérénité Groupe, LLC consists of several branches such as tax preparations, event promotions, business startup assistance, international artist management, online boutiques, business investments, etc.

4. How did you know when you had the right idea?

NC There was a need for change in my community, and people benefited from what I had to offer.
No matter what I did to shift away from the business, it always found a way back to me, and the joy in my clients’ eyes assured me that my idea was impacting their lives in one way or another.

5. How did you get where you are today, and who or what helped you along the way?

NC Several people played major roles in my life. My parents sacrificed their wellbeing for me to go after my dreams, and the best thing they offered me was a daily motivation book and Bible to help guide me when I was lost. I also had a few mentors and coaches along the way who invested their time and money when I wanted to expand to new states and locations.

6. How did you handle adversity and doubt?
NC I only doubted myself when my peers did not believe in me, so I’ve always had to shift those negative remarks by seeing the finish line of all my endeavors.

What fuels my fire every day is when people tell me I am crazy for my ideas, that it is not possible, it has never been done, and you are a woman trying to amount to things males do.

7. What tips or advice do you have for other women who would like to start their businesses and succeed?

NC The best advice I have for women is to never be afraid to take the road less taken. It is okay for you to be the person who paves the way, and everything will fall in place. To succeed you cannot underestimate any marketing strategy because different methods work for different audiences.

8. What’s is your best marketing method as an entrepreneur?

NC Our world is now powered by technology and I would say the best marketing method for me is being active on social media, and direct contacts on my phone, and word of mouth.

9. What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?

NC I have learned to be patient, and to listen before reacting to situations life brings my direction.
I am not always quick to judge because people I have once neglected in the past have surprisingly being a huge part of my success when I tried to void them out.

10. Did You Experience Failures? If so, what did you learn from them?
NC Of course! Countless times.
The biggest lessons I learned in life were only acquired when God allowed me to fail.
When my fears come in the way,
I stumble and fall, but I get up because I know it is part of the process of becoming successful.

11. Has luck played a major role in your success?

NC You don’t get lucky, it is destiny.

12. After all this success, what is the biggest challenge for you as an entrepreneur to this day?

NC Sometimes I feel like I am in my way, and there are times when I consistently wonder if I let the right individuals in mycircle.

I am my own worst critic.

13. How do you balance your personal life from work?

NC I factor in vacations to minimize stress, and I try my best to differentiate the two from each other.

14. Are You Happy with your accomplishments, and what would you do differently?

NC Yes! I am happy with my accomplishments, and the sky is not the limit for me. Every day that God grants me on this earth, I strive to consistently evolve by taking different approaches that align with my vision.

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