Gift David is rising from the ashes of adversity and inspiring others to do so through her story. Her dream is to be one of the most celebrated female barbers in Nigeria. The 24-year-old part-time mass communication student is on a journey to make her life better and prove that women can thrive and succeed in male-dominated fields. From balancing school with her job to having to convince male customers she is good at her job, Gift’s story is what determination is all about. The Akwa-Ibom state-born female barber shares her inspiring story with Esther Ijewere in this interview.

Growing up

Growing up was fun for me… It was always a full house with different kinds of drama every day, as a child acting would have been an option for me (trouble-making character lol). Never thought and wouldn’t have believed, if I was told, that I’ll be a barber.

Being  a Barber

I can’t say because it was not planned.. as at the time, I usually pass time in a barbershop, so I thought, it won’t be nice just sitting here without helping out. So I started helping out by washing a customer’s hair and applying aftershave. I started finding it interesting and wanted to do more, that was how it began.


The reception has been positive. I feel very proud of myself for not holding back and following my dream. I have been inspired through my work and talking to different people while I barb their hair. I will say the reception is 90 percent welcoming and encouraging.

Balancing school and work

Combining school and work is not easy, it can be extremely stressful and tiring but it’s worth it.. when I’m at work, it’s all about work but whenever it’s time for school and studying, it’s a very important time that I try to make sure every minute counts.. still pushing it.


 The satisfying expression I get from clients and these words “nice one” “good job” “thank you” and “am sorry for looking down on you, thinking you will spoil my hair”.. inspired me and keeps me going against all odds.

My Inspiration

Young ladies out there reaching out to me, saying they would love to be like me, they want to learn how to cut hair and be a barber is the greatest reward for me.. so I am now someone others want to emulate??? WOW!!! It’s truly a good feeling to be looked up to and admired for doing what you enjoy.


It will be my joy to empower and support young women like myself who are interested in learning barbing skills. I look forward to also speaking at events to encourage more women and let them know If I can do it, they can too.

The harsh reality of Being a female barber

The harsh reality is that, no matter how good you are, there are people who will not take you seriously because of your gender. I have had customers who won’t allow me to touch their hair because I’m a woman and have had others

On giving up

There hasn’t been a time I felt like giving up. Sometimes it gets to me when people feel I don’t have the qualification to be a barber but the next minute, I am up and good, making sure I prove them wrong.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I am a woman of Rubies because I am a lady who is thriving hard to succeed in a male-dominated profession and is doing very well at it. For your platform to even recognize me?? Am on the right track.

Advice to women who want to go into the “Barbing” business

It’s fun.. every business or profession has its ups and down, but if you can survive through the discouragement and gender discrimination, together we all will earn our place in this barbering profession.

These women have been able to break the barriers and are been celebrated for their accomplishments, recognized for changing narratives and making room for other women to thrive through their various endeavors.

In celebration of International Women’s Month, we highlight these women who are using their platforms to embrace equity.

  1. Esther Ijewere

Esther is the founder of Women of Rubies, a newspaper columnist, author, public relations and media strategist, and women’s advocate. She uses her online platform as a storyteller to highlight the contributions of Nigerian-Canadian women across the country.

Her work as a community builder and activist has been instrumental in helping to bridge the gap between the Nigerian and Canadian communities, creating a sense of belonging and connection for those who have immigrated to Canada. As a gifted storyteller, Esther uses her storytelling skills to raise awareness about social issues and inspire others to take action.

Esther Ijewere- Women of Rubies

Esther’s stories often focus on the experiences of women, particularly those of Nigerian-Canadian women, and the unique challenges they face as immigrants in Canada.

She also anchors  a talk show, “Get Talking with Esther” an online talk show aimed at helping individuals put their thoughts to words, promote positive living, and find their voices

Esther recently authored her second book “How To Make Affirmations Work For You”, a self-help book to help folks disrupt negative thinking habits and build a new route in their brain for positive thoughts through daily positive affirmations.  She is one of the 100 Most Influential Female Founders in Africa.

2. Brenda Okorogba

Brenda Okorogba is an award-winning service and learning experience designer. She has a gift for creating targeted public services and learning solutions that address relevant classroom, workplace, community, career, and business needs in advancing opportunities for equity-deserving groups in particular.

International women's day 2023

Her client-centered approach and dignity-informed methodologies have resulted in over $40 million in grants for nonprofits, small business owners, and startup entrepreneurs. Students have successfully secured more than $80.4M in college funding, transitioned into dynamic career paths, learned specialized skills, built positive personal identities, increased their social and emotional learning skills, and improved their leadership abilities.

She currently serves on the Board of Directors of social-impact-driven Canadian Charitable organizations where she contributes her time and ideas on issues focused on gender equity and social inclusion, youth education and employment, workforce development, immigrant women, affordable healthcare, and housing.


2. Omoshalewa Onayemi

Omoshalewa Onayemi is a Tri-qualified lawyer licensed to practice in Alberta, Ontario, and Nigeria, she currently works at a global recruitment firm and handles all the commercial and legal operations of the business Canada-wide. She is a serial entrepreneur, a blogger, an influencer, and a career woman.

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Omoshalewa’s passion for fashion and food led her into establishing businesses, @kz_by_shally, which is a one-stop hub for all things fashion and accessories, @the_yum_cuisine, a food blogging page where she also sells e-meal plans and e-recipes and blogs about all things motherhood from bump to birth and beyond, on her page @mumsaffair_ng

Shally O” as she is fondly called by many, is also a community personality who dedicates her time to promoting and creating visibility for Nigerian businesses in Canada through her platform @naijapreneurcanada.

3. Dr. Kelechi Okoro

Kelechi Okoro is a multi-talented, multi-award-winning, and versatile Medical Doctor with an impeccable track record in civic and entrepreneurial activities. She is a Sustainable Development Goals advocate, with a focus on SDG 3: Good Health and Well being and SDG 4: Quality Education, and SDG 5: Gender equality.

She Is the convener of the “Pay Attention to Her (PATH) project which focuses on menstrual, sexual, and reproductive health for women and girls, especially in underserved communities.

PATH is a project of Heal for Africa initiative, (HFAI) a Non-Governmental Organization “committed to transforming Africa one community at a time. Other projects by HFAI include “SDGs Tutor” to accelerate knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals, “Heal The Slums” providing health, education, and advocacy for livelihood in underserved communities and “Help Free Zone” project, a Hepatitis sensitization, screening, and vaccination exercise.

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Through her “Healthertainer” brand, She has recorded massive successes in effective health communications, reaching millions across various social media platforms, thereby increasing health literacy and influencing Nigerians and beyond to make healthier decisions. She has worked with notable international brands such as MTN, TECNO, Three Crowns, Arla Dano, Leadway Insurance, Dettol, GSK, Roche Diagnostics, Ariel, Etc

She also founded “Health Hub Africa” which houses top health influencers, innovators, start-up founders, and many other outliers in Africa, collaborating and creating innovative solutions in the health sector.

She is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for health and social development in Nigeria.

Outside the hospital and civic space, she also does public speaking, compering corporate events, and volunteers with other non-profit organizations to propagate other worthy causes.

4.  Larmmy Ogidan-Odeseye

Larmmy Ogidan-Odeseye is a wife, mom, Senior Software Analyst, Business Strategist, fitness coach, real estate investor, and entrepreneur. The Obafemi Awolowo University-trained Zoologist is also the CEO of JeLarmmy Enterprises, JeLarmmy Homes, and the newly established JeLarmmy Travel companies.

Larmmy’s passion for issues centered on mental health nudged her to become a co-founder of HeartCafe, an NGO focused on mental health awareness. As a fast-rising Twitter influencer with over 50 thousand followers, Larmmy a.k.a Chelsea Godmother co-hosts a Twitter Space session called HeartCafe every Friday at 5 pm on her Twitter page with her co-founder/psychotherapist, Dedoyin Ajayi, through Heartcafe they have helped over 160 individuals receive free therapy sessions.

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Larmmy is also a trustee of ProjectHope, an organization focused on philanthropy, providing skills acquisition platforms to individuals, scholarships, and community development.

This mom of three kids wears many hats. As a Nigerian living in the USA, she has a full-time job as a senior software analyst, two consulting side jobs in I.T., and was recently an Executive Producer for the short film “Mirror” currently streaming on Youtube.

5. Gusi Tobby Lordwilliams

Gusi Tobby Lord Williams, fondly called Lord T of Impact is the founder of one of Africa’s fastest-growing female volunteering networks “Girlhub Africa”. Toby is also a talk show host and a professional make-up artist. The young serial entrepreneur is very passionate about creating more opportunities for African women and is dedicated to her humanitarian service and believes women are a treasure trove of possibilities.

She started her career in the sector as a volunteer and Research Development Support Specialist with the United Nations Volunteers Corp through Girl Hub Africa, where she was responsible for facilitating volunteers training and recruitment for organizations, providing direct demand-driven technical assistance and corporate social responsibility services to private sector-led firms in Nigeria.

Gusi Tobby

Through Girl Hub Africa, she has led over ten thousand volunteers across Nigeria, within an astonishing two years of starting from different works of life, with more than five thousand youths benefitting from this initiative through gainful employment.

The Law graduate from the University of Benin is a multi-award recipient. She recently received an award as the top 100 most Influential African, and she is a notable alumnus of the GOTNI leadership center.

Toby enjoys connecting young people to local and global opportunities where they can excel in their careers, personal brands, and their businesses and she is committed to strengthening organizational systems, building capacity, and fostering sustainable growth of young people through innovative volunteering and development support.

6. Ariyike Akinbobola

Ariyike Akinbobola has a Certificate in Child Protection: Children’s Rights in Theory and Practice from Harvard X and she also coaches Immigrant families relocating abroad on expectations and how to navigate their new reality she consults for aspiring authors who want to learn how to self-publish their books on Amazon.

Through her Ariyike Arise Initiative Africa, she has helped to fund the education of Children in disadvantaged communities in Africa.

In 2020, they donated one thousand facemasks to People in disadvantaged communities in Ajegunle, Lagos, Nigeria. She believes the world would be a better place if everyone did more for others.

In 2021, Ariyike Akinbobola became the first winner of the Immigrant Leader Award at the Universal Women’s Network Women of Inspiration Award.

As an advocate for Female Genital Mutilation abandonment in Nigeria, she volunteered as a digital advocate for UNFPA/ UNICEF and was recognized as the UNFPA / UNICEF Frown AwardFemale Genital Mutilation Abandonment Advocate of the Year amongst other recognitions.

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Ariyike also volunteers as a Literacy Ambassador for Project 99A in Canada and a Mentor with the Canadian Multicultural Group.

Her books, Beautifully Coloured and The Cost of Our Lives, both Amazon Bestselling books are available on Amazon. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, dancing, meeting new people, and creating content on her YouTube channel. Ariyike is married with Children.

8. Nnenna Uboma

Nnenna Uboma is also an Analytics Senior leader and has over 20 years of experience leading high-performing analytical teams to develop industry-edge solutions in one of the leading financial institutions in Canada. Her passion for tutoring and coaching analytical professionals over the past decade made her a sought-after speaker at different conferences across the globe. She has mentored many successful professionals in Analytics.

The Amazon whose teenage daughter is the CEO of Beyond Math spends her spare time nurturing High School kids in Leadership and Entrepreneurship skills. Nnenna was recently recognized as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women.

Nnenna Uboma is the Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) of Beyond Math, It provides a strong foundation for STEM-based education and the capability to excel in a mathematical and quantitative discipline.

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Beyond Math offers classroom franchising to undergraduate students empowering them on their first step into entrepreneurship. Nnenna is an Analytics Senior leader and has over 20 years of experience leading high-performing analytical teams to develop industry-edge solutions. Nnenna is known for her “Can do” attitude and ability to think out of the box.

Nnenna has grown a passion for tutoring and coaching analytical professionals over the past decade. She has mentored many successful professionals in Analytics Nnenna spends her spare time nurturing High School kids in Leadership and Entrepreneurship skills. She was recently recognized for her work at the 100 ABC.

9. Winifred Njoguani

Winifred Njoaguani is a multi-talented and experienced customer relations officer, a communication media creative, and an audio, visual, and text content creator.

Winifred Njoguani

The host of The Word of Wini Podcast, she is passionate about equity for females all over the world, creating content for female-based platforms like The Girl Power media.


10. Maryam Muritala

Maryam Muritala is an internationally trained Lawyer who was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2008. She worked in the Corporate Sector with various companies with a huge focus on Business and Technology law before relocating out of Nigeria. She is also a seasoned and Award-winning Entrepreneur, who has helped individuals launch successful businesses across five continents through Canada Vendors, a Business Development and Advertising Company using digital marketing tools to give structured visibility to businesses across Canada and the diaspora.

Maryam Muritala, Founder- Canada Vendors

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, we interviewed 255 Small businesses across various communities in Canada offering support for successfully hosting BRAND EXPO in 2021 and 2022
Canada Vendors launched a mini-series on youtube in 2021 titled “THE ENTREPRENEURIAL JOURNEY” spotlighting business owners across communities in Canada, so far we have interviewed entrepreneurs from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Alberta.

The series is ongoing and they hope to spotlight more entrepreneurs across Canada.

11. Mariam Adeyemi

Mariam Adeyemi is the founder of TechaVilly, a technology training platform aimed at empowering the black community through skills and knowledge transfer. She founded the company alongside her college friend, Omotoyosi Ogunbanwo who is also a tech enthusiast and currently works at Amazon USA.
Techavilly was founded in 2020 and has trained over 10,000 black people from 2020 to date, helping them to fit into today’s dynamic job market.

Mariam Adeyemi, Founder- Techavilly

Mariam has worked in reputable companies. She moved to the United States of America in 2017 to improve her skills to remain relevant in the job market. She got her master’s degree in Business Analytics from Texas A&M University in Texas and was privileged to work in companies like Samsung Electronics America and other mid-sized companies in the United States.

​She is the first female EdTech (Educational Technology) founder to launch an educational communication app in Africa. She is committed to bridging parent-teacher communication while developing and transforming the child in the process. ​ According to Mariam; ​The goal is to expand across African schools and integrate technology into the school curriculum. Discord App is gradually expanding, and penetration is improving. It is currently available for download on Google Play and App Store.     

12. Deborah Ojo

Deborah Ojo started as a class teacher before she established DeborahHomes, a company she built on the core values of honesty and integrity spiced with an uncompromising stand on professionalism. The amazing entrepreneur who is also known for their strategic and focused approach is a real estate agent with RE/MAX, the largest Real Estate company in Canada.

Deborah Ojo-Deborahhomes

With over 10 years of experience In the Real Estate sector, she has taught over 63 seminars and counting to minority communities on how to Own their piece of real estate free of charge as a way to give back to those communities and help women who have passion for the business find their path and earn a living.

Deborah Ojo has built a solid foundation of clients in her community through her p, professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment to always putting her client’s needs first.

13. Omobabirin Adeola Osideko

Omobabinrin Adeola is a trained Accountant, chartered in Nigeria, the UK, and Canada, she works full-time with the African Development Bank in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, as a finance professional.

MINTA (Mummy In the Abroad) otherwise called by her fans, is a First-class graduate of Accounting and holds an MSc in Accounting from the prestigious University of London. Senior Director of Crystal Edge Professional Services (a training and branding consulting company), she is a personal development coach, branding expert and social media influencer. An international and TEDx speaker, she has spoken in different countries (online and offline) and has published six books and 14 e-books.

Omobabirin Adeola Osideko

She has successfully coached over 10,000 people in personal development and branding. Over the last three years, Adeola has helped individuals and business owners build strong and reputable brands online and offline. She is also the founder of Coached By Omobabinrin, a Facebook community of over 20,000 members.

14. Iretioluwa Akerele

Iretioluwa Akerele is a Cybersecurity career coach and mentor who has a reach of over 40,000 people across her social media platforms. She is an advisory board member of Cybersafe Foundation and the founder of Cybarik Limited, United Kingdom, she also founded a Cybersecurity community named Cyblack for African Cybersecurity students in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Iretioluwa Akerele Cybersecurity
Akerele uses her social media handles to support Cybersecurity beginners and enthusiasts. In the space of one year, she has provided three batches of cybersecurity virtual internships for beginners in the field. Iretioluwa is a cybersecurity specialist who is passionate about bringing topical issues in Cybersecurity to the forefront.
She co-hosts a monthly Twitter space where she uses her influence to provide opportunities to people interested in the Cybersecurity field. She won the Young CISO of the Year award and End-user advocacy for situational awareness in March 2022.

15. Nantale Muwonge

Natale is an award-winning digital marketing strategist, storyteller, and founder of Black Girl PR. She has helped 2,500 plus entrepreneurs increase their market share over the last two years. She educates them on marketing and digital PR best practices and provides them with an action plan to increase their visibility, so they reach more people to have a bigger impact.

Nantale Muwonge - Blakgirl Pr

Nantale created Black Girl PR after she suffered a car accident, the pandemic pushed her to get serious about her purpose, and she switched her focus to supporting Black women looking to make an impact beyond what we can conceive.

16. Monisola Bukola

Monisola is the founder and CEO of Sugartowndesserts, a fast-growing cakes, and desserts catering brand that provides custom cakes, desserts & chocolate-covered treats for all occasions and celebrations. The brand, which has since grown in leaps and bounds, is known for its unique tastes, colorful designs, and customer-centric offerings, which stand them out from the pack.

She holds a BSc in Statistics from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, Nigeria. Monisola is revered for her commitment to excellence, eye for detail, and innovative ideas. In 2023, Women of Rubies named her among the Top 22 Inspiring Women to Watch. She has also been invited to speak at various conferences and events about her experiences as an entrepreneur.

Monisola Bukola Sugartowndesserts

Though the inspiring damsel faced numerous challenges when starting her business, however, she persisted and was able to overcome them through hard work and willpower. Her ultimate dream is to grow Sugartowndesserts, own her own bakery/dessert bar, and establish it as a leading cake & desserts catering brand across Canada. She is also looking to explore new business opportunities and give back to women who desire to impact society.

17. Blessing Timidi Digha

Blessing Timidi Digha has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Female Genital Mutilation. She is a community-based researcher with over 20 years of experience working on issues centered on Gender-Based Violence. She does a lot of counseling around Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and is very vast at the work she does.

Blessing works with individuals, communities, stakeholders, gatekeepers, organizations and most importantly, policymakers, using community mobilization and engagement techniques for social justice. She has played different roles in the success of different policies in Africa (particularly in Nigeria) and Canada, through high-level meetings, sensitization, training, and contributions.

One thing that makes Blessing happy is seeing young feminists she had mentored over the years make giant strides and contribute to the conversations, policies, and rights of girls and women globally. She works part-time with the Nigerian community in Canada providing support, client management, and referrals in a prominent non-profit organization, and works in the movie industry building and rigging sets.

18. Blessing Agu

Blessing studied Music at the University of Nigeria Nsukka because of her love and passion for music, she started singing at age eight. At 13, she became the choirmaster of St. Columba’s Catholic Youth Choir, and at 15, she became the church choirmaster.

At the University of Nigeria, she represented the Music Department at events within and outside the institution.

The American-based artiste is currently a graduate student in the Sacred Music Program at the University of Notre Dame, She possessed a Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and has worked as a Vocal and Dance teacher at Lekki British School, a Lecturer at St. Gregory Diploma School of Pastoral Music, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, a dance teacher at Learning Ladder Montessori, and a faculty member at HYMNODIA (a reality show centered around the singing of hymns and worship songs).

Blessing Agu Opera singer

Blessing has performed at musical concerts and corporate events and played lead roles in operas and operettas with the Comic Opera House, MUSON (Music Society of Nigeria), AMEMUSO (Abuja Metropolitan Music Society), and the Department of Music, University of Nigeria, and different parts of the world. The beautiful singer serenaded the audience with her rendition of the National Anthem at a recent event in Canada.

19. Reni Odetoyinbo

Odetoyinbo is a Nigerian-Canada-based financial content creator, she began sharing resources on personal finance and career development through her YouTube channel, xoReni, during the pandemic.
At 23, she purchased her first home, and her DM was filled with questions on “how she made it”, she then realized she could carve out a niche for herself in the Financial Literacy space.

Odetoyinbo credits the skills she developed at Schulich for kickstarting her content strategy journey. She left her marketing manager role at BMO to pursue her content strategy and speaking dreams full-time.
She was named among #YouTubeBlack Voices Class of 2022.

20. Chioma Ogamba

Chioma Ogamba is the founder and ChiefExecutive Officer of Kisha Immigration, a licensed Canadian immigration company located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The company before it became fully licensed served as a pro bono consultation and guidance service in 2016. Kisha Immigration is affiliated with the Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC), the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC), and the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC). The organization renders services such as immigration and citizenship consulting, business immigration, citizenship and residency by investment, settlement consulting, and lots more.

Chioma Ogamba Ifediata Kisha Immigration

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, the 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.

21. Joyce Agbanobi

Joyce is the Technical Program Manager Lead at Microsoft with over 7 years + of experience in e-commerce sectors. She is also the Co-Founder of the Black Woman Paving Ways, a platform that aims at closing the digital divide and increasing the percentage of women in STEM, through building initiatives to help women upskill for the future and Matching newbies to their dream Mentors across different Fortune 500 companies.

International Women's Day 2023

She founded BWPW with her grad school friend Lola Quadri who is also in the tech sector. Black Woman Paving Ways was created in November 2020 and since then, they have helped 4,000+ women find their unique paths in technology, gain skills for the future, get matched to technical experts, and get their dream jobs.

The goal of her company was not only to bring women into technology but also to make sure they are uniquely skilled and indispensable in their roles. Joyce is passionate and committed to closing the gender gap for women of color in technology.

22. Nkechi Ahanor Wilson

Nkechi wears many hats, she is an award-winning celebrity wig artist, hair artist, and hair vendor based in Canada. A humanitarian, the convener of “THE EMPOWERED WOMAN SUMMIT”

International Women's day 2023

Nkechi is a  certified psychologist, a  certified aesthetician, and a business mogul with a decade of entrepreneurship. She is a public speaker, lover of God and humanity, and passionate about empowering women all over the world using innovative technology and hands-on skill set and training to build a wholesome woman who could stand the test of time. Nkechi is the owner CACOSA brand, which consists of hair and Skincare, and  Shoreline Pacific International.


Nigerian women are breaking boundaries in Canada, and they are inspiring other women to do the same. Monisola Bukola is one of the most sought-after business owners in Canada.

She is the founder and CEO of fast-growing Sugartowndesserts, a cakes and desserts catering brand that provides custom cakes, desserts & chocolate-covered treats for all occasions and celebrations.

The brand has since grown in leaps and bounds. Sugartowndesserts is known for its unique tastes, colorful designs, and Customer-centric offerings which stand them out from the pack.

Monisola has a BSc in Statistics from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, Nigeria. Her statistical knowledge helps her to better understand her customers, optimize her production process, improve her product quality, and increase profitability. She is revered for her commitment to excellence, eye for detail, and innovative ideas.

Monisola Bukola Sugartowndesserts

In 2023, she was named one of the “Top 22 Inspiring Women to Watch ” by Women of Rubies. She has also been invited to speak at various conferences and events about her experiences as an entrepreneur.

The inspiring damsel faced numerous challenges when starting her business, however, she persisted and was able to overcome these difficulties through hard work and willpower. This diligent damsel draws inspiration from everything around her. From movies to clothes, shoes, pictures, and lots more.

Monisola’s ultimate dream is to grow Sugartowndesserts, own her own bakery/dessert bar, and establish it as a leading cake & desserts catering brand across Canada. She is also looking to explore new business opportunities and give back to women who desire to impact society.

Childhood Influence

I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. Business was a daily conversation in my family. While growing up I learned patience, resilience & relationship building which has prepared me for my entrepreneurial journey.

Inspiration behind Sugartowndesserts

I have a history of entrepreneurs in my family, which has been a major influence I must say. I also have an entrepreneurial spirit and a very strong desire to succeed.

The journey so far

The journey to starting a business can be rough and interesting, I mean the thought of being my boss is enough motivation for me to keep it going. Honestly, there have been ups and downs, struggles and failures, losses and gains, it’s all worthwhile I must say.

The pastry industry in Canada

It is a thriving industry with prospects. I have seen and met other bakers who are doing amazingly well because we are in a society where the system helps entrepreneurs to thrive.

My future  goals for  Sugartowndesserts 

I am looking to have my bakery where I can serve cakes and desserts, a one-stop place for everything pastries where customers get value for their money and refer my business to others.

Monisola Sugartowndesserts

3 women who Inspire me and why

1)My mum for her inspirational teachings & advice

2) Oprah Winfrey for her compassion

3)Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for her boldness

Challenges of being a business owner

Accessing funds & balancing business and family life. As a career woman, I try to balance every area of my life and ensure everything runs smoothly. I am also blessed to have a supportive partner who understands the challenges of my business, and steps in to help at all times.

Managing my role as a  mom, wife, and business owner

I set daily goals and I don’t forget self-care. I have set a boundary between workspace & family time that works for me.

To young Canadian women who want to go into my line of business

Dream big, never stop improving yourself, be teachable, and never give up. The sky is comprehensive for everyone to fly. Soar and keep pushing.

Nuggets on how to build a successful business in Canada

If you want to be successful, surround yourself with business owners in your field and have a clear purpose for your unique selling point



Udunma Nnenna Ikoro is the Lead Creative Director at Communique ResourceHub, a multiple Amazon Bestselling Author, trainer, and speaker. The graduate of Linguistics and Communication Studies, is also a professional communication, Educational, and Book Project Consultant, Lead Editor, and Content Strategist.

 She has a rich teaching experience of 14 years and runs an online English Academy as an English language teacher. Udunma Nnenna Ikoro is an advocate of Education, Youth Empowerment, Innovation in Reading Culture, Women, Cancer Awareness and screening, Volunteering, and a Sustainable Environment.

Udunma Ikoro TIWA summit

She is the convener of the TIWA SUMMIT, The Intentional Women Africa Conference and Masterpiece Writers Summit, first held in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She helps writers, entrepreneurs, professionals, and authors birth profitable books and become internationally published authors, especially on Amazon.

She has consulted and published books for many professionals in different sectors. The Multiple Amazon Bestselling and Publisher, who has authored twelve books shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this interview.

Childhood Influence of Udunma Nnenna Ikoro

My childhood was a discovery and an indirect preparatory ground for what I do today. As a little girl, I became a children’s choir mistress, wrote songs and poems though never published, then moved to writing stories. I had so many thoughts and insights above my age as a child, and my writing skill was discovered early.

In Primary two, I taught my fellow mates and held after-school tutorials for others which continued in Primary five where I oversaw primary four class in the absence of their teacher and even made notes and marked class work of the pupils in the public school I attended.

Growing up in the city of Aba, Abia State was interesting as I was surrounded by my lieutenants and loved by all as the only daughter. I had the best my parents could provide although our environment did not have many social facilities, we would spend time together with our parents. My Christian foundation coupled with great values and exposure to serving God in truth and sound education made me who I am today.

Inspiration Behind Tiwa Summit and Communique Resourcehub

 As an intentional woman, I discovered that many women were living other people’s dreams and living in pain, and regrets and stuck in life and their careers without fulfillment. It was obvious that many challenges and dissatisfaction were linked to no self-discovery, low self-esteem, fears, undiscovered life’s purpose, stereotypes, self-sabotage and more which I explained with their solutions intensely in my book, The Intentional Woman.

Hence, The Intentional Women Africa was birthed to help women appreciate their beauty, strength, find their purpose and enhance their potential then manifest their greatness. I held FREE three days of training, summits, and conferences to help drive home the message of intentional living as a means of manifesting a woman’s greatness.

Communique ResourceHub is my business brand and a communication and publishing consulting company. I was inspired by the fact that I know too much to remain where I was before I stepped forward into social entrepreneurship.

My desire to help people communicate their ideas, stories, knowledge, and experience effectively and error-free, using digital technology on global and local platforms while making an impact, profit and building a legacy inspired me to go into editing, book writing and publishing consultation.

The need to help writers and aspiring authors self-publish their books as I did with Amazon without some traditional publisher’s drama inspired me to start what I do at Communique ResourceHub.

The Journey So Far

It has been awesome though quite challenging and rough. I did not let the challenges break me but brush myself up to play harder and smarter. If you would like to get people to believe in what you do, you should really merit the attention and trust they will deposit in what you do. The hitches opened my eyes to greater opportunities for capacity building, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


Honestly, these challenges are peculiar to our environment aside from a few.

When I started and till now, people still struggle to believe I can deliver an excellent and standard job because they feel my brand is young, unknown and being resident in Africa. But my results over the years and consistency in creating content that boosted my credibility and visibility helped to reduce that and I have worked with majorly clients outside Nigeria so far, especially in Australia, the UK, the USA, Germany, Belgium, and New Zealand to mention but a few.

The issue of poor electricity supply cannot be overemphasized. It affects our productivity rate and skyrockets our products and services costs too. It affects my work in terms of the overhead cost, pricing, and turnaround time for a job. The cost of marketing to generate fresh leads and prospects is another challenge. Acquiring new upgraded gadgets and maintaining old ones.

How My Work Has Inspired Women Around Me

Many women who have encountered my intentional living message and lifestyle have been inspired to take their lives in their hands and turn it into a legacy. Many have gone ahead to start thriving businesses, build confidence to show up and be heard, and build others in their world.

I preach the message of shining brightly and illuminating others while helping them to shine their lights too because there is greatness in every person on earth.

Today, many call me The Intentional Queen because my life depicts everything about intentionality, results and manifesting your greatness no matter what the story used to be because YOU OWE YOURSELF YOUR GREATNESS. The world will only come around when you make, as they say, “success has many friends.”

Udunma Ikoro

Highlights of My Career as an English Language Teacher  

I started teaching English Language in 2003, so, it is 19 years now. Being an English Language teacher is a privilege and a golden opportunity for me as a person.

The highlights include;

  • Being a part of students’ journey of becoming good in English Language.
  • As a teacher, I remain an English Language student to keep abreast with innovations.
  • I’ve had the privilege to teach students to attain success in their external and international examinations, especially IELTS.
  • Continuous learning while teaching others the language.
  • Raising leaders through other provided opportunities as a social mistress, class teacher, club coordinator, Press and Drama Club, etc.
  • Transitioning to an Online English Learning Academy tutor and global English language tutor.

Other Projects and Activities

As a multitalented and intentional woman with aspirations, I am usually keen to give life and manifest other parts of me that are the colors of my personality.

Some of my projects include my humanitarian and professional projects at Masterpiece Entrepreneurs and Writers Academy (MEWA). We hold writing competitions, free webinars, and content sharing in our community to help entrepreneurs, and assist writers in enhancing their writing skills to build and publish their digital products.

At The Intentional Women Africa, we hold training, summits, and conferences, and we focus on these projects; Education, Health, STEM and Skills acquisitions especially for underprivileged, unprivileged, living with disabilities women and girl children. We also hold mentoring sessions for secondary children on self-discovery and intentional living then, girl children on menstrual health.

I am also opportune to volunteer for other organizations like Revamp Africa as State Coordinator supporting teaching and mentoring of children in the public schools, UN, and YALI, to mention but a few.

On 17th December 2022, we will be celebrating our 2nd Anniversary and conducting a Cervical and Breast Cancers Screening for two hundred women with FREE treatment featuring business, health, Tech and life-seasoned speakers in Lagos, Nigeria.

Being An Amazon Bestselling Author

Becoming an Amazon bestselling author was not an easy journey, but I did it afraid even as a first-time author, in 2017 with my book, Phenomenal Parenting. I got helpful training and knowledge through paid and self-taught courses and research.

I intentionally replicated the same result with my second book which was an answer to questions from my audience on how I achieved bestselling book status. It worked even better. Ever since 2018, I have published many authors and their books hit Amazon bestselling books driving sales. Besides, my twelve books on Amazon are all bestselling books.

What Udunma Nnenna Ikoro Enjoys Most About Her Job

This is an interesting question and one I love to answer at every interview. There are many things I enjoy about my job but what I enjoy most is the fulfillment of serving my world with my expertise, experience, skills and knowledge from the comfort of my home, making an impact, profit and building a legacy as a writer while helping others great the life they enjoy too.

Three Women Who Inspire You and Why

My mum is my top inspiration any day. She is a good example of a Proverbs 31 woman. She is the true Intentional Woman, industrious and kind. Amongst all she taught me, I learnt patience from my mum while the Holy Spirit helped me to become a truly patient person.

To Those Trying to Learn Content Monetization

Writing is an expressive medium of communication. To make your writing craft profitable, your writing must be valuable to your audience. Profits go after values.

Profitable writing solves problems, answers questions, and transforms the reader.

Only a person of value can give value. Improve daily on your craft, write, and have a likable personality from your sharable content. Your content is relatable when it is experiential content. Be visible. Be intentional. Be consistent.

How to Support Women in the Creative and Writing Sector

Women in the creative and writing sector need support in the areas of promotion of their skills and work. If their work could be pushed to the right audience globally and locally, it is a way of appreciation and encouragement.

There is a need for valuable mentorship because it is a huge advantage to the woman who is trying to find her feet in the creative and writing sector.

Funding, purchases, and referral are invaluable support every woman and human being needs to grow and excel in their work.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I am a Woman of Rubies because I am a woman making an impact in the lives of many women all around the world. I have integrity and excellence as my personal and brand values. Daily I do my best to live by them in my relationship with people. I am a gift and unrepentant giver who gives and keeps giving to lift, help and support other people and humanity. I love lavishly and believe in helping others manifest their greatness.

How to Get My Books:

Available at Worital Bookplaze, Roving Heights and other books across Nigeria, Bambooks, Okadabooks, Apples Book and Amazon.

Phone number:  09098028001

How to Reach Udunma Nnenna Ikoro on Social Media






My forthcoming cancer screening charity project:

The Intentional Women Africa’s 2nd Anniversary Conference and Cervical and Breast Cancer Screening Campaign.

Date:  17th December, 2022.

Venue: 1-7

Time: 8am

Screening fee: N7000

Registration link:

Further enquiries : 09098028001


Keisha Green, amazing entrepreneur and mum of three has shared her amazing story of how she managed to get her life back together after an horrific accident in 2013.

The life Strategist and Coach narrated how her world changed drastically when on the 23rd of August 2013, her right leg was dismembered in order to release her from the vehicle in which she had an accident, and her left leg was severed instantly from impact by the guardrail at the point of the accident.

Keisha gave immense credit to Steve Harvey who she said helped her raise funds and introduced her to the man who made her artificial legs.

The motivational speaker shared her story on and it is every bit of inspiring.

Read excerpts below.

A little bit about Keisha Green

If there is one consistency in my life, it is that there has been a solid foundation of tenacity, perseverance, and excellence. These qualities have set me apart and created a dynamic force to be reckoned with and catapulted into my life’s passion as an entrepreneur and sought after motivational speaker, Life Strategist/Life Coach and author.

I’m from Syracuse, New York. I am the fourth born of five children. At the tender age of nine, I began to assist my mother, who was a single mom, in the care of my siblings, while my mother worked to provide for the family.

Read Also: Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Nadia Murad Sets Up Fund For Survivors Of Wartime Rape

On the accident that changed Keisha Green’s life forever

Then in the blink of an eye…. on August 23, 2013 I was involved in a car accident that would change my world forever. It is only by the grace and mercy of God that I, the mother of three, strident college student, successful business woman, and entrepreneur made it out alive. The accident was so horrific, that the dreaded “Jaws of Life” was used to free me from the vehicle.

My right leg was dismembered in order to release me from the vehicle, and my left leg was severed instantly from impact by the guardrail at the scene of the accident. The doctor’s said that I would be hospitalized for at least one year. Miraculously through prayers and faith from my children, family and friends, I emerged from the hospital in three weeks of the accident and left the hospital.

That’s Right! My world had changed but my passion and purpose and earthly assignment had taken on its predestined form. I understood, not only did He Chose Me, but I would Inspire others by Empowering thru Hope.

On finding a head way after the accident

I continued running my business while preparing to walk again and is now using what most thought was a tragedy as a triumph of the power of the spirit! I discovered my true purpose and calling while embarking upon a spiritual journey through the unexpected turns of life that led to the light of new beginnings and new chapters.

I discovered that my true purpose and calling is to inspire, empower, enlighten and enrich the minds, lives and spirit of others. This has led to the launching of my inspirational and life strategy speaking series titled “Ticket To Transformation,” which led to my ground-breaking one-on-one intense life coaching sessions. I’ve had an intense adventure to life expansion and mental, spiritual and financial growth.

Read Also: Two-Time Cancer Survivor Marries For The First Time At 73

On her career after the accident

When I am not traveling globally as a key-note or motivational speaker, I am volunteering my time and services to my church, schools, nonprofits, and community organizations. I am a creative writer, engaging speaker, insightful presenter and skilled life strategist.

I reside in Atlanta, Georgia where my three sons serve as inspiration for a life well lived. My story is still being written and the best is yet to come. I Am Keisha Green!

Culled from



There is no force greater than a woman determined to live a fulfilled life, and make a difference while at it. Oluwatoyin Fadairo is a goal-oriented woman full of passion. for humanity and affinity for change. TSD, as she is fondly called by friends, is a successful entrepreneur that also doubles as a philanthropist whose focus is on vulnerable women and children in the society.

With her creativity and innovative ideas, she has been able to create a niche for herself on social media, and this has landed her a number of ambassadorial and brand promotion roles with reputable brands and businesses across the world.

Oluwatoyin Fadairo is the Director of Operations for TSDXclusive, the home of quality bespoke footwear for men, and shoes for women and children. Oluwatoyin has successfully created a platform for children and women experiencing any form of abuse or human right violation, to seek and get necessary help and intervention.

Being a philanthropist, TSD is the founder of The Unbroken Women Initiative (TUWI), a non-profit organization that caters for women and children with psychological, emotional, and financial needs.

Oluwatoyin Fadairo  shares her inspiring story with  Women of Rubies.

Oluwatoyin Fadairo
Oluwatoyin Fadairo

Childhood Influence

Growing up was fun. I grew up in a relatively comfortable family, as my parents tried their utmost best to provide us with the necessities of life and my siblings and I attended some the best schools around. However, we were taught not to close our eyes to the needs of the people around us, as there are rewards for givers.

In our neighborhood, we had folks who were struggling to cater for their kids, my parents especially my mum always assisted in her own little way and I learnt this from her. I made up my mind at the early stage to ensure I am always there for people, in my own little way.

Read Also: Before You Judge Another Single Mom

Inspiration Behind The Unbroken Welfare Initiative

The empathy for women who suffered all kinds of abuses in marriages. The trauma some of them experienced when they lost their spouse, seeing children, who ought to be in school doing menial jobs at the earliest stage of their lives, etc, motivated me to start The Unbroken Welfare initiative (TUWI).

The Journey So Far

Frankly speaking, it has been very challenging. This type of vision requires a lot of resources – human, financial and a host of others to sustain it and make desired impact in the lives of the target population.
A lot of financial resources are required to meet up with the ever mounting financial requests.

You will be amazed to see the number of requests that get to our table on daily basis, like financial assistance to sort medical bills, school fees, accommodations, etc. Many people believe, for you to set up this kind of NGO, the finances are there and you must be able to respond to all, immediately these requests are presented.

They are ignorant of the fact that the organisation runs on the little gains from personal businesses and goodwill of friends and family that key into TUWI’s vision.

Another major challenge we face is that people are skeptical of sharing their burdens with us. Many are reluctant to share their experiences due to societal discriminations, as well as pressure to keep quiet, especially those in abusive marriages/relationships.

Also, for every platform, there are people, who are not genuinely in need but cook up stories, to the extent of ‘cooking up’ fake medical reports in a bid to get funds from us. We also need volunteers, especially professionals, to assist in attending to diverse issues.

Oluwatoyin Fadairo

How My Work Inspire Other Women

I have seen a lot of women coming out to express themselves freely about challenges they are going through. People have walked up to me, to speak of their desire to touch lives in their communities, because they appreciate what we are doing. This gives us at TUWI, a lot of joy and push to do more.

Read Also: I Was Sexually Abused At 8, It Took Me 22 Years To Open Up

 Other Projects and Activities

I started my business years ago (sales of interior décor). I am now also into sales of fashion items mostly shoes and many others….brand influencing, social media adverts and campaigns for brands/businesses and brand ambassadorship (I am presently the face of two brands).

What I Enjoy Most About My Job

Getting to meet new people, helping small businesses grow as I also supply items in wholesales…I have a number of people who get items from me through what we call the dropshipping system, this makes it possible for people to start and run businesses without having to worry about capital
The most satisfying aspect of my job is the running of TUWI, knowing that at least I get to touch lives positively in my own little way

Oluwatoyin Fadairo

 3 women who inspire me and why 

My mum, Chimamanda Adichie and Olamide Ogidan Odeseye(Larmmy)

To People Who Judge Women Who Walk Out Of Abusive Relationships

Stop pushing people down the death valley. Life has no recovery key and we cannot continue to encourage people to keep enduring torments. If we only put ourselves in other people’s shoes, we will be less judgmental.
Then we need to let people especially this new generation know marriage is not a do or die affair, its supposed to be a journey between partners not a war zone.

How  To support women in abusive relationships

As a society, we need to stop stigmatizing single people and single parents. This has prevented many from walking away from unproductive and abusive relationship.

We need to encourage women in abusive relationship to speak up and also provide them with therapy to enable them heal, as abusive relationship leaves people with a huge scar and takes so many things away – joy, self-esteem, vision and so many other things.

Read Also: I Was Suicidal After My Marriage Broke Up

What Makes Me a Woman of Rubies

In the adventure of life, I have been through a lot of fire and storms. I have not given the fire the power to burn me nor subjected myself to be blown away by the storm. Rather, I have allowed the experiences to shape me into a woman of dignity, industry, influence, vision and respect.

No matter the challenges or the obstacles that come my way, I have chosen to live through them and to be inspired by them.

Watch: How To Stop Being A People Pleaser

My life is a proof that God exists, I am evidence that He is indeed faithful and so gracious. There are days I feel like my life is not all together, other days, I feel like wonder woman but I have learnt to be in charge, in both situations. Rubies are beautiful, they are formed under severe heat and pressure.

The heat of life refines me, the pressure of life strengthens me.

 If I Could Speak To A Young Person Who Is On The Verge Of Giving Up

Quitters never win. No situation is common to a man and no challenge has ever come to stay, as long as one does not surrender to it. Never stop dreaming. Everyone being celebrated today, would tell you they were at the point of given up, at some time but they turned things around by realizing that, giving up would not result in change of fortune, they re-assessed where they were, where they ought to be, understand what was needed to move from where they were to be where they ought to be, resolved to give it all their all, connected with people who can lift up their spirits and assist them in their life journey.

Life is full of ups and downs but never give up.

You can follow Oluwatoyin Fadairo On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to know more about her work.

Nobody’s perfect. But some men you should just avoid entirely..

As you look for Mr. Right, you try to look past some of bad traits so you can see all the good ones. This is good. It shows that you’re not shallow. But, despite how shallow it might seem, there are some guys you should just leave in the dating pool. Here are 10:

The commitment-phobe

Finally locked down the guy every girl’s been chasing? Well, I got news for you. Just because he finally decided to knuckle down and commit, doesn’t mean he’s committed. If he used to be a commitment-phobe, he may still be and you’ll always wonder how invested in the relationship he really is.

The mama’s boy

You’ve heard that how a man treats his mother is how he’ll treat you. So you look for a guy who is close to his mom and spends a lot of time with her. But be careful, if he’s too close you’ll find yourself married to his mother, too. So you better get used to hearing, “My mom doesn’t do it that way.” And you better get used to his mother being your marriage counselor, too.

The manly man

This guy talks about sports, beer and hunting all the time. Sure, he’s rugged but you better be prepared to change all the diapers and do all the housework. And forget about him getting you something nice for Valentine’s Day because real men don’t do that mushy stuff

The rebel

A lot of women are attracted to the bad boy. There’s just something mysterious and romantic about him. But a lot of times the rebel in society is a rebel in marriage. And pretty soon you’ll find him rebelling against you, too.

The narcissist

Narcissus was an ancient Greek mythological figure who was so beautiful that he fell in love with himself – but because he couldn’t leave his own reflection in the water, he eventually drowned. A person who is a narcissist is so convinced of their own greatness that they don’t see their weaknesses. Marrying a narcissist is a very one sided relationship. They’re always trying to vaunt their own greatness – often at the expense of others.

The control freak

Everybody likes to have things their own way. Unfortunately, because men are socialized to express hostility and anger when they don’t get what they want, a man who is a control freak can often become intimidating and even abusive (physically or mentally).

The I-know-more-than-you

It’s a good thing to marry a person for his brains. But be careful because you might end up marrying a know-it-all. And you’ll always feel like you’re wrong – even if it’s just an opinion.

The pushover

As mentioned before, everybody likes to have their own way. So when you find a guy who lets you do whatever you want and doesn’t complain about it, you want to grab him up. But after a while you’ll find yourself making all the decisions. And then you’ll find yourself complaining because he doesn’t pull his own weight.

The fitness freak

Who doesn’t want a guy with chiseled abs and nice arms? But despite all his good (physical) traits you may soon find that the gym is taking up an exorbitant amount of time in your family’s life. And you’ll find yourself using phrases like “did you beat your PR today, honey?” But more importantly, a man who lets the gym run his life has let the servant become the master and you’ll soon find that he has other priorities out of whack, too.

Yes, there are bits and pieces of these personality traits in every Prince Charming. But just make sure they’re only bits and pieces or you’ll find yourself married to a frog instead of a Prince.

Source: Familyshare


Coffee is certainly a popular beverage. Okay, pause for a moment, as a woman find out if this is your drink. This is not to scare you, in fact, studies have shown this drink has some health benefits when consumed moderately. This is a perfect read for moms or soon-to-be moms who love coffee in the morning.

Understanding what you put inside your body is so important for women. Health issues can be monitored and regulated in this manner. Alissa Vitti, an expert on women’s hormones, offered her perspective on coffee consumption. Women are advised to drink less coffee or to avoid it altogether. Take a look at her reasoning and decide if you still like coffee.

Pregnancy and miscarriage rates may be affected by caffeine:

This drink has a significant impact on fertility for both men and women, and yet it’s rarely ever mentioned. Men and women who drink three cups of coffee a day increase their miscarriage risk by 74%
Caffeine is linked to reduced fertility and, therefore, difficulties conceiving
The consumption of caffeinated beverages during early pregnancy (before you know you’re pregnant) increases the risk of early pregnancy loss
IVF conception rates were lower among men who drank two to four cups of coffee a day
Due to increased cortisol levels and adrenal stress, coffee disrupts ovulation
In addition to depleting vital vitamins and minerals (like fiber and folate) and causing gut health problems, coffee depletes vital vitamins and minerals.

Micronutrients are depleted from the body:

A healthy body relies on micronutrients to produce happy hormone. The caffeine in coffee can easily deplete your body of these nutrients. body. According to a review published in the Journal of Food Science and Quality Management, caffeine can cause nutrient depletion of important nutrients, like vitamin B6, and interfere with nutrient absorption of essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium and B vitamins.” From mood management to sound sleep, caffeine can leach the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Caffeine disrupts hormonal function for 24 hours:

Caffeine (in coffee, tea, and other beverages) decreases insulin sensitivity and increases stress hormone levels. A woman’s metabolism of coffee may differ from a man’s:
By entering the liver, caffeine is broken down by the CYP1A2 enzyme. The enzyme needed to break down significant amounts of caffeine is produced by only ten percent of the population. Estrogen is also degraded by the CYP1A2 enzyme. According to some studies, caffeine consumption may impact estrogen in some women by interfering with the enzyme CYP1A2. Women with impaired CYP1A2 function may have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (the number one killer in the United States). Reducing caffeine consumption may reduce health risks more in women with impaired metabolism (which can lead to estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance!). Your genetic status can be determined by genetic testing.

It might be worthwhile to consider how much interest you have in coffee or its quantity.  Ladies, I wish you good health.


Kulukaya Sadiki is a Malawai-based sustainable fashion designer, humanitarian, and marketer.

For her business talents, she was chosen as a Young African Leader for the ‘Leadership in Business’ cohort by the Mandela Washington Fellowship, a USA program in 2020.

Kulukaya is also the Founder and Chairperson of ‘Ladies of Influence,’ a recognized non-profit organization that focuses on sustainable development in Malawi through humanitarian efforts, with a particular focus on the female child.

Glo-Ray Designs Sustainable Studio, her clothing line, uses recycled and rejected fabric to create timeless trends, delaying disposal and reducing fabric pollution. She works with female fabric providers in the market, encouraging and empowering them with business skills.

She talks about her journey with Women of Rubies in this interview.

Did your childhood prepare you in any way for what you do now , tell us more about your upbringing?

I was born in 1987 and raised in Blantyre, Malawi and I am a Christian.  My father was a creative entrepreneur, sadly he passed away when I was 12. From there on, we were raised by my mom who did the best she could under the circumstances (Bless her always). Both of my sisters are business women so you see, the entrepreneurial route was inevitable for me. I grew up with and around strong women who taught me how to prepare for the world and survive in it. My childhood was normal, I easily made friends and played a lot. The grown up me is naturally an introvert so you will mostly find me at home, if am out am likely surrounded by nature, having one on one deep discussions or simply writing my heart out. My sisters are extroverts so I guess someone had to be the introverted one and that is me. I have an amazing, creative and intelligent daughter who is literally my world, I thank God for her. We are an inseparable team. When my dad was alive, it was great and normal…well close to perfect like every other family. When he passed away, my mom had to take care of everything and that was not easy but she did her best and was strong through it for all of us. I am forever grateful to her for being both parents to us for the past 21 years. I knew I grew up the way I did to make a difference in the world. I knew it but I did not know how I would do it.

What Inspired you to start Gloray-designs?

I know it is ironic but the moment my daughter was born, something was ignited inside of me and I knew I was created for more. I decided right then and there that I would make a difference in everything I do and I decided to pursue only business for purpose. As stated by the Wikipedia, the fashion industry is one of the major water, air and soil polluting industries of the world and the environmental damages increase as the industry grows. Small businesses are the least supported globally and the women entrepreneurs that sell recycled fabric are not recognized and are easily exploited. Fast fashion promotes discarding usable left over, recycled and rejected fabric and almost new clothes which pollutes the earth and it encourages rapid clothes making. This consumes natural resources at production and contributes to taking from nature. The problems associated with the fashion industry and my passion for women empowerment inspired me to open my sustainable studio and to dedicate my life to helping other people in all aspects of my life.

Kulukaya Sadiki

You also founded “Ladies of Influence”, what is the inspiration behind it?

Ladies of Influence(LOI) is a female managed Non-Profit Organization founded in 2017 whose main objective is to contribute to sustainable development in Malawi through humanitarian effort. The organization’s primary focus is to make a difference in the education and health sectors mainly targeting women and the girl child linked to Sustainable Development Goals in order to achieve women empowerment considering that this is a pivotal area in relation to global development. Growing up, I read a lot about organizations like UNDP, UNICEF, USAID, European Union and more on what they did to help humanity. I admired them from a distance but how was I, a young girl from Malawi, Blantyre ever going to make a difference in anyone’s life? That question haunted me through the years and it never let me go until I started to act on it. Purpose literally hunts you down. Ladies of Influence chose me and it is a part of me. I found amazing partners who work with me in the organization to make sure that all objectives are achieved. They dedicate their time and resources to make sure that we succeed. There would be no LOI without these women so I am thankful to each one of them for volunteering to work with me.


What makes Gloray designs unique and a stand out brand in Malawi?

We are a fashion brand that is not only focused on financial performance but also making a positive impact in society by using an important aspect of human existence which is clothes. This is done by reducing wastage in our production, working with marginalized groups and using the three pillars of sustainability in all our supply chain. Our Values are transparency, authenticity, women empowerment, environmental protection, Inclusive employment and attention to detail.


You are an advocate, and fashion designer, how do you manage it all?

Focus, discipline, determination and resilience are the four words that best describe me. When I commit to a project, I don’t stop until I see it through. I don’t sleep at the normal times, I jog to think and find inspiration, I partner and delegate. I could put it down to a lot but I think the most important aspect of it is God’s grace really. I am no superwoman but when you walk in purpose and aim to serve, God equips you with what you need through the race.


How have your ventures impacted women in Malawi, kindly share some testimonies?

Through ladies of influence we have managed to donate hospital equipment to 2 public hospitals that is helping people up to now. In 2017 we donated food and cash items to an orphanage and disability center owned by a woman in one of the townships in the country. We have a sponsorship and mentorship program currently sponsoring 8 girl children with all important educational needs because we believe in the saying that; ‘when you educate a girl child, you educate a village’.

Through Glo-Ray Designs we have managed to work with a few women who sell fabric at the markets and by becoming friends with them we have been able to share business ideas and I have helped to contribute to their businesses by being a referral and buying from them. My aim is to bring them with me throughout my growth and the chain would not be complete without them.

The clothes that I make bring out the confidence in a woman or a man. I make things that make the personality and authenticity shine through the people wearing them. I want people to be comfortable being themselves and not anybody else. I have received a lot of great reviews for my work and this is how I know that we are on the right track. My contribution to body image, acceptance and satisfaction is what makes me happy.


What are some of the challenges of your work?

My own fear of failure was my greatest challenge but with every step I took and the realization that fear is nothing but a feeling I can control, it grew smaller and smaller. Getting my clients, suppliers and customers to understand my sustainable business model is a work in progress but we are slowly getting there. Getting everyone to understand why we should help the less privileged in the society is still a process that is getting better each day. Patience, acceptance, resilience and understanding helps me to get by.


Tell us about your other projects and activities?

I am one of the Mandela Washington Fellows of 2021 and through this program, I am learning a lot to do with leadership. We are currently working on forming a fashion council in Malawi and I am the chairperson of the grouping. I am a marketer and one of the shareholders of a housing cooperative in Malawi making sure that people have access to housing facilities and I am a member of the Global Women’s Network. I love to write and motivate so I usually do that in my free time.


Mention 3 women who inspire you and why

Dr. Joyce Banda who was the first female president of Malawi for her bravery, she is an educator and a grassroots women’s rights activist. I admire her confidence and sense of purpose in her work.


Michelle Obama for her women and girl child empowerment.


Maya Angelou for using her wisdom and voice to reach out to people.


Could you share some nuggets on how to be a successful fashion designer & humanitarian?

As a fashion designer you have to be authentic in all you do, what you make and in your connection with customers, suppliers and employees.  Be crystal clear about what success means to you and draw your personal mission statement so you do not chase other peoples dreams. because when things get hard, you will go back to why you started in the first place and focus on the goal.

To be a humanitarian, you have to search within yourself and find what makes you happy at the core… for me it was the discovery that making a difference in the world and my community gives me a sense of satisfaction that I don’t feel doing anything else. It is service leadership and this requires a lot of sacrifice and looking beyond yourself and one’s immediate circle. One must have a sense of Ubuntu in them to take on such a humbling role.


What makes you a Woman of Rubies?

I am me, I am different from anyone else and they are different from me. My ability to love beyond pain, to work through distractions and to hold on to my values makes me me.

“The world is waiting for you to unleash your greatness.” – Odunayo Sanya.

Our ‘Woman in Leadership’ this week is Odunayo Sanya.

Odunayo is a Nigerian executive with over 23 years of experience in the corporate world. She currently serves as the Executive Secretary of the MTN Nigeria Foundation. Her work experience spans education, financial services, telecommunications and development sectors. She is a gifted writer who received widespread acclaim for her book ‘Alphabets of Leadership for Young Minds,’ which she published in 2019.

Odunayo is an International speaker. A Certified Coach, Speaker, and Trainer with the John Maxwell Team. She is an alumna of the Lagos Business School and the Institute of Management Development Switzerland, with executive training from the Harvard Business School and Cornell University.

She is also the convener of the ‘Thrive Circle’ a mentorship platform which she describes as her ‘pandemic story’. The Thrive Circle is a platform for individuals seeking growth in life and career. Odunayo is passionate about youth empowerment, leadership, mentorship, and nation building. In 2019, she received the Marketing World ‘Customer Service Thought Leader Award’ in Accra, Ghana. She was the 2019 Global Leadership Program Speaker at Coventry University in the United Kingdom. She shares her inspiring journey in this exclusive interview.

Interview with Odunayo Sanya

Childhood Influence

First, I’d like to thank Women of Rubies for having me and for creating this platform to showcase and encourage women. My childhood was exciting with a disciplinarian as a dad. I was brought up to cherish family – I come from a close-knit family of nine; Dad, Mum, 2 boys and 5 girls.


My childhood was in Lagos. From a young age, my parents taught me (likewise my siblings) to embrace the world with an open mind, this found expression in the choice of schools i attended – F.G.G.C Akure (Ondo State) & New-Bussa (Niger State). The choice of the boarding house shaped me and strengthened my sense of independence. I learnt diversity and inclusion from my parents, they never discriminated. The boarding house helped my social skills, it opened me up to interactions with diverse individuals and great minds. I was brought up to be comfortable in my skin and to strive for excellence. At a point in primary school, my dad taught me maths after school. I learnt from my parents that “putting in a word for someone is easier when the individual brings value to the table.”

Adventure was a pastime for my parents as i was encouraged to take some bold steps – i recall my dad seeing an advert in the newspapers for a new university that is, University of Abuja and he encouraged me to apply though we knew no one in Abuja at that time. And yes! I got the admission and as they say, the rest is history. I spent my Youth Service year in a small village called Ukpa in Ogoja, Cross Rivers State. My first job was outside Lagos (my parents lived and still live in Lagos). As a child I had a prayerful Grandma who taught me about God.

I would say YES, my childhood prepared me in more ways than one.


Inspiration behind The Thrive Circle

I have a strong passion for people, and I get very excited when individuals realize their potential. Someone described me as a ‘serial mentor’ (lol!). I had a strong desire to birth a platform for sharing knowledge that will enable individuals to thrive in their neck of the woods. The perfect opportunity came with the COVID-19 pandemic, the fear in the air was palpable and the confusion was like we had never known, i had a conviction within me that this was the right time. The first session was tagged ‘Finding Strength in Adversity.’ It’s been twenty-two speakers and thirty-one sessions after, ‘Thrive Circle’ is still standing. We are a community committed to learning.


The Journey so far

I am grateful for the journey. It has tested my resilience. I have expanded my network of friends and acquaintances. My knowledge horizon has been broadened, topics such as; Entrepreneurship, The Future of work, Mental Health, Crucial Conversations, Strategy, Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Management, Ethics, Risk Management and many more have been discussed in the Thrive Circle. We have also played host to accomplished professionals as our speakers. The future for Thrive Circle is bright – watch out.


Impact of being an International Speaker, and Certified Coach 

My first international speaking engagement was borne of the need to affirm myself. I had a strong desire to share my thoughts with other professionals and enrich the discussions in the field of Customer Experience. Was i scared? Yes, I was. Did it go well? Yes, it did and opened more opportunities for me. We are all speakers, and our voices are gifts from the ‘Grand Overall Designer’ (GOD). The question is ‘How are we using it? I am also a John Maxwell Certified Coach.



Being a Coach and a Speaker has enabled my growth and depth. As it is said, ‘Sameness is the death of a speaker’ and since I don’t want to die yet (lol!) it keeps me on my toes to keep gleaning new knowledge and applying them to my life. In terms of impact, i am a much better individual, leader, team member, mother, wife and member of the society. It has helped me with the mastery of human relationships and excellent delivery people. The most important impact is the privilege of connecting people to their aspirations and potentials. Speaking whether as a hobby or professionally is 99% about the audience (listener) and maybe 1% about the speaker.


My Customer Thought Leader Award, 2021 Sales Ruby Influencer Award & recognition as one of the Top 100 Career Women


These awards came as surprises. I recall for the sales Ruby award, I was getting ready to retire for the night and I got a message from a secondary school friend that she had voted. I was at a loss, I asked her what for, she then laughed at me and sent me the link to nominations. It however feels good when one’s good work is recognized by others. It really is humbling. I see this as a call to do more and be more.


Challenges of My Work at MTN Nigeria

On a lighter note, I have been working from home for over a year now and enjoying every bit of it. One of the greatest challenges of WFH is the near loss of work-life-balance. I self regulate and try to keep to a time regime to prevent any form of burn out. My Organization also ensures we keep to healthy work regimes.Challenges are a constant part of life. These challenges are opportunities in disguise. My work keeps me on my toes and presents me with the opportunity to serve and innovate. Creating and implementing service experiences and engagement strategies for 75m customers is a huge responsibility. I recently, changed roles and I look forward to the opportunity of enabling people and communities through the MTN Nigeria Foundation.


Other Projects & Activities

I am an Author. My book ‘Alphabets of Leadership for Young Minds’ is listed in the United States Library of Congress, it is targeted at youth ages 10 – 16. I desired to give my oldest daughter a journal filled with my thoughts on various leadership topics as she moved into the boarding house. The journal was to help her navigate the new phase of her life and be a valued member of her community. The journal became the book.

My work with youths through the John Maxwell Team exposed me to the dearth of understanding of Leadership at that level – it has been positioned as the exclusive preserve of adults. The book is my contribution to nation building. I decided to put down my thoughts and make it available to every Youth. The book is listed in the United States Library of Congress and available on:

It is also available at Laterna Ventures, Oko Awo Street, Victoria Island Lagos


3 Women Who Inspire Me to Be Better And Why

My Grandmother of blessed memory – she taught me to love God.

My Mum – she taught me resilience.

Mother Theresa – She embodied the fact that Leadership and purpose are conjoined, when you walk in purpose you will Lead. Most important, her life teaches that you don’t need a position to lead. Lead from wherever you are.


 Advice to Young Women Who Wish to Be Trailblazers Like Me


1) ‘The world is waiting for you to unleash your greatness, don’t negotiate away your purpose in the face of seeming difficulties.’

2) ‘Dreams are free but the journey is not’

3) ‘You are limitless until you tell yourself otherwise’

4) ‘Let the quality of your work speak for you when you are not there’

5) ‘Be comfortable being you.’


Being a Woman of Rubies

Hmmm!! I should be asking you that question.

First, is that God says my worth is far above rubies – Prov 31.

Second is that I carry in me the seed of greatness and I am nurturing it.

Third is that I seek to add value to the people and environments I find myself in.

Maybe you should carry out a survey and let us compare the results.



You can connect with Odunayo Sanya through her handles below:


Linkedin – odunayo moritiwon sanya

Instagram – Odunayo.Sanya

Facebook – Odun Moritiwon Sanya