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

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

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

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

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

Childhood Influence

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inspiration behind my book “Never Perfect Always Blessed”

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

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

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

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

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

Motivation Behind Forbes Voiceover platform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Journey So Far

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges 

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

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

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

 Voiceover
Lesley-Ann Forbes

My  Journey To Wholeness

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

Other Projects And Activities

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

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

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

What I Enjoy About My Job

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

 3 Women Who Inspire Me And Why

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read Also: Before You Judge Another Single Mom

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

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

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

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

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

Being A Woman Of Rubies

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

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

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

Connect With Lesley:

Instagram: LAF0227 and Forbes Voiceover

Facebook :Lesley Ann Forbes

TikTok : Forbes Voiceover

LinkedIn :Lesley Ann Forbes

Email :Lesley@forbesvoiceover.com

Toll Free: 888.920.6319

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

– Esther Ijewere

 

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

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.

 

 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.

 

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