Melinda Bam decided she would be Miss South Africa before she submitted her entry form.
The cum laude BCom Marketing graduate turned business woman, told Witsies that it was important to write your goals down and commit to them. Bam addressed students and media at the first Network Connections event held by the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU) at Café Fino last night.[pullquote]“You all have so many contacts on your phones, twitter and other social networks right? But how many of those have turned into a job or a bursary or a book?” [/pullquote]
Bam told the guests that her father’s suicide when she was eleven forced her to reflect on the person she wanted to be.
“I initially thought that I would probably have ‘daddy issues’ or that my reaction to it would have made me the perfect muse for artists and musicians from the experience,” she said.
She told the audience that her grandfather’s quote helped her tremendously in dealing with difficult experiences in life: “’You are not a product of your circumstance but a product of choice,’ is what my grandpa told me.”
Nicole Msomi, student development practitioner told the guests that the purpose of “Network Connections” was to create a space for students to engage with influential individuals who attended the events.
“You all have so many contacts on your phones, twitter and other social networks right? But how many of those have turned into a job or a bursary or a book?” she asked the Witsies.
Msomi added that the events aimed to inspire Witsies to network more effectively and maintain long lasting networks.
Bam also told the audience that one of the activities at the Miss South Africa qualifiers included a networking challenge at an event. If entrants had not collected five business cards by the end of it, they had failed.
Wanting something more
Bam told Witsies that when she was in first year in 2008 she wanted “something more” and wanted to break through mediocrity.[pullquote align=”right”]“We are all diamonds, you just need to refine and polish what you already are.”[/pullquote]
The former beauty queen told the audience that when she watched her mom, who is a gospel singer and public speaker, perform, she realised that she also wanted to give back in her own way: “We are all diamonds, you just need to refine and polish what you already are.”
Grass isn’t always greener
Bam said when she was younger she moved to China to pursue a modelling career. She also wanted to move to get out of her bubble that she had known in Pretoria.
“I thought the grass would be greener on the other side, but there wasn’t even a lot of grass when I got to China!” she said.
The power of Women
Bam shed some insight on being a woman this women’s month. She said that in our modern world women often felt pressure to live in a man’s world and change to fit into that world. “Why do we want to change to be something that we are not? We are not men we are 100% women. We must be the best version of what we already are. It is a strength that we are 100% women not a weakness.”