A Story of Joy

Updated: Mar 23, 2020

I am Rumbidzai Joyleen Mhizha, a senior at Columbia College. I would need days if not months to talk about my experience at Columbia College and in the US at large. I came to Columbia College from Zimbabwe.

Coming to study at Columbia College was one of the best decisions I ever made.   It made me grow outside of my comfort zone. I learned so much about what it felt like to be passionate about the things I enjoy and what it means to stand up for what I believe in. I have gained confidence, found people that I can count on, and most importantly, I have grown to understand that I am perfectly imperfect.

While I have been challenged and have grown in so many areas of my life (emotionally, intellectually, and socially), there are two areas that made me completely shift my perspective on life: religion and business. Being at Columbia College strengthened my walk with God and made me realize my passion in business. As I grew up, I knew I was a natural salesperson and was interested in being an entrepreneur. It was not until l I became a McNair Fellow at Columbia College, worked for the Women’sBusiness Center and became a camp counselor that I realized how much I enjoyed business. There is beauty in a vision that can grow into a legacy. I would be lying if I said the journey has been easy and I know for me, my journey still has a long way to go. At one point I thought selling hair extensions was what I wanted to do as an entrepreneur. I even tried researching stock markets and bitcoins.  From there I thought I wanted to have a pharmaceutical company. None of these ideas went very far.   

I thought about giving up on the process, but there were people I worked with and my other fellows that did not let me give up. The Women’s Business Center and the people I have met while working there kept me going, even when I didn't see it for myself. Their words of support, encouraging guidance, and ongoing coaching kept me moving forward.

It wasn't until I gave a presentation for the Board of Directors at Columbia College, that I realized that since the age of 17 I have been passionate about mining in Zimbabwe. My country has fallen on hard times and is struggling in many ways, especially economically. Since Zimbabwe is rich in resources such as coal, chronium ore, nickel, copper and other minerals, it was my opinion that mining could assist in helping to rebuild this economy. Slowly I started doing my research on how the industry was lacking and how I would become relevant. As I researched, I realized that many people needed help - from logistics and mining to marketing and sales. It excited me! To me, the mining business is more than just the mining and selling of different kinds of minerals, it is a beacon of hope. My dream is that one day the economy of Zimbabwe will thrive and that one day my people will dream and hope again. That's the greatest part about being an entrepreneur. I get the privilege of seeing how one idea can transform you as a person and has the potential to create change for the community at large. 

My experience at Columbia College and as a young international woman doing business has been transformative and in my mind, a true miracle. With the continued support of my peers and colleagues I will keep pressing on and working hard because I know this is just the beginning of a beautiful story – a story of Joy

By Joy Mhizha

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