Women of Rubies


Tessy Ojo is  a multi-award-winning social change advocate, philanthropist, civil society leader, brand ambassador, wife, mother and Chief Executive Officer of The Diana Award, a charity foundation instituted in honour of the Late Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales. At the heart of her work is the belief that, with the right support and investment, young people are the best instigators for achieving real, sustainable change in their lives and communities.

Tessy was recently awarded the Commander of the British Empire (CBE), the biggest national honour in the United Kingdom in recognition of her immense contributions towards empowering and supporting children and young people in the UK.

The  British-Nigerian national who is an inspirational speaker and regular consultant and
commentator on issues around youth participation, charity growth, diversity, women in
leadership and other social issues affecting young people, grows her kitty that already has
other eminent awards including The Precious Award, Inspiring Leader 2015, Women in Business Rising Star 2015 (London Region), Excellence Award from Eva Longoria’s Global Gift

Tessy share her inspiring journey with Esther  Ijewere in this Inspiring Interview.

Childhood Infleunce

Growing up, my parents taught us the value of leadership without a title. It was the principle of ‘if you see something that needed doing, just do it, without waiting on someone else to fix it’. This was pretty much the principle that underpinned my childhood. When you have a diplomat father and a mother who is a headteacher, you’re often drafted in to support one cause or the other, especially through their networks such as The Rotary Club etc. Generally, giving back in any capacity was the norm in our household. I remember at the age of 14, my Mum drafted me in to lead on various children’s clubs in her school. I was running a reading club, dancing club, all afterschool, so being a leader was very much a part of my upbringing.

What Inspired me to work at  The Diana Award

When the Princess of Wales was tragically killed in a car crash in 1997, it was a defining moment in my life as like thousands of others, I placed a note with words of condolence alongside flowers to honour the Princess at Kensington Palace. That note, simply said ‘You rocked my world, I will honour yours too’.

Just two years later, at the time a very successful executive, I had my youngest child and an eureka moment when I realised the vulnerability of childhood and how as a committed mother, I would always champion my children, yet not every child had a champion or an advocate.

That moment was a defining and life changing moment as I made a commitment to devote the rest of my career to advocating and championing young people, building young people’s capacity for leadership and creating social equity that ensures young people can overcome the disadvantage of birth.

A few weeks later, I responded to an ad in the newspaper to help set up a new youth charity being formed. Unaware, at the time, that this was the beginning of The Diana Award, the only charity across the world set up to continue the legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales. I responded to this ad as it was very much in line with my passion.

More about my journey is in a book that I am writing, which will be published next year.

The Journey and It’s impact in Britain

 Twenty years on and with over 100,000 young people who have been supported through this charity, through our three core programmes; many of whom are young leaders across nations, the charity has grown from strength to strength, through a combination of strategic clarity and innovative approaches.

Having said that, our world is changing rapidly with the current Covid-19 pandemic which means that there are significant societal and environmental challenges ahead. It is incredibly important that as we rebuild our communities across the world that young people are at the centre of that work, as they are the long term victims of covid and they must be empowered to help shape the future. I was particularly proud to see the participation and leadership of young people during the #EndSars protest! For us at The Diana Award, we have always believed that young people can change their world, with the right support and we remain committed to building the capacity of young people to be at the heart of this rebuilding work.

Being awarded the commander of the British Empire Award

It was and remains an incredible honour. Twenty years ago when I gave up a promising career and a lucrative pay to join the third sector, it was completely out of the need for service. Twenty years on, to receive the highest honour from Her Majesty, The Queen is just mind blowing!

Your work cuts across Anti-Bullying, mentoring and capacity building, any plan to bring your work to Nigeria?

 You know what, we would love to! With the right level of investment and sponsorship, we would love to do much more across the Commonwealth and of course Nigeria, given my connections to the country! Just find me the right sponsor and we can talk!!

Other projects and activities

You know what, I am involved in so much across the charity sector; I am on the board of Comic Relief and we are making some incredible moves about how we support global communities build capacity. I am also the co-chair of the #iwill Leadership Board, which is a board of funders who are committed to ensuring young people are supported to create the change they want to see.

More about my work will also be in my new book so look out for it!

 Challenges of my work

Pushing for change is never easy. No one likes change, yet it is inevitable. The biggest challenge is always educating on the ‘why’. The other challenge is ensuring that we are well resourced to create the change we are advocating for. Resourcing a charity is a huge challenge but it is one that is so desperately needed. A recent stats in the UK showed that young people are more reliant on the support provided by the youth sector than ever before, yet the sector has less resources than ever before! That is the challenge.

3 women who inspire me to be better and why

  • Firstly, Rosa Parks – her quiet strength inspires me. She saw a need and demonstrated her strength and paved the way for generations to come.
  • Next is Oprah Winfrey, purely because growing up in Europe, I barely saw anyone like me on TV. Oprah made me visible. Watching her on telly allowed me to feel visible and made me realise that impossible is nothing and seeing Oprah day in day out helped me see that.
  • My third is absolutely Michelle Obama. She demonstrates leadership with integrity, authenticity and with grace. To me, she shows the balance between leading with a title yet remaining authentic to who you are. I loved seeing how she brought fun to her role, even as the First Lady. She was unafraid to do things different and that really inspires me. Like going on TV and dancing!!

The Nigerian society and it’s awareness with issues  surrounding bullying and oppression

I think society as a whole needs a lot more education about bullying, oppression and the misuse of power. There are so many historic things that were allowed to happen in the past, that today’s society is rightly saying NO to and that change in attitude needs to be talked about again and again, until we are all on the same page.

I do not believe this is exclusive to Nigeria because there are people in the UK who still brush bullying off as ‘banter’ or ‘character building’ which is absolutely wrong. We define bullying as any behaviour, either verbal, physical, cyber or indirect, that deliberately and repetitively undermines another, makes them uncomfortable, upset and unsafe is bullying.

When we’re young, many of us have an idealized image of what our future relationships will be like. We hope and imagine meeting the perfect person, getting on with them flawlessly, having plenty of things in common, and never finding anything to annoy or irritate us, with no arguments or disputes of any kind.

However, after growing up and getting into their first romantic relationships, many people realize that these idealized images are little more than fairy tales. Every couple argues. It’s a natural part of the process of sharing so much of your life with another person; every now and then, you’re going to find things that you don’t agree on or just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and need a little ‘me time’.

But while every other will argue sometimes, it’s important to not let arguments and quarrels become a regular part of your romantic routine. Arguments can get worse as they start to occur more frequently, and it’s important to note that domestic violence isn’t just limited to physical assault; mental and emotional distress caused by one partner to another can be very damaging in the long-term too, so if you’re worried about excessive arguments with your partner, here are some key tips.

Communicate Calmly

One of the first and most important tips to keep in mind when it comes to avoiding nasty arguments or defusing disputes before they turn bad is to try and make your communication as calm and clear as possible.

This means that you should avoid raising your voice, yelling, calling names, or resorting to any other bad habits you may have that don’t actually contribute to any kind of positive outcome or conclusion for you and your partner. Talking calmly and at a reasonable volume can instantly make a big difference.

Listen, Don’t Just Hear

People often argue because they have something they’re unhappy about and want their partner to know about it, but may feel that they aren’t being truly listened to. This is why it’s so important to actually listen to what your partner is saying, rather than simply hearing the words and failing to properly process them.

Too often, people in arguments focus purely on reacting to the last thing the other person said, trying to catch them out or prove them wrong, rather than actually listening, putting themselves in that person’s position, and truly understanding why they’re so upset. Working on your empathy can really help you resolve arguments much faster and help your relationship become healthier too.

Take a Breather

There are many different things you and your partner might argue about. It could be money, which is reportedly one of the most common subjects of dispute and disagreement among couples, or it could be something totally different like your sex life, work-life balance, family matters, etc.

Whatever it is you’re arguing about, don’t be afraid to call for a time out if you feel you need it. This can be a good strategy for many people, especially those who have trouble keeping their tempers under control. Taking a breather and letting yourself cool off could majorly help you avoid saying something you might regret.

Take Action

Don’t look at an argument as a battle between you and your partner. Don’t see it as something with a winner and a loser or a simple opportunity for one or both of you to yell things at each other. See it as an opportunity. An argument is a sign that something is wrong, but it’s also a sign that at least one of you wants to fix it.

This ties into the previous point about listening; really take the time to focus on what has caused your argument and what you can do to make it better. Taking this constructive, positive approach to disputes can help you and your partner turn a negative experience into something positive that really benefits the pair of you as you move forward as a couple, rather than repeating the argument over and over.

Final Word

As stated several times above, it’s important to acknowledge and accept that arguments are more or less inevitable. Some couples have more of them than others, and some can argue about the tiniest of matters while others only quarrel over serious subjects. But in any case, when arguments happen, having the right attitude and approach can help you negotiate them more carefully, reducing the risk of any emotional damage on either side and helping you and your partner build something stronger.


For some, money and fame may seem like the answer to all of life’s problems, but many successful public figures would say differently. In a recent viral video, singer and rapper Lizzo spoke about how obtaining more money won’t solve all of your problems and the heavy burden that comes with fame.

“You can be the coolest, most richest person ever and it doesn’t buy you f*cking happiness. Money doesn’t buy you happiness,” she says in the video posted on her TikTok. The musician starts to get more emotional as she says how it still takes personal development and that fame doesn’t make it easier.

“Fame only puts a magnifying glass on the sh*t that you already have. And if that sh*t is fucked up, you’re just going to have even more magnified f*cked up sh*t in situations where it doesn’t even seem valid or like you’re even supposed to feel that way so it f*cks you up even more because you feel so unf*ucking grateful,” she continued, encouraging listeners to do that “inner work” to progress further in life.

“Anyone that has internal issues or have any type of self problems that they need to work out, work [it] out now because money, fame, or success, or even getting older doesn’t really fix that sh*t,” she said.

“You need to just like do it. Do the inner work because, no matter where you are, it’s going to haunt you like a f*ucking ghost. And I’m working on it, too, but today is just not a good day. I just want everybody to know that it’s OK to not have a good day even when it seems like you should.”


At the age of 15, Jessica Hyatt has already been awarded a $40,000 college scholarship. On top of that, she is just a few ranks away from making history as the first Black woman chess master in the world!

Jessica, who is one of the top 10 Black female chess players in the US, recently received the prestigious Daniel Feinberg Succes in Chess Award which comes with a $40,000 college scholarship.

“I play whenever I get the chance, like in my free time, like during my classes, like sometimes during classes,” Jessica told CBS News, noting that she plays at least 5 to 7 hours a day.

Jessica is currently a sophomore at Success Academy, a school known for its exceptional chess program. Five years ago, she met her coaches Tyrell Harriott and David Mbonu, who are both National Masters, the highest level in the US.

To become a chess master, a 2,200 ranking must be achieved. Jessica is already at 1,950.

There has never been a female Black player to break the master ranking and that’s what Jessica is going for,” said Mbonu.

Even with the pandemic, Jessica continues honing her skills by playing chess online. Her mother, Loy Allen, has been very supportive of her daughter and hopes other young children of color get inspired by her story.

“If your kid’s passionate enough about it, have them go for it because the sky’s the limit, right?” said Allen.

Moreover, after achieving her goal of being a chess master, Jessica dreams of attending college at MIT and plans to teach chess to other children as well.



Before booking your wedding dress and second dress appointments, make sure you know the type of wedding you’re planning and where.

Yes, you can wear whatever you want, but if you purchase a low-key gown and you end up booking a large and classy venue, you may wish you went bigger and bolder, with the venue in mind.


Remember to share the big news with your inner circle before updating your status on social media.

Tell your family and closest friends first, preferably in person, or by phone or Skype  (so they see the ring!) if they’re long-distance. Then change your Facebook status.

And after the outpouring of congratulations, be sure to post a quick thank you to the well-wishers.


The most stressful planning period? The week before the big day. That’s when handfuls of unforeseen details arise, leaving some brides sorting out spreadsheets instead of connecting with friends and family.

Avoid this by hiring a professional wedding planner or even an event coordinator especially if you’re on a tight budget.

They will handle last-minute vendor meetings and put out fires so you don’t have to. If budget is a concern, some planners even offer hourly services.


No bride should feel as if they have to change themselves ahead of their wedding. But if you do wish to adopt healthier habits, instead of drastically reducing calories or abstaining from whole food groups a month before your wedding date, ease into it.

Try adopting a healthier eating plan or fitness regimen six months before the big day.

Focus on gaining confidence, stress-relieving practices, and healthy habits that will follow you way past your walk down the aisle.




The last thing you want on your wedding day is a low-energy DJ or an exhausted photographer.

So plan on feeding any hired hands who will be working during the reception. This includes your wedding planner, photographer, videographer, and DJ or band, plus their assistants (but not your florist or the ceremony musicians). Work their meals into your budget and consider it part of their fee. (Many vendors stipulate in the contract that the couple is to provide a meal.)



Don’t  forget the reason you’re doing all of this, and keep things in perspective. It’s all about starting your new life together, so make sure to set up the right foundation for a joyous future. Remember, it’s just one day in the journey.

CHIKA IBEABUCHI popularly known is the Founder/Creative Director of Gemini24 Events, @weddingsplash (An online  bridal/event store) @Cedamicuspicykilishi (A healthy snack brand popularly known as Kilishi)

She is also an event management coach and she has coached and mentored not less than 100 persons online and offline.

She is also an event management consultant, wedding planner, event manager: she has assisted numerous brides to be to make their wedding a reality.

She will be sharing some tips and nuggets that have helped her client make the best decision as regards their wedding and also saved them time, money and contributed to unforgettable memories.

So feel free to go ahead with your wedding plans, you should also aim to have a stress free planning process by hiring a professional to guide you so that you can sit back, relax and be taken care of.

Need more information? I am here to give you more tips on how to get it right, drop a message in the comment section.


Your Cherished Wedding consultant.

Mrs Tessy Ojo, a British-Nigerian national, has bagged her biggest fish yet by being awarded the Commander of the British Empire (CBE), the biggest national honour in the United Kingdom. The award is in recognition of her immense contributions towards empowering and supporting children and young people in the UK.

Tessy Ojo, British

Ojo’s bio is heavy duty – a multi-award-winning social change advocate, philanthropist, civil society leader, brand ambassador, wife, mother and Chief Executive Officer of The Diana Award, a charity foundation instituted in honour of the Late Lady Diana, the Princess of Wales. At the heart of her work is the belief that, with the right support and investment, young people are the best instigators for achieving real, sustainable change in their lives and communities.

Her nomination for the award followed the traditional process of selection – nomination to the special selection committee, who in turn recommends who to be honoured with which category of the awards to the Prime Minister and then, finally, to the Queen for ratification.

It was led by young people who are either recipients of the Diana Award or participants of its anti-bullying and mentoring programmes who have experienced Tessy’s dedication and skills and feel passionately that she should be recognised formally.

Callum Fairhurst, a 23-year old recipient of The Diana Award and one of the young people who led on the nomination, met Ojo as a newly bereaved young boy after the death of his brother, Liam. He wrote to the selection committee that Tessy Ojo encouraged him to continue his brother’s legacy.

“Tessy has had a significant impact on so many young people including me. She has always been a driving force in helping me make a difference. Her support and advice enabled me to create a charity for bereaved siblings like myself. Tessy is a role model, mentor and champion for young people globally – it’s about time she is recognised in such a distinguished way too,” he said.

Reacting to the nomination, Ojo remarked, “I am humbled by this honour and it feels momentous because it was driven by young people. It’s an immense privilege to work with children and young people. For the past twenty years at The Diana Award, I have seen time and time again the life-changing impact we can have on young people by investing in them and empowering them to be a voice to create change.”

With this award, Ojo, who is an inspirational speaker and regular consultant and commentator on issues around youth participation, charity growth, diversity, women in leadership and other social issues affecting young people, grows her kitty that already has other eminent awards including The Precious Award, Inspiring Leader 2015, Women in Business Rising Star 2015 (London Region), Excellence Award from Eva Longoria’s Global Gift Foundation and many more.

Ojo, who is expected to be decorated with the award by a senior royal at an event at a later date, has dedicated the award to her family for their encouragement and support.

To know more about Tessy’s work especially her new philanthropic initiative, follow her on Instagram @tessyojo, @dianaaward



On November 9th, President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris announced their advisory council to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic with some of the nation’s leading doctors and scientists. At the helm is Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith with her co-chairs Dr. David Kessler and Dr. Vivek Murthy.

“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” President-elect Biden said in a press release. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”

Dr. Nunez-Smith comes from Yale University, an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Public Health, and Management at the Yale School of Medicine. Her research focuses on marginalized communities’ health and creating an equitable and accessible healthcare system for all.

“Everyone is affected by this pandemic, yet the burden is disproportionate,” Nunez-Smith said in a statement. “We know communities of color are grieving at high rates and are facing substantial economic impact. The transition advisory board is setting a course for everyone in our country to experience recovery.”

According to the Yale press release announcing her appointment, “Munez-Smith is an internist and an expert in healthcare equity, is the founding director of Yale SOM’s Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Health Equity Leadership, which trains healthcare practitioners to address disparities in healthcare access and outcomes that affect people of color and other vulnerable populations. She is also the founding director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center at the Yale School of Medicine.”

Her official Yale bio lists Dr. Nunez-Smith as the Deputy Director for Health Equity Research and Workforce Development for the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, Core Faculty in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, and Research Faculty at Yale’s Global Health Leadership Institute. She comes from the Virgin Islands, earned a BA from Swarthmore College, an MD from Jefferson Medical College, and an MHS from Yale University.

We’re glad to have you on our nation’s team on this road to recovery! Congratulations, Dr. Nunez-Smith

Actress Danai Gurira is set to play iconic presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm in a new film, Variety reports.

“The Fighting Shirley Chisholm” is a new film about the pioneering political maven who made history in 1972 as the first Black woman to run for president on the democratic ticket. Chisholm, a former NYC educational consultant, got into politics solely for her Brooklyn community’s betterment, her first campaign proving successful and allowing her to make history as the first Black congresswoman. Years later, Chisholm would follow up her congressional run with a historic run for president. 

The new film focuses on Chisholm’s campaign and how it galvanized an entire generation of people. More importantly, how “the Chisholm Trail was populated by young people who sought social and political change during one of the most turbulent times in American history.” It was Chisholm’s time in Congress that gave her the confidence to run for president, realizing “that she could make real change by challenging the status quo through her efforts to gain enough delegates to speak for the people at the Democratic Convention.”

While Chisholm didn’t win the presidential election, her courage, political savvy and “unbought and unbossed” attitude awakened something in voters and changed the political landscape as we know it. The new film will be directed by Cherien Dabis and written by Emmy nominated screenwriter Adam Countee. Stephanie Allain’s Homegrown Pictures will produce with Gabrielle Ebron on board as executive producer. 

According to Deadline, actress Uzo Aduba recently won an Emmy for her role as Chisholm in the FX series “Mrs. America.”

No word yet on when “The Fighting Shirley Chisholm” will be released, but we can’t wait!

Congratulations, Danai!

Photo Courtesy of LA Times/Associated Press

We’ve always heard that age-old adage that knowledge is power – these seven black female authors have the credentials to prove it! Check out these books written by successful Black women about entrepreneurship, securing the bag, and self-development.

Hustle Healthy

Hustling isn’t easy. Nurses can certainly attest to this, and Princess Lomax is no different. In her debut book, 6 Highly Effective Strategies of Making 6 Figures As A Nurse, the Family Nurse Practitioner and CEO of Diamonds CBD shares with readers her firsthand industry knowledge along with tidbits gained from her extensive experience and education. 6 Highly Effective Strategies of Making 6 Figures As A Nurse is a quick, inspiring and informative read that acts as a resource for those in the field of nursing who want to get ahead financially, from someone who’s done it (and done it well) themselves.

Success Story

Elaine Meryl Brown is a storyteller with a passion for writing that ranges from novels to screenwriting. The award winning writer (along with two colleagues) penned the Little Black Book of Success, and its accompanying workbook of the same name for “any woman who wants to build her career, or in transition, re-thinking, re-imagining, re-focusing and re-positioning herself for her next career move within a company or considering entrepreneurship. ”The Little Black Book of Success puts the focus on the foundations of being a successful entrepreneur – key elements like confidence and collaboration, and acts as a step by step pocket guide written by Black women for Black women.

Think Like A Winner

Mindset is everything. As the founder of the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute and international speaker on resilience and happiness, Valorie Burton knows this to be true.

The power of the mind when it comes to one’s life path and career is what Burton’s book, Successful Women Think Differently: 9 Habits to Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Resilient centers around. The book takes a brain-centered approach, providing women with the tools to get to know themselves from the inside out and cultivate mindful, solution-based thinking.


Those thinking of getting their bag online should look no farther than Ronne Brown’s From Mopping Floors to Making Millions on Instagram: 5 Steps to Building an Online Brand. There are many books that claim to help you make money online, but not many are authored by someone who has built their business from the ground up on Instagram. Brown’s book pulls out all the stops and reveals secrets behind becoming a success on Instagram using strategies that have worked for her brand and clients and even provides examples of what and how to post.

Picking Up the Pieces

There’s a reason why many of us refer to Iyanla Vanzant as “Auntie Iyanla.” With her numerous books and programs, the author and life coach are wise, relatable, and no stranger to adversity. Peace From Broken Pieces takes an honest look at Vanzant’s personal life and the experiences that helped shape her mindset and life. Hardship is a part of many of our lives that can oftentimes hold us back, but this inspiring work sheds light on how to put the pieces back together in our own lives as well so that we can shine professionally.

Model Marketing

While having each other’s backs is important, a good bit of competition in the business world can be healthy and is often necessary. Thankfully, Ming Lee does both with her book, Best Marketer Wins. Lee is a lifestyle and beauty expert who has seen how powerful marketing is and learned to make it work in her own career. No matter what your field is, Best Marketer Wins is a short and sweet business guide full of questions, goals, affirmations, and more to help you be your marketing best.

Work Vibing

Being a creative attempting to navigate the professional world can be confusing, to say the least. Alex Wolf, founder of BossBabe and author of Resonate: For Anyone Who Wants to Build An Audience realizes this, less of a traditional guide and more of a conversational look at the business world and the humans who inhabit it, Resonate provides insight from a more casual angle, but still manages to be informative, witty and inspiring.

Whether you’re looking to revamp an old venture or moving onto a new career path, advice from those who have been there is always invaluable. Here’s to the ladies who inspire us to keep climbing the ladder of success and guiding us as we do the same.


Shulamite Ezechi is the author of the fast selling motivational book “Unveiling your potential”, she is an active and inspiring motivational speaker, and founder of ANYiSO, a registered Scottish Charity organisation.

Shulamite through personal experiences and passion for driving change, has served and still serves in multiple capacities in various human rights groups to make impacts through her voice. She is involved in reviewing several policies affecting black and ethnic minority women and young people in Scotland, UK. She is an author, a community leader and a mentor to many young people, men, and women.

Shulamite holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, two master’s degrees: one in Clinical Nutrition and Health and the other in Policy Analysis and Global Governance both from universities in Scotland, UK.

Shulamite has won many awards including ‘the Inspiration to the BME Community award’ that was conferred to her at the Glasgow City Chambers, United Kingdom. She has been privileged to be invited to Oxford University Women leadership Symposium to deliver a talk on ‘’girl child marriage’’ and lead a group of women to UNESCO Spring School to tell their integration stories through drama.

According to her; “The book focuses on one of those lows pertinent to me and my experiences. Going on a journey of self-discovery borne out of a very unsettled time in my life is a story that is worth sharing. This journey has taken me through to the other side, and whilst still growing, I have found myself, my calling, and my true potential.

My hope is that this book creates an energy and determination in you that will drive you into your own self-discovery journey pushing you to experience and live out your true potential.

You can get a copy of “Unveiling your true Potential” on

Follow  Shulamite on LinkedIn here;