Voices of Positive Change: “You can’t be what you can’t see” – Marian Wright Edelman
Zahara's Dream Interview with Lucia Bakulumpagi-Wamali, CEO and Founder Bakulu Power, Canada & Uganda
1. What was your first career dream? (Where did Lucia girl-child see Lucia adult-woman?)
I wanted to be an agent. I still do to be honest. I’ve always liked the idea of managing talent. I get really excited when my friends win; I love the energy of it. It excites me to see people win. Oh, I also wanted to be a pharmacist or a dentist.
2. What first inspired you to become an entrepreneur and how is it defining your life today?
Life just kind of led me here actually. I had my daughter and could not find daycare. For some time I had a friend, Vanessa, who was so lovely to help me watch Naomi while I went to work at UNICEF Canada but then she got pregnant. I remember when I walked in to the office to return my badge with a baby in my arms. And I was like, wow, what on earth am I going to do now? One of my sisters jokingly mentioned how she didn’t want to hear me drone on and on about the minutiae of a baby so I started reading a lot to have something to talk about when we would meet up for dinner. I didn’t want my brain to go to mush so I went back to an idea I had when I was in Uganda the year earlier.
3. What would be a piece of advice for young women overcoming social and economic adversity?
You are not your circumstances. It’s hard to not define yourself by your circumstances but they are not who you are. When times are rough, try and keep going it won’t always be bad. When times are great, try and remain kind because you might not always have it like that.
4. What does Empowerment mean to you?
Believing in you enough to try and keep trying. Believing in you enough to know that there is enough for everyone.
5. What does Ambition mean to you?
I’m not crazy about the word ambition. I think everyone has ambition. No one wants to suffer. I’m more into the word action.
6. How important is discipline when it comes to building a fulfilling career?
It’s incredibly important. But to be honest, I’ve always struggled with discipline. Routines are hard for me.
7. What is the value of a role model?
Oh it’s everything. I think there are bits and pieces from everyone that we can learn from. And what we need to learn changes as we change. It’s very important to see what’s possible even if it’s across the world and you only saw it in a book.
8. How do you turn fear and failure into strength and opportunity?
I try and remember that everyone feels fear and fails, it’s not just me. And when it happens, it won’t be the last time. I tell my daughter that she has to make the decision to learn. You have to be open to it; meaning, that you have to be open to embarrassment and mistakes. Also, no one really cares as much as we think. We have to get out of your own heads. These are things that I tell myself every day. I make tons of mistakes. I’m always the dumbest person in the room. Even my daughter is smarter than me, ha! But I can promise you that I’ll always find me a bit smarter when you see me next.
9. How do you start your day to achieve the objectives you have set for yourself?
I try to resist reaching for my phone and take time to thank God for another day and set an intention for the day. I make breakfast for my daughter and I and make a to-do list. Everything else depends on where I am and at what time I went to sleep the night before.
10. What is the best career advice you were given?
Launch when things are good enough. If you wait for perfect you’ll be stuck. As you go you’ll have a new good enough. Adjust and go until you reach a new good enough.