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On September 18th 2022, the first-ever Her Summit, presented by the global inspirational and lifestyle platform Her Network, brought together women from diverse sectors and levels for an interactive learning and networking experience.

Neya Kalu at Her Network Summit The theme of the first edition of Her Summit, tagged ‘The Power of Community, reverberated throughout the varied panel sessions, where a diverse set of experienced female professionals and entrepreneurs who have led admirable careers and built sustainable businesses shared their impact stories and inspired professional and career growth among attendees. Bunmi Adeniba at Her Network Summit

Each session was distinctive, touching on areas like entrepreneurship, technology, inclusion, career, gender diversity, beauty, and collaboration. One of the recurring words shared by the speakers was that constant development is always significant for better performance and confidence.

Nkem Onwudiwe (Founder, Her Network and Convener, Her Summit)
Nkem Onwudiwe (Founder, Her Network and Convener, Her Summit)

In her introduction speech, the founder of Her Network, Nkem Onwudiwe, said, “The Power of Community” was inspired by our collective belief at Her Network that, while we all understand the value of belonging to a community, a lot of people don’t realize how powerful a community can be if it is comprised of the right people with the right values, goals, and motives. Now, more than ever, women genuinely need to not just come together but also lean in and understand that no woman is an island, and we all need one another to thrive. That’s the key message I want everyone to take away from this!”

Singer and Songwriter Kaline entertained the guests with a brief music performance which left guests awed by her melodic voice. The guests also connected, networked, listened to a health and wellness conversation by Mutti, learned about Real Estate from Omalicha by Middlechase and took affirmative photos in front of the branded photo walls of affirmation.

Read Also: Kemi Lala Akindoju Joins Amazon Studios As Senior Senior Movies Creative Executive

Her Summit was hosted by multidisciplinary marketing consultant and author Izin Akioya, whose eloquence, poise and constant words of affirmation kept guests vibrant and engaged.

Her Network Summit - Guest

Guests left with multiple goody bags from Her Summit’s brand partners; premium hair extensions brand LUSH Hair Nigeria, real estate investment company Omalicha by Middlechase, and Mutti, a trusted online pharmacy. In addition to these goody bags, speakers and two lucky guests were gifted the newly launched Paco Rabanne’s FAME perfume courtesy of Glam Brand Agency.

For more information about Her Network, visit www.hernetwork.co

Chioma Ogamba  knows her onions and she is proud of it. The amazon is fast becoming one of the most sought-after Immigration consultant In Canada, with core focus on Student Visa, Business Immigration, Citizenship and Residency by Investment.

Chioma Ogamba is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kisha Immigration, a licensed Canadian immigration company located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The trusted brand was birthed out of her passion for helping people find greener pastures and sharing in their joy when their dream becomes an exciting reality. Her niche is in Student Visa, Business Immigration, Citizenship & Residency by Investment

The company began as a pro bono consultation and guidance service in 2016, before becoming a fully licensed company with an expanded reach and range of clients and services.  Kisha Immigration is affiliated to Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) and Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC).

The driven amazon with an eye for innovation and excellent customer service is committed to helping her clients achieve their Canadian dream. Kisha Immigration renders services such as immigration and citizenship consulting, business immigration, citizenship and residency by investment, settlement consulting and lots more.

Read Also: Hawking At Age 10 Made Me More Determined

Chioma Ogamba  studied Applied Business Computing in the United Kingdom and graduated with First class Honors. The visionary amazon also got educated in four countries: Nigeria, Malaysia, United Kingdom, and Canada. Being an ardent believer in personal development and never-ending improvement, she immigrated to Canada as a permanent residence, then acquired degrees in Canadian Immigration Consulting, Information Technology, and an MBA (Business administration), graduating at the top of her class with a perfect CGPA of 4.0/4.0 in all three.

Her first relocation experience started when she was 18 years old and had to avoid the pangs of the ASUU strike in the Nigerian university. She gained admission to study at a UK-affiliated school in Malaysia and relocated with her immediate younger sister, whom she assisted with both her admission and student visa application.

Chioma Ogamba
Chioma Ogamba- Immigration Consultant

Accidentally, this was her first informal immigration client. Eighteen months down the line, they were awarded scholarships and transferred to the University of Sunderland to complete their first degrees. She was responsible for both the scholarship applications and the study visa applications to the UK.

A year later, she graduated with a first-class in Applied Business Computing. Due to the UK’s policy as of 2012 after graduating, she could not secure a post-graduate work permit, resulting in her going back home in Nigeria to serve and work,

Read Also: I Want Immigrant Women In Canada To Have A Voice

She then embarked on another journey to relocate to Canada as a graduate student. Fortunately, in 2016 she seized the opportunity to relocate to Canada as a permanent resident. Along the line, she fell in love, got married, even handled her husband’s application, and relocated as a family to Canada in 2018.

Since then, she has helped other family members and friends relocate with their families.

The key highlight for her was helping her youngest sister to immigrate to Canada as a permanent resident in 2021 and helping her husband join her in less than a year. Kisha connotes great Joy and that is why Chioma essentially is delighted in witnessing people’s lives change entirely for the best. Their lives gets transformed in a way that generations will be inspired by her actions to become a licensed Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC).

Follow Kisha Immigration to know more about Chioma’s work.

Maryam Muritala is a  Foreign trained lawyer with areas of specialization in Business, Technology , Copyright, Trademark law ,  and Contract Management.

She is  also an experienced Business Development Consultant.  She has  helped entrepreneurs across five continents launch successful and thriving businesses. Maryam  is the founder of  Canada Vendors a Business Development and Advertising Company using digital marketing tools to give structured visibility to businesses across Canada and the diaspora.

 

At Canada Vendors, they offer Business Development Consultations and Solutions, Advertise brands using digital technology, connect service providers with prospective clients, and host Business Networking Events. Between 2020 and 2022 during the lockdown, they  interviewed 255 Small businesses across various communities in Canada offering support.

Maryam Muritala is also the convener of Brand Expo, a brand visibility event that showcases the work of different brands across Canada.

 

She recently launched a mini-series on YouTube in 2021 titled “THE ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY” spotlighting business owners across communities in Canada, so far they have interviewed entrepreneurs from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Alberta.

We celebrate Maryam for her tenacity, determination, and her support for female business owners in Canada.

Follow her: @canadavendors to know more about her work.

 

Kemi Lala Akindoju has been announced as one of Amazon Studios’ four-member local Originals development team.

Read Also: I started Elevate Her UK To Support Vulnerable Women

Kemi Lala Akindoju (Senior Movies Creative Executive), Kaye Ann Williams (Head of Scripted and movies for South Africa), Brendan Gabriel (Senior Unscripted Creative Executive for South Africa), and Mike-Steve Adeleye (Senior Scripted Creative Executive for Nigeria) will join Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu on the Amazon Studios Originals development team.

They will build Africa’s premiere studio and a home for talent to grow and share their original stories with the world.

In a LinkedIn post announcing the team, Amazon studios’ Head of Originals, Africa and the Middle East, Ned Mitchell wrote:

“Another big day! I’m thrilled to share that our Amazon Studios Local Originals team has grown even more, both in South Africa and Nigeria. Please welcome Kaye Ann Williams, Brendan Gabriel, Lala Akindoju, and Mike-Steve Adeleye to the Amazon Studios Originals development team, joining Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu.

“This immensely talented group joins with the singular goal of building Africa’s premiere studio and home for talent. Together with our colleagues and partners, we are at work to deliver authentic, premium, and beloved hit scripted and unscripted series and movies to our local and global audiences.”

“I am incredibly excited to be joining the Amazon Studios Local Originals team as the Senior Movies Creative Executive, Nigeria,” Akindoju shared on Instagram. “Amazon Studios has shown its commitment to creating opportunities that are laser focused on creatives & content.”

Source: Pulse Nigeria

Opeyemi Olakanmi produced the short film “Mirror” to address the effect of child molestation and the role we should play as a society. Passion, patience, perseverance are three qualities you need to have as a filmmaker. These are the qualities that makes Opeyemi  Omobolanle Olakanmi story inspiring.

She is a scriptwriter, location manager, actor and a film producer who understands the power of sacrifice to success. She founded Mightypen Production to produce films and web series in Nigeria, and support   young writers, actors, producers, cinematographers to showcase their talents.

The  Polytechnic of Ibadan trained computer scientist is one of the young vibrant filmmakers in Nigeria. She quit her job  as Customer Care Officer (CCO) at Skye bank (Polaris) to follow her passion and pitched her tent in Africa’s biggest film producing industry in 2017.

Her sojourn into Nollywood  gave her the oppurtuinity to explore her skillset. Opeyemi Olakanmi started as writer and location manager. She then went ahead to study cinematography at Iris Film Academy, Ibadan to perfect her skills.

She produced her first movie, IRORA (ABUSE) in 2019. A Yoruba film that highlighted the pain and bad sides of domestic violence and campaigned against gender inequality.

Her latest film; Mirror is a short film produced in 2022 and which is currently showing on Mightypen TV on YouTube. She is currently working on her first web series, MECHO. A production that highlights the joy and struggles of artisans in a mechanic village.

Opeyemi Olakanmiwas nominated as best scriptwriter in 2021 at the Yoruba movie gist award. She shares her inspiring story with Esther Ijewere in this interview.

Opeyemi Olakanmi Mirror

Childhood Influence

Growing up has to do with what I am and the orientation I have at the moment because I could remember vividly that  several times my mum would call me and said, “look at your front, who do you see? Look at your back, what do you see? You can only see me, right? It is because I’m the only one you have.” As much as my mum was a teacher and my stepdad, a lecturer, I wasn’t deprived of any social life. I have free movement even though I am an introvert. I rarely go out. I am always at home reading one book or the other. I enjoyed reading story books to the extent that I started writing my own stories. I remember I met Agbo Areo, the author of Wives and Mother at a time and I told him how much I have passion for writing and how badly I wanted to be an author but my mum was never in support of that. Though she was a loving mother and wanted me to be something else. I appreciate her for the kind of mother she was and the kind of support she gave me while she was still alive. She raised in me a strong and positive woman. She always made me believe that I can get whatever I want

Inspiration behind Mightypen production

I started mighty pen entertainment as a writer because I believe everything worth doing is worth doing well. My opinion is that as a writer, it is good to have a registered company or brand so that your clients can trust you enough. And this is what informed my desire to get my company registered. It was along the line that I realized that I am more of a filmmaker than just being a writer. I then decided to go to film school and studied cinematography and to know more about filmmaking in general. My desire to be a filmmaker and my interest in contributing my own efforts into developing and expanding the film industry are parts of what made me take Mightypen beyond just a writing company into a film production company. And this is also to help young talents to realise their potentials and bring their dreams to reality.

Read Also: I started Elevate Her UK To Inspire Vulnerable Women

Impact of working on different movie projects

I joined the Yoruba film industry through the TAMPAN president, Mr Bolaji Amusan popularly known as Mr Latin but deep down in me I knew I didn’t want to limit myself into the Yoruba film industry. I want to be an all rounder. I want to be an excellent filmmaker that produces both Yoruba and English movies. And there was an opportunity that came my way in 2018 that changed my mentality entirely.  It was when they shot a project that starred Bimbo Akintola, Rahama Sadau and directed by Taiwo Shitu. I have forgotten the title of the production for that particular project changed my orientation about filmmaking and opened my eyes to see how production should be done properly. It was then I decided to join the English sector of Nollywood. Also, being a writer, a location manager, an actor and a producer has opened my eyes to know a lot of things in the film industry which have greatly contributed to my progress as an independent filmmaker.

The Journey so far

The journey has been rough and tough. Since I started Mightypen Entertainment, it has been tough for me to get jobs from other productions. A lot of people and colleagues stopped calling me for jobs because according to them I am now a CEO and I have what it takes to produce my own productions and that I really don’t need their jobs. In fact, I needed to call producers, production managers, directors etc to say that I am still available for jobs even though I have my own production company. So, the journey has been tough but the passion and the love for filmmaking keeps me going.

My new project “Mirror

Mirror is a short film that talks about child molestation and its effects on the victims and the society at large. I wrote the story to shed more light to the trauma that the victims of child abuse and their parents go through. This film was produced as a result of contributing my voice to the campaign against child abuse and rape.

Read Also: Women of Rubies Was Born Out Of My Passion For Humanity

Challenges

Being a filmmaker in Nigeria is not an easy one at all and you have to be very strong if you want to embark on that journey because it is a journey that is filled with a lot of hurdles. Filmmakers in Nigeria are facing a lot of challenges. Lack of financial support, harassment on locations by thugs, piracy, over expensive locations and security problems. It is a lot

Other projects and activities

My first production as a producer is a Yoruba film titled IRORA which is on YouTube and I have also produced another Yoruba film, ORISUN, which is currently showing on YouTube as well. I worked as a location manager for an English film Last Request which is on Netflix and I’m currently working to produce my first web series titled MECHO.

I’m also a social media influencer and I have worked with different individuals and organisations to promote products and programs on social media. I have worked with Global Factory T-shirts where we organised empowerment programs for women in the slums.

Opeyemi Omobolanle Olakanmi

What I enjoy most about my work

The part I enjoy most about my job is when I employ people I grow up seeing in the movie industry. Having legends, people I adore  and love so much on my set gives me so much joy. When I employed Ayo Mogaji to feature in my first production, IRORA,  I was so full of joy. And another part I enjoy is seeing myself helping young talents in the industry to grow. This gives me a great sense of fulfillment. And the joy of seeing a lot of people seeing and talking about your works can’t be quantified.

Three women who inspire me and why

The first woman who inspired me is my mum. She is my idol and a woman of great courage. I admire her so much and her courage to keep going even in the toughest situation. Whenever I look at myself I see myself in her. She was a great woman. I am very happy to have had her as a mother

The second woman that inspire me is Mo Abudu, the founder and owner of Ebony Life TV and Film. She has been rated as one of the “25 most powerful women in Global Television” by the Hollywood Reporter. She has made a great impact in Nollywood by producing amazing and quality films that have traveled even beyond Africa. She has become a household name.

The third person is Iyabo Ojo. She’s another woman that has made a name for herself in Nollywood. She’s one of the few people that dived from Yoruba film industry into producing and acting in English films successfully. I admire her passion and courage a lot. She is a single mother like me and anytime I look at her, I draw courage from her. These are the three women that have really inspired me.

What  we can do better as a society to encourage more women to go into movie production

For a long time men dominated the Industry and called the shots in the filmmaking industry but now we are beginning to see women taking over the industry by producing and directing great movies. We have seen the likes of Mo Abudu, Kemi Adetiba, Jade Osiberu, Mildred Okwo and many more. So, a foundation has been laid already for more women who are interested in making films. However, we need to keep educating, orientating and supporting women and young girls in the industry. We need to also let them know that aside from beauty, they need talent and that they have to be very humble and respectful because talent without virtue is nothing. We also need to tell them that they don’t need to sell their bodies before they can make it. You don’t have to date anybody.  They must also know as well that the industry thrives on collaboration and not by competing with your fellow filmmakers.

One thing I wish to  change in the art and entertainment sector

What I wish to change especially in the Yoruba movie industry is to stop this idea of a producer also being the lead cast in his or her film. It is getting tiring and boring now. Once people see a Yoruba film, they already know that the lead character is a producer. My argument is that you don’t need to appear in your film as a producer. If your film is good, people will know you. And if you are an actor producer, you can take a minor role because combining producing with acting is not easy and this can make you lose focus and not concentrate on the job. And this may affect the quality of the work. And also I would like to change the habit of not crediting the writers for their works and the ill treatment of crew members on set.

Opeyemi Olakanmi

Being  a woman of rubies

What makes me a woman of rubies is the fact that I have been able to stand out in the industry without any scandal. It is really a great feeling. And also, combining the role of a mother, father and entrepreneur makes me a woman of rubies.

Advice for young women who want to pitch their tent in the movie industry?

For the young women who want to join the industry, I will advise them to have a side hustle. Having a side hustle is very important and this will put money in your pocket because it is not that easy to make money in the movie industry. If you are coming into the industry as a full-time filmmaker it means you’re coming with a lot of money. I understand that the industry is lucrative and it has a lot of financial benefits but you won’t get all the money you are expecting in a year.  So the best thing is to have a financial support system. And lastly,  be humble and be respectful. This will take you far and open a lot of doors for you. It is very important that you must know this.

Opeyemi Olakanmi short film is availale on

 

Like a phoenix, Ebony King  is rising from the ashes of adversity and inspiring others to do so through her story and Elevate Her Uk.  She is a Youth Advocate, Community Leader, and Youth Mental Health First Aider. British-born, with Nigerian ethnicity. Ebony is the founder of Elevate Her UK, a non-profit organisation that provides support to vulnerable teenage girls and young women from disadvantaged backgrounds, where they are mentored, offered skill-based empowerment workshops and outreach. Ebony was brought up in a broken home as her parents divorced when she was a child. During her teenage years she witnessed various traumatic events which led her to rebel.

Ebony was negatively labelled and eventually got pregnant at 18. There was a huge stigma during that time and being a teenage mother out of wedlock, without a university degree and being from a Nigerian background came with a huge amount of pressure and gossip. However, she managed to stay strong and fought gallantly with the bit of support she could get to make herself a better person. She turned a pain to purpose by supporting other teenage girls and young women battling with the same or similar challenges she had faced.

Read Also: My First Business Was Selling Zobo And Chin Chin

Since the establishment of Elevate Her UK, she has been able to raise a fully qualified and trained team who, through their life experiences, provide mental health support, inspiring empowerment workshops and outreach, enhancing entrepreneurship and employability skills in young people.

In 2021, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Enforcement in Barking and Dagenham, Magaret Mullane, invited Ebony King to discuss how they can make the streets safer together and how she can offer her support to the organisation.

Elevate Her UK
Ebony King

The BSc. Hons Psychology and Counselling studies graduate was nominated Female Volunteer of the Year for Barking and Dagenham Women Empowerment Awards alongside her organisation. This was a milestone achievement for the organisation and Ebony King in person, making them stand out from other non-profits in their local area. Ebony King has gained much recognition from people empowered and politicians in the borough. She is under the Citizens UK Alliance, a people power community organising alliance across the UK. Ebony King also delivers motivational assemblies and youth safety workshops in secondary schools to educate and engage with the youth.

She shares her inspiring story in this exclusive interview with Esther Ijewere.

Childhood Influence

Growing up in a one parent household from the age of 6, being in the middle of a court child contact battle for years and being labelled as a problem child during my teenage years definitely prepared me in various ways for the work that I am doing now. It made me resilient.

Inspiration Behind Elevate Her Uk

Becoming a teenage single mother, growing up fast, engaging in activities I had no business in and witnessing so many traumatising things with a lack of emotional support or recovery; I always told myself that when I am older, and I have the resources I will help other vulnerable girls that were in the same or similar situations as me.

What Motivated Me To Kick Off #Protecther

The #ProtectHer campaign was a much-needed project that had to be put out as soon as possible. The street harassment, violence against women and girls, gang grooming, peer to peer abuse cases in the UK keeps increasing every year. I also spotted things on social media from countries all over the world.

The young girls I support would share certain experiences with me and I was just shocked that these things were still happening. I was even more disgusted when I found out these things were happening in schools and children were not being safeguarded enough. When I was younger my friends and I were harassed by older men so I was able to understand how frustrated my beneficiaries were.

 Elevate Her UK Ebony King

 The Journey So Far

The journey so far has had highs and lows. However, I must say that one of the main challenges was finding out that there are certain organisations in the same field that could see you as a competitor because they have been doing this for a lot longer than you, but they are not getting the attention or recognition that you are getting. They can bad mouth you to sponsors or potential partners, something that I would never do as I keep it professional. My creativity and unique way of doing things is getting Elevate Her UK noticed. I started this organisation with an open and positive mind. I didn’t know that not everyone’s intentions are the same. I’m doing it for genuine passion and my lived experiences. The young people requesting my services and leaving positive feedback is what motivates me to continue helping.

Read Also: Helpful Tips For Single Parents

My Work Getting the Attention Of  A Cabinet Member And Its Impact

My work getting noticed by policy makers was shocking at first because I didn’t even know that the #ProtectHer campaign would be featured on TV or Newspapers let alone for British politicians to share it on their social media platforms and invite me to their office. I was happy because my voice and all the vulnerable girls that I support were finally being heard.

 My Nomination As Female Volunteer Of The Year

For the Barking and Dagenham Council Women’s Empowerment 2022 Awards in March I was nominated as female volunteer of the year and Elevate Her UK was also given a nomination for our work in our local community. This was amazing because prior to this we had only delivered 1 year of frontline work to young people since the pandemic. This showed us that we are making an impact.

Other Projects And Activities

We have a Youth Safety campaign working with Transport for London (TFL) to allow students to feel safer travelling to and from school. This was featured on BBC News recently. We also deliver free skill-based empowerment workshops to young girls teaching them how to do things such as hair, nails, lashes, self-defence, first aid, driving and more. We do this to promote entrepreneurship and improve their employability skills. We are partnered with secondary schools in the UK and Nigeria to deliver youth safety awareness assemblies and one to one mentoring sessions to inspire, motivate and uplift.

Due to my past experience of being a teenage mum in emergency accommodation we often do outreach in mother and baby hostels within the UK and Atlanta, Georgia. We distribute feminine hygiene products and baby wipes and nappies.

Our Partnership With ASDA, Empowerment And Giveaways

In March 2022, women’s empowerment month, Elevate Her partnered with ASDA, a popular supermarket in the community. ASDA provided sanitary towels and feminine hygiene products to give to homeless teenage girls and young women. Also, Elevate Her UK partnered with a few British public figures such as female rappers Ivorian Doll and Br3nya, very much loved by the youths to boost its empowerment workshops. Among the numerous giveaways by Elevate Her UK to disadvantaged and low-income families, in January 2022, we did a school uniform, feminine hygiene products, shoes and goody bags giveaway. The likes of Toyin Abraham, a top Nollywood Producer and star Actress, were present to grace the event financially and physically. We have  been able to organise several empowerment workshops and partnered with various prominent organisations in the UK. The first series of delivery workshops took place immediately after the first lockdown in the UK. It was done in partnership with Future Youth Zone.

Read Also: How To Release Suppressed Emotions

Future Plan

We plan to organise a project to get young people to start thinking more about global warming and climate change and do more things to save the planet, we also want to establish a sister arm in October 2022, Elevate Her Africa, where they would be reaching out to teenage girls and young women in Africa. This will be replicated in the UK. The project is anticipated to kick off in Nigeria being my place of origin. I also anticipate writing a book to motivate teenage girls and young women struggling mentally and emotionally.

Elevate Her UK Ebony

 To Young Women Living Through My Life Experience

Don’t allow anyone’s negative judgement of you, affect your mind-set. Be positive and believe in yourself. If you don’t know what you want to do with yourself go and do some research, you are never too old to learn. Say no to peer pressure, do not copy others, stay in your lane. Listen to your parents and do not rush to be an adult. If you want to live a comfortable life in future , do not be lazy. Refrain from depending on others anybody can let you down at any point no matter how long you’ve known them, prepare for the worst and you will be disappointed less.

 What I  Enjoy Most About My Job

The fact that I can put a smile on young people’s faces especially the ones that lose hope or purpose in life. They can see that in my life I changed negatives to positives, so they are motivated. I like helping people, if I can’t do it directly, I will refer someone else that can help them.

 3 women Who Inspire Me And Why

Firstly my mother’s hardworking drive is a big inspiration to me because as a single mum she actually tried. I have seen her overcome so many things that I do not have the patience or understanding for. Secondly, I am inspired by all women that are able to face reality and pick themselves up from their struggles and change it around to succeed someone like Oprah Winfrey. Lastly, all women that stand up boldly for their rights are also an inspiration to me. It’s not easy going against the norm to fight for what is right.

 To People Who Stigmatize Teenage Moms

Stop judging! Everybody is going through things behind closed doors. Being a teenage parent is not the end of the world as long as they turn their lives around and get back on track. There are many successful teenage parents nowadays, many of them birthed superstars worldwide.   Identify the reason why they got there and find solutions for them. They need support not stigma!

Ebony Women of Rubies

One Thing I Wish To Change In The World

I would remove all the toxic things and judgmental people so that everyone else can focus on what really matters in life, Peace and Happiness.

Being A Woman Of Rubies

The fact that I can make a positive impact on other girls and women from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Connect with Ebony King;

Twitter- https://twitter.com/elevateheruk

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/elevate.her.uk/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/elevateherorg/

Email; help@elevateheruk.org

Oyinkansola Alabi is set to release a documentary and a comic book that addresses mental health issues. The Founder of Emotions City, an emotional intelligence centre is committed to addressing mental health issues and proffering solution.

The documentary is titled, ‘The Story of a Girl Who Stood Up for Emotional Intelligence in Nigeria’.

According to her, the comic book will be released alongside the documentary this month.

She explained that the documentary tells the impact of emotional intelligence and mental health on some people she has encountered.

“We interviewed about 10 people who shared their stories that made up the documentary. We are also exploring technology; more so we are becoming a tech platform that creates emotional stability solutions,” she said.

Read Also: Depression, It’s Symptoms And Cure

On the comic book, she said: “We are trying to simplify mental health and make it go viral. People prefer to read the content title, wisdom and wilts, which is education and some level of simplicity and fun. So we decided to hop on a comic. We have done some comics before, which were shared amongst friends. But now we want to amplify the voices and make it go as viral as possible.”

She further stated that the comic book would be translated into 10 different languages like Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, French, English, German, Spanish, Tiv, Efik and Russian with the help of volunteers, adding that it would be distributed free of charge while the translators would receive credit for their intellectual contribution.

Speaking on how the centre has impacted mental health in Africa, she said: “We created therapy gift cards where you can gift your friends, colleagues or anyone who needs therapy, that can reach out to us and come for sessions. We also had a therapy hotline for a year where people could call in and receive free therapy. We had to pause it because I was the one sponsoring and championing it with my funds and I just felt a year was good enough to do that but we offer free therapy from time to time when we can.

Read Also: I Want To Help Reduce The Number Of Depressed And Suicidal Souls

“This means I need to deepen my impact and look beyond offering therapy to individuals, organisations and schools so that we can include mental health in the curriculum. I will be more available to work with school, to create a mental health department, mental health cafes and include mental health in their curriculums.”

Alabi recently bagged a doctorate degree on Behavioural Psychology from S.K University in Benin Republic. She is also a productivity enhancement and life validation strategist. The first female founder of an Emotional Intelligence Academy in Africa, she is also the convener of Africa’s first Emotional Intelligence Week. A Goldman Sachs Scholar, Alabi is one of the 100 most influential and impactful women in Nigeria, 2019 and 2022.

Source: Guardian Nigeria 

 

 Tracy Folorunsho-Barry Is  breaking boundaries in North America, lifting up other women and helping them find their paths in life. The Nigerian born amazon is the founder of GROW Women Leaders and GROW Foundation. During her migration to Canada from Nigeria, she faced struggles with integrating into the country, lacked the proper guidance and support she needed as an immigrant.

Barry also found that her struggles were common for other immigrant women in Canada and decided to take action after freeing herself from a limited lifestyle. She took upon the initiative to start helping other women, especially immigrants, reach their full potential and access new opportunities regarding their careers. Since then, she has dedicated her career to helping thousands of women, especially immigrants, get hired and advance their career.

In 2017, under GROW Foundation, she launched Project150: Accomplished Immigrant Women in Canada and the Speak Out Women series where she began gathering stories from more than 200 immigrant women across Canada who have overcome adversity to achieve success in their careers and lives. They shared their stories and expressed that they wished they had known about the knowledge, resources and guidance available for them to succeed in Canada.

She collated these stories and published the book ; Untold Stories of Immigrant Women in Canada. . Later in 2018, Barry founded GROW Women Leaders (GROW), a career leadership development and advancement platform designed to help women get hired and advance their careers.

In 2021, she opened GROW space, a socially conscious 7000sq ft facility that houses Nurture café, lounge, co-working space and more. For her contributions and community involvement, she has been honoured with various awards and recognitions such as; Top 100 Black Women to Watch In Canada, Top 6 Immigrant Women of Inspiration,  and a notable recognition by  Mayor Don Iveson and the City of Edmonton in 2020.

She shares her inspiring story with Esther Ijewere in this interview.

Childhood Influence

Growing up, I loved helping people as it came to me naturally, even though I had no idea what I would do when I grew up, I guess it has played a major part in who I am today. For example, my mother had a grocery store, and through that grocery store I was able to help people who I thought were in need within the community. I think staying true to oneself has a way of showing up in one’s career path.

Inspiration Behind Grow Women Leaders

Coming to Canada as an immigrant and not having guidance, I didn’t know anyone. I had to go through the integration process on my own. The name came about when I began Project150: Accomplished Immigrant Women in Canada and the Speak Out Women series as Gradual Rising of Women (G.R.O.W.), where I began gathering stories from more than 200 immigrant women across Canada who have overcome adversity to achieve success in their careers and lives.

They shared their stories and expressed that they wished they had known about the knowledge, resources and guidance available for them to succeed. While collecting their stories of resilience, I realized the wealth of knowledge these women possessed and the valuable insights that they could share with other immigrant women and their communities. Thus, the book, Untold Stories of Immigrant Women in Canada was published. I wanted to inspire other women like me, and from there it grew bigger. While hearing others talk about their stories, it changed my life and I knew it was something much bigger and I began GROW Women Leaders and I had to figure out a way to help more women to become women leaders as it is their careers that set them apart.

It is the idea of helping women and empowering women. But in this case, I’m doing it by helping women connect to companies. I want to grow people and build them up to become women leaders.

Tracy Folorunsho-Barry

The Journey So Far

No one prepares you for the entrepreneurship journey. It hasn’t been easy and still isn’t easy but the positive impact my work has on others makes it all worth it.

Being At Forefront Of Helping Immigrant Women In Canada Find Their Voice And Purpose, And Project 150

What started as a project has become so much more. I believe that if you have gone through challenges and you succeed, it is important to help others the way so that they don’t have to go through the same challenges that you have been through. It is the idea that I’ve gone through it and I want you to be able to succeed. This is the reason I do what I do today which has stemmed from Project150: Accomplished Immigrant Women in Canada and the Speak Out Women series through Gradual Rising of Women (G.R.O.W.), where I began gathering stories from more than 200 immigrant women across Canada who have overcome adversity to achieve success in their careers and lives. They shared their stories and expressed that they wished they had known about the knowledge, resources and guidance available for them to succeed. While collecting their stories of resilience, I realized the wealth of knowledge these women possessed and the valuable insights that they could share with other immigrant women and their communities. Thus, the book, Untold Stories of Immigrant Women in Canada was published.

Also Read: I want Immigrant Women In Canada To Have A Voice

My Aspiration For Black Women In Canada, Especially New Immigrants Trying To Integrate Into Society

For those who are trying to integrate into society, it is knowing your worth. If you know yourself, other people can’t define you, I see that as a community of immigrant women. You may not know what you’d want to do but once you understand what your worth is, Canada will give you a space to do what you want to do. Canada has a lot of opportunities and the world is waiting for you. Follow your passion, and you will find your path. For every purpose, there are people depending on it. I took an unconventional career path and I was able to help more than just my family, I helped my team, the women who use GROW’s services and more.

The GROW Space And Its Impact Since 2021

The GROW Space, a socially conscious 7000sq ft facility that houses Nurture café, lounge, co-working space and more. Nurture is more than a social lounge, we are a socially conscious in-house kitchen & cafe located within the GROW Space serving brunch, meal prep, catering, cocktails and more. Proceeds generated go back to supporting the women at GROW, supporting women, especially immigrants, to get hired and advance their careers. The impact that our space has since 2021, it has been a space that is open for the public as well as our candidates to work and lounge in our space, while the Nurturers have access to amenities to help them develop and advance their career.

Challenges

I experienced a lot of challenges, especially since I was doing something unconventional. I never knew that there were negative connotations behind the word ‘ambitious’ until I started pushing for my goals to build a company that helps others. Ambition can truly be a terrible, terrible thing because for a society that pushes women to do more, can also be the same to say that you’re doing too much! With that being said, I didn’t receive much support and I had to prove myself a lot especially since I was trying something from nothing. People usually support what they understand and unfortunately, for a creative like me it takes time for others to understand your work before they support.

Being Recognized  As One Of The Top 25 Canadian Immigrants

To be recognized as one of Canada’s top 25 immigrants, it is very exciting as it is a validation of my work and my journey to it.

Also Read: Hawking At Age 10 Made Me More Determined

One Thing I Wish I Could Do To Make The World A Better Place For Women, Especially Black Women

It’s what I’m doing right now, which is ensuring that everyone gets equitable employment, especially for women. Although it is getting better, there is still a lot of work to be done for gender parity.

Being A Woman Of Rubies

I am a visionary. It is one thing being a visionary, but then it is one that can execute the vision.

To Young Women Who Aspire To Be Where I Am But Lack The Opportunity And Support

Keep pushing, push until something good happens. Your vision and idea are valid, stick to what you want.

Tracy Folorunsho-Barry- Grow Women Leaders

 Women Who Inspire Me And Why

Individuals who inspire me, are the everyday women who are usually unsung heroes that are constantly striving to create a better home, build a better community and world at large. These women are the ones working in entry-level, to mid-level, to senior-level jobs.

For Women Who Want To Join the GROW Community

GROW Women Leaders is a leadership development and advancement agency helping women get hired and advance their careers. It is FREE to join so SIGN UP NOW! Our digital talent platform is dedicated to helping women, especially immigrants, get connected to the workforce. We will connect you to our partner companies. Join us now! https://growwomenleaders.com/ See you on the inside where we all grow together.

 

Aiyekusehin Monisola is the strategy lead and founder of Betharbel foundation a non profit creating a bright future for the African woman and child, With over 7years in experience as a social innovator working across sectors such as sexual and reproductive health, STEAM Education and climate change.

She has impacted over 3000 students and 1500 Women through her work in Betharbel foundation, and increased profit for 100 women through her Bethpad project.

Monisola is interested in Inclusive Education, climate change ,and international Development. Over the past two years Monisola has been working with the IDPs and is passionate about ensuring that the IDP children get quality education through the free tuition project of Betharbel foundation for the IDP children.

She earned her masters degree in international Relations from university of Benin in 2018. She is a fellow African change maker ,An Ambassador for women health with Days for girls international , YALI RLC Alumni, an Ambassador for change with save and nurture the child foundation, and the 2022 GEDA pitch winner and fellow for Donors for Africa Foundation. She shares her story with Esther Ijewere in this interview.

Monisola Aiyekusehin

Childhood Influence

My childhood prepared me partially for what am doing today, I was born into an average family with three other siblings, my both parents were civil servants , and it wasn’t quite easy fending for the family with the peanuts they earned, my both parents had to do menial jobs with their government jobs to ensure we got quality education and food on the table. I watched these scenarios and I made up my mind that I would make life more comfortable and meaningful for every woman and child as God blesses me. and so I began learning different skills early as a teenager with the motive of empowering anyone who crosses my path, ensuring I leave them better than I met them.

Inspiration Behind Betharbel foundation

Two things inspired me to start up the Betharbel foundation, First the struggles I experienced as a child ,I didn’t want anyone to experience these struggles without a way out. I knew there was something I could do to help . Secondly the abuse I experienced from the first month of my marriage, I lived in abuse for 10 years and I experienced all forms of abuse from physical, emotional ,verbal, psychological, just name it. I discovered that children and women were the most vulnerable, I wanted to be a voice to the voiceless and I needed a platform to do this ,so it fueled my passion to start up my foundation with the aim of creating a bright future for the African women and children. My mantra became the broken often become masters at mending, no woman or child should experience the pain and trauma I have been through, and if they have I can help them on their journey to healing.

Read Also: How To Use Mindfullness Meditation To Reduce Stress And Anxiety

Impacting  3000 Students And 1500 Women Through My Projects 

We have carried out projects in Bayelsa and Abuja. Menstrual hygiene projects in Five secondary schools in Bayelsa 3000 students, Hand Wash campaigns in 5 primary schools and 7 secondary schools in Bayelsa, Vocational skills training in yenegwe community  training over 200 women and empowering 20  of the participants. COVID 19 education in schools and communities within Bayelsa, provision of COVID relief materials to 200 aged women and single moms at IDP camp in Osiri Bayelsa state, face mask drive for 2000 people in swali Market. Pad bank for girls in kuchiyako community ,kuje  distributing pads to 200 girls and many others.

 The  Journey So Far

The organization started in 2018,but was officially incorporated in 2020,before then I have been a serial volunteer , volunteering  for various NGOs, I would say my journey has been fun and challenging Fun because it’s what am passionate about. And I  don’t mind spending my all to put a smile on the face of the vulnerable and so am always excited doing this. On the other hand  I would say challenging because of  some of the Bottlenecks I encounter on the field, financial  limitations and the fact that we are not a “big name” in the non profit sector ,but in all I have been consistent, and gradually on a daily basis I can tell my impact story, my little effort is putting smiles on the faces of people particularly women and girls.

Ripple Effect Of Training  3000 Youths 

God has been faithful and The impact has been unimaginable going down memory lane when we started in Bayelsa, particularly  the skills training in 2019 I  can testify of blessing in igbogene community  in Yenagoa local government presently an undergraduate student of Niger delta university, who was a secondary school leaver at that time who was part of those who got trained in tailoring and got a sewing machine, the skills she acquired is what she uses to support herself through school she is presently in her 300 level. We have also increased profit for women in the IDP camp through our bethpad project with the aim of ending period poverty and also empowering these women economically. The testimonials are  numerous to  write, the ripple effect is that  most of our beneficiaries are paying it forward and reaching out also within their circle.

Betharbel Foundation
Monisola of Betharbel Foundation

Challenges

One major challenge has been finance, most of our projects have been self funded, with the little resources we have been able to do what we can. Another challenge has been getting stakeholders to align with what we  do. Another challenge has been insecurity, we can no longer enter some communities freely, despite the fact that the people who need our intervention are in this communities, insecurity  has limited our movement to this communities Another challenge has been the fact that we have not been able to get the right partnership and support to help improve and strengthen our work.

Read Also: Hawking At Age 10 Made Me More Determined

 3 Women Who Inspire Me And Why

The list is endless but I would mention just three women who inspires me

Esther Ijewere  of Women of Rubies ,she inspires me. I have followed her closely for some time  and I have watched her put smiles on the face of people particularly single moms ,despite been a single mom herself, she chose to be a blessing to other people around her, she is fearless and resilient, I also look forward to her daily affirmations and how those affirmations have  been a been a blessing to many.

Chidi Koldsweat of donors for Africa foundation  is one woman who inspires me, her work in the development sector blows my mind ,how she impacts other non profits and helps them align their work appropriately is one aspect I salute her greatly for.

Another lovely women who inspires me is Dr. Adeola Olubamiji, she inspires me so much, she doesn’t even know me but I follow her closely, how she rose from nothing to becoming one of the 100 most influential women in Canada, and how she has helped others step up in their career .

Betharbel Foundation

 What Government Should Do To Support  IDPS

For me one major aspect the government should focus on is on education and empowerment such that these people can quickly be integrated back into the society. In the words of Nelson Mandela Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. If we must change the narrative and ensure the circle of insurgency is totally broken, The government should support the IDPs to get proper and quality education, they should not be neglected in any way. And for the adults empowerment and skills training to make them economically useful such that they can be integrated back into society.

What We Can Do Better As A Society To Educate Women On The Importance Of Leaving Abusive Marriages

We must keep speaking, we should share our stories, organize, sensitization  and speak up campaigns, we must ignore the stigma that comes with walking away, no life is worth losing because of abuse, Every one must be ready to speak up against abuse and we should build a strong support system for victims and survivors. I recently shared my story on a blog and so many women spoke up because they read my story, when we speak up, it gives others the courage to do likewise

Our parents must be willing to nurture both genders appropriately,  one should not become a slave because of marriage. There should be no shame in walking out of abuse, If it’s not working  it is best to walk away alive than to die in abuse

Read Also: I Started My Business Out Of My Passion For Humanity

Monisola Betharbel Foundation on accessing funding

Being A Woman of Rubies

I am unique and special, God’s prized possession ,and I trust God for everything, living my life one day at a time. I don’t see limitations as obstacles, I see them as stepping stones to the greater heights God has prepared for me.

Sex Education Tips For Parents 

For me sex education should be introduced as early as possible I would suggest from age 3 and it should be age appropriate. For toddlers it can be taught as safe touch and unsafe touch and it can be taught as a poem, rhymes  or song properly demonstrated. Body parts should be taught early and called the right names

Parents should have friendly conversations with adolescent constantly including discussions on sex education, and  initiate discussions on body changes as puberty progresses and use it as an opportunity to discuss sex education. Parents should discuss self awareness and use it as an opportunity to discuss sex education and  be very observant to know when  children change or withdraw and should always be sensitive to listen to their children .

Smart, compassionate, innovative and driven are few words that describe Canadian based Child Development Practitioner, Adebola Adefioye. She is very passionate about building authentic relationships with racialized, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) children, families and communities and collaborating with them to reduce inequities, Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and improve mental-health and wellness.

She holds an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Child Development from Seneca College, Master’s in Child and Youth Care, from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and a Certificate in Advancing Women’s Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding for Community Development from Coady Institute, Canada. She is also a final semester student in a Graduate Certificate program in Mental Health Intervention (MHI).

Adebola works for a provincial non-profit agency on a project that focuses on understanding the impact of COVID-19 on racialized mothers and educators in Ontario. A project that will inform recommendations for feminist, child care, and family programs policies in Ontario, Canada.

The passionate advocate is also  the founder of the Afro Women and Youth Foundation, a non-profit organization providing leadership, empowerment and mentorship programs to Black immigrant women and youth in Toronto and Sudbury, Ontario.

Also Read: Personal Experience With Racism Inspired Me To Start Afro Women And Youth Foundation

Adebola Adefioye
Adebola Adefioye – Seneca College

Adebola has won many awards. She won nine different leadership, academic and community awards at Seneca College, the United Way Greater Toronto Black Leadership award in 2020, Ontario Premier’s Award in Recent Graduate Category in 2021 among others. Her strongest desire is to see more racialized women and youth stand up for themselves, participate in leadership positions, and support more people who look like them.

She shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere, and how she is using her skills and knowledge to help new immigrants stand up to racial discrimination.

Childhood Influence

I think my childhood contributed to what I am doing today. I learned a lot of things from my parents. Both of them worked very hard to provide for their children and my mom volunteered a lot at our local church and encouraged all her children to do the same. My late father was very hardworking. He had started working in one of the top banks in Nigeria before I was born and he retired as a senior officer after 28 years of service. My mom was a teacher. I learned hard work, honesty, and contentment from both of my parents.

Being A Certified Child Development Practitioner, And Working with Women And Families In Different Settings In Canada

I enjoy helping people in any way that I can. I started community development work in Nigeria and I thought I could do more of it in Canada so I registered a non-profit offering leadership, mentorship and empowerment programs to Black immigrant women and youth. We have recently added public education and training around Anti-Racism, Gender-Based Violence and Advocacy to our work.

My Passion for Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) And It’s Impact On Me As A Black Woman

Yes, I offer training on ABR and EDI. I think the work has enlightened me a lot more about the degree of social injustices we have around the world, how colonialism and capitalism continue to shape our lives daily. While the inequity issues persist, I am glad to be one of the people raising their voices against oppression and encouraging others to do so.

Also Read: The Skill Gap In The Black Community Inspired Me To Start Techavilly

Inspiration Behind Afro Women and Youth Foundation

My daughter’s school experience of Anti-Black Racism as a newcomer to Canada inspired the work I do at AWYF. I was amazed at how her teacher did not offer any support during the period. My husband and I provided her all the support and taught her strategies to self-advocate. She later developed confidence and started demonstrating leadership skills. At Grade 5, she won the award for the Most Confident child in her class and later won the Principal’s Leadership Award in Grade 8. I still wonder what would have happened if not for our intervention as parents and educators. My daughter’s experience led me to start the AWYF to help other people experiencing ABR.

Challenges 

It has been very challenging to access sustainable funding. I am so proud and grateful for the amazing team who have been volunteering their time at the AWYF since we started. The team will definitely do more if we had sustainable funding. While we continue to submit applications for multi-year program funding, we are extremely grateful for organizations like the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities, CEE Centre For Young Black Professionals, Seneca HELIX, Troop, City of Greater Sudbury, COSTI Immigrant Services, and Catherine Donnelly Foundation who have supported us in kind and with some funding.

 Winning Different Leadership, Academic And Community Awards At Seneca College, Canada

I worked very hard as a student at Seneca. My academics was a priority, but I also strengthened my leadership skills. I mentored other students, I was an Early Childhood Educator tutor at the Learning Centre, I started a Resilient Club for women, and I completed the Student Life Leadership program. I am constantly seeking opportunities for personal growth and development. I was nominated for some of those awards, and I got some because of my GPA and community work on campus. I have also recently won the Ontario Premier’s Award and Catherine Howe Award at Toronto Metropolitan University. The CHA award is for an outstanding Child and Youth Care Practitioner.

My Thoughts on The Profiling of Black Women and How They Can Be Supported

The profiling of Black women stems from the history of slavery, colonization, racial segregation, and marginalization.  One way to reduce the profiling of Black women is for advocates, women leaders, researchers, and educators to continue to research and uncover the inequities affecting Black and Indigenous women and girls, and demand accountability from the system.

Also Read: Black Women Need To Stop Waiting To Be Appreciated

Supporting Women in Nigeria With Seed Funds To Support Their Work And Families

The seed funds we raised from Nigerians here and provided in 2020 was a pilot project for our work in Nigeria. One of the things we identified was a need for stronger collaborations with existing organizations working on social issues that are similar to our work and willing to commit to an ongoing evaluation that identifies program outcomes. These lessons will shape our work in Nigeria in the future.

Coordinating Focus Groups for Women Whose Means Of Livelihood Was Affected Due To COVID19

Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) project is a province-wide project that seeks to build relationships with racialized mothers and educators, understand how the ongoing pandemic and racism affects them and collaborate with them to create program recommendations for policymakers across Ontario. It has been a huge learning process for everyone on the project team. We are all very excited about this project and some of the things we are hearing from the consultations is that people are happy that we have created a safe and brave space for them to share their experiences.

3 Women Who Inspire Me And Why

My mom, Pastor Nike Adeyemi and Josephine Muhaya. These are all women who have continued to break barriers and create opportunities for other women through their work.

Also Read: 11 Tips to Cultivate a Happy and Healthy Relationship

Advice For a Woman on The Verge of Giving Up Due To Marginalization

I’ll advise that they hold on, continue to find inner-strengths, ask for help, focus on things that bring joy and practice gratitude. Most of the time, things will eventually get better if we don’t give up. I have been in that position, and I am happy I did not give up.

 My Work-Life Balance Routine

Relaxing with my family and weekend self-care routine.

Being a Woman Of Rubies

My passion to see other women’s lives improve and actions taken daily to see it become a reality.

You can connect with  Adebola via her social media platforms below;

LinkedIn:  Adebola Adefioye
Facebook: Adebola Taiwo Adefioye
Instagram @adebolaadefioye1
WhatsApp: +1 905-955-8667
Website: www.afrowyf.org
Email: adebola@afrowyf.org