Becoming Michelina ‘Mikey’ Chindiya : The Unstoppable Trailblazer Finessing The Power Of Influence To Build Her Passion For Fitness And Finance Into A Formidable Brand……

You’re arguably one of the most influential young Zimbabweans on (and off) social media today and because so many of us are so intimately engaged with you and the brand you’ve so successfully managed to build, we’ve all inevitably built up our own ideas of who you are.. So we have to ask, who is Michelina ‘Mikey’ Chindiya, in your own words?

I am a young woman passionate about uplifting women and girls through fitness and finance. Building and maintaining my own health and wealth are important priorities in my life, so with everything I learn along the way I want to share. I enjoy life and try to make the most of it. I’m not afraid to speak my mind or stand for what I believe in. I am a woman who is becoming, against all odds; I’m trying to reach the best of who I could be. I am an only child who was raised by a single mother and I really enjoyed it, mainly because I feel as though I received my parents’ full attention as a child. Being an only child taught me confidence, independence and made me comfortable with solitude. I would easily entertain myself, plus I felt as though I got all the resources of the family without any need to compete. I received my parent’s love and attention, which helped create healthier attachments to them, and home was a peaceful, joyful and educational place.

Mikey growing up, and an only child at that, how would you describe yourself then?

I was happiest playing by myself. I was always extremely independent and enjoyed my own company. Even now, I can be alone without feeling alone. I guess I was more of a “tom boy” so I wasn’t really the kind of girl that played with Barbie dolls. I was busy building things with Lego blocks, riding my bicycle through the neighborhood, skateboarding and roller skating, always challenging the boys to races on our bikes. It’s safe to say that I was an active child, who enjoyed keeping herself busy with outdoor activities.

Was being a Financial Advisor always the dream?

Well, growing up I looked up to my mother and aspired to be just like her. She was an Economist by profession and worked in the Finance sector. So from quite a young age, even though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to become in life, I knew I had a keen interest in finance. Lucky for me I was good with numbers, Mathematics and Accounting were my favourites at school. So on the strength of these two subjects, right after high school I decided to pursue a BSc in Banking and Finance at the University of Essex, which I graduated from 3 years later. Soon after graduation I landed a job with my current employer – Carrick Wealth, an offshore Wealth Management Firm for high net worth individuals.

Why do you get up every morning to do what you do? What drives you?

The fact that I get to meet new people, hear their stories and help them build towards achieving their future goals and dreams. I love having the opportunity to walk their financial journey with them. I’m in the business of helping people protect, preserve and grow their wealth, so that’s a mission I find very satisfying. It can be quite overwhelming and even intimidating for clients to pick out what investments are right for them, so I am quite honored to have the privilege of holding their hand every step of the way. Their success becomes my success, and this for me is very fulfilling.

Was fitness always a passion for you?

From as far back as I can remember I’ve always jumped at any opportunity to put my body through its paces. At school I swam, very well, and eventually became the captain of the swimming team. I was a regular member of my school hockey teams and had the honour of representing the country as a gymnast.

As women, we go through so many physical and hormonal changes throughout our lives, and being committed to an active lifestyle of fitness can help navigate these changes more easily. Not only is fitness great for our bodies, but for our mental and emotional health too. I am a big believer in the idea of self-love through the discipline of fitness.

The way we care for our physical well being, speaks volumes to the way we feel about ourselves. Not only does fitness add years to your life, but it also adds more confidence to the way you live your life. Best of all it’s never too late to start.

You are a financial advisor who has a passion for fitness. There’s this notion that people should turn their passion into their job so as to “never work a day in your life”. What are your thoughts on that?

I do believe that it makes sense to work in a job that makes you happy. Obviously, the main advantage of turning your passion to a career is that you genuinely love the work you’re doing which in turn results in higher productivity and morale. ”But the ‘follow your dream’ mindset may not be all its made out to be, so here’s what I think one should keep in mind when considering turning passion into a career. Do your homework (market research, take up an entrepreneurship course to gain more skills before you start) to avoid losing motivation on your journey to getting your dream career up and running. Secondly, don’t blindly follow your passion – be smart about it, aim to be innovative because you still need to do sufficient research to get to grips with your targeted job scope. Find out how much it pays, future job prospects, potential career growth. Logically weigh up the Pros and Cons, if I forgo my job will the potential earnings be worth it or at least enough to sustain me, because you also don’t want to become destitute in the process and possibly end up hating what was once your passion. It may be tempting to quit your job to pursue your dream, but before you do, make sure you think carefully and approach it with caution. Putting in this work at the beginning can help you achieve your dreams more effectively and pave the path for a satisfying career. Thirdly, take your time if you really want to turn your passion into a career, don’t rush into it. Take your time to explore your options so you can determine whether it’s the best course for you. Consider starting off by working on your passion during your free time or as a side hustle while you save enough money to do it full-time. Slowly but surely, you’ll build a portfolio or customer base, setting the foundation for you to build a lasting career doing what you love. When the time is right and you feel secure, follow your passion and turn it into a rewarding career.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced being a successful woman in both the financial and fitness space?

As a woman I have had to work hard to dispel stereotypes and prove myself. The biases/micro-aggressions take various forms, namely, needing to provide evidence of competence and skills, being questioned in my area of expertise, being addressed in a less-than-professional way, or being subjected to demeaning remarks as if I am not worthy of respect, and being told what I can and cannot do “as a woman” or how my body should look “as a woman”. The challenges persisted even after I got promoted and took up a better position, I felt as though I still needed to put in extra effort to voice my opinions and to be taken seriously by my peers. This type of bias has made it tougher for women to voice their opinions openly and be taken seriously, particularly in male-dominated industries such as finance and fitness, which can have a detrimental impact if you’re not strong willed. It can really put you off pursuing your dreams.

You’ve worked and continue to work with a number of great brands. What’s the one brand that’s at the top of your wishlist?

Nike! I believe in everything their brand stands for, who they are, what they represent and how they differentiate themselves from other brands in the same category. Nike is good at a lot of things such creating quality shoes, equipment and gear (you will only ever catch me wearing Nike trainers). It is a brand that is constantly innovating and pushing the envelope to create courageous campaigns people will talk about, they have never been afraid to take chances with their Ad campaigns. The messaging is unfailingly consistent people can’t even pretend that they don’t know Nike’s slogan “Just do it” (Gosh I LOVE it!) or the logo – the Nike Swoosh. Nike is just close to becoming the definition of sports themselves. The company has redefined itself from just another shoe company to an athletic and fitness lifestyle brand, a brand that stands for athleticism, power, fitness, athletic excellence, a spirit of determination, authenticity, and playful self-awareness and I am all about that, I am all about Nike.

What’s one interesting bit about you that most people don’t know?

When I was 17 I became Captain of the National Gymnastics Team and won a gold medal at one point in an international meet for SADC countries.

Mikey outside your day job and when you’re not busy working out? What are we most likely to find you doing?

I use my free time to rest and recoup to be honest, because a lot of the time I am tired and worn out.

And when you’re not resting or recouping?

Cooking is something I really enjoy doing, it is so therapeutic for me.

A little birdie tells us you’re in a very happy relationship with a very lucky Mr Somebody…What’s your idea of the perfect date?

Dinner prepared by a private chef and an amazing view, with me looking cute (hair done, face done, outfit on fleek) and him “dressed to the nines”.

What’s the next BIG thing for you?

I’m currently studying towards becoming an ACE certified personal trainer and getting started on boot camps for women and girls. The end goal is to start a health and wealth wellness centre for women in the near future.

And finally, We can’t have a conversation with a Financial Advisor and NOT ask- What’s the best piece of financial knowledge every woman should know?

Learn to budget and save towards your future. Being a young professional woman is exciting when you’re earning a sizeable income that’s entirely your own. You will need to save and invest money to ensure continued financial security. So here are some important financial rules that if applied early and often will afford you some financial stability:

1.Ensure you have a core account

2.Know where your money goes: Make and follow a strict calculated budget to reduce risk of overspending

3.Don’t indulge too often on unnecessary expenses

4.Save one third of your income and save money whenever you get the opportunity to do so

5.tart an Emergency fund (because life is unpredictable like that)

6.Pay off your debts

7.On that note select your loans carefully

8.Protect your wealth through the help of an advisor

 

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