Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for tuning into this week's episode. My name is Alice Kanjejo and today we have such an amazing guest here with us and she is someone who she doesn't she may or may not do this, but she already inspires me just from the few interactions I've already had with her.

I'm just going to read a quick intro before we get now into the gist of the podcast and she can tell you more about herself from the horses his mouth. That's what people say. Moving on swiftly.

So let me tell you guys a bit more about Millie. Millie Bulbeck is a seasoned entrepreneur, startup strategist and brand innovator, with years of experience in building successful businesses from zero to one. I would argue zero to 100 by the time she leaves.

But moving on swiftly. Millie's academic background is in marketing and communications, dedicating her published master's thesis and terrorist communications. Now, that's an interesting fact that I think I want to ask more details on as we move on, but it was a combined passion for tech innovation and entrepreneurship that has driven her to build a career in the technology space as an equity partner for a couple of startups.

Millie is also entering a world of angel investing and offering consulting, bespoke, coaching and step by step playbooks used by bencher backed startups for new founders, especially female founders, which is also something that we're definitely getting more into. Conversation for this podcast because I think that's what you wanted to focus a lot more on your story, on what you're going to share for your tech story. Millie's passion for tech companies making an impact in particular led her to join Antler, East Africa's fourth Cohort as founder in residence, where she developed disruptive ideas for products and services generated towards women's health.

Now, Millie is currently Director of Marketing and Ecommerce at Uncover, where she has achieved 1000% revenue growth, ten times customer acquisition growth and 15 times community growth in just over a year. I don't know what's funny. That's fiery when you read it out like that.

Yeah, you did. That exactly. That's why I'm telling you guys that she is going to give us some gems throughout the episode because her experience I'm very curious to hear more about your journey.

Honestly, I think I just got, like, a basic overview. I don't normally want to go too much into depth or research on my guests because I'm also interested into knowing more and more about you on the podcast. Live reactions? Yes.

And finally, last but not least, Uncover announced a successful 1 million seed round announcement in Q Four 2022. So you can already see the impact that she already had in the marketing space for the time that she has been in. Uncover Mealy launched six new products, including their first digital product, and expansion into two new markets, which I presume is Kenya and Nigeria.

Yeah, the new markets for Nigeria and Uganda. Uganda, wow. So three markets.

That is a very powerful intro. How do you feel about that? How do you feel about your journey so far? Just overview before we get too deep into it. Yeah, I mean, I feel like when you hear it like that, you're like, okay, like, I'm doing all right.

I love that. I love that. And that's generally genuinely what I love for my guests to just figure out, like, wow, this is what my journey is.

Because you can get so lost in everyday life thinking you need to do better, you need to keep pushing, you need to be a better person in your craft, you've not doing enough. And then you look back and you're like, okay, maybe I'm not too far off where my goal two years ago or one year ago, was so very proud to have read that intro, and now I want to get too deep into it. First of all, I want to get into the terrorist pastor's thesis and how that ended up translating to where you are now, which is the women's health sector of things.

That was such a difference. I think throughout my bachelor's and my Masters, I was always really interested in communications. It was like, really at the time where social media was having a real impact in the way people communicate.

And so I really focus initially on political communications, the new role that social media was having in elections, for example, and empowering democracy, for example, or mobilizing groups. And that kind of also was at the same time that ISIS was harnessing digital media for their communications. And so that was really quite innovative and something quite new.

We were seeing, obviously, information warfare isn't new, but the technology that was evolving was kind of changing that landscape. When I did my Masters, I really focused on cyber espionage, cyber terrorism, and then specifically this kind of evolve, this evolution of communications from terrorists and how that was being used for recruitment or creating brands. Like, at the end of the day, it's a business, and so you see traditional brand practices being used by different groups.

So, yeah, I really was obsessed with that at the time. So at that time, would you say that you saw yourself where you are today? No pivoting to this type of industry? Yeah, so I was really keen on having a political career, joining the Foreign Office or something, and that was really my plan, and I was kind of taking steps towards that. But at the same time that I was writing my thesis, I was also just personally becoming really interested and invested in my personal environmental footprint.

And I learnt basically what went into our period products, and it was like plastic dense, chemical heavy. And I was super taken aback by how just, for example, swapping the period care that I use could have a real direct impact in reducing landfill and things like that, but also improving my own health. I was really mind blown and it kind of opened up this Pandora's box of wow.

I think we as women just assume and trust the products that we currently have. And it became clear that there was just such a lack of innovation in that space with the products and services that us women have and need and yeah, I totally pivoted it in this serendipitous way. That's how I got into one of the first startups that I was with who were producing organic and biodegradable period care products on a subscription and then ended up building out that subscription model to wider, like, menstrual health care and that suddenly just resonated so much more with me.

I felt like I'd found my sense of purpose and to be honest, by the time I finished writing my thesis, it's such a heavy topic and I actually wanted nothing to do with it. I remember my university asked me to come and give a talk on it and I actually declined because I was like, I don't want to do this anymore. I don't know how I feel, actually about the outcome of my thesis, as in terms of like, yeah, I don't know if I don't want to get into politics because politics is really my thing, so I didn't want to see anything too controversial here.

But yeah, I just really felt like, actually, this is not what I want to build my career around. And so, yeah, it was a bit of a shock, not just to me, but to everyone. And I remember my mom said she was like, if you ever write a book, the title should be from Terrorists to Tampons.

And I was like, Terrorists tampons. That's a good title. Well, that's so interesting.

First of all, I wanted to confirm, where did you study? Did you study? Because now you're in East Africa and I know you're from New Zealand. Are you from New Zealand? You're from the UK? Okay. Yeah, my family are all over the place, so it's confusing.

So I'm from England. I did grow up in Hong Kong and Singapore, though. What? I did my bachelor's at Newcastle University in the UK and then I did my masters at the University of Upsala in Sweden.

Wow. Yeah, even like getting my masters was controversial in my family. Like, I was told I might be delaying entering the workforce and things like that, but yeah, when the UK were part of the European Union, studying in Sweden was free for European citizens.

And the way I kind of just spoke it to my dad was it's actually ranked higher than Newcastle uni, I was trying to really build a case, but yes, then ended up doing it in Sweden. Wow, that's so interesting. Actually, I also wanted to go back to your thesis.

Very more complicated than what I did for my bachelor's, but I also did a thesis on attitudes of university students towards policies that govern social media narratives. And I think that also just shows me that there is a gap in actually how we regulate social media and the things that actually happen behind the scenes in terms of communication, things that we're overlooking, and in terms of policies, governance and politics, all the shenanigans. I compared Kenya's 2007 and 2013 elections from a communications perspective and analyzed 2007.

Social media hadn't really penetrated, but by 2013, it really had. And what that played in kind of breaking through propaganda, absolutely. Giving communities control of rhetoric and narrative.

And yeah, in some instances, it can help support peace monitoring and conflict prevention when you can break that's true. There was a whole case, the one for politics, what's the name of this company that was being highlighted for kind of manipulating the messaging in a negative way, but they had an impact in the US politics, in the Kenyan politics, Cambridge Analytica. And so I think that's the one thing that people focus on.

But I like that it was now an opportunity for people to highlight messaging is very important and communication is very important. And how we receive and interpret messaging is very important. And that's why people sometimes anyway, this is getting this is very off track.

But yeah, that's so interesting. But I also noticed that throughout your university, your master's journey and your thesis that you did, it was a focus on how digital or technological solutions are impacting us in that perspective. So that leads me to the question of when did your tech story begin? When did you start having an interest in the technology space? And when you kind of thought, okay, maybe this is something I could do smaller.

I think when I honestly realized what was going on, our period care products, that really is where it started for me because it then kind of showed me how much room for innovation there is around so many, not only so many pivotal life cycles of women. So whether it's from your periods to fertility to sexual health to menopause, I suddenly was like, wow, there's so much room here. And really the most scalable way to disrupt that is when it's tech enabled.

And so at the time, there was what was considered quite a niche new term being thrown around called like, femtech. And yeah, that for me just really aligned with what I wanted to move into, like tech enabled solutions to cater to the needs of women's health. So I think, yeah, my first startup, we obviously well, it was Ecommerce, so it was like light tech.

I wouldn't say it was like detached, like blockchain or anything, but still somehow tech enabled. But then also from a marketing perspective, the data that you can get when you do have tech platforms and softwares utilized within your business allows you to be smarter with the way that you move forward. The way you acquire new customers, the way you retain them, the way you kind of launch into markets, everything basically.

So yeah, that was really where it started for me and I just kind of haven't looked back and obviously there's a scale of how much tech is involved in a lot of these solutions and that's really how it started. But I think as well, for the general movement to kind of achieve equality in any space whether it's like gender, race, sexuality, you don't have to often directly be solving a problem to have an impact. So even if we're looking at financial autonomy and fintech industry as a vertical, it still has much bigger repercussions for collectively moving towards certain goals.

That's so amazing to hear and to think about that your inspiration came from something so simple and had the impact that it did in your life for all these years to come. And I wanted to ask a follow up question of when did you first get and when and how did you get into your first now startup to now get now deeply into the tech space? Because you expressed that you got the interest, but then how did you now get into the space? Yes, I got into the space through that first startup just because I started using the products and it was really new and I just reached out to the founder and we had it off and the rest was history from that. Where was this? Sorry, that was in Sweden that was in Sweden, UK yeah.

And I ended up leaving to kind of pursue my own startup and got massively burnt in the process, which I think is like inevitable for every kind of first time founder. And once I then joined Antler East Africa, which Antler as a whole really focused on tech verticals and tech startups that really kind of was a catalyst to a whole new world of tech and the VC space the startup space. And also, I guess how it was really different from a UK and Sweden perspective, like new markets and seeing how it was having different kinds of impact, different parameters, different challenges, different opportunities.

So yeah, what made you make the move from your life in Sweden, your life in the UK? Was it for personal reasons or now all the way to East Africa to Kenya and how was that transition for you? Yeah, I mean, it was definitely for personal reasons, I think, because I grew up abroad from where my family were always away from the UK and I had just had my son, so I was quite keen not to do another Swedish winter where it's like -16 in dark like 15 hours. Of the day plus so was kind of looking for the right opportunity to move here. My ex husband is Kenyan.

My dad was born in Daras Salam and grew up here, becoming here for quite a while, obviously. My son is Kenyan english. So it felt like somewhere we would like to bring up Safari, our son, and raise a family.

So when I was introduced to Antler and it became clear they had funds in different regions, it felt like, oh, well, this could be the opportunity for us to make this move as a family to Kenya. And so it was when I was accepted onto Antle, East Africa, that we made that move a couple of years ago. Okay, yeah.

I'm very intrigued to hear these stories and how you ended up coming here and, you know, your journey to now Femtech. And so, yeah, now tell us from the first product, which you mentioned to us was all about ecommerce. Wait, could you confirm what you mean by ecommerce? Like, what was being you mean, like, initially? Yes, initially, yeah.

And then how you sorry for interrupting you, but then how you'll move now to your second was now your second move now the one to Kenya and yeah. What products or what were your missions? What was your mission then, and what is your mission now when it comes to Femtech? What are the gaps that you feel are in the market, so on and so forth. I wanted to get now deep into more detail.

Okay. Yeah. I guess the first now I think about it, I hadn't really thought that through.

But yeah, the first was Ecommerce, and the one I'm currently on is Ecommerce. And yeah, obviously very different markets. Like, Internet penetration here is not as big, for example.

I mean, it will be huge, but right now, that kind of behavior of shopping online isn't as well established as in UK, for example. So you definitely have different set of market parameters. But yeah.

So currently, Ecommerce, we're selling at the moment with uncover skincare products, like, on a mission to kind of revolutionize self care, transform self care habits, starting with skincare products. But for me, when I was on Antler, I really kind of went there with an itch to scratch, so to speak, on. Okay.

There is just so many opportunities, whether it's around menstrual health, where, for example, the average today for endometriosis diagnosis is ten years. And that actually, I think it's one in ten women have endometriosis. So it's not a small problem either.

And it's really a debilitating condition, which then also leads to so many other health issues or challenges. You've got sexual health, you've got fertility and then infertility. And I think the statistic is 70% of women have reproductive health challenges.

So it's not a small number either. And then as you move through these key kind of moments in a woman's life cycle, even when you have the baby, I think something like two thirds of global maternal deaths are in sub Saharan Africa alone. So, like, some of these concerns can be regionally heightened or not and so forth.

And then menopause, I feel like that's probably the most taboo subject still for women out of all of our cycles, and it's one which is absolutely inevitable. Like 100% of the 50% of people in this world, like 50% with our female population, will go through menopause. So there's 50 symptoms.

Some are severe. As your estrogen level drops, it can have all sorts of implications on your heart and so forth. And so we'd be quite serious, and yet we don't talk about it.

And so half we don't talk about it. How can we know what the problems are that are collective and then how can we work towards creating solutions for them? So I definitely think there's been a shift now in not only awareness through us, kind of like having these conversations, but business formation. We've got so many more businesses coming up, really, really cool ones coming up to kind of work towards solving these.

And then lastly, the funding side of things. So if it's obviously VC backable, we're starting to see that kind of rise in investing in Femtech or on the other side, investing in female founders. I know, I think it was last year that it was like the highest amount of BC money went to female founders.

But still, I think maybe that was only 2%, and then within Africa it was 1%. So still pretty bad. But I think there's such momentum.

And yeah, I think the whole thing is just really exciting because yeah, I can't wait to see what our experiences will be with these new products and services as we kind of grow. Okay, I think I got a couple of points that I wanted to talk about just based on the conversation that we are having right now. The first one is getting more into your thoughts on the Internet penetration, which you had mentioned earlier.

So actually this year's International Women's Day theme was about technology access for women, something along those lines. And based on research that I did, it was, I think, almost like 40, 50, 60% of women still don't have access to the Internet or mobile tech solutions globally, not just in Africa alone, which normally I don't want to say it's the case, but normally that also means that it's even less in the African market. I think this can also tie into my next question of how do you deal with what are the challenges that you do experience when you're trying to penetrate into the African market? Whether it's the traditions that women still hold on to or I don't want to think, the holding on to habits that you're already used to, instead of going by these new people who are telling you about these new products that you should probably be using.

How do I, as a woman, trust that these people are not trying to profit off me, but try to actually help me? Because you see, having that tech space or knowing that there's opportunity for investments in the African space in this context in particular also means that it's an opportunity for me to make profit off of this particular business. So I know building startups can be fast paced and whatnot, but you can also end up chasing the profits without remembering why you started the product in the first place. So I think I want to get into what are the challenges that you experience when you're trying to build such products for women in Africa or just women globally, but at the same time, how do you think we should deal with the problem of Internet access, especially for women? Because as we can see, I think we also get lost.

We live in big cities, so you get lost into the solutions that everyday people you're interacting with. But the everyday people you interact with is basically 20% of the entire population. Okay, there's a lot to try and touch on all that.

I think Internet penetration is pretty key for tech enabled solutions. I do think though, that that in itself creates innovations unique to the continent or even Kenya, for example, like with Mpesa and USSD and these other kind of tech solutions to deliver services which you don't actually see in other parts of the world, like the UK. Paying phone to phone does not exist.

Wow. So talking about impasse like that is super. That's an unbelievable innovation.

And I think it contributes a massive amount of GDP to massive amount of Kenya's GDP. So I do think actually we don't have what fits there will fit here. And that will force unique innovations to serve the problems and the customers in this market like we just kind of touched upon.

So Product Market Fit definitely has a different set of challenges to consider here. You can't just take this cool app and have it here because of exactly that. A, people don't even have maybe like a majority of people don't have access to a smartphone which might be required to use the app.

And then there's just Internet access, storage data, like all these other things. And then even more particular to Kenya, it's like if you actually want to make money in a market, which there's a lot of price sensitivity, your market size becomes very small then, and it becomes not only tied to maybe an age group, but then it's like location based. So urban probably, because then they have more access to data and other elements.

And then it's like serving the problem, serving the need. And so one of the challenges that became quite clear is to scale out of Kenya, you have to have regional expansion if you're going to follow that more kind of copy and cut product. So, yeah, I think that's probably the biggest challenge is finding product Market Fit and how you've just got a different set of parameters around it for kind of solving these problems.

And so one company, one app that I think is doing a really fantastic job is called Grace Health and they basically deliver digital health services through USSD, initially allowing you or like very light tech integrations with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, where it doesn't take up storage and take up a lot of data. And the women can then track their menstrual cycles, they can then track symptoms, which helps with diagnosis of menstrual health conditions, for example, or even just like taking autonomy over your sexual health contraception and things like that and having a safe space in the pocket of your phone to have these more intimate taboo conversations. So yes, what else did you say? I did ask you about the challenge.

Okay. I think that you've touched on them though, the challenges that you do face with scaling but also, like you said, moving around this product market fit the other kind of parameters you have to consider is like infrastructure and things like that. So there's no point you trying to solve a health problem when the health care system here is totally fragmented.

You have to be, again, innovative in creating actually new solutions for the market because the problems might be the same, like access to this or infertility or menopause, like really high level. Obviously we can go into more granular, but how we deliver the solutions does need to be tailored. And another really great company is Babel, previously Babble on their base out of Rwanda and now in the UK and NHS.

And again trying to connect like healthcare services and providers, help equip people with the ability to take control of their own health with diagnosis tracking and symptom tracking and so forth. So yes, I just think that people it'll force innovation, which I think is really cool. Okay, I think we also talked about you also mentioned about funding when it comes to particularly women in this tech space and just the women representation in the tech space in general.

So what are the challenges that you feel that, I mean, we obviously know there's a disparity between men and women in terms of funding and just even hiring and being part of the team. So I just tied into that. I was listening to a podcast which I do almost every day, but which I know you do as well, moving On Swiftly, where it's a women led podcast and there are three women.

It's called it related, I promise it's Shameless plug. And they were having a conversation about working with women in the working environment, which is I think is a problem. People have very skewed opinions towards a certain type way of thinking, towards working with women, or maybe they're going to have stress, or they speak a certain way, or mood swings, or they wouldn't deliver the way a man would.

Or even bigger problems, quote unquote. Like, okay, at some point they're going to need to leave maternity leave, and they have on their period, so they're going to be moody or things like that. And one of the things that what was interesting from that conversation was one of the women was like, yes, I too believe that people, the women that I have been working, I have had experience working with, have been shit.

People like they have treated maybe their employees a certain way or they feel like you're about to take a space that maybe a younger young blood comes in and they're about to take your position in the industry. So you have this negative combativeness towards them because you have that internalized, like, I went through this, so you go through it too, especially in Africa. One thing is in the job market in general, is that when you go in, it almost feels like your monolization.

Like when you first get in your first year of uni, your first year of high school, you're kind of bullied and that's like a rite of passage that everyone has to go through. So you get bullied your way to the top and then when you get there now, it's hard for you to offer a helping hand into the industry or to someone else who's starting up and especially women is where they have that more personal touch compared to men. So I think the point that I want us to just discuss this is a discussion, just our opinions, not what we're saying is as it stands, you know what I'm trying to say.

But in conclusion, what are your thoughts about one lack of enough equal funding for women and also hiring more women and not necessarily experience working with women, but what are your thoughts on that conversation on women may just be more difficult to work with, even if it's a stereotype. And what do we need to do to change that kind of stereotype then? Yeah, I mean that kind of stereotype is dangerous. I mean you're going to have assholes everywhere.

Exactly. It's not unique to men or women. Right.

I think it's a people's problem. Yeah, it's a people problem. Just because you have female leaders doesn't mean they're not also going to be assholes as equivalent to their male counterparts.

I also just think that's just that I wouldn't go into that too much and I don't think you have to assign it to a gender as to why someone might be like an asshole leader or boss or something like that. And also I do think the way that we now have leadership, the style of leadership is evolving. It's not like as aggressive and bum on chairs from seven to seven and there's just a bit more movement towards flexible working and adjusting to really like the realities of life now and different management styles that you can kind of lean towards.

So I do think I don't really believe in that stereotype and yeah, I just think that's just like a management style when it comes to VC funding, I think it's such a massive topic. So you've. Obviously got VC funding to coed founding teams for men and women, which I think is still like about 14% but still pretty rubbish.

And then one or 2% for female only startups. And so I guess it depends, firstly, like, if we're discussing the credibility of the founding team based off their gender, and if that's the incentive as to why someone isn't getting funding, then obviously that's ridiculous, because a business case is a business case. And at the end of the day, also, women aren't here to fill a quota.

Like we actually can make money for you if we've got genuine solid business ideas or businesses. And then the second part is funding into businesses which are serving the needs of women specifically. So where would you even begin? I think there's just so many touch points in that kind of funnel which you could look at.

So one, it could just be understanding the need, the pain, the size of the business. So let's say if you have a male only VC board, then they might not understand the size or need the pain of it. And so not that really, if you're smart VC, you should be able to see an opportunity just with numbers.

But I think representation from women within VCs is one thing that we can do and I definitely feel like that is something that we're seeing a big change and shift towards. And then when it comes to, again, my point, like we're not just going to fill a quota and let's not just invest in them because they're women. It needs to be a sound business case too, but often maybe overlooked because of either the founding team makeup or business credibility.

And so if we want more women to have to be involved in the founding side of things, that stems down to opportunities which trickles down to education. So you almost have to go all the way back. And so for example, in Kenya, one of the biggest reasons that girls drop out of school is because of lack of period product.

They don't have access to it, so they just stay home. That's true. You have to go all the way down to this, like where does it all begin too? And so I feel like it's just there's so many layers and yeah, maybe that can feel like overwhelming or maybe otherwise, but unpacking is not going to take a day.

Yeah, I think if you can just have an impact in one of those, everyone's doing their bit and then the whole machine will keep moving in the right direction. But I definitely think, like I said, the first bit is like awareness. That's so happening, then it's business formation again, this is starting to happen and then it's the funding for those businesses and I definitely think we're becoming very aware of it.

You see the conversations that are happening and then now you see the cool business which is coming up and yeah, I feel like it's moving in the right way, but still so much to do. There is still so much to do. But I think you've really struck gold with the points that you talked about how the way forward, especially when it comes to the funding.

I also want to add just a bit more onto that and just say that it also takes women to be audacious enough to go for the things that they want to. Because I feel like one of the problem not I feel that, but it is factual that one of the problems that women experience is getting that or just, I don't know, maybe something to do with how we are raised from our childhood. Or you're taught to be more poised.

You're taught to be more less than what a man is, basically, in some aspects. And so learning how to unlearn the habits that you were willingly or unwillingly trained to be conditioned to be and being able to say, you know what, I can start this startup myself, I can provide a solution for this. It only takes one person to decide we're going to do this.

And then you use spearheaded head, game on. And I know it might be challenging to go through now our industry, especially being one of the pool, to now get into the industry that is male dominated. But I honestly think that this guy is a limit.

And as a woman you're able to just say fuck it, and just do it, fuck it. Energy is good energy, but it feeds back into your point of stereotypes because then I do feel like the women who then do that are then like, oh, if she's going to make a stamp or something or push for something, oh, she's arrogant, she's cocky, she's a bitch. So it's kind of like a double edged sword.

But yeah, definitely. I think that's a price worth paying. Honestly, I would rather say that I tried and be called what it is that I'm going to be called after than not try at all.

And it almost just fuels the problem to keep going. And also I think women kind of connecting. It's not just women, it doesn't have to just be women for us to have these conversations.

But I think sharing salaries, like saying each other's names, opportunities in the room, mentors, honestly, I keep hearing, oh, mentors are so important, but only now that I'm really being intentional with how I'm trying to shape my career, I'm like, wow, mentors are amazing because they've got all the experience to share with you. They can really help you navigate that. And so yeah, I do think if you can find mentors, like female mentors is also such a good thing because it's like with anything in life, having that support and knowing someone's in your corner just kind of also gives you that momentum to kind of leap when you feel like, oh, my God, what am I doing? I agree.

Honestly, I have been struggling to figure out how to get a mentor, so I think that's also something for another conversation for another day. But I do agree that having someone to kind of be like your cheerleader more than just our romantic partner or your family I think a mentor offers something value, especially in the industry that you're in. That I think, is irreplaceable and someone you'll probably be thankful for for the rest of your life, even if it was a small space window that you interacted with them.

And there's a lot of male leaders who also want to step into that too, right? Yeah. I would also say as we wrap up, we need to wrap up soon. But I also just like to add that it's also important to involve men into these spaces.

That it's not just conversations that we're having amongst us, but conversations that they also understand the issues that we experience and have a deep understanding of it so that they are also able to understand why we need the solutions to be provided and why they are very what are they called? Urgent for attention and implementation of different strategies for solutions. Wow, I really enjoyed this conversation, but I did tell you that as we end the episode that we'll be asking you some questions just to wrap up with a bang, but just very simple questions. Guys, if you did enjoy this conversation, as I pull up the document, make sure that you, like, share, subscribe to this podcast so that you can help us grow.

Help this podcast reach up. Hey, what am I saying? Help this podcast reach the places it needs to reach so that we can have these meaningful conversations in front of people that they need to and so that we're able to scale and know that the tech problem is an everyone problem. This is not just for the tech people, but just understanding that the conversations that we're having on this podcast just generally deserve to be heard.

And I'm not saying that because it's my podcast. Okay, so what's one word to describe the journey to get to where you are today and why? And why? Okay. Resilient, I think would be my word.

Okay. Because, yeah, it's a journey in itself anyway, and I think you can be fully consumed with work and the rat race and the hustle of getting somewhere and yeah, you have to just work damn hard and you have to take the closed doors or, yeah, you've got to just get back up and push through. And so I do think being resilient has been super important for where I've got so far and probably will continue to be as I move through the rest of my career.

So, yeah, resilience is key and just keep moving. Just keep moving, keep moving. Okay.

Easier said than done, to be honest. It really is, especially because not only when you make these big decisions I don't know about you, but sometimes you feel like, oh, my God, there's just so much happening. You get FOMO, and you're like, I need to do that, and I need to get here.

And I haven't like you were saying at the beginning, you've actually come so far already, and look where you're going and be intentional with where you want to be at the end of the year, and then in two years time, and just take steps each day towards that. And we don't fail, we learn. And we don't fail, we learn.

Yeah. Okay, second question. What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to get to where you are today? That's a good one.

I would say sometimes you don't have to have it all figured out to get there, but I think you need to know where you're going. So I'm a bit of a planner, and I like to really set intentional goals of where I want to go and where I want to be, who I want to be and break those down into actionable steps. So whether it's, like, from your career, finances and your family life, like, spirituality, your health, I always set I have, like, a one year plan, a five year plan, a ten year plan, but even in my one year plan, it's like, cool, so what do I want to achieve this year? And these different categories and check in on it.

Check in and be like, oh, yeah, I haven't actually made progress on that. What can I do? And I think, yeah, trying to be collaborative with other people, other experts, like, you always can learn. And so surrounding yourself with great people, like, who you surround yourself with, is just so key.

You can go from being mediocre to being, like, exceptional. That is so true. Yeah.

The company you keep is really key. People say there was a culmination of the five people. Think about that.

Third question. We have only two more left. Do you have any regrets, or what would you have done better or differently in your journey? No regrets, because in the spirit of trying to talk nicer to myself, because I feel like you can be quite critical and judgmental of yourself.

So in that spirit, which I'm really trying to work on at the moment, I don't want to say I have regrets because everything has got me to where I am and where I'm going to keep going to. So sometimes you don't know why, but you'll work it out eventually. But yeah, I would say it's okay not to have any regrets.

Honestly. Yeah. I feel like maybe I maybe I would make decisions quicker.

That's what I would do. I don't know. I feel like when it feels wrong, act quicker, and when it feels right, act quicker too.

I feel like I could have made I could have sped up some processes, if I maybe had the bravery or the courage to act on something. And yeah, I think that's maybe what I would do. Just be a bit more concise in the decision making process, in the decision making process and not question it all the time and get so deep about it.

I can tend to do that. Just to circle back on what you've just said, one of the guests that we had on this podcast, who's Dominic first guest on this podcast, one powerful thing that he said was one of the things he talked about was you made a decision at that time that you felt was the good right decision at that time. So you make decisions that are right for you at that time because you think this is the decision.

You're making that's right for yourself. So regrets per se. Not necessarily.

I think that, like you said, you don't fail, you learn. And I don't think beating yourself about it too much is the best way to go about it because you did make a decision at that time, not what you think would be bad for you, of course. What was it I read recently? It was like, do your best until you know better and when you know better, do better.

Exactly. Like we're just all trying to do our best and really, none of us really know what we're doing. We're just pretending.

The last question is give us a powerful parting shot. Not really a question, but just give us something powerful to close off them. Okay.

I guess in the spirit of what we've been talking about, and literally what we've just been talking about, I would say an idea is a dream without action. Everyone has great ideas and they will stay as ideas unless we act on them. Wow.

So just jump. Just go for it. Just go for it.

Do it. That's actually the last thing she told me before I started this podcast was, just do it, Nike, just do it. Thank you so much, Meli, for gracing this space and for sharing your story.

I think this has been a very impactful episode, honestly. And for all you listeners or watches out there, thanks so much for tuning in and reaching this far. Make sure that you follow Millie or on LinkedIn or any other things that she's going to link or share with us so that we can link them in the episode, so that you can catch up with her or what her journey is going to become post this episode.

Because I tend to believe that when I get my guests to come on this podcast that this is not the end of their journey. Maybe just the beginning or just the middle of it. You never know if I'm speaking to the next Bill Gates.

I'll see you guys in the next episode. My name has been Alice Kanjejo, your host. And yeah, goodbye.

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