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Melissa, Founder of LEM

A daughter, a sister, a friend, a student, a professional, an entrepreneur, and an event connoisseur with a true elegant touch. She has turned her pain into purpose and upon her values and hardships, she has built an empire that promotes women empowerment, which continues to grow from strength to strength.

Let's get to know you a little more

My name is Melissa, and I am a Social Work Masters student with extensive work history in hospitality and events management. I am the founder of the Ladies Empowerment Movement, known as LEM Queens to most and the Co-Founder of True Elegance Events, Tours and Restaurant based in Southern Africa.

LEM is an organisation dedicated to the growth, development and unifying of women across all ages and avenues of life. The movement aims to empower women through academic and career attainment; brand and business development; creative entrepreneurship and personal development.

This is achieved through networking events and workshops, 1-to-1 mentoring and specialist services catering to every need. Through LEM, I have founded The LEM Agency which helps to connect small content creators to small businesses owners for sponsored content and collaborations; because at LEM we know that big things come in small packages. We want to help break down the barrier and bridge the gap between business owners and content creators, and quality content for both sides. Why should they have to wait to have 10K followers to start collaborating and obtaining brand deals?

Here are some examples of what True Elegance's work

What’s the story behind LEM?

We would honestly be here all day if I were to talk about the story behind my businesses haha. But fundamentally, they were born out of a desire to help others. Everything that I do is about helping others help themselves, better themselves, achieve more for themselves. That’s what social work is for me. That’s what LEM is for me. I wanted LEM to embody the very best of my attributes; to be to others what I needed growing up. I am big on personal development and growth, whether that’s within yourself or the things around you. This journey has allowed for me to practice that whilst helping others to do so also.

I was depressed for a good 6 years of my life before I founded LEM (so from about the age of 14, yeah lol). I founded it shortly after my Father passed away and during what was by far the worst year of my life. I told myself that if I could experience that pain and feeling of loss, there are surely others who have, are, or are experiencing a lot worse. I wanted to be for them, what I would have wanted for myself and to show that there is life and hope after your worst season. That the pain doesn’t last forever and that we are able to rise from what was meant to break us. I am proud to say that this dream of mine has been fulfilled and we are in our 5th year in, with so much more to accomplish.

What’s your take on self-care and how do you practice it?

Self-care for me is allowing myself moments to do what I wouldn’t normally have time to do. This includes laying in, takeaways, snacks and binge-watching series on Netflix all day. Before lockdown, this was a day out or brunch/dinner with my girls. And of course, the all-important, luxury shopping haha.

I have recently learnt the importance of being kind to yourself, as a form of self-care. Understanding that no two days will be the same, you don’t have to be hyper productive every single day – you WILL burn out. Take every day as it comes and every win for what it is, a win, no matter how big or small. It’s ok to expect and want a lot for yourself, but it’s not ok to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You end up not seeing all your achievements this way.

Let’s talk about styling for work, any tips/ hacks, and time-saving tricks to use so we dress to impress?

I know everyone always says this but truly, dressing well is a form of good manners and is fundamental for the way you want to present yourself.

I don’t believe you can ever be over-dressed, as long as you dress for the occasion of course. Your dressing sets a precedent when you walk into an office, event, restaurant – everywhere. It informs those around you of the way you hold yourself and in turn, the way in which they must address you.

Any advice for the working women?

It’s ok to have it all, as long as you define what ‘all’ means to YOU. It is possible to have a thriving career and personal life also. Do not allows yourself to fit into the box that the world creates for us. Always remain true to yourself, especially in the workplace.

Remember that your journey is yours and yours alone, always do what is right by you. And always align your career attainments with your personal development and growth. All the success in the world means nothing if you are a worser person for it.

You can connect with Melissa on Instagram.

Follow LEM Queens and keep up to date with their fabulous events

R x



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