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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Eva Arissani

Eva Arissani - Director: Transcentral (Pty)Ltd

Eva Arissani XWOMOriginally from Libreville (Gabon), I had the fantastic opportunity to reside in many countries and got to experience different cultures. I did part of my basic education in France. At the age of 11, I flew back to Gabon where I started high school. When I got my High school diploma (Baccalauréat de l’enseignement général), I took off for South Africa where I undertook university studies. I was blessed to work as a Tutor for the Department of Modern European Languages -University of Pretoria, and thereafter as a French Assistant Lecturer. I fell in love with FLE (teaching French as a Foreign Language) and that naturally led me to teaching French as a foreign language and later on to translating and voice over. My objectives are to broaden my horizons as a linguist, transcend physical barriers and work as a translator, French voice over artist, inspirational/ motivational keynote speaker, facilitator, FLE Expert and expand as a leadership coach, a mentor and women’s and girl’s empowerment champion and as a young girl’s advocate.

I hold a Baccalaureus Artium Honores specialized in English, French, Translation and Interpretation, I am a Sworn Translator of the High Court of South Africa, an Expert in DELF/DALF (international French diplomas) and a trainer of trainers. I have facilitated many trainings at national and regional level. I attended a Course on public speaking (“Speak your way to success”), on keynote writing and motivational speaking that took place in Johannesburg in 2014 and was led by the one and only Les Brown (an American motivational speaker, author, radio DJ, former television host, and former politician). I am a Member of Golden Key International Honour Society in recognition of outstanding scholastic achievement. I started a blog and published a self-help book.

I am an Ambassador to Mireille Toulekima Global Leadership to South Africa (an organization based in Australia). I love her philosophy and I vouched to empower people and especially women and teenage girls to be the best they can be and tap into their true potential. The Mireille Toulekima Global Leadership organization was founded by the public figure and inspirational leader Mireille Toulekima. Its mission is to help people become the best that they can be, come out of the masses and stand in their own shining light. The Mireille Toulekima Global Leadership organization promotes authentic leadership across the world following the D.A.R.E (Decide Act Review Extend) Leadership System created by Mireille Toulekima. I see myself as a ‘multidimensional’ woman as I strive to pursue a professional career as a linguist expert but also as a leadership coach, a mentor, an inspirational / motivational speaker and as an advocate to empower people but most specifically young girls.

I am happily married and mom to 3 daughters.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.

I was a teenage mom. I fell pregnant when I was 14 years old. As you can imagine, it was hectic and challenging. I went through so much physically and emotionally at such a young age. The situation was so unbearable, I tried to commit suicide. But God had other plans for me. I literally went from nothing to becoming the successful entrepreneur I am today. I mention ‘successful’ because I believe that we have to own our success and not to be scared to call a spade a spade. I am successful now, but it has not always been the case.

Today I run my own company, am happily married and have been married since 2009 but in my relationship since 2000 and going stronger. I am a mom to 3 beautiful daughters. The eldest is turning 23 years old and studying at TUKS, the other 2 are 10 and 6 years old. My life is a dream come true. I never thought in a million years that I would become the woman I am today.

Please tell us a little more about how your company came about.

I specialized in English, French and Translation at University of Pretoria and after graduating, I took a position as FLE Trainer (teaching French as a foreign language) and Translation/Interpretation Coordinator in a French institution based in Pretoria where I set up a Translation Department which did not exist at the time.

10 years later, in October 2016, I decided to get out of my comfort zone or like we say in French ‘sortir des sentiers battus’ and start something else. That is when I set up my own language services company called Transcentral (PTY) Ltd, a VAT registered South African company.

In a few months’ time, I received assignments from various individuals, African institutions, international organizations, NGOs and South African companies such as Kheth’Impilo Aids Free Living, the Pan-African Parliament, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), the Embassy of Gabon, the African World Heritage Fund, to name but a few.

I offer a various range of language services such as editing, proof-reading, translations, sworn translations, voice over work, tailored corporate trainings, FOS (French for professionals), facilitation, among other things. One of my biggest projects was the coordination and translation from English to French of the book, Making Africa Work (L’Afrique en marche) by Greg Mills (director of the Johannesburg-based Brenthurst Foundation), Jeffrey Herbst, H.E Olusegun Obasanjo (previous president of Nigeria), Dickie Davis.

Today, I run my own company, which is still young but after a year of operation, the company achieved a turnover of more than R1 500 000 which is impressive I think. I outsource more than 20 people and more than 70 % of the turnover is allocated to salaries, taxes (it is a VAT registered company) and donations (I donate money to Hatfield Children’s Home, they are doing a wonderful job and need more donations in kind as well as in cash).

I bring work from abroad as some of my clients are in France and India and I strive to really contribute to the economy of the country.

I just love being an entrepreneur and especially being successful at what I do. I love networking and I love the freedom that comes with running your own company. Although it is not always easy as I put in a lot of efforts and sleepless nights, but it is rewarding. As an entrepreneur one has to strike the balance to live a balanced life.

Please tell us a little more about your book, New Moi New Life: Five Ways to Build a New 'You' and Live an Extraordinary Life.

‘New Moi’ came to me at a time when I wanted to define that rite of passage from the old self that was confused, uncertain, not ready to do what it takes to change, limited, negative, too realistic, depressed, a victim of people and circumstances and unaware of things and people around it to that New ‘Moi’ (French for Me/I) which is the complete opposite: positive, bold, ready for change and self-aware. It implies a leap of faith for a better and brighter future. It bears that ‘je ne sais quoi’ which makes the New ‘You’ special. It brings out what Les Brown so eloquently called “the greatness within you”. It is a combination of the English word ‘New’ and the French word ‘Moi’. That combination of two different languages shows that there are no boundaries.

I am originally from Gabon, more specifically, Libreville. I immigrated to South Africa in 2003 and I am now a permanent resident in South Africa.

My move to South Africa forms part of a quest that I have been on for a long time. I come from a very good family that along the lines went through a traumatizing experience and in the process, I almost lost myself. In the midst of all the challenges my family went through, I felt pregnant at a very young age. The father of the child denied the pregnancy. I thought that my life was over. I then discovered the power of God through faith, hope and personal development and the power of taking 100% responsibility for our life.

At the time, I just didn’t know how I would get myself out of that mess; how I was going to give a life to that innocent child, I did not know how I would make it. But out of nothing and out of no way, a way was made. That rite of passage from the old MOI to the new Moi has been an extraordinary journey. Today I am more than I ever thought I could be. I cannot count my blessings as there are so many.

In the book I share the principles that empowered me to become the accomplished woman that I am today. It shows the reader, the Eva I am now and does not talk about the previous chapter of my life.

Through that book and my website www.newmoi.org, I aim at empowering women, girls, anyone who wants to go beyond any type of physical and/or spiritual barriers.

What inspired you to write it?

I attended a 3-day workshop organized by the one and only Les Brown, an American motivational speaker, author, radio DJ, former television host, and former politician, which took place in Johannesburg in 2014. It was an eye opener, it was refreshing, inspirational and motivational. That workshop, along with the boiling feelings deep inside of me led me to write this inspirational and motivational book.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Jot down your ideas. Be the authentic YOU. Do not write to become rich and famous. Write because it is your passion and you want to put your message across. As authors we have a duty too and this is our way of empowering the community. The rest will follow. 

You are busy with some very interesting initiatives. Please tell us a little more about that.

Yes, indeed, I am currently writing my second book which will be an inspirational, self-help, empowering fable inspired from my experience as a teenage mother.

I am on the verge of setting up an organization aiming at empowering teenage mothers to go from where they are to becoming accomplished women. Teenage pregnancy is a serious global issue that needs to be tackled with. There are a lot of prejudices and not enough awareness campaigns. Too often teenage pregnancy is seen as the end of the road for the young mother who ends up living a miserable life and condemning the unborn child to limited opportunities and the cycle of misery and poverty goes on. I strongly believe that sorting out this crucial issue might curb poverty in many ways and boost our economies as those women will themselves be empowered and contribute to society. I am the living proof that a teenage mother can turn her life around and does not have to bear this terrible experience as a cross for all her life. I screwed up at one stage in my life and I picked up the pieces. But let me tell you this, I might not have become the person I am today if I did not have some quality people who believed in me and supported me at a crucial time in my life.

As an African woman in the language industry, most specifically in the translation sector, I noticed that many young African graduates battle to find a job after graduating and too often end up working in a sphere completely different from their field of expertise. I decided to scoop those young graduates, mentor them and empower them through my company. I am currently working with a few South African graduates and they are now thinking of leaving their current job to follow their passion and make it in the language industry. We need more African linguists and these young graduates need to be encouraged, need a first work experience and a change to enter the translation market with the right guidance and the right mentorship. It is not always easy as I also have to make ends meet and generate profits, but I am up for the challenge.

As an Ambassador of Mireille Toulekima Global Leadership (an organization based in Australia) to South Africa, I am also working in collaboration with Mireille Toulekima to organize an exciting huge event that will probably take place in Australia and in Ghana in 2019 and will be a Greatness Engineering Summit aiming at empowering people in terms of entrepreneurship and leadership amongst other things. The Summit is still at its early stage, but we will communicate more information as soon as everything has been finalized.

I have been invited to speak at a forthcoming international i-Boot Camp themed: “Africa in the Digital Age: Youth Bridging Physical Integration through ICT” which will take place in Morocco, from the 24th to 28th October 2018 and is organized by Ms Ijeoma Obiajunwa-Ajiamah, a YALI RLC Fellow from the fifth cohort of President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative. I will specifically discuss the following theme: “When the going gets tough: what are the successful tools for perseverance to overcome physical and mental obstacles?”

I am very excited as I will be interviewed by FishBowl radio network, an American show. I will be a guest on the writer’s Edge presented by Ms McKensie Stewart. The show will be aired on the 3rd of August 2018 from 10 PM to 11 PM time in RSA and 4 PM to 5 PM on the East Coast in the United States. It will be communicated on the social media. I hope many will listen to the show.

I welcome any type of sponsorships/ assistance for any of the shared initiatives and would love to connect with whoever would like to assist.

What is it that you are passionate about?

I love speaking. LOL. My husband always says that I talk too much. I am passionate about talking to people and helping them unlock their true potential. I love reading. I love spending time with my family. I am passionate about my husband after almost 18 years of life as a couple. Let me tell you a secret, as a wedding gift, he named a star after me. There is a star registered on the star registry as Andromeda Eva… How sweet and romantic is that?

What is your personal motto?

“We all have a past. But how it influences our present and future is up to us”. 

Who or what is your inspiration and why? 

I will simply share one my favorite quotes and you will understand what my inspiration is:

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me” ~Erma Bombeck.

What advice would you give a woman wanting to follow her dreams?

I would say the following: dare dreaming, dare planning, take action towards realizing your dream, when you fall, stumble across something or are a victim of naysayers, dream catchers, ignore them, surround yourself with people who believe in you, put your faith in God, get back on your feet, keep on moving forward, always keep in mind the end result you want to achieve and see every obstacle as a rite of passage to a better future. With faith and action everything is possible.

Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

My mother because without her help, I might not have had the opportunity to study as I had nobody to take care of my baby and she volunteered to do that for me. So, I owe her a lot. Then, my dearest husband who taught me to love myself, forgive myself, develop myself as an individual and live a positive & happy life. Finally, God has and is still a big influence in my life. Faith has been and still is a very important component of my successful life.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell her to forgive herself as she is human and that everyone on earth has made mistakes. I would stop her from trying to commit suicide as life is a rollercoaster. It has its ups and downs. Whatever happens, there is always a way forward.

Your favourite daily affirmation:

I actually do. I am a fervent believer of positive daily affirmations. I actually discuss it in my book. It works wonders for me. I always say: “Eva, you are a healthy, wealthy, blessed, beautiful, successful, happy, loving, loved, empowering, inspiring, active woman” (shortened version LOL).

Your favourite quote:

I mentioned it earlier, but I also love a quote by OG Mandino:

“I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy”
.

Which book are you reading now?

I am reading “The Saint, the Surfer and the CEO” by Robin Sharma. I just love Robin Sharma. I read many of his books.

Which book can you read over and over again?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I read it on the 31st of December 2017 and finished it on the 2nd of January 2018. What a way to start the year! I LOVED it. It is beautifully written. It is a touching and lovely story.

What are your top 3 business tips?

One, invest in yourself. You need to be equipped to run a business.
Two, network. I am currently preparing a masterclass for alumni in Nigeria and I will be presenting the following topic: Networking, one of the keys to being a successful entrepreneur.
Three, apply yourself to what you do. Give everything you do your absolute best.

What would you say is the secret to your success?

My ability to engage with people and my uniqueness.

One general piece of advice you would like to share:

Always communicate purposefully. Communication is at the heart of every aspect of our lives. It is one of the subjects I discuss in my book.

Contact Information:
Website: www.newmoi.org
LinkedIn:
www.linkedin.com/in/eva-arissani-translation-expert-b539a658/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/EvaArissaniThetranslator
Instagram: 
@evaarissani
Twitter: @EvaArissani