2021 STEAMulator Showcase is Here!!

2021 Steamulator Showcase Blog 1

Based on a comprehensive US-based report by Funk and Parker (2018), there is significant evidence of an alarming disparity amongst the racial distribution of individuals in STEM fields; with blacks and hispanics occupying a very minimal share of the STEM pie. STEAMulator is an active STEM+Arts Influencer fuelled by the need to bridge this interracial, gender and socio-economic gap that inhibits individuals from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds from accessing career opportunities in the STEM field. STEAMulator is also geared towards deconstructing the retrogressive Afrocentric attitudes held by many students who generally view science subjects as boring, this narrow and negative perspective derived from inadequate media representation disincentivizes them to access self-sustaining career pathways in the STEM sector.

Having participated at the TASC2020 (Topflight Arts & Science Conference) through our non-profit organization Connect Southern Africa and reaching the finals, we have a nuaced appreciation of the work involved in this arena. We are so thrilled that now we are taking part in the organizing of this year’s competition; the STEAMulator Showcase 2021 as a committee member. It is clear that STEAMulator’s initiatives extends beyond just dismantling the prevailing anti-inclusive environment within the STEM domain, but is also focused on socio-cultural impact, pan-africanism, research, community mobilization, black empowerment and talent navigation especially targeting young innovative entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and its Diaspora. In hindsight, #TASC2020 was a program which involved both local changemakers and select representatives from the diaspora. Additionally, it created a platform for young entrepreneurs including myself to explore new career paths as well as come up with unique ways to address the adverse health impacts of COVID in Zimbabwe.    This year (2021) the Topflight Arts & Science Conference, which has been ongoing for over half a decade, is rebranding itself and is now called the STEAMulator Showcase. The initiative has its humble grassroots from Topflight College, a small academic institution in Gweru, Zimbabwe where the idea was birthed and later on collaboration between the college and STEAMulator was forged to officialise the campaign. Over the years, the event has gained a huge cult following, boasting big names as keynote speakers such as Zimbabwean rapper and actor; Tehn Diamond, Dr Bright Chireka, Michelle Vhudzijena and Commissioner L. Chigwedere. Some notable beneficiaries of the STEAMulator event include Elimon Dingwiza in 2016, Kudzai Chanatsa in TASC2017 and Trueman Mabumbo who won $US1000 during TASC2020 for his innovative Dzidzo paDen solution that offers an elearning platform accessible on WhatsApp. 

 This year’s highly anticipated TASC2021 (now 2021 STEAMulator Showcase) is centered on the theme of ‘INNOVATION’. #ZimboInnovation in  Health, Wealth and Education. As per standard it will target young Zimbabwean adults between the ages of 18 and 35 to post a 1 minute video highlighting who they are and what innovative ideas they have in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and/or Mathematics space. The best videos will be selected and finalists will present virtually at the STEAMulater Showcase 2021 virtual event on December 22, 2021 where the winner will receive $US1000 cash. The event will also feature fireside dialogues and presentations from key pan-african personalities from the USA, countries in the Caribbean & Africa. Presenters will include medical doctors, educators, influencers, experts in wealth innovation, musicians, visual artists and reality tv stars. Speaking about musicians, attendees may expect a performance from the “Juzi” hitmaker; Kudakwashe Chapepa, also known as Kae Chaps.   To learn more about STEAMulater Showcase 2021 you can visit the official website via https://steamulater.com/program ,send an email to  info@steamulator.com or DM @steamulator on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook.

Leadership Team Building

What is Leadership and Team-building?

Introduction

The terms ‘leadership’ and ‘team building’ are one of the most abused words on the GOOGLE search bar; as far as business/cooperate queries are concerned. In actual fact, GOOGLE gives you a generous 3 000 000 000 results in a mere 0.54 seconds when you search for the term “leadership”. Nonetheless, before you get too excited with the plethora of blogs, webinars and downloadable PDFs at your disposal, it is important to sift through the garbage (or more politely, baggage) and explore discourses that offer practical approaches, provide applicable models and proven concepts in leadership and team building.  In this light, consider me your weekly dumpster diver. Hold my soda while I jump straight into it!

What Is Leadership?

To answer this millennium question effectively; we must ‘sink the ship’ and focus on who is a leader? Simply put, a leader is one who inspires others to act towards a goal or a vision. Which basically means that the relentless insurance broker who ‘annoyed’ you to point of subscribing to a substandard insurance policy may as well be a leader in their own right…right? Wrong! Let’s look at the two reasons why. Firstly, notice that I used the verb inspire and not dictate, because effective leaders are (in practice) social influencers than authoritarian title-bearers. Secondly, a leader requires the presence of other individuals (followers) whose potential can be maximised to share the same goal or target as the leader themselves.

Now let us patch up our sinking ship, and explore the concept of leadership from the bird’s eye-view that I have set. It is clear that true leadership is not merely concerned with the hierarchy or title of an individual in any setting or space. In contrast, it is a strategic and collaborative encounter between a thought-leader or a social influencer and their team; that focuses on maximising the inherent or imposed potential of all members or participants towards a shared goal. This definition attempts to stray from the heteronormative and academic perspective of leadership as primarily a function of one’s seniority, position on the cooperate organogram or personal attributes.

But aren’t personal attributes a key aspect of any effective leadership campaign, you may ask.Well, I will be forgiven to assume that mentioning the word “leader” incites (in most people) an image of a goliath-type, domineering and charismatic take-charge figure. This can’t be any further from the truth. You have probably encountered the cliché phrase that ‘anyone can be a leader’ or that ‘leaders are created not born’ from your impressive collection of motivational speakers on Audible. They are partially right. Leadership does not depend on one’s inherent charisma or extroverted status. Effective leadership is ideological. It is the culmination of both original and borrowed ideas—effectively imparted on others to fuel engagement and inspire action.  

I am tempted to dish out a whole accredited reading list on the topic as your homework, but being a generous blogger as I am, I will once again dive head-first into the dirt on our second instalment of Leadership and Team-building.

Written by: Miguel Mswati

1st Editor: Alwin Manjengwa

Final Editor: Ashley Mupfawa