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The Women of Rubies Sip and Network event held on February 25th, 2024, at the prestigious Naijajollof Downtown Toronto Event Center, was met with resounding success.  The event brought together a diverse group of remarkable business owners from across Ontario for an evening of inspiration, networking, and empowerment.

The event featured esteemed speakers including Nkechi Ahanor-Wilson, Funmi Ayowole, and Chichi Okichie, who captivated the audience with their insights and expertise. Funmi Ayowole, as the first speaker, delved into the importance of emotional wellness for women, the significance of maintaining a healthy routine, and the practice of mindfulness in daily life. Chichi Okichie shared invaluable insights on the underutilized potential of Facebook for business owners, emphasizing its role in enhancing media visibility and brand recognition.

Nkechi Ahanor-Wilson, the founder of the successful hair brand Cacosa Hair, shared her journey of transforming pain into passion and profit, highlighting the importance of setting healthy boundaries as business owners to foster growth and prevent exploitation.

Sip and Network Toronto

The event also featured an enlightening interview conducted by Esther Ijewere, the founder of Women of Rubies, with Beauty Obasuyi, the founder of Naijajollof and a real estate expert. Beauty shared the inspiration behind her business, which began in 2018 and has since expanded to six locations across Canada. She also revealed the motivations behind her Guinness World Record attempt for the longest cooking hours, which lasted for an impressive 18 days.

Sip and Network

Attendees had the opportunity to engage in networking sessions, facilitating connections and knowledge sharing among participants. Nike  Kay -Okunubi expressed her newfound understanding of the importance of boundaries and intentionality in networking, while Julia Biebem of Grandieu Event felt inspired by Nkechi’s session and aims to apply the lessons learned to enhance her business endeavours. Angela Ikogho of Wraptuckmore stressed the significance of assertiveness and the ability to say no in navigating business challenges. 

The event, expertly compered by Blessing Timidi Digha, a community development advocate and content creator, was attended by notable business owners and entrepreneurs who left feeling empowered and motivated to pursue their goals.

Esther Ijewere, the convener of the event, expressed her delight at the overwhelming success of the inaugural live event in Canada, affirming the Sip and Network movement’s commitment to empowering women to embrace their uniqueness. She looks forward to future events that promise to be impactful and value-driven.

For media inquiries or further information, please contact: event@womenofrubies.com

To learn more about our activities, join our Rubies Collective Community; womenofrubies.com/Rubiescommunity

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Elevate your media presence and enhance your brand visibility by registering for the Women of Rubies Media Visibility BootCamp 3.0. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain valuable insights and strategies from industry experts. Grab your earlybird ticket to our Media Visibility Bootcamp here

See more photos from the event below;

Sip and Network event

Sip and Network event

As Black History Month unfolds, it’s imperative to honor and celebrate the monumental contributions of Black women who have reshaped our world. From civil rights pioneers to trailblazing scientists, their legacies continue to inspire generations. Here are 10 remarkable Black women who have left an indelible mark on history:

Black history month

Rosa Parks

Often hailed as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, sparked a wave of protests and catalyzed the Civil Rights Movement.

Harriet Turbman

Harriet Tubman

Known as the “Moses of her people,” Harriet Tubman escaped slavery and dedicated her life to leading others to freedom through the Underground Railroad, risking her life countless times to liberate enslaved individuals.

Black History Month

Maya Angelou

Renowned poet, author, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou‘s literary works, including “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” shed light on the African American experience and continue to resonate with readers worldwide.

Katherine Johnson

A pioneering mathematician at NASA, Katherine Johnson’s calculations were instrumental in launching the first American astronaut into space and played a crucial role in the success of the Apollo moon landing missions.

Madam C.J. Walker

As the first female self-made millionaire in America, Madam C.J. Walker revolutionized the haircare industry for Black women with her line of beauty products and empowered countless individuals through entrepreneurship.

Shirley Chisholm

A trailblazing politician, Shirley Chisholm shattered barriers as the first African American woman elected to the United States Congress and the first Black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.

Audre Lorde

A prolific writer, poet, and feminist, Audre Lorde’s works explored themes of race, gender, and sexuality, challenging societal norms and advocating for social justice and equality.

black history month

Oprah Winfrey

From her groundbreaking talk show to her philanthropic endeavors, Oprah Winfrey has become one of the most influential figures in media and entertainment, using her platform to amplify marginalized voices and inspire millions worldwide.

Dr. Mae Jemison

As the first African American woman to travel in space, Dr. Mae Jemison broke barriers in the field of space exploration and continues to advocate for STEM education and diversity in the sciences.

Michelle Obama

As the first African American First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama championed numerous initiatives to promote health, education, and empowerment, leaving a lasting impact on communities both domestically and globally.

These remarkable Black women have left an indelible legacy, inspiring future generations to dream big, persevere in the face of adversity, and work towards a more just and equitable world. As we celebrate Black History Month, let us honor their contributions and continue to uplift their stories for generations to come.

Black female authors are breaking boundaries and sterotype beliefs associated with personal finance.

The start of a new year is a great time to invest in yourself, and one of the best ways to do that is to increase your financial literacy. Money is a powerful tool that can be used to create generational wealth, build financial security for you and your family, and avoid the pitfalls of debt that so many of us fall victim to within the black community.

If you’re ready to begin the road to financial success but are unsure where to start, you’re in the right place! In this post, we’re sharing ten books authored by black women that bring a unique perspective to personal finance and provide valuable insights on budgeting, saving money, and investing wisely.

1. The Black Girl’s Guide to Financial Freedom: Build Wealth, Retire Early, and Live the Life of Your Dreams By Paris Woods

Through a combination of personal stories and actionable advice, Woods provides a roadmap for Black women to gain financial freedom.

This book includes steps for women to take control of their money and build wealth. It also discusses managing money in relationships, increasing net worth, and building generational wealth.

2. Stripped: An African Woman’s Guide to Building  Generational Wealth by Solape Akinpelu

 

solape Akinpelu Stripped
black female authors

This book  is widely celebrated for its actionable strategies that support African women in building and managing generational wealth. The book serves to answer the burning questions and allay the commonest fears that most African women have when it comes to managing their money and building wealth. It also establishes the need for a mindset reorientation with practical guides and steps to guide African women in trans-generational wealth-building.

 

3. Get Good with Money by Tiffany the Budgetnista Aliche

This book covers investing, budgeting, debt repayment, and savings providing readers with the knowledge and tools to make informed financial decisions, create a budget, and understand their relationship with money through relatable stories and personal experiences.

black female authors

4. The One Week Budget by Tiffany the Budgetnista Aliche

This book offers a step-by-step plan to help you create a comprehensive budget tailored to your financial goals and needs in just one week.

With a straightforward approach, Aliche outlines the five steps to budgeting success: tracking, cutting, automating, increasing, and protecting. She provides detailed guidance on tracking expenses, cutting costs, automating payments, increasing income, and protecting your finances. The One Week Budget also includes helpful budgeting resources, tips, and exercises to help you stay motivated and on track.

4. We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rodgers

In We Should All Be Millionaires, Rachel Rodgers encourages her readers to pursue financial freedom by making the most of their current resources and taking ownership of their lives.

black female authors

She argues that anyone can become a millionaire, no matter their financial situation, by taking control of their finances and using them to create a better future. Rodgers also outlines the steps to build a successful business, manage debt, and create wealth.

5. The Money Manual: A Practical Money Guide to Help You Succeed on Your Financial Journey By Tonya Rapley

This book is divided into three sections:
Building a Foundation: This section teaches the basics of financial literacy, including budgeting, saving, and planning.

Establishing Goals: This section focuses on creating and executing a plan to reach financial goals.

Taking Action: In the final section, you’ll learn how to make your financial goals a reality, including strategies for investing, debt management, and building wealth.

6. Financial Freedom for Black Women: A Girl’s Guide to Winning with Your Wealth, Career, Business, and Retiring Early —With Real Estate, Cryptocurrency, Side Hustles, Stock Market Investing, & More! by Brandie Brookes

This book addresses the unique challenges Black women face when trying to build wealth. It offers realistic advice on topics such as budgeting, investing, and building credit, as well as strategies for tackling debt and how to build generational wealth.

It also includes inspiring stories of successful Black women who have achieved financial freedom.

7. Clever Girl Finance: Ditch Debt, Save Money, and Build Wealth by Bola Sokunbi

This book is broken into three parts:

Money Mindset: Sokunbi discusses how to develop a positive relationship with money, including how to identify and change negative money thoughts and beliefs.

Get Control of Your Finances: This section focuses on money management, from budgeting and tracking expenses to setting financial goals and building an emergency fund.

Get Rich: This section covers strategies to grow wealth, such as investing, starting a side hustle, and building passive income streams.

Sokunbi also provides actionable advice, inspiring stories, and personal anecdotes to help her readers gain financial freedom.

8. Fearless Finances: A Timeless Guide to Building Wealth by Cassandra Cummings

This book covers budgeting, saving, investing, debt management, insurance, and retirement planning.

Cummings provides clear instructions and strategies to help you make smart financial decisions, overcome your fears around money, build a legacy of wealth, and achieve long-term financial security.

We hope these black female authors will inspire you to take your finances seriously this year.

Source: baucemag.com

Dawn Dickson is breaking boundaries! Over the last few years, crowdfunding has proven itself to be one of the most popular routes to take when it comes to starting a business. Friends, family, investors and those alike can support your entrepreneurial dreams with just the click of a button. Today, $34 billion has been raised globally through crowdfunding.

According to Startups, the average successful crowdfunding campaign is around $7,000. However, Dawn Dickson has raised a much more substantial amount of money and has shown us what it truly means to be a BAUCE in the world of crowdfunding.

Dawn is the founder of Flat Out of Heels, comfortable and rollable flats small enough to fit in your new Telfar, and the CEO of her software company, PopCom. She has done the work to place herself in a position to pull others up as she sails to the top. In 2019, Dawn became the first black woman founder to raise over $2 million via crowdfunding. Her go-getter spirit, love for business, and desire to create generational wealth amongst the black community has driven her to make history.

On Her Passion For Crowfunding

I learned about the JOBS Act in 2013, which allowed people to raise money from the public. After we raised our first round, we raised $1 million dollars from venture capitalists and angel investors, but I wasn’t a fan of the process. I wanted to be able to give my friends, family, and people close to me an opportunity to invest in my company. Many of them were not accredited investors but in order to invest in the company, you have to be accredited but under crowdfunding, you can raise money from anyone. I am really passionate about building and helping to create generational wealth. I feel like this was a great opportunity to do that.”

How Long It Took To Get Her Business Started

Dawn: For Flat Out of Heels, I raised $100,000 from friends and family within the first 4-6 months, and then I raised the other $150,000 after that, so $250,000. Pop com is a tech and software company, so I’ve raised about $3.3 million since 2017.

Dawn Dickson

For Those Who Don’t Have A Network 

Dawn: I wasn’t born with a network, it wasn’t inherited by a family member or anything. I had to go out and build it and I did that mainly by attending conferences and events, really networking online, doing everything possible to put myself in rooms. I was very, very, very active, going to every tech conference I could find!

On Her “Why”

Dawn: I love solving problems, building businesses, working with teams, being innovative. I’m definitely driven by creating generational wealth and changing the trajectory of my family. I have a daughter, I have nephews. Creating wealth for them, making sure that they have something, and I have something to pass down…it continues from here. Historically, we weren’t even allowed legally to own property, make investments, and have wealth. It’s so important to start to shift that pattern.

Moving To Nigeria

Within the next 10 years, Dawn plans to sell her companies and move to Nigeria, where her husband is from. She would also like to start working with startups around the world and create a global network. As far as her bucket list goes, “I travel a lot but, that was put on hold because of COVID, but I definitely want to go to Machu Picchu, and then I want to go to South Africa. I’ve been a lot of places but I just want to continue to travel the world. I would love to visit as many countries as possible, I was trying to visit one every other month but things got halted!”

Source: Bauce Mag

Captain Janet Days is now the first Black woman commanding officer in Naval Station Norfolk’s (NAVSTA) 106-year-history, 13NewsNow reports.

The Chicago native graduated Summa Cum Laude from Old Dominion University and was commissioned through Naval ROTC’s Enlisted Commissioning Program. Within her 24-year career, she’s taken numerous tours aboard: USS Simon Lake homeported at La Maddalena, Italy, USS Mahan, and USS Forrest Sherman. She’s also been deployed twice!

Her leadership hasn’t gone unnoticed; Days was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (7), Army Commendation Medal (2), Army Achievement Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Few weeks ago, she was sworn in as NAVSTA’s 51st Commanding Officer, a role that is typically reserved for white men, making history as the first Black commanding officer of the world’s largest naval base, which is located in Norfolk, VA. This wasn’t the first time Days made history; in 2021, she was named the first Black woman Executive Officer at Naval Station Norfolk.

In her new role, she’ll be overseeing 6,200 acres, including 13 piers, an 8,000-foot airfield, 63 ships, two 188 aircrafts and 18 squadrons. A true trailblazer and an inspiration to us all, this is a beautiful way to end Black History Month.

Congratulations, Captain Days!

Source: Becauseofthem

Young people have always been at the center of major civil rights movements. From fighting for a seat at the table in conversations about gun control to pointing out racism and homophobia through art, here are five young black activists who deserve a round of applause for their activism.

Mari Copeny, 11 Among the crowd of young activists holding politicians accountable is 11-year-old Mari Copeny, also known as Little Miss Flint. Since penning a letter to former president Barack Obama to draw his attention to the Flint water crisis, she has continued to use her voice to bring awareness to the families in her community who have been affected.

She’s vocal on social media, tweeting at politicians when she disagrees with them, including the president, and making sure people are still talking about the Flint water crisis and its long-lasting effects on residents. Additionally, Mari worked with nonprofit Pack Your Back to distribute more than 10,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to students throughout Flint.

Naomi Wadler, 12 When Naomi Wadler stepped onto the stage at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., last year, she gave a voice to young black women who have died from gun violence, including Courtlin Arrington, Hadiya Pendleton, and Taiyania Thompson, who “don’t make the front page of every national newspaper.” She captured the ears and hearts of many who were itching for intersectionality in gun-reform discussions.

Naomi, who was featured in Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 last year, recently told Smithsonian that she’d like to run The New York Times someday.

Marley Dias, 14 Frustrated by the lack of representation in children’s books, Marley Dias decided to take action. In addition to calling out this problem in literature, the 14-year-old launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks drive, started her own zine for elle.com, and wrote her own book, Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!

Kenidra Woods, 18 As an activist for gun reform, Kenidra Woodsfounded the Hope for Humanity Project in response to the gun violence in her community. Kenidra, who appeared on Teen Vogue’s gun control cover, in 2018, is one of several black teens who have fought for black voices to be elevated in the conversation for gun control after the 2018 school shooting in Parkland.

Additionally, Kenidra has been outspoken about her struggle with mental health. The teen, who says she was sexually abused as a young child, started the CHEETAH (confidence, harmony, enlightenment, encouragement, tranquility, awareness, and hope) Movementto help others who have suffered from self-harm and suicidal ideations.

Fatima Jamal, 28Disgusted by the phrase “no fats, no femmes” in LGBTQ+ dating profiles, Fatima Jamal decided to use her voice to speak out. Fatima recently spoke with them. about the difficulty she faced securing funding for a film that explores this topic. The black, trans, independent filmmaker is passionate about fighting the “gay community’s inescapable legacy of white supremacy, and its idealization of certain types of bodies, manners of acting and more,” according to the profile.

 

Credit: Teen Vogue

Pollyanna Rodrigues De La Rosa sat in the back of a cab, on her way to her favourite Toronto Latin music club, El Rancho. To get herself in the mood for a Saturday night of salsa, bachata and reggaeton, she asked the driver for the auxiliary cord to play “Eres Mia” by Romeo Santos from her phone. The music filled the cab and she sang along, the lyrics flowing smoothly off her tongue in Spanish, the language she speaks at home with her family. The driver raised his voice over the music and asked Rodrigues De La Rosa about her background—but her answer wasn’t what he was expecting.

“I thought you were Black!” he said. Rodrigues De La Rosa, who is part Cuban and part Panamanian, is used to this type of reaction. She stands at just over five feet tall, with big, long, black curly hair. Her dark skin matches her brown eyes, and if you saw her on the street you’d probably have no doubts about her racial identity, either.

But what the cab driver didn’t understand was that while she is indeed Black, she is also Latina. To be fair, Rodrigues De La Rosa didn’t always understand the nuances of her racial identity, either. “For the longest time, I actually didn’t know I was Black,” she says. That’s because, growing up, her family considered themselves Latino.

Though they shared the same skin tone and hair texture, her family never talked about their African heritage—in fact, they preferred to pretend it didn’t exist. Rodrigues De La Rosa’s mother even pressed her about her romantic choices, questioning why she dated Black men instead of white men. And the anti-Black racism was present in her extended family, too. When she visited Cuba in 2015, many of her family members would ask her to straighten her hair for a “better” look.

Between her family’s Latino identity and the anti-Black rhetoric she internalized, Rodrigues De La Rosa questioned whether or not she identified as Black.

Then, in 2015, she discovered a term on social media that she truly felt described her: Afro-Latina. The broad definition is simple—someone who identifies as Afro-Latina, Afro-Latino or the more inclusive and gender-neutral Afro-Latinx is Black and from Latin America. But the term’s meaning is much more political.

In these communities, which have a deep history of anti-Black racism, Afro-Latinx refers to “someone [from the Latino community] who reclaims their Africanness and Blackness, which for so many years was erased,” explains Colombian-Canadian academic Andrea Vásquez Jiménez, the co-director of the Latinx, Afro-Latin-America, Abya Yala Education Network (LAEN). “Utilizing terms such as Hispanic erases our Blackness.”

While Rodrigues De La Rosa may have felt like she stood out among her peers, she is actually part of a large cultural community. A quarter of the Hispanic population in the U.S. identifies as Afro-Latino according to a 2014 study. (Similar data is not available in Canada in part because though the census includes Black and Latin American as visible minority categories, there is no category combining the two identities. Respondents can write in their own classification, or mark all the categories that apply, but the data is counted towards the Black and Latin American categories separately.)

“I get looked at all the time when I start speaking Spanish. It’s still a culture shock, especially to old farts. I quickly let them know that there are Black people in [Cuba and Panama],” says Rodrigues De La Rosa, adding that people often seem to think that it’s impossible to be both Black and a Spanish-speaking Latina.

“When I heard the term Afro-Latina, as sad as this is going to sound, it was the first time I thought I was considered Black,” says Rodrigues De La Rosa. “I loved it.”

Unlearning anti-Black racism as an Afro-Latina

People like Rodrigues De La Rosa are why Vásquez Jiménez started LAEN. She made sure the organization was a space for Afro-Latinx people to not only have a voice, but learn about their heritage.

“Blackness is global. An extremely high percentage of [people from Latin America] have African ancestry. The identities of Blackness, Africanness and being Latinx are not mutually exclusive,” says Vásquez Jiménez.

The African diaspora originated with the transatlantic slave trade, when European colonizers dispersed millions of people from Africa to North America, South America and the Caribbean. And regardless of where slaves were taken, sexual violence was common. “This is the most f-cked up part, I don’t know if my Spanish ancestor loved my great-great-great-grandma or raped her,” says Rodrigues De La Rosa.

The intersectionality of Afro-Latinx people can get even more complex, especially for people like CityNews reporter Ginella Massa, who wears a hijab and is from Panama.

“Often, in the realm of my work, my Muslim identity is discussed; my ethnicity or my heritage are rarely ever mentioned,” says Massa. When she made headlines in 2016 for being the first hijabi news anchor, the coverage described her as a Muslim Canadian, but the Afro-Latinx aspect of her identity took a back seat.

journalists self-care twitter: A portrait of Ginella Massa.

CityNews reporter Ginella Massa

Even within Canadian Afro-Latinx communities, positive discussions about embracing all aspects of this intersectional identity are rare.

“Because of anti-Black racism, many folks don’t necessarily speak nor highlight our Blackness within families,” says Vásquez Jiménez.

That’s especially true among older generations of Afro-Latinx people, who have internalized centuries of institutionalized anti-Black racism. Massa says her family’s Blackness was rarely discussed at home. Her family only focused on their Latin heritage.

 

Credit: flare.com

Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes kicked off Black History Month by writing a touching love letter to Black women.

“Even though we may have been distant, and I may seem far away, I love you and #ISeeYou,” Caesar-Chavannes writes in a HuffPost blog.

She starts the letter by admitting she hasn’t always been able to support her community the way she’s wanted — depression, anxiety and life have gotten in the way — but she wanted to thank those who held it down when she wasn’t able to.

The MP for Whitby, Ont. has been vocal about her challenges with mental illness in the past and went viral last year after giving a speech on body-shaming in the House of Commons.

“Body shaming of any woman in any form from the top of her head to the soles of her feet is wrong, irrespective of her hairstyle, the size of her thighs, the size of her hips, the size of her baby bump, the size of her breasts or the size of her lips, what makes us different is what makes us unique and beautiful,” she said last October.

And while Caesar-Chavannes touches on that theme again in her HuffPost essay, her focus in this letter is celebrating Black women and recognizing what they’re up against. She gives a shout-out to elders, entrepreneurs, activists and educators. Most heartbreaking was a reminder of what Black children face—“the streets, and the institutions that keep them down and funnel them into prisons and foster care”—and how much needs to change, as she lauds mothers for protecting their kids.

She ends off her note recognizing the toll it can take to be “twice as good”  and with a nod to Maya Angelou.

“Being twice as good, twice as fast, twice as everything, because that is what we were taught. That is the only way we can succeed. I also see that it comes at a cost. The wear and tear. The exhaustion. The mental drain. I see that you are tired. And yet, still you rise.”

You can read the full letter at Huffington Post Canada.

 

Credit: flare.com

Black History isn’t just reserved for the past, and it’s not just about celebrating those that have come and gone before us. Every day there are new accomplishments and achievements to celebrate and honor as proof that we can literally do anything we put our minds to. Our latest inspiration?

An all-Black women rowing team collectively known as the Team Antigua Island Girls.

Representing for the Caribbean, the team is comprised of women who have already made an impact in their own individual ways: Christal Clashing, the first female swimmer to represent Antigua and Barbuda at the Olympics; Elvira Bell, Level 2 Learn-to-swim Instructor and a certified health coach; Samara Emmanuel, the first Antiguan woman to become an RYA certified yacht captain; Kevinia Francis, the visionary of the group and a title-winning, all-around athlete who excels in basketball, cycling, martial arts and track-and-field; and Junella King, a sailing instructor, who, as the youngest member of the team, turned 18-years-old right before the race. While King did not participate in the historic race, she trained with the team and served as an alternate.

“Growing up, I know I used to look at certain sports and say, ‘Okay, I can’t do that because I’m not white. White people don’t do this sport and Black people don’t do this sport,’” Francis revealed to Essence. “So it’s about breaking down those misconceptions and those barriers. We can actually do any sport that we choose. You just need to have determination, dedication, practice, and get out there.”

Photo: Team Antigua Island Girls

Together, the team completed the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge last month. Hailed as the world’s toughest rowing challenge, it involved a 3,000 mile trip from the Canary Islands to the team’s home in Antigua.

After battling seasickness, fatigue, a near capsize on Friday night, and other obstacles, the Antiqua Observer reported that as the women rowed into the country’s historic Nelson’s Dockyard, they became the first all-Black team to row across the Atlantic ocean.

Even more incredible? According to Essence, the crew had no previous rowing experience before 2018. The squad is also intentional about giving back to their communities and have a charity, Cottage of Hope, which offers short-and-long term residency to girls who are abused, neglected or orphaned.