Eldest in a family of 6 girls, Mukai Henrieta Mutubuki - Kumirai grew up in Gweru - the third largest city in Zimbabwe.
"Life at High School was more fun and liberating because, unlike at Primary School where the mode of learning was rules, rules and more rules and if you disobeyed those rules, you'd be punished. In High School there was much more 'room to breathe'. Freedom of expression was encouraged and actually celebrated; so I found myself opening my wings in preparation for take off!! Take off in life," recalls the 44-year-old.
Read on... in her own words...
Education, Family and Profession:
"I am a Chartered Quantity Surveyor by profession.
"I completed my B.Sc Quantity Surveying Degree with University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South-Africa in 1996. It was a tough course, which saw many of my colleagues drop off during our first year.
"I also hold a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) with National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, which I completed in 2004.
"I am a registered member with The Zimbabwe Institute Of Quantity Surveyors (ZIQS) since May 2000 to date. I passed my Test of Professional Competence after one sitting, 2 years after graduating from university. That year, of the Quantity Surveyors who sat for this Test in the whole country, only two passed. That was truly a proud and life-transforming moment for me.
"I am a single parent with two kids, Angela Runyararo Kumirai (18) and Michael Panashe Kumirai (15)
"Our parents, Edias Henry Kanamadero Mutubuki & Laurentia Eunah Mutubuki, ensured all us kids got the best education possible. With both parents being graduates themselves - dad holds a PhD with University of Birmingham, UK & mum holds a Masters in Education with Midlands State University, Gweru, Zimbabwe; all 6 of us are university graduates."
"I enjoy reading Life Coaching books as well as fiction and adventurous novels. Dale Carnegie; Robin Sharma; Deepak Chopra; Tony Robbins; Bob Proctor; Jake Canfield; Napoleon Hill; Barbara Taylor-Bradford; Sidney Sheldon; Virginia Andrews are some of my favourite authors.
"I love watching cricket; soccer; rugby and golf, too. But my favourite past-time is playing the piano."
"Life Coaching is one of my passions. I love empowering young girls and women and helping them find themselves. Guide them to reach the pinnacle in their chosen field without fear or inhibition.
"In fact, I am happiest when I see people being able to overcome challenges and obstacles and achieve what they desire. Really delightful!
"My other passion is Quantity Surveying. I just love Quantity Surveying. It is the most fulfilling profession on earth. For me, nothing beats the pleasure I feel every time we complete a project - whether it's a Million Dirham Contract or a Billion Dirham Contract - the feeling is the same.
"It is magical, fascinating and awe-inspiring to see the building on Plan initially and then tending to it one day at a time, brick by brick, window by window, until one day, a year or two later, seeing it manifest in its full glory, in its physical form as the final built structure... it's like giving birth to a baby every time! Absolutely phenomenal! I can't imagine doing anything else! I feel blessed that my job is my passion."
How important is financial independence to you on a scale of 10; with 1 being the least?
"On a scale of 10, with 1 being the least, I would rank it a 10.
"I believe financial independence is very important, especially when I look at it from a women's perspective. Money empowers her. Yes, money is not everything in life, but still, I believe it plays a very important and central part in our day-to-day activities.
"Being a single parent of 2 school-going children; raising them through one of the toughest periods of recession in 2008/2009/2010, while experiencing salary cuts, delays, etc, I know first-hand the turmoil, trauma and tribulation a family can face due to hardships caused by financial challenges.
"I have also survived a marriage breakup due in part to the stress caused by the hopelessness, helplessness, despair and frustration that can emanate from facing financial hardships. The reality is, no matter what is happening in one's career or business, bills still have to be paid; debts still have to be settled; food still must be made available on the table; kids still have to go school and should not skip a grade.
"Peace of mind comes when one is able to earn much more than their expenses and have enough left over to save and invest."
Your biggest achievement/s to date & why?
"My biggest achievement to date would have to be my children. I have been blessed with the happiest, centered, extremely intelligent, well balanced, well behaved kids on the planet & for that I am eternally grateful.
"Angela will be sitting for her A'Levels this November & attending one of the Ivy League Universities in USA next year (2017) & Michael is in Form 2 & is top of his Class; following in the impeccable shoes of his sister. I am a very happy and proud mom."
One incident that was your lowest. And how it reshaped your life?
"My lowest moment was when my first marriage irrevocably broke down.
"It was a very painful and difficult time for me because I had wanted to raise my kids in a loving home where both mother and father were present to guide, coach, love & care for their kids.
Unfortunately, that was not to be, for 6 years ago, we finally separated for good.
This incident reshaped my life in a number of ways:
*I learnt the importance of playing an active role in the selection process of a mate. After all, for a marriage to work, both parties must want to be together to form a family unit.
*I learnt the importance of healing from past hurts first, before getting into a new relationship; otherwise, past hurts simply make their presence known & felt in that current relationship; & it's not pretty.
"One has to find themselves; date themselves first, before seeking out a relationship with another. And by relationships, I mean even past hurts from parents, siblings, that bully from school, etc.
"So, seek healing first within yourself - become your own best friend - before entering into a relationship with another.
"I also learnt the importance of speaking up when you don't like something, instead of bottling it all up. The fact, is, your partner is not a mind reader, hence, may continue doing or saying or not doing or not saying the things that you want done or considered.
"When something you do not like happens or occurs, speak up. Assert yourself. You have a right to your own opinion & exercise that right.
"I also learnt the importance of constantly working on your relationship every day. Even if you have a great relationship, there is no room for complacency in relationships. Listen to each other consider each other's needs and wants.
"When a crisis occurs, do not complain or blame. Deal with them head on and continue to love and be there for your family. Complaining and blaming distorts reality."
Any aha moments...
"I have had many aha moments. The most recent one was when I read about The 12 Universal Laws of Attraction. It was a great surprise to me for all along, I thought we only had the 1 Universal Law, The Law Of Attraction! When I read all the 12; suddenly everything about how the world works made sense. Interesting!
"Another aha moment was when I joined Toastmasters. It was like a key had been given to me to unlock all those stumbling blocks in communication. Fascinating!
"Another aha moment was when my daughter, Angela, was a baby; she would reach out for me and only me. When people, including family members, tried to take her and hold her in their arms, she would cry and motion to want me and only me, to carry her. For the first time in my life, I learnt the meaning of unconditional love. Truly awesome!
"Yet another aha moment was when I gave birth to my son, Michael. The first 24 hours of his life in this world were pretty tough. I had had a traumatic delivery and I had no milk. The hospital would not allow newborns to be bottle-fed. Michael was hungry and cried the whole night through. But not once in that first 24 hours, did I lose my patience with my baby. For the first time in my life, I learnt the art of caring."
Any regrets in life ? Steps taken to rectify...
"I don't have any regrets in my life. This is because I live my life moment by moment; in the best way I can. I am ruthlessly honest with myself and take a daily inventory of my activities, attitudes, habits that I did on that particular day.
'If I notice a situation I did or did not do and I am not happy with the outcome, I make it a point to rectify it immediately or first thing the following day. This has become a habit now."
Your advice to young women who are attempting to choose a career for themselves.
"Do what you love. Do what you are great at. Do what comes naturally to you. Listen to your instinct. Choose a vocation which will make you feel like you are on vacation whilst doing it.
"There will be many opinions coming from everywhere - family, friends, teachers, peers, strangers, etc - as to what career is best for you. Listen to them with an open mind; but choose that career that speaks to you; to your heart.
"Learn to trust yourself and your instinct at an early age and follow that. You know best what's best for you. Trust yourself to make the right decisions for you."
Your one biggest strength? One weakness?
"My one biggest strength - ability to stand firm and strong for others in times of adversity. I am really good at motivating others to look on the bright side of life; to believe in themselves and their abilities. My one weakness - I tend to be very stubborn at times.
10 years from now; how do you see yourself?
"10 years from now, I see myself happily married, raising 2 more children with my famous, well respected husband; who has made a name for himself and is accomplished in his own right.
"I see myself enjoying being a wife and mother in a God-centered, stable, steady, loving, harmonious, caring home environment.
"I also see myself having founded and running my own World Class Quantity Surveying & Project Management Firm, with branches all over the world - championing and leading Best Practices in the field of Quantity Surveying and Project Management.
"I would have built a legacy for all my 4 children in a business that builds leaders, communicators and entrepreneurs in society.
"10 years from now, I see myself building 3 cities in my country, Zimbabwe, and from this venture, generate massive employment opportunities for my fellow country folks. I see these 3 cities putting my country on the map and leading the world in terms of commerce, agriculture, mining, education, construction, information technology."