By Olivia Preston and Sujany Baleswaran
The reality of life after university is often clouded in uncertainty, fear of the future and endless pressure to have it all. Empowering the younger generation to redefine success, Cel Amade is an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and personal development trainer helping the next generation to navigate the intimidating world of careers. As a celebrated speaker, Cel is invited to host personal development workshops at schools, universities, companies and NGOs, educating young adults to recognise their potential, market their skills, helping them pave the trajectory of their lives.
Success loves to partner with the uniqueness that’s inside of you
Tell us about your childhood, and how that has influenced the woman and businessperson you are today.
Growing up in Mozambique, I considered myself very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a private English-speaking school. But there were days when I didn’t quite feel like I belonged there. You see, I was that skinny kid who loved to study. I didn’t wear the latest fashion, didn’t travel on every holiday, nor have cable television like the other kids.
When I was eleven, I didn’t feel like it was okay to be me – to show that nerdy part of me. I hid the studious part of me because I was trying too hard to fit in. Sometimes, I stayed after school to hang out with the cool kids the day before a test to prove that I was as cool as they were. Disconnecting and reconnecting to my true identity was exhausting, but that was all I knew for a moment.
The 11-year-old me taught me that I had to peel off the layers covering who I truly was. For years, I was fearful of expressing who and what I longed to become. I was scared of being judged, and I was afraid of being excluded. With time, I’ve come to realise that our natural talents and gifts are best expressed when we live in our truths. A new mindset kicked in, and it literally gave the woman I am today a new direction… Lean into the possibility of travelling, then journey back to yourself and watch the personal and business transformation that comes with your decision. Success loves to partner with the uniqueness that’s inside of you, not what you think you should be to please others.
How do you use your life experience in your presentations to inspire others?
Using relatable real-life stories, career strategies and self-help tips, I deliver keynotes and workshops to empower young adults to take bold strategic marketing steps to design their own world. A world where they’re not afraid to show up in their truest version, speak up and strategically get into action.
I was inspired by someone else’s story. I believe there’s a champion inside each and every one of us. I believe our life experiences can be someone else’s oxygen. The stories I share in my presentations are the guidance I needed when I was growing up. It brings me so much joy to share my stories with my audience and witness their personal and career growth, as a result. Wherever they are in their life right now. Whether they’re just starting university, graduating next year, starting a business, looking for their first ‘real’ job, switching careers or trying to find their way – I use my life experiences with my audience in mind.
Why is it so important for young women especially, to recognise their talents and potential?
All jobs are respectable if they honour who you truly are. The trouble is, finding that job that honours who you truly are becomes an even more complicated task when you don’t know what your talents and potentials are.
Do you know how frustrating it is to look at yourself in the mirror and not recognise your own reflection – to look at your life and know for a fact that this is not how you imagined your twenty-five-year-old self when you were younger – and not know how to shift your life for the better? Have you ever found a job and pretended to enjoy it so that you could feel less like a burden to your friends and family and finally look like a success?
When you believe in your talents and potential, you will no longer believe that someone else can withhold your good from you. You will stop believing that someone out there needs to come and save you. You will no longer seek validation from others, and you will feel it in your core that your desired result is possible.
What inspired you to dedicate your life’s work to empowering others?
I’ve spent the last five years empowering, encouraging and equipping young adults to design their own world. And I love watching our youth succeed! As a result of my self-development and leadership workshops, students and graduates find themselves more prepared to take their next steps, confident in who they’re becoming and accelerating their careers faster than most.
I mainly work with young adults who may be navigating self-doubt, stagnation or rejection. They are serious about advancing their career or business but don’t have the clarity to get into movement. And for that reason, I want them to feel encouraged. I want them to see hope for new possibilities. I want them to know that their dreams are achievable. That their past does not dictate their future.
After I graduated from university, I really wished someone walked through my front door and helped me unlock my potential so that I could design my future. If someone had done that in 2014, it wouldn’t have taken me another four years to figure out how to build a career that honoured who I truly am. It is my inspiration and desire to be that “someone” for as many young adults as I can.
The only reason why I am here today is that I got crystal clear on my commitment to empower, encourage and equip our youth with tools to help them succeed. It brings me enormous joy to share my first book – Prepping for the Real World, with different universities and companies that are working with young adults to unlock their potential and design their extraordinary future.
What would your advice be to women wanting to start their own business?
Before you start your own business, know your skills, understand who you want to serve and what value or results you bring. But most importantly, ensure your business expresses the truest version of yourself.
Once you’ve figured that out, give yourself permission to fail. Fail forward, get started, be open to feedback and learn from your mistakes.
In your entrepreneurial journey – it is vital to believe in your skill and to believe in yourself. That level of self-belief and clarity can help you stay focused on serving your clients in the best way you know how. In order for you to get to where you want, first, you need to understand where you are.
If you could give career advice to your younger self, what would that be?
My number one career advice is: bravely take the lead role in designing your extraordinary life.
In my first book, Prepping for the Real World, I provide my top 12 student and graduate success secrets. I delve into soul-searching questions to my younger self, offering hope to anyone who is struggling and asking themselves “Am I truly where I want to be in my life and career?” This book is the dose of personal development that I needed 10 years ago.
It’s never too late to believe in yourself, to believe in who you are and the strength that lives in you.
It’s never too late to be brave and shift any perspective that doesn’t serve you well.
It’s never too late to believe that you have the power to design your own world.
How has your education in Business Management and Entrepreneurship helped you create your brand and business empowering people?
My business management and entrepreneurship education gave me an international perspective and general understanding of different business cultures, allowing me to operate effectively with higher education and corporate clients from other parts of the world.
My burning desire to help our youth realise their talents and potential inspired me to start this work. Ultimately, the feedback and the results I received over the years helped me build my business and confirmed the importance of youth personal development.
The education, the entrepreneur in me and the desire to serve our youth was always there; I just needed some time, mentorship and courage to gather the know-how and market insights to develop my brand and business strategy. Undoubtedly, formal education helps. However, I believe that ongoing personal development is what helps us evolve into the next best versions of ourselves, our brands and our businesses.