Mathy Lisika-Minsende: creative mentor

16 Mar

Everyone has a story. Multi-lingual extrovert Mathy Lisika-Minsende is a master of confidence boosting storytelling – she uses this and practical skills to help people unhappy in their jobs develop the courage to do something they really want. Nicola Baird finds out more

Mathy Liskika-Minsende: “I help creative minds build the confidence to go through the transition process of moving jobs.”

Mathy Lisika-Minsende: “I help creative minds build the confidence to go through the transition process of moving jobs.”

Mathy Lisika-Minsende was living off Holloway Road getting her new business as a creative mentor established when she got the chance to do a TEDx talk. The TEDx talks are an internationally renowned way of introducing new ideas to the world, designed to spark deep conversations about what we do and how we do it.

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Mathy, 35, is an experienced public speaker, as you can see from her website, but it was when she was giving a talk about inspiration at the Excel Graduates Fair 2012 in front of 3,000 that she realised she wanted to share her ideas on TEDx – in a few years time.

“I felt such energy from the conference after my 10 minute speech so my business colleague said I should consider. I wasn’t sure but I put out a tweet saying ‘I’m ready to do my TEDx’. Within three days a follower sent me a link for a TEDx Squaremile competition organised by Junior Chamber International (JCI), being held at an office in Old Street. I entered, but didn’t win. It was such a rollercoaster. But afterwards we all went for a drink and the judges said they couldn’t make up their minds. They’d been really intrigued by me and they took my details. Near the end of the week I got a call asking if I wanted to do that TEDx talk at the Mermaid Theatre, near Blackfriars. I said ‘I’d love to’ but I had to compose myself I was so excited.”

Her TEDx went well – here’s the clip from her talk on The future of work is child’s play, which has been seen by 19,000 people and immortalises the phrase “pancake burgers”.

“It was scary all the way – from the time I sent that first tweet, then doing the comp, then losing… and then being told they had a spot for me. An amazing experience,” says Mathy in the Diner at Dalston Junction where she’s drinking Moroccan mint tea. In many ways the TEDx experience mirrors her ability to coach creative individuals to plan, use their networks and give yourself an ultimatum “to put yourself out there” so you can turn an abandoned or neglected artistic skill or a hobby into a professional priority.

Places Mathy likes in Islington

  • I always used the 271 and 41 buses when I lived in Holloway.
  • Upper Holloway is such a convenient place. I did a lot of co-work at The Spoke, 710 Holloway Road, and still go back there sometimes on a Sunday for the spicy Mergues sausage in thick bread or a burger.
  • I like the Greek place after the £1 shop. Every time I go to Archway I get a wrap from them. They are nice and really good value and the guys who work there are so funny. We have a continuous argument over when they are going to get a card machine.”
  • There’s a good community business centre by Caledonian Road tube.

Mathy lives in Clapton now but claims she’s “lived all over” with good reason. She was born in Kinshasha, Congo but moved when she was three years old so has now lived in Paris, Belgium, South Africa, the UK and Ireland. Her first language is French, her third is English – though she’s so fluent you wouldn’t guess.

“My father was a diplomat and businessman,” says Mathy who has nine half siblings. Sadly her mum was 52 “when she passed from malaria in Congo”. Her father, 56, sadly died from cancer the following year.

“He didn’t go to university so he wanted his children to go. He saw me as a lawyer or a politician,” says Mathy, “but I didn’t aspire to those careers. As a child it was like living with a dictator but I got to know him in his last 10 years and he was a totally different person to the yes sir, no sir father.” But it was her father’s strong personality that helped Mathy move into a field of work she loves, creative mentoring. Last year (2015) she published Quit! Or embrace your job crisis: how the loss of my dad and job helped me change direction a book designed to help others move out of the 9-5 into a job they love.

Mathy has lived in Congo – her family had to leave again in 1996 for their own safety – but she’s interested in going back there to “help young Congo entrepreneurs,” although worries about the tales of corruption her cousins share.


Over to you
If you’d like to nominate someone to be interviewed who grew up, lives or works in Islington, or suggest yourself, please let me know, via at Thank you.

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This blog is inspired by Spitalfields Life written by the Gentle Author.

If you enjoyed this post you might like to look at the A-Z  index, or search by interviewee’s roles or Meet Islingtonians to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by. Nicola



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