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Mrs. Zouera Youssoufou is the Managing Director/CEO, Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF). Fluent in English, French, Spanish and Hausa, She holds an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business and a BBA in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Isenberg School of Business.

At ADF, she leads the Foundation’s efforts to improve the health, nutrition, education and economic empowerment outcomes for the needy, primarily in Nigeria and in Africa. She’s responsible for the Foundation’s short, medium and long-term strategies, provides overall management oversight for the Foundation, and provides support on Social Investments to the Corporate Dangote Group. She also sits on several Boards, including SE4All, Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, ONE Global Leadership Circle, Center for the Strategic Studies on Africa, and ABC Health. As of March 2020, Zouera coordinates the Secretariat of CACOVID, the Nigerian Private sector coalition against Covid-19.

Prior to joining ADF, Zouera was the World Bank Country Manager for Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tomé and Principe. As such, she was the front-line person in the relationship with all three governments and conducted day-to-day dialogue with all levels of government, donors and civil society. Zouera spent six years at the International Finance Corporation, IFC (private sector arm of the World Bank Group), where she led the Global Women in Business Program (WIN). In that role, she was responsible for creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the developing world, specifically in access to finance. She joined the World Bank Group in 2005 from Citigroup’s Smith Barney unit in New York and Atlanta where she covered emerging markets and 13 industry sectors as an Equity Research Analyst. Her previous experiences include working with the European Union on private sector development issues, and management consulting with Deloitte in Ghana.

In this interview with KEHINDE OLATUNJI, she shares her career experiences, highlighting the need for women to prepare themselves for top positions and responsibilities.

Looking at your background and places you’ve worked so far, what really influenced your choice of career?
The biggest influence in my life, obviously, is my parents who always said things like, ‘you have to do your best at school, and there is nothing you cannot achieve.’ I grew up in Niger and that is a country where we are still struggling with female education. My dad was very clear that he wanted us to go to school and was very supportive and today, we are all doing well in our careers. The success of any girl in life isn’t to be a housewife; we all went to school, and grew up in an environment where this was not normal to do. Also, my dad had opportunities to travel to different places, and he took us along so that we could see different models of how people could learn; that has been the biggest influence.

There are lots of women who have influenced my life and career. Women like Okonjo-Iweala; I met her when I was working on my first project with Access Bank in Nigeria. She was Minister of Finance at that time, and I was working at International Finance Corporation (IFC). I had a conference in London and we were both on the panel; I was shocked when I saw her on the same platform with me. After the event, we got talking and she asked me to give her a call whenever I’m in Nigeria; I never thought she was serious.

I came to Nigeria and told my friends that I was going to Abuja to see her, everyone was like, ‘how do you think you’re going to meet her?’ When I eventually met her, she was the nicest, most supportive person I ever met; I didn’t even think she was going to end up being a mentor to me. Since then, we have had an amazing relationship.

Also, I’ve had mentors that are men. My first boss who taught me about asset management was an African-American man who was pro-African kind of a person. Even now, somebody who I realised has influence in my life is my boss, Alhaji Dangote. What I get from him is just humility; I have never met anybody as humble as Dangote. I have met other rich people, but nobody was as simple and humble; he doesn’t take people for granted. He reminds me of how we all need to behave. Working in his foundation help us to live with these values and show people you don’t have to be nasty and look down on others because you are better than them. On the contrary, we need to lend helping hands to people, and think of how the world can be a better place for all.

Considering the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the masses, what have you done so far as Chief Executive Officer of CACOVID? 
CACOVID is a coalition of private sector people led by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and the Managing Director of the Access Bank Group, Herbert Wigwe. They came together mid-March, when they saw how the pandemic was shaping the world. They decided that the private sectors in Nigeria needed to do something instead of everybody doing their own thing; that efforts should be put together and have one big private sector coalition. So, that was how CACOVID was birth.

Before then, Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) had been working with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in responding to the crisis. The first person that was diagnosed with Coronavirus came into the country in February 27, 2020. So, the very next day, the NCDC put out an incident action plan and said N16 billion was needed right away to address the issues. Different donors came in and everybody committed money; ADF gave N200 million; we bought ambulances and other things relating to surveillance system to gather information on people diagnosed with COVID-19. We bought four ambulances, which we donated to the Lagos State Government. So, we fulfilled the N200 million pledges, and while we were in the middle of doing this, Alhaji Dangote said we needed to step it up a notch and CACOVID came to being.

We know that money is needed; we also put our technical committee in place because none of us are doctors or laboratory scientists. It’s very important to have a technical committee that would drive CACOVID in making the right investments that makes sense for Nigeria. In the technical committee, we have people like Dr. Sani Aliyu, who’s the coordinator of Presidential Tax Force, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, who’s the head of the NCDC, Prof. Christian Happi, who’s the scientist that decoded the COVID-19 genome in Nigeria. We also have World Health Organisation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Nations. We have people like these to help drive the thinking about what it is that CACOVID should do.

The two things that came up was the need to increase testing and our isolation center capacity. So, the first two things we did was to ensure that Nigeria got enough testing supplies and also set up isolation centers in every single state and the Federal Capital Territory; that effort cost billions of naira. For instance, we wanted a hundred bed isolation centre capacities in every state, so we did that. We bought over 4,000 beds, the monitors, the thermometers, basically everything that you need to set up an isolation centre. We delivered them to the 36 states and the FCT. So, that was the first expense, and testing was the second.

As time goes on, lockdown happened, and the idea of palliatives came up. If you tell people to stay at home, it means no traffic and the people who sell by the roadside wouldn’t have a means of livelihood anymore. People who have to get up and go to work are not doing that anymore, so what happens to them? The drivers and people who have to go out everyday to make a living? So, that was when the idea of the palliatives came up.

We made sure the 36 states and FCT received their allocations according to the proportional number of families. That is about 1.7 million families, and a total of 10 million people. These 1.7 million families each received 10kg of rice, 2 cartons of noodles, a carton of Spaghetti, 5 kilos of sugar, 1 kilo of salt, and either 5 kg bag of Maize, Semo or Garri, depending on where they live in the country.

As a career woman, do you think enough is being done to promote women representation in work places?
I think there is still a glass ceiling, although we have made a lot of progress, but there is still a lot that needs to be done. How many women do we have on the board of companies in Nigeria? How many do we have as CEOs of organistions? How many women do we have as head of states? The reality is that we don’t have a proportional number of women in charge in the society.

For instance, in the medical profession, both genders can be doctors, but how many ends up being Chief Medical Director (CMD)? How many women are in charge of the health sector? These are examples of glass ceiling. There are some things that are perceived hampering women in the course of doing their job. For instance, when a woman is married and begins to have children, it does something to her career. The two times I had my children, my colleagues who were performing less than me at my work place, got promoted over me because I took four months of maternity leave. It proves that there is a glass ceiling. If everybody just goes to work, without raising a family, how do we sustain humanity? Women need support. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is the first Minister of Finance that is a woman, and that was in the year 2000; other women were minister of women affairs, or social issues. If you look at the Stock Exchange, how many women are running the companies there and how many women are Chair of the Board of Companies? But I think the attitude is changing; when I look at my daughter, I wonder at her expectations because they are totally different from mine. She completely believes that nothing is going to stand on her way to do whatever she decides.

Some companies are trying, but I think it has to be discussed and promoted; women should not be seen as a threat because they are not. It shouldn’t be such a big deal that we are still talking about how we don’t have enough women on our corporate board. Surprisingly, it is the same everywhere, however, Nigeria is not really doing badly. In Africa, the only example we can point to where they have half male and female parliament is Rwanda, and that’s because of the genocide experience. Sometimes, we don’t need such a horrible history to get there, but nowhere so far in the world do we have disparities the way we have it in some countries. So, we still have a long way to go and I do think that a lot of conversations are happening around this. I think efforts are going on in different parts of the world, but we are definitely not where we need to be yet.

How can organisations, professional bodies and government help to improve the situation?
We have never had a female governor in Nigeria yet; we’ve had deputy governors who are female. I really think corporate organisations are trying; the Nigeria Bar Association last year did a lot of discussion on gender issues, women lawyers, women judges and how to get more women into the profession. I spoke at the event and it was really good, because it was like a realisation for everybody. Men are used to working with women, not that they are shock that there is a woman in the office, but a situation where we don’t make it to the peak, is a challenge. I believe this is because of the networks we don’t have.

For instance, if you were not in the conversations when the bosses are discussing something, how would they be thinking of bringing you in? The stereotypical example in developed countries is the weekend golf games.

Few women play golf, so, when the boys are out there playing golf, hanging out at the weekend, if you’re a mother, that is the time you have to take care of the children. So, how do you get into the conversation of promotion? A lot of people support, encourage, nurture, and promote the people that they see in their comfort zone everyday, and so, if you’re not in that comfort level path, then organisation has to make an extra effort to think of you for promotion as a woman.

What should be done is to actively and deliberately promote women. If the government decides that in Civil Service, we need to have some level of clarity and everybody who is a permanent secretary cannot be a man, then, we are actively looking to promote women. Things like this have to be done deliberately, otherwise, everybody just stays in their comfort zones and women are not necessarily part of it.

What role do you think women can play in bridging the gap?
I actually don’t agree with the idea that women don’t like to work with themselves. I think it is true that some women are like ‘I have to fight my way to the top, I have to struggle to do it, and now that I have made it, this other little girls who just want to quickly climb the ladder, have to struggle too just like I did.’ Some women really feel that way. But what I find out is that, we also are part of the stereotype thing. If you give me two CVs of a boy and a girl and they have the same qualification, it is most likely that I will pick the girl; that is because I am a woman. So, I don’t think it is true that women don’t want their counterpart to succeed; that is a narrative that men promote.

Women are way supportive of each other; we discuss things that pertain to us. You can’t discuss breast-feeding with a man in the office; different women and different ways though. Some are supportive and some are not; some wants to work with women, and others would rather not.

So, what is your advise to women?
Women need to be ready for these top positions and responsibilities. Women need confidence and self-development to get to top positions. They should not expect that because they are women, and it is their turn, they should get it.

They should be prepared. Just like everybody is getting to do extra courses and certification, they should be doing that too. There is no excuse for you not to get things done like the male gender. We should never have a sense of entitlement; we are not entitled, nobody owes us. We have to work just as hard as men to get to where we need to be.

We also need to self-assurance. What I found out as one of the biggest obstacles for women in the workplace is, lets say there is a job that is advertised and 10 criteria are listed to get the job, a woman will have eight of the criteria, but will be discouraged because of the remaining two that she doesn’t have. Meanwhile, a man with just three will apply, and get the job. So, the woman will be wondering how did he have it? So, women need to put themselves forward; get all the knowledge, training, and the most education that we can, get the assignment that nobody wants to do. Then, when it is time for promotion, you will be recommended.

Although certain social and economic situations for women have improved, but when it comes to personal finances, a lot of women still have hurdles.

Given your experience, how do you think women can overcome these challenges?
When I was working in City bank, the company had something called Women and co; it’s like an investment for women. I was wondering that why do we have separate investment for women? But it was clear that women were not making the most of their financial capacity and investment; they wouldn’t take the same risk as men. A very clear thing is that women and men have a very different perception of risk. It is not that women are risk averse, is just that we don’t assess risk the same way men do. My husband will be ready to mortgage our house for a business venture, and

I’ll be like what if something goes wrong with the business?
So, women don’t look at their finances the same way men do. We have a lot of social issues; there are lots of things that hinder women from being all that they want to be. Financial services for women are a huge opportunity to get women to invest their money in the best possible way. I believe in being independent; I think women needs to be independent. Where they can take care of themselves, they should. When women are overly dependent on men for their livelihood, they give their power away. There is a part of you that has to be responsible for you. You cannot give your entire life to a man; you can be married and respect your husband as an independent woman. I have been married for 25 years, so its not like I don’t know what I am talking about. Being in a relationship comes with some level of submission, compromise and trying to make things work, but I think it is important to remember that we are individuals and God made us two. It is important for women to understand finance and make decisions. You cannot be 100 per cent dependent on somebody else once you are an adult.

Are you in support of a joint account for married couple?
My husband and I have three accounts; we have a joint account and separate accounts. The reason I have my own account is that we don’t want to have conversation about how I need to buy a pair of shoe. There is a part of our money that is jointly owed because we have a joint life, and joint responsibilities. He has his money and he can do what he wants and I have my own money, and I can do what I want with it; we decided this when we were getting married.

Our church has a mandatory counseling session for intending couples and so we had to discuss with our pastor how we wanted our lives to be. They ask very difficult questions, like ‘what happens if you don’t have children? What happens if you have a disable kid? How do you see your financial life and how are you going to manage it?’ So, these three things works for me, but some people don’t know how much their spouse earns. Everybody should do whatever works for them.

Picking a mate is the most important decision a woman ever makes; men too, but I think for a woman, picking a mate who supports you, who will be there for you, who will be a good father for your kids, who will let you be all that you can be, that is really important.

When it comes to choosing career path for children, what is your advice for parents?
My advice as a parent is to look at what your children are good at and encourages them to do it. Too often, we have a specific career we want our children to do, because we think that is what they should do. But, I think it’s important to let children do what they actually are interested in.

What do you do at your leisure time?
My favorite thing to do is read; read and write.

Source: Guardian

When life breaks  you that it seems impossible to ever be healed. However, you were made to overcome and conquer. Here are eight  ways you can find hope when your world gets dark.

  1. Find hope in letting go

Sometimes you need to realize the thing making you feel hopeless really is hopeless. Much of the circumstances of this world are out of your control. When this is the case, the most helpful thing to do is to realize that you can’t change the situation and teach yourself to accept it and let go.

2. Find hope in charity

This one is my best therapy. Serving others works in two ways to help you redevelop hope. First, it gets you outside of yourself and your hopeless feelings by focusing you entirely on someone else and their needs. Second, serving helps you see the world from the perspective of someone less fortunate than yourself, elevating your perspective on your issues.

3. Find hope in prayer

Connecting with a power greater than yourself is key to redeveloping faith. You can find so much peace from the assurance that there is someone greater than you.

4. Find hope in gratitude

Reflecting on all the amazing things in your life makes all the difference when attempting to rediscover hope. When you are desperately hopeless, this can be an enormous challenge. However, with effort, you can discover meaningful and valuable pieces of your life. Make a habit of taking inventory of all your blessings and use it as a way to redevelop hope.

5. Find hope in people

Sometimes you need to lean on other people and that’s fine. Let your friends and family know that you’re struggling and look to them for that light in your life. You will feel better.

6. Find hope in stories

Engaging with uplifting stories does everything to build your hope. Seeing examples of people who were able to make their way out of hard times is an inspiring and powerful tool to redeveloping hope.This is my niche and one of the reasons the women of rubies platform came into existence.

7. Find hope in fun

Sometimes you need to separate yourself from everything that’s bringing you down. Reinvent your life by doing things that make you happy.

8.  Find hope in change

Sometimes the smallest change can make the biggest difference in restoring hope. Make a new friend, take a different route to work or try a new diet. Small changes, even though they may not be related to the source of your hopelessness, make all the difference when rediscovering hope.

 

About Esther

Esther is the  Editor-in-chief of women of rubies, a social  activist, PR expert, Writer, Author and columnist with the Guardian Newspaper.

Twitter & IG : @estherijewere

Facebook: Esther Ijewere

Email: admin@womenofrubies.com

 

 

 

 

One of the most powerful communication tools in the world today is “Media”, from print, electronic to social media. We can’t downplay the role of the Media Industry in anyway. It has always been , and will continue to be the major tool of visibility in the world. Elsie Godwin is using her voice as a media girl to add value and contribute to Nation building.

Elsie Godwin is a Versatile Media Personality – Television Presenter/Producer, Social media Strategist, Influencer, Content Creator/Curator, Voice Over artist and Blogger behind the award-winning Literary, Lifestyle and Relationship blog ELSiEiSY.COM.

She is currently a Lead TV Show Anchor & Programs Producer at PlusTV Africa.  She has interviewed over 150 successful business men and women in Nigeria and Africa. She is passionate about telling stories of and having conversations with successful people in order to help mentor the younger generation.

She hails from Abia state, a graduate of Computer Science from the Lagos State University (LASU) and an alumnus of FATE Foundation. She was one of the inaugural members and the first welfare Officer of the Digital Media Practitioners of Nigeria (DMPN).

Elsie Godwin has won awards for her personality and her Blog. Her online activity is playful, easy going with principles. She is passionate about blogging, content creation and New Media. As an influencer who is a google partner, She currently works with various agencies to help share stories of great personalities and brands. She lends her voice in raising awareness on the fight against Rape, Domestic Violence, Mental Health Issues, struggles of Orphanages, unnecessary stigma and so much more. She share her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this motivating and insightful Interview.

Growing Up

Yes, it sure did. I believe our life’s journey starts from the second we are birthed. Our decisions and trajectory will be influenced by our surroundings and orientation. My outlook on life and how I relate with people is largely influenced by my upbringing and the relationship I had with my mother. She was that woman who defiled societal standards. She was pretty open to me in a way that helped me draw wisdom from her wealth of experience. Also, I would say life has prepared me for today and is constantly shaping me for a tomorrow.

My blogging Inspiration

My personal journey inspired this. I needed to share my story, innocently. I just wanted to be open to an audience  that could learn from me and I from them in return. When this urge to share my ‘heartbreak’ story and my opinions started, I knew nothing about blogging. The blog space at the time drove the conversations on twitter (unlike now) and I wanted to add more to that conversation. I was constantly looking at things from a different angle. I realized that my perspectives weren’t really novel but entertained behind closed doors. I got a lot of – “You cannot talk about this”, either because you are a woman or it just doesn’t sit right on the moral compass of some individuals. I constantly battled the idea of me having to experience something but not having the right to talk about it. From my emotions, to interactions’ with people, my expectations, my dreams and even natural occurrences. There were just too many “can’t say” flying around and I wasn’t ready to conform. So I created my space to offload. This space has however, continued evolving as I do as a person and mirrors areas I am particularly interested in. More of Relationship, General Lifestyle and Opinions.

The Journey so far

Its been rewarding. Starting the blog was all the exposure and push I needed. Regardless of how many people do not fully understand the concept and many layers of blogging, I always tell people I was a blogger first, before radio, television, production, influencer marketing and whatnot. Blogging has helped me learn better than education in Nigeria has helped me. I am aware of the choices that are available to me and the right to making those choices or not. Above all, actively knowing that you own a space on the world wide web that can help shape the life of another is a rewarding responsibility that I do not take for granted.

Being a TV  anchor, producer and influencer, and managing it all

Its time consuming but amazing. It is easy for me because I have identified how all that I do connect with my passion. I love helping people foster beautiful relationships and making better decisions through conversations. Know your right, know the facts and choose your poison. And all I do, in one way or the other, help me achieve my passion, albeit in a much broader sense.

My Work at  Plus TV Africa

At surface level I am a television anchor. I am the Lead Anchor/Producer for Tea Time  -a lifestyle and entertainment news analysis program and the anchor and producer for One on One – a show that features no-holds-barred conversation with notable men and woman in Africa. But beyond the surface, I am actively involved in production and programming at Plus TV Africa. From programs ideation, to ensuring quality conversation and standard control. I am part of the programs review committee and we work closely with the Managing Director, Mr. Kayode Akintemi, to ensure that the vision of Plus TV Africa of being objective, fair and balanced is achieved. Producing is a lot of work and its never about you as a person. It is always about the content. You have to be selfless to be an amazing producer and that’s a journey on its own.

The  society and appreciation of  social media influencers 

I think the term ‘social media influencers’ has been watered down in Nigeria. Personally, I loved the idea of what influencers use to be. Influencers never use to set out to become influencers. They just lived their lives and with time you begin to see the impact of their lifestyle and their communication style. But I guess everything evolves and we have to as well. People now deliberately want to be influencers and it makes me wonder what the quality of their influence is. Are you only interested in numbers, thereby being a channel to disseminate information or is your thought process and lifestyle worth emulating and shaping the narrative? I cannot focus on what the society think of influencers without the so called influencers answering the above question for themselves.

Challenges of being a Social Entrepreneur

Attention span for good content keeps reducing daily and its worrisome. Take for example, Big brother Naija reality TV show – I love the show, it is great content and I think its an empowering platform as well. However, compare the attention society gives to platforms like BBNaija and other reality TV shows that can be argued to be more rewarding based on impact on SMEs, employment and the country’s GDP, It’s a far cry. Don’t get me wrong, big brother naija is not Nigeria’s problem and also not the cause of our low attention span but we can be better. And frankly speaking, this is not solely about the youths, its about everybody, old and young. The amount of sponsors a show like The Next Titan can boast of, even in the corporate world, cannot be compared to that of BBNaija and of course, the key decision makers in those organizations cannot be categorized as too youthful. I truly wish we would pay more attention to quality contents and have better conversations.

 Women who inspire you to be better and why

I could mention Ava Duverney, Oprah Winfrey, Maupe Ogun, Tope Oshin,…the list is endless for me. These women have got one thing in common, they are using their platforms and influence to change the narrative. They understand they influence they wield and they are dangerously using it. But then, the everyday woman inspires me, women I have encountered and worked with, Kelechi Okoro of the healthertainer brand, Dr. Iyewande Dada of Mentally Aware Nigeria, Fausiat Balogun of DEVCOMS, Tosin Ajibade of Olorisupergal, Esther Ijewere, Jane Egerton Idehen, Ized Uanikhehi, Sally Kenneth Dadzie, women in my circle and so much more

Every woman is worth more than Ruby, but what makes you a woman of rubies and more

I guess responding to your questions makes me one. LOL. But yea, I personalize everything to make sense of life. So for me, I am a woman of rubies because I am still here, I am a survivor, a warrior, a queen among queens, and I am consciously living a life of impact. I am a woman who supports people. Having interviewed about 200 successful individual in the space of 16months, I am helping tell the stories of success in Africa. I am being the voice of the people and I am helping change narratives and mold opinions for better decisions. I am Elsie Godwin and I am leaving my mark.

What advice would you give a young woman who wants to be a social media influencer

Find purpose and live it while documenting your journey on social media.

A lot of negativity has been linked to Twitter in recent times, as a social media influencer, how do you think we can correct this ?

What do we pay attention to? A lot of positivity is also going on as well on twitter. Our media platforms can help amplify positivity. We just need to stop paying attention to irrelevant sources.

There is a popular saying that the easiest way to a man’s heart is through food; a well prepared meal could make an African man give you a blank cheque some say (Lol).

While cooking shouldn’t define the worth of a woman, It is always an addition when a woman knows her way in the kitchen, Abimbola Oki is helping many women , not only navigate cooking tasty meals, but educating them on how to turn their passion to business.

The founder of  D’Potters Catering Services  which started in 2014, is one of the most sought after caterers in Nigeria at the moment, catering for several top events, and using social media to also showcase the beauty of cooking.

Abimbola Oki decided to turn her passion into a corporate business  by aiming to provide healthy and delicious meals for busy people, thus satisfy their cravings at affordable prices with poise for prompt delivery . Her mission is to provide amazing food experience for everyone irrespective of their status, tribe, pocket and taste

The caterer whose passion started from supporting family members during festivities, share her Inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.

Childhood Influence

 My mum used to sell bread even though I wasn’t involved as per last born child. My sister had a restaurant back then too and I helped to run it. I never thought of running a food business then, but I was able to learn one or two things from that experience.

Inspiration behind D’potters catering

I love hosting people in my house especially during festive seasons. I noticed my guests enjoyed my cooking a lot so much that they give me money. I was still job hunting as at 2013. My husband and I had a discussion about starting a food business and that was how I started fully in 2014.

The journey been so far

Oh it’s been bitter and sweet with so many challenges but absolutely worth it. God’s grace has brought us this far and everything is going just as I wanted it.

 D’potters catering Academy and It’s Impact

Alot of people know how to cook but they don’t know about the food business. I started D’potters Catering School to educate women not just about learning how to cook but also learning about the business aspect. It has been an amazing journey so far. The first set of students graduated last month and some of them already started their businesses and doing well.

Educational background, and your aspiration as a woman

I attended Lagos Anglican Girls Secondary School and graduated from University of Lagos with a BSc in Estate management. My aspiration as a woman is to see my fellow women doing well for themselves.

Challenges of being a food vendor

Trust-Getting customers to trust me, because we usually do payment before delivery. We have been able to build their trust.

Delivery- Getting a trusted delivery company to deliver food on time. There are many cases of food getting sour by the time clients gets it. We have been able get our personal bikes.

Staffing

Nuggets on how to be a sought after food vendor.

 We have been consistent with our principles which is to give customers value for their money

We treat our customers fairly and we don’t hesitate to apologize when things go wrong

We try to exceed their expectations ,this makes them happy to refer us to their friends and families

You helped so many families during the pandemic by providing them with food, what inspired you to do this?

I always love to put smiles on people’s faces whether I know them or not. I have been through the very hard times too so I understand their situation, this is my inspiration.

Do you think the food industry is favourable enough to entrepreneurs

Yes the food industry is favorable to entrepreneurs because many Nigerians are now looking for different ways to ease their stress. Nobody wants to get home from work by 8pm after a bad traffic and start cooking. They prefer to buy food.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I have been able to teach other women how to start their businesses (not necessarily food) and also sell on social media platforms.

Folasayo Adefemi is the  founder of feminitease.com, a multivendor online marketplace for women products and services (SHEmarketplace). Fola as she is fondly called is  very passionate about women and I believe she is called to see women progress and do well in life.

She derives joy from bringing women together and see them achieve their life goals.

Being a single mum of 2, her  passion led to the birth of The sMothers Tribe, a support community for single mums. It is this same passion that has fueled this , “feminitease”,  dream with the primary aim of promoting women business and making online shopping a seamless experience for women.

She shares her inspiring story, the inspiration behind Feminitease.com with Esther Ijewere

Childhood Influence

My childhood played a major role in the woman I am today. I was raised by a single mum and so when my marriage failed and I became a single mum myself, I knew I had to stand out. I had to own up to the status without shame or a call for pity. I consider being a single mum my super power and this is where I find strength to not conform to any societal mentality of who or what single mothers represent.

Inspiration behind Feminitease

I have a desire to see women succeed, to have an easier life than what is readily available in our immediate society. Feminitease represents trading and shopping with ease for women. Women like to own their own corner, we like platforms that brings us together. Research shows that women with a group of other strong women are more likely to succeed. This is the core of the Feminitease vision, to see women succeed in their life and business.

The Journey so far

So far, we are getting a lot of positive feedback and acceptance. We are positive that Feminitease is a need in our time.

 Feminitease helping  user and buyer experience

The platform is available to all, it is free to users, though there are packages for vendors who would like us to promote their products specially for exposure and sales. There are several categories on site and we are creating more categories as the need arise. Buyers will be exposed to variety, they will be spoilt for choice under one platform rather going from one ecommerce site to another. Feminitease is making sure to bring vendors that will cover a woman’s every need. Another good thing is that business relationships will be formed as buyers and seller meet.
We have also created a vendors forum to maintain interactions with our vendors. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2764641203747619/?ref=share

My platform for Single Moms
The sMothers tribe, this platform is the magic place for single mums. I started it 3 years ago and I can proudly say that I and many other single mums are better today because of the tribe.
The sMothers tribe was born out of a need for support and fellowship among single mums. There’s nothing as soothing as knowing that your struggles are not peculiar to you, and learning to overcome through the experiences of people who have been through similar struggles and won. We are a close knit community, we grew from strangers to friends until we became sisters. (Sister’s sister 🌻)

Society’s reception to single moms
Not enough but way better than it used to be years ago. At least I remember how difficult growing up as a child of a single mother was for me, the stigma both on mother and child. Society is coming around to accept that life and parenting is not a one way street, there are lots of diversions and intersections along they way. If life happens to you, you make the best out of the experience and ‘happen to life’ too. Motherhood is a blessing no matter the circumstances. Women are coming to terms with their powers are pushing back at society. Soon it would not matter anymore if you are a single mum or not, what would matter would be the impact and difference we made with our lives.

Challenges of being a Social Entrepreneur

They are quite some challenges but standing out among them is getting the right audience and resources required for visibility and growth.

Feminitease in 5 years

Our vision is that Feminitease will be a major tool for growth and development for women in Nigeria and beyond.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I will say I stand out in many ways. I consider myself a unique woman and there’s only one of me. My strength, my resilience, my shamelessness and my pride. My loving heart and my untamed mind.

How to advertise  feminsitease

Feminitease.com is a multivendor website for women products and services. Sign up and advertise your business for FREE to millions of customers.

Promote your business for FREE just by registering on www.feminitease.com

Confirm your registration in your email and start uploading your products. Shikenan!

Please make sure to use your WhatsApp Business Api (link). This is how potential customers will contact you. The platform is completely FREE till September 30th. We will start taking orders for promoted ads from October 1st. I will encourage you to maximize the opportunity.

There is no limit to number of products you can post. Details and descriptions are very key to making sales.

We will create new categories as the need arise, just let us know if your product categories are not listed.There’s a category for services as well.

Our promise is a PHENOMENAL EXPERIENCE!

We can never undermine the power and influence of life coaches in the society, they help us navigate through life, and put us in a state of mindfullness.  Nike Folagbade is a Family life coach of high repute, she has not only succeeded in her field as a Family life coach, but also determined to help singles find the right partner.

Nike Adedokun Folagbade helps men and women experience emotional healing and personal transformation thereby being able to build healthy relationships. She is a Personal Transformational and Family life coach. A vivid encourager, equipper and nurturer who leads the coaching/consultation services at NIKE FOLAGBADE INTERNATIONAL.

She is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and a Results Coach. She is also an associate of Family Systems Engineering and an Emotional intelligence/Anger management coach. A SYMBIS facilitator who helps engaged and married couples prepare or manage their marriage well.

Nike was listed among the 2019 100 most inspiring young people in Nigerian. In 2015, she was recognized as the best sexuality advocate and in 2014; she won the third relationship blog in Nigeria.

She is also the Lead Creative director of Hevar Solutions, a business support company for entrepreneurs, personal brands and professionals and the Human Resource Manager at WORITAL, a fast growing book branding and publishing firm.

In 2016 to 2018, she convened EVOLVE SUMMIT, a conference targeted at helping men and women experience healing from emotional trauma and sexual addictions and also discovering the path to purpose. In 2020, she began the HEAL, LIVE AND LOVE SUMMIT targeted at helping men and women experience true healing, their full identity, purpose and building healthy relationships.

She has authored several books, audio tracks and video courses, and featured on several media platforms.

Nike is  currently a relationship contributor on Bella Naija, Punch, Business Day News, Women of Rubies and She Leads Africa. Nike is married to a creative genius, Fola and they both nurture their charming son, KING.

You may also visit her website www.nikefolagbade.com to read more of her soul-healing articles. Her Facebook community also houses many articles and resources with almost 6,000 members.

She shares her inspiring story in this interview with Esther Ijewere

Growing up

I once heard a speaker say that our lives can be segmented into different phases, like 0-10 years representing a time of discovery and age 10-20 representing a time of practice. From the age of 7, I started having a strong interest in love related matters. I enjoyed reading romantic novels, magazines, movies and columns in the newspaper. Oprah Winfrey Show was also a great influence as I envisioned myself hosting a talk show like that someday.I began to write articles in my notebooks till I got busy with school life and daily realities. As at then, I never saw my interests as a big deal, I just felt I would go to school, get a job and build a successful career in Accounting.

While in the university, I felt a strong urge to help people via writing and speaking especially in the area of love and dating. Prior to then, I got bored of the school-church-home cycle. I wanted more out of life so I started to meditate alone. I started to seek and dig within me. I decided to try out new things but it didn’t work out until I saw an inspirational seminar in school which I had to pay for. They invited over 10 motivational speakers, business owners and celebrities to speak on discovering oneself. I was the only one who paid for it amongst my friends. I felt bored at first but at the end of the event, I realized that God had just used one of the speakers to spark up the desire in me to help people. It felt surreal. It felt like a rush of grace as I stepped out and began to truly help people. I started blogging, speaking in my church and discovering more of my skills. I was able to use WordPress, BBM, Facebook and Twitter to reach thousands of people in 2013.

One of the ways that my childhood helped to build compassion in me is that, at a young age, I didn’t know how to process corrections. I always took every misfortune, pain, sickness, failure and criticism as rejection from my parent, God and anyone around me, so I began to seek for love and validation externally. This spurred me into dating for the wrong reasons until I was able to truly discover myself. Now, when I’m helping people, I can see through the lens of their past and how it forms their decision now. It’s been 6 years since I started and I’m so happy to have helped thousands of people to discover themselves, heal from past hurts, choose better relationships, make better marital decisions and grow spiritually.

Inspiration behind  Nike Folagbade International

I started blogging in 2013 as a personal hobby but after helping thousands of people and getting certified in Emotional intelligence, Anger management, Family Systems Engineering, Master Neuro-Linguistics Programming, SYMBIS and other coaching skills, I decided to intentionally build a business and not just a hobby hence I registered Nike Folagbade International to anchor my personal brand. Now, we are focused on helping singles and married via coaching, therapy, counseling, mentorship, speaking, blogging, podcasting, authoring books and other medium.

My vision is to build an institution that will cater for families generally which will include working with singles, married couples and helping with intentional parenting. This also means that we will partner with other coaches and experts in different fields to achieve this. We also want to build an online and offline academy that can train people to prepare for a healthy relationship and marriage. Under the sustainable development goals created by the United Nations, we intend to build stronger institutions and promote well- being because if we can have whole and healthy individuals who are mentally, spiritually and emotionally stable, we can have better marriages and children.

The Journey so far

Wow! I have been schooled in the process. There are many challenges and achievements in the process.

Challenges in the areas of:

  1. Persuading young people to invest in their emotional and mental health beyond acquiring business skills because money isn’t all that is needed in a marriage. Many marriages are suffering because of the individual’s ability to make emotional choices that can positively help them live better. We rely so much on emotions but when frustration sets in, emotions fades and people begin to make rash decisions. We also have to clearly help singles know that beyond praying, they also need to learn the right skills like communication, love languages, self- control and build strong values too.
  2. I have had to experience refining processes as we grow as a business. I have had to also experience transformation in my life so I teach from a place of experience and research. I don’t just teach Googled content, I’m an embodiment of what I teach and that means I’ve had my testing moments also.
  3. Getting financial support hasn’t been easy because brands like to partner more with businesses that are focused on teaching business, finance and related industry. We need more support from the government, private institutions and churches to reach more young people. People are going into drugs, prostitution, extra-marital affairs, and fraudulent lifestyle because they don’t have a proper model from home, or have experienced father or mother wounds, need clarity on their Identity and need to also heal from the baggage they currently carry. We can reach more people if we have the funds and support needed. Collaboration is key.

There have been achievements in the area of being recognized by different platforms for awards and speaking engagements. I was recently recognized as one of the 100 most inspiring young Nigerians ranking 24th in 2019 by Avance Media. It puts smile on my face when I see people become transformed in their minds, health and relationships. Seeing my books in the hands of people also encourages me to write more. There is so much work to be done on the African continent too. There is also the financial reward from helping people too, winks.

Helping engaged and married couples manage their home, with my SYMBIS knowledge 

Save Your Marriage Before It Starts (SYMBIS) tool is a pre-marital coaching platform that trains coaches and counselors on how to work with engaged couples on how to adequately prepare for marriage in all ramifications. It also works for the married people who want to relearn what it takes to make their marriages work and be renewed.

The beauty of the platform is that, individuals can log into their personal dashboard to fill the assessment and will be guided by me when they are done. Each person discovers their beliefs in the areas of personality, money, marriage, sex, religion, house chores, health and other vital issues that show up in marriage. It makes my work easier because I simply guide them to fill their assessment which takes about 30 minutes at a go then I give a comprehensive explanation and coaching of how to handle each phases of their lives in marriage. It leads to mind blowing discovery about how they view marriage generally.

I also use Family Systems Engineering skills and assessments to help the married people too.

Launching the Love and Life Hub platform, and helping singles with it

Love and Life Hub is a love and dating platform that is focused on enlightening and connecting singles for the aim of a healthier self and relationship. We have deliberately organized all that it takes for you to discover yourself, learn about dating intelligently, connect with other singles via active interaction, position yourself for an ideal partner and find the right support and guidance needed while dating. It is a combination of courses, coaching, mentoring, connection, webinars, fun, book reviews, resources and support for an active dating life.

You don’t have to take random courses to upgrade yourself, you can easily learn on love and relationships based on where you are in life and your love cycle, which is why we have created an assessment to show you where you are. We want to simplify the dating process for singles by taking them through 5 stages focused on healing, purpose, attracting a partner, sustaining a relationship and gliding into marriage successfully. We will be using a website, virtual coaching hubs and other system in place for every 90 days for each batch plus we have support coaches who will help with mentoring. The platform launches from August 17th, 2020 and every single man or woman from any tribe or religion can join us at www.loveandlifehub.com

3 women who inspire you to be better and why?

There are many women who inspire me and the list will be inexhaustible but I will just stick to 3 like you have asked.

Debola Deji-Kurunmi inspires me because she shows me what is possible as a woman. She leads from a place of personal transformation that she has experienced and every encounter with her shifts my mind and execution rate. She is my kind of woman who is solid in spirituality, business, marriage and influence.

Dr. Anita Phillips because I love how she mixes mental health with Faith which gives a combination of Spirit-Body-Soul healing.

Joyce Meyer because she simplifies many areas that we struggle with in her books and other resources. We share similar vision too and I’m happy at how she has influenced my mind positively especially with the book; “Battlefield of the mind”.

Being a life coach, creative director, wife and mom, and managing it all

People preach balance and I think that it has led to more confusion for me as I tried to balance every areas of my life in the same degree; I have noticed that, in order to live a multidimensional life, there will be priorities and there are areas that can be delegated. Also, there are times that my focus is more on Spirituality and Family, other times; it can be work and health. At different stages in life, I try to put each area of my life in the right perspective but they can stay at different degree. I’m currently learning to manage every area of my life but I also like to focus on 3 things at a time. Each day, I set my priorities and chase after it. I don’t try to achieve everything in a day. I have also learnt to highlight my goals, structure, time it, set reminders and delegate. I also have a team I work with which makes it easier to manage each businesses including having a supportive husband who helps me thrive in all I do but balancing it is still a work in progress and I’m learning to chill.

For instance, I have coaching hours, I have Faith hours, I have work hours, I have Family hours, I have my rest day and many other structure I’m trying to build but it is not perfect yet. I’m a work in Progress. I’m learning to appreciate my growth and leave out the pressure. Our lives are different.

The pandemic has made a lot of Nigerian women vulnerable, What coping mechanism advice would you give to these women at a time  like this, especially those who are almost forced to go back to abusive relationships out of the need to sustain the family?

It can be very hard I must say. These things happen and I don’t blame anyone. We make healthier decisions as we permit ourselves the risk to grow and find help.

It boils down to Identity and Healing. Many people are currently in toxic relationships because they live a codependent life. They rely on others to feel happy, successful or approved. I love a popular saying that; “If you live for the approval of others, you will die by their rejection”. More women are rising up to discover themselves. Relationships do not define you, it should be built with another person from a healthy standpoint.

If you are in an abusive relationship, you may need support and strength to leave because many times, people know they are in a mess but they are so convinced that there is nothing good that can happen if they choose to start again. For some, they don’t even know where to start from. It is fear and fear can keep you stuck. If you are in an abusive marriage, please, take a temporary leave to cater for your well-being, seek for help and rebuild your life. If you choose to go back to your home, it should be because your spouse is willing to use therapy, spiritual help and every necessary action to stay back on track.

Many toxic relationships are built by broken people coming from broken families. People are a product of their upbringing, environment and experiences. If you don’t discover yourself now, you cannot live a better life.

I have discovered that our mindset is where the change starts, if you start to question the beliefs that drives your life, you will be compelled to find more in life. I started helping others because there was a burden in me to grow and serve too.

I will say to ladies that, you are worth more than you are. If you redirect your life now, you will be thankful in years to come. The woman you are now is not the woman you will be in 10 years’ time but the magnitude of your change is dependent on the level of exposure you have and the transformation you permit. Even if you start by reading a book, watching the right inspirational videos, changing your role models and friends, seeking for growth etc. I know that some coaches or motivational speakers may have hurt you but look for genuine people and subscribe to their programs. I can vouch for myself, my goal is your change and it is evident in my work. Start from where you are, most importantly; speak up.

 Nuggets about marriage with us, and why it is necessary to make it work.

First, people marry for the wrong reasons and they leave easily when it doesn’t work out as planned. People marry for sex, money, security amidst other reasons and can easily opt out when those needs are not met. Beyond your needs being met, there are few reasons why you should make your marriage work:

  1. Marriage is a trans-generational decision and you cannot just marry for yourself alone. Whatever decision you make should impact your children and their marriage. The change we desire in the society starts from the family unit but may people don’t understand this hence we hardly build a structure around our marriages. Most people are still suffering from the trauma and patterns of their own family. Be the one to change that cycle by seeking for help and applying the necessary wisdom in your home.
  2. If your marriage will work, it starts with your mindset and the decision to permit yourself to be responsible for it. Don’t always focus on your spouse, be the change you want to see and things will start working well when you have the right mindset, heart and actions in place.
  3. Be humble and teachable enough to take corrections. I think this is one area that I needed to work on too. Your spouse can see you better, they can be the tool of change in your life if you are humble enough to get through life with them.
  4. Engage healthy 3rd parties like professional counselors when needed. Don’t suffer in silence when you can engage a neutral help instead of friends and families.
  5. Learn the right skills and be willing to implement it. Be patient to see the change you desire. Be content with your spouse, people keep thinking they will find a better love out there if they keep flirting. It looks greener on the other side, focus on your home and make it work just like you would do for your business. Be willing to speak your partner’s love language, keep dating in marriage and evaluate your progress periodically.
  6. Be prayerful because marriage is warfare and you don’t always have to fight with words, learn to deal with some issues in prayer and let God rule your heart. I think that some marriages will work better if there is an application of wisdom and a healthy faith life.

 

Being  a Woman of Rubies

I believe that I’m one of the women making the society better through my thoughts and actions. I actively engage many men and women and challenge them to be better than they are currently. I help people live a healthy life emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

 

 

 

It took me a long time to get over the electoral loss of Hillary Clinton in 2016. When there are candidates or electoral races I am interested in, I can be an election junkie. In November 2008, I was so invested in Barack Obama’s election that I hosted an election night vigil with some friends at my house in Accra where I was still based at the time. When the election was declared for Barak, our screams could be heard in the whole neighbourhood. For Barack Obama’s reelection, I was invited by the US Embassy in Nigeria, to be part of an election night vigil on November 5th 2012 they organized in Lagos.  It was a long night of speeches, (I was asked to talk about the role of women in politics and elections) and election monitoring, interspersed with entertainment.

I wrote an essay called, ‘Thank You Hillary’ shortly after the November 2016 election and it is in my book Loud Whispers. I reflected on her loss as follows, ‘In my own opinion, Hillary Clinton lost the election due to several factors – the resurgence of white nationalists, the disaffection of blue collar voters, sexism, the backlash against the Washington political elite, the millennials who underperformed, the reduced African-American vote, the FBI back and forth over her emails, the endless WikiLeaks, and complacency on the part of Democrats/the Clinton Campaign, who felt that they had some States firmly locked up and so did not need to campaign there. Perhaps one of the most painful factors that led to Hillary’s loss, was that 53% of white women who voted, cast their lot with Donald Trump. So after all the years of advocating for women to lead,  of fighting for the empowerment of women, when they had the opportunity, white women in the US decided to use the power of their numbers to send a man with a controversial record with women to the White House. That hurts’.  In subsequent years, information emerged about possible sabotage of the elections by the Russians. With or without their interference, the factors above were more than enough to cost Hillary the election. In the months that followed Hillary’s loss, the Democratic Party almost imploded. Then sometime in early 2017, I read an article about one woman who might be able to pull off a Democratic nomination and unify the party in 2020. It was Senator Kamala Harris. I was very excited when she joined the Presidential race in 2019, but she pulled out due to a lack of funding and traction. I thought to myself, her time will come.

Fast forward. On August 11th 2020, Senator Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee announced his choice of a running mate. As of February 2020, Senator Bernie Saunders, representing the left of the Democratic Party with a message of revolution that resonates with the younger members and more leftist Democrats, who were mostly opposed to Hillary in 2016 and did not show up for her the way they would have had the nominee been Bernie, was coasting towards clinching the Democratic nomination. Other Democratic contenders such as Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard and the billionaire maverick Michael Bloomberg were not serious threats to Bernie Saunders. By this time Joe Biden was limping and it seemed as if his campaign was in its dying throes.

Then on Saturday February 28th, the South Carolina Democratic primaries took place. Joe Biden won with a landslide and his campaign was resurrected from the dead. By ‘Super Tuesday’ on March 4th, Joe Biden had secured a significant lead and was unstoppable after that. Joe Biden won South Carolina with the votes of African-Americans, the most reliable voting bloc of the Democratic Party. Joe Biden knew that the forces at play within his own party, with a record number of female Presidential candidates, as well as tensions around the country on the topic of inclusion and exclusion in America of today, meant that he no longer had the luxury of business as usual.  A ticket of two white men was not going to be an attractive draw for the increasingly diverse Democratic base. He therefore pledged, straight up, that he would take on a female running mate. Initially, it was assumed that someone like Elizabeth Warren, who appealed to a large segment of the Democratic left, and would be an acceptable consolation for the Bernie followers, would neatly fit this role to form a solid ticket against President Trump in November. Then George Lloyd was killed by policemen on May 25th, sparking outrage and massive riots within and outside the US. The Black Lives Matter movement was re-energized, and this time it got sympathy from mainstream audiences. Images of black mothers, sisters and Aunts mourning their dead sons over and over, from one senseless killing to the other kept playing on national television. The issue of Race was now front and center. Joe Biden came under pressure to pick an African-American woman as a running mate. Just as it is here in Nigeria, women are the backbone of the Democratic Party, and African-American women have more than paid their dues.

On August 11th 2020, Joe Biden announced Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. Senator Harris comes with outstanding credentials and experience. The fact that she put herself out there to run for the Presidential nomination of her party was a plus in her favour, it means she is ready for the job. She also has a reputation for fearlessness, and is not intimidated by white male authority figures. She embarrassed Joe Biden at one of their debates by showing him the implications of one of his policies, she made Justice Brett Kavanaugh look like a school boy at his Senate hearing for clearance as a Supreme Court Judge and she grilled Attorney-General William Barr at a Senate Judiciary hearing into the Mueller Report till he squirmed figuratively. Kamala Harris ticks an impressive number of boxes, something that is absolutely necessary in today’s complex America. She is African-American and South-Asian American at the same time, born to a Jamaican father and an Indian mother. She grew up knowing what it meant to have ‘other’ identities in the US. She is also married to a white man, which takes care of a major constituency. She is a good orator, has great presence and is quite attractive with a megawatt smile, all important to the many critical voting blocs she will have to appeal to.

Already, the vultures have started to gather to pick at her. From within her own party, there are rumblings from those who believe she is too centrist to stand for much of anything and would therefore not appeal to the leftist hardliners. There are also questions about ‘how truly black she is’. On the other side, characterizations of her as a ‘Nasty’ and ‘Mad’ woman, led by President Trump himself, are being put out there. All this is no surprise, it is politics. Yesterday, I listened to Anderson Cooper interviewing Valerie Jarret on CNN. Valerie was one of Barrack Obama’s ‘Political Godmothers’, (yes, they have those in the US!), she also served as his Special Adviser throughout his two terms in office. Valerie said something to the effect that black women in the United States have been waiting for this moment. They know the knives will be out for Kamala Harris, and the political bullies will stop at nothing to bring her down. Valerie then proceeded to put everyone on notice. Black women leaders who have Kamala’s back will push back. For every take down of Kamala five will respond. It is hoped that the solidarity of white women can be counted on this time, it was taken for granted last time with disastrous results. The November election is for the Democrats to lose. They need to close ranks and stop the squabbling and whining. A lot is riding on the candidacy of Biden/Harris. Aside from hoping for a victory in November 2020, should Biden decide not to contest again in 2024, Kamala Harris has a direct shot at the White House with the strongest credentials possible. Can you imagine? A woman in the White House at last? And a black woman for that matter? Go Kamala, Go!!!!

 

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She is the First Lady of Ekiti State, and she can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

 

 

The Social activist, and convener of several development projects took to her social media page  few days ago to announce her new initiative “Get Talking with Esther”. The multi-award winning author and columnist said the show is aimed at helping people find their voice and communicate their thoughts through words, and promote positivity on social media.
Esther started her career over 10 years ago as a social activist, and she has since taken her gift to other areas, doing humanitarian work and giving hope to the helpless and downtrodden in the society. Her Initiatives include; Walk against rape, Women of Rubies, Men who Inspire and Rubygirls, all under the umbrella of Rubies Ink Initiative.
According to Esther; “ I am very expressive, I love to write and read from people, I love to celebrate people and give them hope, I love when I can feel people’s thoughts through words, and “Get talking with Esther” is just about that.  A #Tweetchat session that will give you the ambience of a show.
Basically, using my platform, years of experience, and skillset for social good to give everyone a voice. We are going to be fixing broken tables, Bringing “Under the table” conversations to the front burner for positivity. Sharing life experiences, healing and learning.
The show kicks off on August 8th, with family therapist and life coach; Praise Fowowe as the first guest.
Those who follow the chats have the opportunity of winning free gifts, food, and cash prizes weekly. #GetTalkingwithEsther is supported by Greenbliss Apartments and Abimbola Oki’s Dpotters Catering services.
To get more scoop on the initiative, kindly follow @estherijewere and Tweet using #GettalkingwithEsther
Click this link to follow and be part of the show  https://twitter.com/EstherIjewere?s=09

There are so many Nigerians living in the diaspora making us proud, Adebola Adefioye is one of them. She is not only raising the flag high, but also empowering other women while at it.

She  is a proven resilient woman whose work with women and youth span over 10 years. She coordinated the “For Girls Only” program at The Real Woman Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria for some years. Aside from her natural interest in the social sector, she has also deployed professional services in the childcare sector. She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator in Ontario and an alumna of Coady International Institute where she studied Advancing Women Leadership in Conflict Transformation, Peacebuilding and Community Development.

Adebola is a Certified Speaker, Coach and Trainer with The John Maxwell Team and she founded Afro Women and Youth Foundation, an organization she started to support the holistic development of vulnerable African women, girls, and youth. This is where she deploys her advocacy strengths and leadership skills to deconstruct the enormous, socially constructed injustices in the society while empowering, mentoring, and developing leadership skills of marginalized populations.

Adebola is married with 3 adorable children. Her social entrepreneurship and educational commitment work got recognition recently as she was named the recipient for the 2020 HELIX Female Entrepreneurship Award and Walker Wood Foundation Early Childhood Educator Award at Seneca College, Ontario, Canada. She was also nominated as a Woman of Inspiration at Universal Women’s Network, Canada.

She is a professional member of the College of Early Childhood Education (CECE), Ontario, Family Support Institute of Ontario (FSIO) and Association of Early Childhood Educators, Ontario (AECEO) Canada.

Childhood Influence

Yes, growing up prepared me for what I am doing now. Growing up was good until things turned around when my father had to retire earlier than planned from his banking job in Nigeria because the bank wanted to recruit young graduates. Our family’s financial situation changed quickly because we are a polygamous family and the available funds were no longer enough for all. I had to drop out of the University of Ado-Ekiti and struggled a lot by myself after that event but all the experiences helped me to build resilience and now I can relate when I see young girls going through a difficult situation.


Inspiration behind  Afro Women and Youth foundation

I have always known that women and girls are very vulnerable, and as a new immigrant, I faced some difficulties. I experience subtle racism regularly and my daughter experienced it very hard from Grade 2-3 because she was the only black girl in class. I kept coaching her on how best to handle it. Eventually, she built enough confidence and she started speaking up whenever necessary. Last year, she won the award for Most Confident Child in grade 5. My personal experience and my daughter’s inspired me to start the Afro Women and Youth Foundation.  At AWYF, we currently run monthly empowerment events for marginalized African women, girls and youth in Toronto, Canada. Some of our past sessions include (The Resilient Woman, Be The Best, How to Handle Peer Pressure, Integration in Canada Positive Parenting Strategies etc).

 The journey been so far?

It has been very fulfilling. Helping others makes me and my team very happy. We just hope the people we are helping now will someday extend the love to other people.

Being the recipient  of the 2020 HELIX Female Entrepreneurship Award , and Several notable Awards in Canada

I felt very good. I worked very hard as a club leader, mentor, and tutor to other students at the college and also support new African immigrants in my community. I am very happy and thankful.

Challenges of being a Social Entrepreneur

Getting sustainable funds to implement my transformative ideas has been the most challenging part of my work. This is because we are a new nonprofit. I am very grateful for the individuals and organizations that currently support my work and very hopeful for more support and collaborations.

 3 Women Who Inspire you to be better and why?

My mother is my greatest inspiration. I watched her return to school after 6 children and moved herself out of dependency to becoming an independent woman. She has also faced many other challenges but she remains strong.

Pastor Adenike Adeyemi is another person I strongly admire and working at her organization (The Real Woman Foundation) for 4 years as the “For Girls Only” program coordinator further prepared me for the social developmental work I do today.

Mrs. Omowale Ogunrinde, the executive director of Field of Skills and Dreams, Lagos is another great inspiration to me. She employed me as Hat & Beads Trainer after I dropped out of the University and moved to Lagos from Ibadan. I watched her every day at work as she runs her business with strong principles.

Bridging the gap between my work in Canada and Nigeria

 We recently started virtual training that is open to women and youth living in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. We just concluded a Self-Care training for educators last month and people joined from Burundi and Nigeria. We also did another one for youth and all who attended both events were given cash gifts by a sponsor as COVID-19 relief.

AWYF will be celebrating the 1st anniversary in September and to mark the event, we will be launching an Interest-free small business loan for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) victims who have established small businesses. This is coming with the help of a sponsor who is interested in fighting GBV in Nigeria. This intervention program will be delivered in partnership with Attitude Development International (ADI) and only those who have officially reported their experience and have started their businesses will be eligible for the funds. These are things Nigerian women can benefit from.

 Being a Social Entrepreneur,  Research Assistant at Seneca College, a Mom and wife, and managing it all

I am a strong-willed person and I think multi-tasking is one of my gifts. I also have a very supportive husband who is equally a social entrepreneur and believes in women’s empowerment.

The pandemic has made a lot of Nigerian women vulnerable, What coping mechanism advice would you give to these women at a time like this.

 I would recommend regular breathing exercises. Every woman should regularly make a list of things they are thankful for as those can bring great joy in this difficult time. Also, it is important to hang out with good friends who make you happy. It could be a physical or virtual connection, but we all need that sense of connection at this time. Lastly, I’ll say, ask for help when you need it. I must also add that women should please speak out when experiencing any form of violence.

 Being  a Woman of Rubies?

I have had many negative experiences over the years and through mentorship, coaching and personal development, I have learned how to consistently bounce back and thrive in the face of adversity. Most importantly, helping others to do the same is what makes me a Woman of Rubies.

Speaking, Training, Mentoring and Coaching Services

You can contact Adebola if you need her to speak at your event or interested in her mentorship/coaching programs. She also provides Qualitative professional Early Childhood Educator training to schools, religious or any child-focused organizations.

Website: www.afrowyf.org

Instagram:@adebolaadefioye1

Facebook: Adebola Taiwo Adefioye

LinkedIn: Adebola Adefioye

WhatsApp:+1(905)955-8667

 

Abiodun Emiola Alabi is a passionate Human resource professional and serial entrepreneur. She is very keen about people and performance management. She is an enthusiastic and self-motivated professional with over 12 years experience in human capital management, business development and social entrepreneurship.

She has a BS.c in Business Administration and Management. ‘Biodun is also an associate member of Chartered Institute Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) and Nigeria Institute of training and development (NITAD) respectively. She’s alumni of Day star leadership academy.

Abiodun is also  the founder of the foremost Moms platform; Motherhood Nigeria  Initiative, where she shares tips and educate moms on how to navigate the journey . Through her platform she has empowered and supported women in undeserving communities through her “Project Safe Birth” Initiative.

She shares her story in this interview with Esther Ijewere

Childhood Preparation

My childhood definitely prepared me to build resilience and empathy. It taught me to create lemonade from any lemon experience. Growing up was not quite exciting for me. From a family of 6 (six) children, I happened to be the forth born and the last daughter of my family.During my secondary school days, my family lived in a face-me and face-you house in Ibadan. Then, we had a young couple as our neighbours. The man’s wife was friendly and industrious. However, she had complications during the childbirth of her second baby which led to excess bleeding and she later passed on. The situation of her children after her death was unpleasant as there was no proper care for her children. This situation made me determine to strive to support motherhood in the future.

Inspiration behind Motherhood Nigeria Initiative

I have always believed women can solve many of the societal problems when there is synergy. In 2018, when Bill Gate visited Nigeria, he said, “Nigeria is one of the most dangerous places to give birth with the forth worst maternal mortality rate in the world…” His statement made me remember the incident of a woman that bled to death during her child birth when I was in secondary school. So I began to think, read and research how I could proffer solutions to the reduction of maternal mortality in Nigeria. That gave birth to Motherhood Ng Initiative; a woman-led NGO purposely established to improve the maternal and child health in rural communities in Nigeria.

The Journey so far

It has been enlightening and challenging, I must say. It has stretched me to live my comfort zone. Since we started, we have trained women in five states in Nigeria as changed agents for maternal and child health in communities closest to them. This is made possible through the members of our online community for mothers and mothers-to-be for almost six years. We have done community outreach to campaign and promote the family planning to women and their families. In June 2020, we launched Project Safe Birth and it has reached more than 50 pregnant women with free safe birth kits. We shall continue to address issues that concern women within reproductive age and children under age five.

Project Safe Birth

Project Safe Birth was launched to focus on improving maternal and neonatal health, increase the quality of lives of mothers and newborns with provision of free safe birth kits for pregnant women as well as providing health education and advisory. This project will also embark on family planning awareness for both mothers and their spouses. We recently launched this project and it has provided over 50 safe birth kits for pregnant women in two states. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends six steps to prevent infection during childbirth. Our safe birth kits contain items that prevent infection which is one of the leading causes of maternal and infant mortality. Project Safe Birth’s target is to provide 10,000 safe birth kits to pregnant women in rural communities in Nigeria before the end of 2020.

Challenges 

The challenges I experienced since the establishment of our NGO have really helped me to think outside the box to create funding solution for the sustainability of our vision.

One of the challenges is funding. Presently, we seek for partnerneship with interested organizations and supportive individuals to reach out to more women in rural communities.

Being a Member of Several Organisations

I am an associate member of Chartered Institute personnel management of Nigeria and Nigeria Institute of training and Development respectively.  My thirst for personal development and human capital development can be linked to it. I always believe human resources are the most important resources to sustain an organization.

Women who Inspire me

Pastor Funke Adejumo; the Convener of Winning Edge Women Conference and Founder of Funke-Felix Adejumo Foundation. She is an exemplary woman of unusual grace and courage.

Mrs. Ibukun Awosika. She is a global, phenomenal and fearless woman. She has achieved global recognition and attained heights that break gender barriers.

Impact of the Motherhood Nigeria page

The Motherhood Nigeria social media page was created almost six years ago on BBM channel and migrated to Instagram two years ago with the community of twelve thousand mothers and mothers-to-be.

The platform has impacted mothers in racing their children and helped them to make informed decisions in their motherhood journey.

Work life balance

It is difficult to explain how I cope with multiple responsibilities. I realized that there is nothing like work life balance but work life integration. So I try as much as possible to prioritize being a mother and wife over work and vice versa.

Coping Mechanism during the pandemic

Be resilient and stay focus. The solution you are looking for is in you. Look inward. There is abundance locks up in you waiting to manifest. Be contented.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I am a woman of rubies because I am solution oriented and resilient. I believe in women providing solutions to communities.