Esther Ijewere


Captain Annabel Vundla and First Officer Refilwe Moreetsi are not just queens of the sky, they are history makers. The amazing pilots, who fly South African Airways planes, became the first black African female pilots to operate an SAA flight in its 88 years of existence.

Captain Annabel Vundla and First Officer Refilwe Moreetsi operated the flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town on Tuesday, 25 October 2022. The whole crew on Flight SA346 was female.

Captain Vundla made history for the second time. She is SAA’s first black African female captain. She is also a military flight instructor and a Presidential pilot.

Meet Annabel Vundla And Refilwe Moreetsi

Captain Vundla was born in 1980 and attended Kingsway Christian School for her primary education before moving to Mmabatho High School from 1991 to 1997.

Upon completing her Matric, Captain Vundla joined the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for about two years. After serving in military training, she joined the South African Air Force in January 1999 and became a Presidential Pilot.

She has flown the Presidential Inkwazi BBJ1 (Boeing 737-700) jet, Falcon 50 and Citation II (C550) planes for 23 years.

In 2010, she joined South African Airways as a pilot., becoming the national carrier’s first black female captain.

Moreetsi attended Merensky High School from 2001 to 2005 before enrolling at Stellenbosch University. She attained a Higher Certificate in Military Studies and later a Bachelor of Military Science in Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science and Technology with distinction.

In 2006, she joined the South African Air Force as a pilot.

From 2008 to 2009, First Officer Moreetsi did a Pupil Pilot Course with the Central Flying School in Langebaanweg.

Despite achieving all these, First Captain Moreetsi felt this was not enough.

In 2010, she went to Starlight Aviation Group and got a Private Pilot’s Licence. The same year, she also went to the Helicopter Flying School.

From 2011 to 2013, while in the air force, Moreetsi was the Limpopo/Mpumalanga Branch Coordinator for the South African Women In Aviation.

The pilot then left the South African Air Force and joined South African Express Airways as First Officer from 2014 to 2016.

Two Black Female South Africa Pilots
Captain Annabel Vundla and First Officer Refilwe Moreetsi


First Officer Moreetsi’s academic pursuits resumed in 2016 when she enrolled at the Da Vinci Institute. In 2020, she graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Management, specialising in Aviation Management.

From 2016 to date, she has been with South African Airways, where she was Senior First Officer and later promoted to Deputy Fatigue Risk Management Specialist.

In June 2022, First Officer Refilwe Moreetsi was promoted to Fatigue Risk Management Specialist.

She had words of inspiration to girls on the day of her historic flight with Captain Annabel Vundla this week:

“My message to young girls is that your dreams are valid. If this is a career you would like to follow, it is possible. Your gender and your race are not a barrier.”

Recommended: I’m Passionate About Helping Women Gain Financial Freedom – Vanessa Ideh Shares Her Story

Judge Rochelle Ivri is one of ten citizenship judges in Canada and a paralegal professor at Mohawk College in Hamilton. She has a degree in Criminology from the University of Windsor, a post-graduate certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution from York University and has co-authored the textbook, Tribunal Practice, and Procedure for Legal Professionals.

Career of Rochelle Ivri

Rochelle was the first Black person to be appointed as a board member on the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library Board. She served for 8 years as a board member of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library Board. . She was also the first Black person to be appointed to the Council of the College of Midwives of Ontario, where she served for 8 years, 2 of which involved being on the Executive Board.

Additionally, Judge Rochelle was a member of the Discipline, Appeal, and Review Committee of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. She currently sits on the board of Bravo Niagara!

She is the first and only Black woman to be appointed to the inaugural Niagara Region’s Women’s Advisory Committee. Judge Ivri is the co-founder and facilitator of a mentorship program for Black youth.

Passion For The Black Community

Judge Ivri is committed to enriching her community and ensuring that the voices of Black women are included and heard. During her eight years as the first and only Black woman appointed to the Council of College of Midwives of Ontario, she made certain that Black women’s experiences and perspectives were included in the development and implementation of policy affecting the regulation of maternal health in Ontario.

Award and Recognition

In 2019, she was awarded the Woman who Rocks Award for Hamilton. In 2020, she was a finalist nominee in the Education/Mentorship category for the YWCA  Hamilton Women of Distinction Awards. She was awarded the Leading Women, leading Girls, Building Community Award for her work in Kitchener Centre.

Judge Ivri was awarded the Lincoln Alexander Award in 2021 by the Law Society of Ontario making her the first paralegal to ever receive this recognition in its nearly 20-year history.

Family of Judge Rochelle Ivri

Rochelle and her husband, Eldean, have 4 children. She is passionate about human rights, the Charter, and encouraging good citizenship and civic engagement in the diaspora.


Olunike Adeliyi is a Canadian actress, writer, and producer. She got her big break in the hit television series Flashpoint where she played Officer Leah Kerns. Since then, she has built an impressive resume and inspired other women to chase their dreams.

The Early Life of Olunike Adeliyi

Olunike Adeliyi was born in Toronto, Ontario to Sunny, a Nigerian salesman and Roxy, a Jamaican nurse. Raised in both Jamaica and Canada, the well-travelled actress ultimately earned a place at the highly coveted American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.


Adeliyi had her primary education in Canada. She studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts In Newyork.  Reportedly, she used to visit Brooklyn, New York, for her acting career and returned to her home country.

Olunike Adeliyi


Her popularity gained momentum after her appearances in films and TV shows like SAW 3DFrench ImmersionThe ListenerBeing HumanRepublic of DoyleLost GirlChristmas Horror StoryKilljoys, and The Girlfriend Experience. In 2012, Adeliyi was nominated for “Best Performance by a Female – Film” at the Canadian Comedy Awards for her performance in French Immersion and won the 2014 Black Canadian Award for “Best Actress.”

Some of Adeliyi’s critically acclaimed stage performances include Macbeth (Unit 102 Theatre), HER2 (Nightwood Theatre) and Bleeders (Summerworks).

In 2019, she starred in the horror feature She Never Died, which premiered at LA Screamfest, where she was nominated for best actress and at the Blood in The Snow Film Festival, where she won the award for best actress. Olunike has performed in theatres throughout Canada and the U.S. playing leading roles in many productions.

Recognition and Award of Olunike Adeliyi

Olunike was nominated for “Best Supporting Actress” at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards for her role in Boost; “Best Performance by a Female – Film” at the 2014 Canadian Comedy Awards for her performance in French Immersion and won the 2011 Black Canadian Award for “Best Actress”.

She recently received the 2022 Rising Star Award from the Excellence Awards program of the Afroglobal Television channel in Toronto. Away from her awards, let’s take a look at Olunike’s journey into motherhood.


Olunike Adeliyi and her daughter
Olunike Adeliyi and her daughter, Alesha Bailey

The amazing thespian is a mother of a beautiful daughter named Alesha Bailey, an actress. However, the details regarding her baby papa are missing. Further, the actress shares a good relationship with her daughter, and the mother-daughter duo is often seen enjoying with each other on different media platforms.

We celebrate Olunike for her tenacity, passion for her craft, and for creating room for other women to thrive.


A popular wealth creator once said: “When money realizes that it is in good hands, it wants to stay and multiply in those hands.” That’s what Vanessa Ideh Adekoya represents in her industry. She understands the power of merging financial Literacy with creativity. Vanessa has managed to turn YouTube into a lucrative business, and she is now teaching other women how to do it.

In April 2020 she joined Youtube and started creating content around trending topics, and in June 2021, the certified financial education instructor (CFEI) and former accountant decided to start from scratch and build a brand-new channel called, Launch To Wealth.

The platform has now evolved into a goldmine, making Vanessa one of the top black Youtubers in the world. In November 2021, she made $23,700 from her YouTube channel in just five months of launching it, and her subscribers increased significantly. The inspiring financial coach has turned her hobby into a career, and she is reaping the fruit of her labour, hard work and tenacity.

In this Interview with Esther Ijewere, she shares her passion for gender equity and how she is using her platform to teach women the importance of financial freedom.

Vanessa Ideh Interview with Women of Rubies
Vanessa Ideh

Childhood Influence

Yes, My childhood influenced me in a way. I can look back on my childhood and find patterns of creativity and expression through words.  At the same time, I have always been good with numbers so I knew that whatever I would do as an adult had to allow me to use those skills simultaneously.

Why I Pitched My Tent In the Financial Literacy Sector  

Making a mark in the world of Financial Literacy as a digital creator is me coming full circle with myself. For as long as I have known myself, I have been a confident speaker and creative thinker but growing up in an African household, I thought there was no way for me to express my natural talents and be financially stable at the same time. You were either a broke artist or an educated professional. So, I decided to be an educated professional and it doesn’t get more professional than being an Accountant.

However, after landing a job at one of the Big 4 accounting firms, I quickly realized that I would never feel fulfilled if I did not have room to be creative and to speak often as part of my job. That was when the search for an alternative path began. I had coffee chats with people who worked in Marketing, PR and other communication-heavy fields but it wasn’t until I found a brand called Clever Girl Finance that I felt like someone had created exactly what I wanted to create. I did further research and found that she is a Certified Financial Education Instructor so I became one too. The rest is history.

The Journey So Far

It’s been Amazing. On many days, I feel like I am living in a dream because I recognize how much of a privilege it is to show up as your full self, work in a field that you were naturally designed to work in and make a difference in the lives of many. I see it as God’s goodness and I never want to take God’s goodness for granted.

Challenges I Encounter In My Line Of Work

It depends on what room I am in. In some spaces, the challenge is explaining what exactly I do for a living. In other spaces, the challenge is finding the right people to join my team so we can move the vision forward. However, regardless of the challenges I face, I still find joy in doing what I do.

The Society and Its Support For Content Creators

It is a relatively new field and so people don’t understand it enough to appreciate it. It is only a matter of time, though. I see that changing in the future.

Vanessa Ideh - Founder of Launch To Wealth
Vanessa Ideh – Founder, Launch To Wealth

Other Projects and Activities

I am currently working on a project that would shed light on the creator economy. It is something I am so passionate about because it is the reason why I am able to do what I do in a sustainable way.

What I Enjoy Most About My Job

The level of impact that my work has. People literally pray for me every day because I expose them to opportunities that they otherwise would not be exposed to.

 3 Women Who Inspire Me And Why 

Bola Sokunbi, the CEO of Clever Girl Finance. I love the fact that she was bold enough to build a platform centered around women and money. Those are two subjects that get me fired up and as far as I’m concerned, she is a blueprint.

Tara Durotoye, the CEO of House of Tara. I love her love for life and for people. She wears many hats well and I think that is not easy for anyone to do.

Myleik Teele, the CEO of Curlbox. That’s a woman who believed she could and did. She built a social media community and then turned around to create an amazing company around the needs of the women in her community. That’s remarkable; in my humble opinion.

How I Use My Passion For Financial Literacy and Gender Equality To Create Room For Other Women in Our Industry

I actually have a closed community for black women in the financial literacy and media space. It’s one of my most recent projects and something I am very passionate about. I love to see women thrive and succeed.

One Thing I Wish To Change In The World

I would make room for more black women to thrive. We need more women at the table.

How To Empower Women In The Society

Teach them how money works. I don’t think women can be empowered if we aren’t financially empowered.

Being  A Woman of Rubies

My audacity. I think it takes a lot of courage to break away from a traditional path, tell yourself the truth about who you are and then find or create a path that allows you to show up as your best self. Many more people would do this too if they had the audacity so I would say audacity makes me unique.

To Young Women Trying To Navigate Their Path In Life

I will probably say 2 things:

Who you are is enough. Find where people like you get paid and go there

Give yourself options. You never want to be in a situation where you feel stuck so ensure you make decisions that open you up to multiple opportunities

Take a look at other related interviews we’ve had in the past:

Google Doodle  is celebrating Jollof rice today with Haneefah Adam’s art illustration , though the official day is August 22.  According to Google; “jollof rice, a quintessential West African dish simmered in reduced tomatoes, onions, peppers and regional spices.”

Google doodle

Nigeria-based guest artist, Haneefah Adam made the beautiful live-action doodle of jollof rice,  The beautiful part of the doodle is the way it ended.  They showed the different side dishes like plantain and chicken you can eat jollof rice with.

The beautiful soundtrack featured in the doodle is by Senegalese Jazz musician, Herve Samb. It is safe to say Google created a balance of Jollof  rice origin and the country where it is eaten the most.

Haneefah Adam

Describing the doodle, Google writes that, “on this day each year, rice farmers plant and reap a bountiful harvest, and cooks across West Africa prepare to make fresh Jollof. Also known as benachin and thieboudienne’

They also elucidated the origin of jollof rice. It is believed to have first been prepared by the Wolof tribe in the 14th century. “The Wolof Empire, ruling parts of modern-day Senegal, The Gambia and Mauritania made Jollof rice popular.”

Read Also: Nigerian-Born Khadijah Haliru Emerges City Councillor In Canada

“Each country has added its spin to the recipe and West Africans engage in humorous banter over who makes the best Jollof. These friendly rivalries, known as the “Jollof Wars,” have become an African cultural phenomenon.” Google writes.

The most competitive countries are Nigerians and Ghanaians. Google elucidates the difference. “Nigerians use long-grain rice that absorbs more spices, while Ghanaians use basmati rice with a more aromatic flavour.”

In 2016, Haneefah won the #TechMeetsArtNG exhibition, sponsored by Samsung Nigeria and Rele Gallery. The competition was a culinary exhibition aimed at exploring the artistic presentation of some of Nigeria’s local meals.

It’s beautiful to see our food being celebrated, and the work of one of queens highlighted on a global platform.

See some of her work below;

Haneefah Adam Jollof art

Haneefah Adam art

Art by Haneefah Adam

Jollof art by Haneefah Adam




Claudette McGowan is a global information technology leader with more than 18 years of success leading digital transformations, optimizing infrastructure and designing new approaches that improve service experiences.

Read Also: Afroglobal TV Excellence Awards Honours Olunike Adeliyi, Claudette McGowan, Others

She has worked in the technology industry for several organizations such as Deloitte, Metropolitan Police Services, North York General Hospital, Bank of Montreal and TD Bank. ​

Claudette began her career at BMO in 2000 and held multiple senior leadership roles including Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Technology Employee Experience. In 2020, she joined TD Bank as Global Executive Officer for Cyber Security. ​

In her spare time, Claudette writes books for children, builds robots and is the founder of the Black Arts & Innovation Expo. Claudette holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lakehead University and a Master of Business Administration from Athabasca University.

Related: I Started Immiducation To Give Immigrant Professionals Access To Careers In Tech- Janey Buzugbe

She is the recipient of several prestigious awards: In January 2020, she was selected as an honoree at the Jamaican Canadian Association’s 20th International Women’s Day event for her groundbreaking work in STEM. In 2019, Toronto Life recognized her as one of the city’s Top 50 Most Influential Torontonians, Women’s Executive Network recognized her as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada, AdWeek Magazine heralded Claudette as a Toronto Brand Star, and the Digital Finance Institute honoured her as one of the Top 50 Canadian Women in FinTech.

Read Also:  16 Inspiring Nigerian Women Making A Difference In Canada

In September 2019, Claudette also had the honour of moderating what is being hailed as ‘the most insightful one-on-one conversation’ with Former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,000-plus at Elevate, Canada’s largest technology festival.

Claudette was recently honored by Afroglobal TV as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Canadian , she also received the  Science and Technology Excellence Awards

We stan a queen!


Like a phoenix,  Lesley-Ann Forbes  is rising from the ashes of adversity  and inspiring others to do so through her story. Lesley is an embodiment of inspiration, determination and focus. An amazon who is using her God-given talent to touch lives and make a difference In the world.  Lesley’s authenticity is her signature.

She has been a corporate training professional in the telecom industry for over 10 years. Teaching and helping develop others is her passion. During her professional journey, she has facilitated hundreds of training programs and initiatives for some of the major telecom companies in Canada such as Sprint Canada, Rogers and Fibernetics.

Her voice has been received by many and her authenticity to see others shine has created many professional partnerships.

Her platform, Forbes Voiceover was birthed from the energy of that community. Many have commented on Lesley’s profound depth, warmth and articulation in her voice. This has rippled into many requests for her voiceprint to be the voice of their company’s brands. Lesley’s journey is to evolve into other areas of the voiceover industry including radio, audio books and animation.

She shares her Inspiring story with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview

Childhood Influence

My childhood into my teen years created the fabric of my life and the passion I have to do the work I do. My parents are immigrants from Trinidad I am their third child and the only one born in Canada. Although I was afforded the blessing of a loving family my journey had many difficult aspects. My parents had a tumultuous marriage and my mother didn’t live in Canada during my formative years.

Her absence and the absence of the example of how to demonstrate and curate self love, self trust and confidence in my abilities, created many wounds. I was always looking for external validation acceptance and love in all the wrong places with all the wrong people.

When I became pregnant at the age of 18, I was a very wounded child who now had to raise a baby boy into a man.

At the time I felt completely alone unworthy of love and not enough. Being abandoned by my son’s father and the absence of my mother were the seeds of my self suffering. Gratefully as I grew into a mature, independent woman I realized the journey of raising my son was my grandest and most grounding root to EVERY aspect of my life. Much has come full circle gifting me with wisdom, strength, grace, faith abundant blessings and most importantly purpose.

Being a leader of LIGHT & mentor for young girls and women especially single mothers is my purpose. To inspire a change in the narrative of their thinking to honor their journey, their children and their power, is my heart’s greatest desire.

To cultivate a connection with their divine source trusting it and using it in every aspect of their lives. To inspire and demonstrate self loving habits including teaching our children how to love and accept themselves.

Inspiration behind my book “Never Perfect Always Blessed”

My writing was inspired when my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Due to the progression of her disease, I was unable to have depth filled conversations with the woman I adored and loved so deeply.

Writing was cathartic for me. It helped me to navigate through certain aspects of my life and also reflect on the enlightened moments and lessons. When my mother died, I read the chapter I wrote about her to the congregation. I explained that I intended to turn my writing into a book to honor her legacy and all that she poured into me especially my spirituality.

Lesley Forbes Voiceover
Lesley-Ann Forbes facilitating her Voice for the Soul Workshop to parenting youth shelter

I hoped sharing my stories would help others to know the difficult moments in our journeys are not punishments from GOD they are simply teachers of growth, resilience, wisdom and perspective – you cannot know LIGHT without knowing DARKNESS.

GOD will not bring you to it without bringing you out of it – anointed, loved, accepted and forgiven ALWAYS

Motivation Behind Forbes Voiceover platform

Being a professional voiceover artist was universe gifted. I never had an aspiration to be a voice artist – to be completely honest I didn’t really like my voice I always thought it was too deep for a woman’s voice.

My career as a corporate trainer afforded me many opportunities to speak and teach in front of many groups and classrooms.

My voice was always complemented for its depth and diction. Being in telecommunications I was asked by clients to use my voice for their automated systems. My voiceprint was used by various businesses and extended across the tri cities of Cambridge, Kitchener- Waterloo and surrounding areas.

I was never compensated for my talent but my VOICE was everywhere so to speak (: When my employment ended with my last corporate company, I decided to launch Forbes Voiceover.

My client base was already established and has since doubled. I now have 3 professional artist that have joined my team. Our team’s portfolio of talent includes French Bilingual business automation, voiceover highlighted in the first emancipation film made in Canada, audio book narration and informational videos.

We are aspiring for more opportunities in animation, radio and commercials.

Ripple Effect Of Training People To Find Their Voice And Career Path

My training and facilitation career afforded me the privilege to mentor and professionally develop many souls. I’ve since seen many of my students excel and expand tremendously in their careers. I want to believe my contribution made a difference to their belief in themselves to learn and grow. Being an adult facilitator requires the skill of motivation, empathy and zero arrogance.

Adults don’t learn because to tell them to – they learn because they see the benefit of skill growth impacting their lives and personal development. You won’t gain respect just because you’re standing in front of a room lecturing your knowledge.

The ripple I believe I have created is human authentic connection rooted in another’s souls climb to success. Souls are sent to each other for a reason. I certainly don’t remember the names of my students from over the years but they are definitely an integral part of my life’s fabric. Their connection mattered just as much to me maybe even more.

I love what I do and I know my corporate path served its purpose in various ways including becoming a successful entrepreneur, speaker and spiritual coach.

The Journey So Far

The journey has definitely strengthened my FAITH, self discipline, a “JUST START” mentality even if I don’t know my next move and the greatest fulfillment of self rewarding and inspiring energy.

Being the CEO & creator of your own brand takes courage. Getting up every day and putting forth that mustard seed of faith and dedication to move forward.

Even if its just POSTING a small WIN or initiating a willingness to learn a new skill or approach to doing business – consistent effort of planting those seeds will bear fruit.

Each member of my Voice Over artist team was universe attracted not intentional; And whatever I’ve needed with intention, I knew GOD had not brought me that far in order to drop me. Once I trusted its manifestation and once, I surrendered the control and the how, it manifested and continues to do so.

Most importantly, I have also cultivated much SELF trust and a “I am enough” mentality. I created it so I have the power to cultivate its success. I am extremely proud of Forbes Voiceover and Never Perfect Always Blessed. They are my manifestations of God’s divine will and my purpose.

Read Also:  I Have Taught Over 10 Thousand People The Power Of Real Estate In Canada


The challenges I’ve encountered the most have been truly refining and defining my brand and whom I want to serve. I launched Forbes Voiceover then launched/published my book Never Perfect Always Blessed under my company name as it was my written voice. But I wanted to also serve young women teen and single mothers in their self love and spiritual journey.

I’ve been told my voice is soothing to listen too, so using Forbes Voiceover as my platform to use my voice in various aspects was my intention. Unfortunately, I still found my brand was not clearly defining all aspects of me. Gratefully the universe afforded me a Brand mentor to work with so I am in the process of refining my brand name and areas of service.

Forbes Voiceover will always be a part of my brand family but the forefront of my brand name will become Lesley Ann Forbes – As I am my brand.

Lesley-Ann Forbes

My  Journey To Wholeness

My journey to wholeness healed me. It taught me self love awareness, reflection and most importantly it solidified my commitment to trusting myself and allowing my divinity lead my life. It’s cultivated my courage in many ways because when becoming your authentic self unapologetically, it requires maintaining and drawing boundaries on my energy, loyalty and being governed by my own values.

Other Projects And Activities

As I continue to refine my brand, I will be expanding my passion to mentor and facilitate self love retreats. My biggest seedling project is creating a 2-day weekend retreat with young females and single mothers.

I want it to be two days of various impactful fun activities, guest speakers with powerful positive woman and self love workshops. I’m trying to create greater visibility to my serving by hosting guided meditation workshops & book readings in Kitchener, surrounding areas and my home city Scarborough.

I’m also hoping to have more opportunities to facilitate my Voice for the Soul workshop in schools and non- for-profit organizations and youth advocate organizations.

What I Enjoy About My Job

I love teaching I love connecting authentically with other souls. People easily gravitate to my energy. I’ve been told that I make people feel safe to be vulnerable and open up about what hurts their soul. It’s a privilege to be invited into someone’s journey and inspire light into their darkness. I know this is my soul’s purpose.

 3 Women Who Inspire Me And Why

The first woman is my mother Pearl Theresa Legerton Forbes . She wove the fabric of my relationship with GOD, Spirit, Source in how she raised me. She taught me the foundational spiritual values that I use to navigate through the world and toward my light when things are dark or challenging.

Iyanla Vanzant – First black woman I have seen in the media that made such an impactful healing ripple for black women, men and families. She has a fierce love of God and her knowing of her truth, spiritual gifts, worth and power. She is raw, real and compassionate energy. She demonstrates her trust of GOD’s will to navigate and enlightened her in her healing journey with other souls. She is a pivotal inspiration to my drive to want to make ripples of change and healing in the hearts of our younger generation of women.

Viola Davis – There’s something about Viola Davis that inspires me to always remain true to myself whenever I see or hear her speak. She has a grounded energy and a truly empathetic nature to the human experience. I see it in her passion to be her characters unapologetically with fierce respect for capturing truth in their story. She reminds me regardless of where this journey takes me to always shine in my truth with grace kindness and pure willingness to be real in all of it. She’s confident, classy and a true queen. I’m inspired to succeed with the same authenticity she exemplifies as well as the with the power & liberation in knowing that I’m worthy of it! She’s a super star that I see myself in, in various ways. Her shine does not blind it makes me proud.

How I Stay Grounded  As a Writer, Public Speaker, Advocate and Coach

My management of all of it is truly much easier than it was when I was in the corporate world. The titles you listed above are what the human world would use to describe my gifts. My spiritual world uses my soul to drive those titles because they come very naturally to me. They inspire my joy and drive to help others. I’m also a huge advocate for my OWN self love, so maintaining healthy practices like meditation/prayer, Yoga, running and reading all pour into my love cup.  I maintain healthy boundaries in order to ensure I can abundantly pour into others to inspire them to their own light, healing and self love.

Read Also: Helpful Tips for Single Parents-How to Stay Sane While Doing it All

My Thoughts On The Representation Of Black  Women In The Movie Industry

As a young girl I remember my mother and I watching the movie Lady Sings the Blues with Diana Ross & Billy D Williams – That movie was one of the first memories I have of seeing a black star on film. Then I remember watching the movie Roots with Cicely Tyson.

Both movies moved me to watch but the strife and dysfunction of the stories although true, left the impression that strife was always going to play a part in the roles of black women in film – painful circumstances we had to fight to get out of to live the dream.

Gratefully the evolvement of the roles black woman play in film has become more powerful, functional, dynamic and wealthy. Including animation and fiction films. Black women are beginning to be seen as leaders, courageous, magical and most importantly greater represented than it was in my younger days. The only black cartoon I ever saw black characters in was Fat Albert.

We’ve come a long way but I still believe we can BE more represented holistically as I know film does not only include actors and actresses. Film makers and creators contribute to the representation pool too they tell our stories …So integral

One Thing I Wish To Change In The Art And Media Industry

Resources mentors and opportunities to launch new and original ideas to bring community together to inspire help and be a representation to our younger generation. I found it difficult to find organizations to collaborate my vision with. Emails rarely get read and follow up even less. Having more opportunities to network with likeminded and up and coming mentors that are willing to contribute their time and experience are priceless gems to someone trying to navigate their way through red tape.

On Women Who Are Trying To Find Their Path In Life, Especially Single Moms Doing It Alone

As the single mother of an adult man, and who had to do it alone, my heart and soul would share these words with you:

Accept that it will never be perfect and you will make mistakes so don’t riddle yourself with guilt. God knew what he was doing by blessing you with your child. And your child chose you as their mother so consistently give yourself grace & forgiveness. I would tell her no matter how hard it gets never lose faith or stop talking to God. His divine will does show up when you least expect or in disguise of what you may be expecting. I would tell her not to compare herself or judge herself against others.

Read Also: Before You Judge Another Single Mom

Not everything is as it looks. Make time to connect authentically with her child or children. Build TRUST with them. Even when they mess up or disappoint you, be reminded that they are souls that have to learn and test their values through their own experiences too.

Lastly, I would tell her to trust her self and her self integrity – I was once told by an acquaintance, that I vulnerably opened up to about feeling guilty that my son didn’t have his father – that if I had opted to bring a man into our lives to live with us it may have given my son a better experience to becoming a man. Interesting how people feel entitled to place judgement on your life because you’re doing it alone.

Forbes Voiceover and Esther ijewere
Lesley with Esther Ijewere at the Black Women Film-TIFF Picnic In Toronto

My son has told me MANY times how grateful he is that I did raise him independently without bringing a man into our home. Although he was aware of the men that I dated, he always knew our home was sacred to us and only us. That was an integral safety value to my son due to the absence of his father. Trust your gut and never betray yourself or your children for the opinions of others.

One last snip it – find time for yourself – even if it’s eating your favourite chocolate bar in your car – alone listening to an Anita Baker track (SMILE) take a minute, breathe, dream and know your turn will come. Be patient and know the true joy will be seeing the fruits of all that you’ve woven into your child/children manifest in the human they become and the human YOU are becoming.

Being A Woman Of Rubies

My passion to serve, inspire, fulfill my GOD defined purpose to lead healing for young women, single mothers and souls in suffering makes me a Woman of Rubies. I am using my LIFE to inspire the LIGHT in others. So many of us are just existing we are not truly living. Living requires true engagement and courage to be authentic in honor of the journey that GOD has blessed you with regardless of the external circumstances.

Forbes voiceover
Lesley-Ann Forbes holding a copy of her book “Never Perfect Always Blessed”

The message is you ARE enough you ARE worthy of happiness & abundance, and you ARE loved – the universe IS on your side. GOD lives within you and you are never apart. He’s doing it FOR YOU not TO YOU. Trust your journey.

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“Grab a copy of Lesley’s book! As a single mom I am inspired by her depth, tenacity and passion for humanity. This book is a must-have for every woman, especially single moms who are trying to find their light again.”

– Esther Ijewere


Esther Ijewere
Esther Ijewere with a copy of Lesley’s book

On Saturday, October 29, 2022, Afroglobal TV honoured 16 Individuals, that make  profound difference in the lives of people and the black community in Canada.  Olunike Wendy Adeliyi, Caludette Mcgowan, Shola Alabi, Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard, Dianne Clemons, Joan Jekinson,  Dr. Roz Roach and Grace Carter-Henry Lyons were recognized at the epoch making event.

These women have used their work and Influence in the society to help  Black Canadian women realize their potential and encouraged  them to chase their dreams fearlessly.  They Inspire Black girls and women by showcasing examples of the many contributions Black women have and continue to make in the Canadian society.

Here is their inspiring profile;

Olunike Adeliyi-  “Rising Star 2022” Award

Olunike Adeliyi

Olunike Adeliyi is a Canadian actress, writer, and producer. She got her big break in the hit television series Flashpoint where she played Officer Leah Kerns. Since then, she has built an impressive resume that includes shows such as Republic of Doyle, American Gods and Little Dog. Olunike has been nominated for “Best Supporting Actress” at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards for her role in Boost; “Best Performance by a Female – Film” at the 2014 Canadian Comedy Awards for her performance in French Immersion and won the 2011 Black Canadian Award for “Best Actress”.
In 2019, she starred in the horror feature She Never Died, which premiered at LA Screamfest, where she was nominated for best actress and at the Blood in The Snow Film Festival, where she won the award for best actress. Recognised with 2021 Canadian Screen Award nomination for her performance in BET and CBC drama series Coroner, Olunike has performed in theatres throughout Canada and the U.S. playing leading roles in many productions. She received the 2022 Rising Star Award from the Excellence Awards program of the Afroglobal Television channel.


Claudette Mcgowan- Science & Technology Award

Afroglobal TV - Claudette Mcgowan

Claudette McGowan is a global information technology leader with over 20 years of success in leading digital transformation to improve service and cybersecurity. She has worked at Deloitte, Metropolitan Police Services, Bank of Montreal and TD Bank. Claudette is the Founder and CEO of Protexxa, an cybersecurity company. She has co-led Phoenix Fire & The Firehood, a multi-million-dollar women-focused angel investment fund and network for women in technology. She its on the boards of MaRS, SickKids, Black North, Elevate and First Book Canada.
Claudette has been named Toronto Life Top 50 Most Influential Torontonians, Digital Finance Institute Top 50 Canadian Women in FinTech, IT World Canada Top 20 Canadian Women in Cybersecurity, and the Women’s Executive Network recognized her as one of the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada. She has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Canadians, she received the 2022 Science & Technology Award from the Excellence Awards program of the Afroglobal Television channel.
HON. WANDA THOMAS BERNARD, Lifetime Achievement Award
Wanda Thomas Bernard
Wanda Thomas Bernard
The Honourable Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard is the first African Nova Scotian woman to be appointed to the Senate of Canada, representing the province of Nova Scotia and her hometown of East Preston. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2005, and the Order of Nova Scotia in 2014. Senator Bernard served as a professor at the Dalhousie School of Social Work, where she held the position of Director for 10 years. During her time at Dalhousie, she developed a curriculum for the ‘Africentric Social Work’ course.
Senator Bernard was honoured with the Frank McKenna Award for Leadership in Public Policy in 2021. She is the Vice Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights and sits on the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. Senator Bernard has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Canadians. Television.
Diane Clemons, Global Impact Award

Afrglobal TV - Diane Clemons

Diane founded The Pinball Clemons Foundation with her husband, Michael, an organization that provides marginalized youth with educational resources and options to integrate into mainstream of society. The goal is to see youth enter the workforce, and be gainfully employed. Since its inception in 2007, the foundation has been responsible for the construction of a hospital in Uganda, over 200 schools in developing countries, two orphanages in Haiti, and locally awarded more than 200 scholarships.

Diane Lee Clemons is a Singer/Songwriter. She has hosted Vibe Gospel Awards and appeared in ‘The Rev’ on CTS Network, as well as on ‘Train 48′. 

Joan Jekinson –  Media Award
Afroglobal TV - Joan Jekinson
Joan Jekinson
Joan Jenkinson is a highly accomplished media executive and an influential member of the Canadian screen industry. She is Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Black Screen Office, where she works to empower Black Canadians working within the screen industries to thrive and share their stories. Joan was Vice President of Independent Productions for VisionTV, where she commissioned, developed, and executive produced hundreds of hours of award-winning content in all genres.
A recipient of the Reelworld Tony Stoltz Memorial Visionary Award, Joan spearheaded VisionTV’s DiverseTV/NSI initiative. She is the co-owner of Artemis Pictures. She served as Executive Director of Women in Film and Television, Toronto for five years. She sits on the boards of Hot Docs and the Reelworld Film Festival. She is been named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Canadians, and receives the 2022 Media Award from the Excellence Awards program of the Afroglobal Television channel.
Shola Alabi – Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award
Afroglobal TV - Shola Alabi
Shola Alabi
Shola Alabi is a founding members of Africa Missions Canada (AMCA), a chapter of the Africa Missions Global. She served as Vice President from 2004 until 2013, when she became President. Under her leadership, AMCA has built water wells in Kenya, instituted two schools and Empowerment Centres in Uganda, and through the Rwanda Cow project, many have seen their status change, become financially independent, and grown in their Christian faith.
Shola is also the Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities, working with communities, NGOs, and government agencies. Shola holds a Bachelor of Science in Administration from Providence College, Rhode Island, USA; a postgraduate certificate in Psychosocial Rehabilitation in Mental Health at Humber College; and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Windsor.
Dr. Roz Roach – Community Development Award
Afrglobal TV - Dr. Roz Roach
Dr. Roz Roach
Dr. Roz Roach holds a Nursing Degree, Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Social Science, a Master’s Degree in Trans-Cultural Psychiatry, and a Doctorate in Health and Human Sciences. A certified Psychotherapist, Psychoanalyst, Raw Food Scientist, and Acupuncturist, she is the Founder and Executive Director of Dr. Roz’s Healing Place, a Centre for Empowerment and Healing for women and children survivors of domestic violence. Dr. Roz Roach negotiated with three levels of government to raise 5 Million dollars to change lives.
An athlete, mountain climber and marathoner, she completed a 120-kilometre walk from Collingwood to Owen Sound in 2022, and a 462-KM climb across seven cities in China, to raise awareness of violence against women in 2008. An artist, vocalist, songwriter, producer, playwright and designer, Dr. Roz is a mentor with the Scotiabank Women Initiative. She receives the 2022 Community Development Award from Afroglobal Television’s Excellence Awards program.
Grace Carter-Henry Lyons – Heritage Award

Afroglobal TV - Grace-Lyons-Carter


Grace Carter-Henry Lyons is Founder and Musical Director of Heritage Singers (Canada). The group is a reflection of the Canadian mosaic, and their repertoire ranges from sacred to secular, work songs, lullabies, seasonal ditties and perennial ballards. They have performed world-wide, including Holland, Germany, Taiwan, Mexico and Venezuela. Grace studied piano in Jamaica through The Royal School of Music London, England.
She served for 15 years in the banking industry, including Management at CitiBank Canada. A Real Estate professional for 35 years, Grace is in the Re/Max Hall of Fame. She has received the BBPA Harry Jerome Award for Business Excellence, the Women of Excellence Award from the Congress of Black Women, and was recognized in the Who’s Who of Black Canada. She is also on the Board of Directors of the Community Folk Arts Council of Metropolitan Toronto. She receives the 2022 Heritage Award from the Excellence Awards program of Afroglobal Television.
We celebrate these women for making a difference in the community, touching lives and being a source of inspiration to young girls and women across the globe.
Photos from the Afro Global Excellence Awards…
Afroglobal TV Patricia Mawa and Esther Ijewere
CoFounder, Afroglobal TV, Patricia Mawa and Esther Ijewere, Editor- Women of Rubies
Olunike Wendy Adeliyi and Esther Ijewere
Actress, Olunike Wendy Adeliyi, and Esther Ijewere
 Grace Carter-Henry Lyons
Esther Ijewere and Grace Carter-Henry Lyons

 Diane Clemons and Esther Ijewere

Patricia Mawa and Esther Ijewere
Afroglobal TV Patricia Mawa and Esther Ijewere
Afroglobal Television is a global super channel that caters to the of people of African heritage worldwide. It showcases the best of Africa and the Diaspora through programs that inspire, educate and entertains.
About the Writer
Esther ijewere Is a multi-award winning Social Activist, Journalist, Writer, Best-selling Author,  Host of the Youtube syndicated show;  #GettalkingwithEsther  and a certified PR expert with over 10 years of experience. Esther has spotlighted over 1000 women across the globe, Interviewed First ladies, A-list celebrities and giants of different industries.  She is the Editor-In-Chief of  Women of Rubies, and other development initiatives recognized globally. Follow her  on Linkedin InstagramFacebook and Twitter.
Esther Ijewere - Single Mom

In 1994, Prophetess Uju-Ken had a major encounter with God when she gave her life to Christ, that was the beginning of her ministerial journey and commitment to the body of Christ.

The Canadian based woman of God who has toured different continents winning souls for Christ and reflecting the power of humanity works at the intersection of combining spirituality with reality, using her lived experience as a tool to educate and teach the society the importance of developing a relationship with God and having a prayer life.

Her story went viral online during her recent crusade in Baltimore, USA where she touched lives, performed mind-blowing miracles and spread the gospel. Prophetess Uju is happily married to her supportive husband, and they are blessed with amazing children.

Prophetess Uju-Ken shares her story with Esther Ijewere In this Interview.

Childhood Influence

I grew up in a very christian home. My parents were catholic and were quite involved in church events. My parents always took us to church on Sunday and every weekday early mornings for “Morning Mass”. While in secondary school, my classmates and I attended a church programme. While at this program, the preacher preached on the “Ark of the Covenant” and also asked that those who wanted to encounter the touch of the Ark of the covenant should lift up their hands. That was the first time that I had fallen under the anointing. At that time, I had started dreaming dreams but I had no idea that it was a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Read Also: 16 Nigerian Women Making A Difference In Canada

I would always tell my mom of my dreams and they would come to pass. I would narrate my dreams of someone dying and then that person would die. My mom would always caution me and warned me to stop telling her about my dreams. On the other hand, while in University, I started modeling and designing tops and shirts and selling to bankers. I would say that modeling prepared me to face crowds. I was already aware of God’s existence and work in and around me.

Prophetess Uju-Ken

Inspiration Behind Glorious Reign Ministries

The HolySpirit inspired me to start my ministry. After my childhood encounters, I didn’t know how to pray but I talked prayers. I would pray like I was having a conversation with God. One midnight in 2009, I was laying down and fell into a trance. In that trance, I saw some tall grasses in the field, a strong wind was blowing and as the grasses were being blown by the wind, the words “Time 4 Harvest “ appeared. I was confused as to what they meant.

In that trance also,  the voice said that if I was doubting, I should go to the sitting room, that I would find my brother lying on the couch sick. I did get up and go to the sitting room and actually found my brother laying on the couch and when I asked him to go into the room he responded that he was sick.

Before my trance experience, one of my female friends had gifted me with a T.D. Jakes Bible titled ‘Woman, thou art loosed’. After the trance experience, I started preaching to a set of 5 empty couches.

Why I moved My Ministry From U.K To Canada

My move from the U.K. to Canada was a decision of my husband and myself. This decision was solely for the purpose of availing our children the vast opportunities available in Canada including education.

The Journey So Far

 We give God the glory. The journey has been amazing, in the sense that with the help of the Holy Spirit. It has also been a learning curve with challenges but God has been faithful because He has promised me in 1 Corinthians 10:13B that “He will not suffer me to be tempted beyond that which I am able to bear”. Every challenge has been a ladder to get to my next level.

Challenges Of My work

 As a professional counselor as well as a Minister of God, maintaining boundaries especially with family and friends has been a challenge. I’m still working on learning to say “No” and stick with it. Another challenge is that I find it very hard to look the other way when I see people suffering. I have the tendency of taking on people’s burden and failing to realize that I can’t save everyone.

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My Relationship With God

I’m very humbled that God has chosen me as a vessel to work miracles in the lives of people irrespective of their status in life. I’m also very happy to see God’s power in action, saving souls, healing diseases and mending broken hearts.

Other Projects and Activities

We are believing in God to establish a non- denominational pilgrimage center where people from all walks of life can come on a weekly basis to pray out for themselves and receive solutions to their challenges. I also make it a point of duty to support other peoples ministries to motivate and minister to the people. As per the ministry activities, we meet every first Saturday of the month for our Open Heaven program, we also meet every second Saturday for a meeting with the Holy Spirit titled “Fix me Holy Spirit”. We meet again every third.

Prophetess Uju-Ken

What I Enjoy About My Job As A Woman of God

What I enjoy most about my work is my relationship with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always teaches me, guides me and directs me. He always reassures me, all I have to do is to just show up and He acts. I also enjoy seeing people walk into my office with tears and leaving with joy. As much as we go on missions, we pray, and we give.

3 Women Who Inspire Me And Why

 The first person is my mother because she is a prayerful woman, a hopeful woman of faith and a woman that never gave up. These attributes of my mother have shaped my own life.  The second woman is Kathryn Kuhlman of the blessed memory who solely depends affectionately and intimately on the Holy Spirit.

My Work-life Balance

As a woman of God, a mother, wife, and mentor, I feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day. However, I have to follow strict timelines in order to maintain a work-life balance. Moreso, I have learnt to let go of what I cannot control. So I prioritize my work according to the order of importance. I am also very grateful for my very supportive husband. He’s always there to offer support and cover for me in the home front.

Watch: Prophetess Uju Ken Share Her Encounter With the Holyspirit

How We Can Win More Souls As a Society

As a society, to win more souls, we can show more love, be empathetic, compassionate, and actively listen to one another. We can be more tolerant towards one another.

On The Importance Of Unity Within The Christian Community

Men and women of God to help each other and to collaborate more especially through complementing one another where the other is inadequate since God has given different spiritual gifts to all men for the perfecting of saints and edifying of the body of Christ ( Ephesians 4: 11-12).

Being A Woman of Rubies

What makes me a Woman of Rubies is the grace of God upon my life and the power of the Holy Spirit.

To Those who Have lost faith

 I would tell them “Don’t give up” “Help is on the way” and “Your SOLUTION (Holy Spirit) is bigger than your PROBLEMS (the challenges

Nigerian-born Khadijah Haliru has emerged as a Councilor in Ingersoll Town in southwestern Ontario, Canada in the just conducted elections. She garnered 1708 votes to win the election.

In her campaign, Haliru had promised that she would like to shine a light on downtown businesses, engage youth and address homelessness if she becomes an Ingersoll Town Councillor.

Read Also: 16 Inspiring Nigerian Women Making A Difference In Canada

It could be recalled that Khadijah Haliru moved to Ingersoll six years ago. She is the CEO of K Business Group Inc and she’s also the owner of Hanak Foods, K Body Blends, and K Coaching Academy.

Having fallen in love with the community over the years, she is determined to make a difference at Town Hall.

“I feel like we just really have to open our hearts and minds to a different way of thinking so we can bring some change. I’m not saying anything about whether the current council is right or wrong, but having an additional perspective is fair.”

Khadija Haliru

Read Also I Started Immiducation To Give Immigrant Professionals Access To Careers In Tech

The mother of three had also noted that she has some big plans if she’s elected. “Being really strategically located we have the opportunity to be a centre of attraction for tourists. Our downtown is suffering, so we need to bring more attention to our businesses and I have a few ideas on how we can engage youth more.”

She also said, “I see a lot of opportunities to improve the climate for newcomers and small businesses”.

“There are a lot of newcomers to Ingersoll and they deserve a voice.”

We celebrate Khadijah Haliru  for her  resilience and tenacity, and above all making the country proud.

Follow Khadijah Haliru on her social media platforms to know more about her work.

Source: Nigerian Canadian Newspaper