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Unleashing My Superpowers

How to navigate and succeed in a male-dominated mining work environment (STEM)


Unleashing My Superpowers

“Patience uses her superpower of storytelling to provide an inspirational but practical guide for all of us striving for Peak Performance! I know first-hand that she not only preaches and teaches the lessons she shares, she truly lives them. I am grateful for Patience, this project and book, and thrilled that so many will be touched and empowered by Patience and this extraordinary work.“

Shannon O. Pierce

IWF Fellow Alumni and 20-year Energy Executive. USA

“Practical and inspiring! A combination of her personal story and examples, Patience has turned her trailblazing career in the mining and metals industry into supporting and paving the way for other women in STEM coming up against the same barriers she experienced on her way to success across the globe. A must read for every woman in STEM, and males in the mining industry!”

Helena De Oliviera

IWF Fellow Alumni and Executive Transformational Leader. Canada

“Unleashing My Superpowers is a wonderful reflection of Patience’s authenticity, resilience and her passion to pay it forward. I met Patience as an IWF Fellow and her story connected with my heart when I first heard her speak. Her warmth and passion radiate through this wonderfully inspiring must-read.”

Kate Nuttall

IWF Fellow Alumni and Human Resources
Leader. Australia

“Unleashing My Superpowers is a fascinating book that gives perspectives on resilience and passion to succeed. If you have ever felt stuck and you don’t know how to navigate the complex male dominated workplace like mining then this is a must read!”

Heike Truol

Non-Executive Director Clarkson plc and former Executive Head Anglo American plc. UK

Have you ever wondered,
“What does it take for women to succeed in a male-dominated workplace like mining?”
Or are you a woman in STEM, struggling to navigate the male-dominated work environment?

Get ready to unleash your superpowers as multi-award winner, Dr Patience Mpofu reveals it all in this award-winning book,
Unleashing My Superpowers!

Imagine what life would be like if you had a manual with strategies and step-by-step practical tools to help you navigate the challenges of trying to succeed in a male-dominated workplace to C-Suite level. What benefits would that bring to you and your family? Look no further!

Global mining sustainability thought leader and IWF Fellow Dr. Patience Mpofu reveals for the first time how to navigate a male-dominated workplace, break free from cultural biases, overcome imposter syndrome, and unleash your superpowers to break the glass ceiling.

Unleashing My Superpowers is a compelling and inspirational memoir filled with profound stories, wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about succeeding in the tough, male-dominated mining industry for over 25 years. Patience shares how she left her mark on this industry and won several awards for it in Africa. Her near-death experience on a family holiday in Africa inspired her to pay it forward by creating this valuable narrative for women.

Patience tells the unique story of how her upbringing in a Lemba (black Jew) tradition shaped her belief system, which led to her embarking on a STEM career. She rose above many challenges and traumatic experiences, from not feeling good enough as a child, to almost drowning while in primary school, to becoming a mother at the age of 21. She offers a first-person account of struggling through her first days as a PhD researcher to being the most influential woman in mining in Africa. With humor, her journey through various locations across the globe, including safaris in Africa, will keep your eyes glued to the page.

This book creates a subtle but profound shift in mindset that helps you understand what gives you meaning and unleash your superpowers. Unleashing My Superpowers will forever change the way you think about your ability to succeed in male-dominated industries.

“You need to unleash something extra to be the change you want to see in the world. It’s about having a sense of purpose, stepping out of your comfort zone, using your voice to inspire others, and being a catalyst for change. Women have superpowers and it’s time to unleash them! Wathinta umfazi, wathinta imbokodo is a Zulu saying that means, ‘You strike a woman, you strike a rock.’ Let us all shine our lights and help others shine theirs.”

Dr Patience Mpofu

Unleashing My Superpowers is eloquent and inspiring, a practical and accessible book backed with real-life examples and personal stories that inspire women to unlock the superpowers necessary to succeed in their career. It is a call to action for leaders to create diverse and inclusive workplaces so that women can achieve their potential and create value.

About the Author

A Zimbabwean born, black South African woman, Dr. Patience Mpofu has won multiple awards as one of the most influential women in mining in Africa, and was the former Vice President of an Australian-listed mining company. She is a Global Mining Sustainability Thought Leader (ESG), Executive Leadership Coach, and Women in STEM advocate for change. Patience started from humble beginnings in Africa, got married at 21, and won a scholarship sponsored by one of the largest mining companies, Anglo American, to study for a PhD in Australia. She was part of a research team that worked to solve water sustainability issues, sponsored by 10 global mining companies. As a single mother in a foreign country, she completed her PhD, winning several awards, and authored over 10 international peer-reviewed journals on sustainability in the mining industry by the age of 32.

Patience has now turned her 25-year trailblazing career in mining into empowering and paving the way for other women coming up against the same barriers she experienced on her way to success. In 2019, Patience won CEO Global Most Influential Woman in Mining in Business and Government in South Africa and Southern Africa Regional awards. In 2020, she won the CEO Global continental award for the mining sector in Africa.

10 Key Things
This Book Will
Teach You

Chapter 1


In this Chapter, Patience explains how your upbringing can be reshaped by powerful paradigm shifts as a leader. Patience tells the unique story of how her upbringing in a Lemba (black Jew) tradition shaped her belief system, which led to her embarking on a STEM career.

Chapter 2


In this Chapter, Patience reveals how you can overcome adversity to achieve success. She shares the obstacles she faced, from losing her father, to becoming a mother at 21, to getting divorced five years later. With grit and determination, she turned her pain into success when she received a scholarship from a global mining company to study for a PhD in Australia.

Chapter 3


In this Chapter, Patience shares how to overcome imposter syndrome, develop resilience, identify your superpowers, and find fulfillment in your career. Patience arrived in a foreign land, struggled with adjusting to the new culture, and almost gave up on her PhD until she had an epiphany that changed her life forever when she heard Oprah Winfrey on TV say, “You are enough.”

Chapter 4


In this Chapter, Patience shares powerful strategies for identifying and overcoming invisible barriers with the help of mentors and sponsors. Inspirational stories from locations across the globe, will keep you engaged as she shares how she struggled to balance single motherhood and working in remote places.

Chapter 5


In this Chapter, Patience explains how having female role models can help you succeed. She shares her “Aha moment,” when the company she worked for appointed its first female CEO, which made her believe in the possibility of being a female leader in a male-dominated workplace.

Chapter 6


In this chapter, you’ll learn why relationships matter as you rise through the ranks and how to advocate for yourself. Patience turned her pain into growth as she found herself at one of the top business schools in the world, fully funded, with a new promotion and better prospects.

Chapter 7


In this Chapter, you’ll learn how to develop a stronger identity and believe in yourself as Patience shares that “it is at your moments of decisions that your destiny is shaped.” Her decision to enrol as an executive coach turned out to be one of the best investments she has ever made.

Chapter 8


In this chapter, you’ll learn why now is the perfect time to “lean in” for opportunities due to ESG requirements. Patience shares how she was promoted to a role that opened many doors, a role she believes was her calling. She hit rock bottom in her career but exactly one month later, she rose again and became one of the 36 women in the world selected for the acclaimed IWF Fellows Program.

Chapter 9


In this Chapter, you’ll learn why it’s time to use your voice to claim your power and build the career you deserve, based on powerful insights gleaned from interviewing 30 women across the globe who have achieved C-Suite and Board level.

Chapter 10


In this Chapter, Patience shares the powerful Peak Performance Leadership Model for the 21st century. She summarises what helped her succeed in this tough industry and why she stayed in it and advocated for it for more than 25 years. Through her stories of success and failure, joy and sorrow, and overcoming adversity, she explains how to balance career and life, find meaning in what you do. And finally, how to unleash your superpowers.

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