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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Celebrating Ajara Bomah CEO of Rhoyalty Concepts, Sierra Leone


                                                          



To Kick off Our Bosschique(ism) series we chat with Ajara Bomah of Rhoyalty Concepts. Ajara Bomah is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rhoyalty Concepts.  She holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychotherapy from Smith College School of Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology & African Studies from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst USA.  
She had worked under the Office of the President as the Logistics Manager for the Office of Diaspora Affairs making significant contributions to capacity building and Diaspora relations between the Government and people of Sierra Leone.  She has also held leadership positions where  she managed the DSTV brand and played a pivotal part of the team responsible for marketing, communications and creative leadership with Fasiedon Media and Transnational SL Ltd.




        
AJARA THE WOMAN

Q: Describe yourselves in 1 word and tell us why you chose that word?

A: Visionary- I am able to see things in everything and where others can’t. I am also very determined to make a difference and leave a legacy.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourselves your cultural heritage and background and what brings you to this work?
A: I was born and raised in the US to Sierra Leonean parents. As an African born and raised in America, my desire was to always go back to my roots and contribute to Africa’s development. Throughout my childhood there was this passion, this yearning to move to Sierra Leone, due to certain unforeseen incidents our family was unable to visit as we wanted and then war broke out.  I was tired of hearing about the Sierra Leone experience from friends and family. I wanted to get firsthand experience and learn more about the Yoruba’s of Fourah Bay, the chiefs of the Mende Chiefdoms, I wanted to perfect my Krio, learn how to cook the my favorite “Egusi soup” from my grandmother, dance to the mix African and Caribbean beats that makes Sierra Leonean music unique, and most of all I wanted to know where I came from, I knew that my past will determine my future and what better place to learn about this rich history, nowhere but sweet Salone. With peace, stability; I finally got my first visit as an adult in 2007 I fell in love right away with Sierra Leone.
In the fall of 2008, I packed my bags and moved to Sierra Leone to play my part in the development of the New Sierra Leone. While learning about my heritage, I realize there was a gap in the events industry, since I have always had a passion for this, I decided to follow my dreams and turn my passion into business.  

Q: What motivates you to get out of bed every morning to do what you do? 

A: Knowing that I was given the opportunity to see another day is my biggest motivator. After that I would say my vision to work towards my legacy.  That is very important to me and more so now more than ever. I have a little girl now and when she grows up I want her to have a foundation to build upon. If she sees the work mommy has done, she will want to follow my path and add to the  legacy.


Q: As busy as you are, how do you take care of yourself and what to you enjoy doing to take time for yourself outside of work?

A: I am a believer in work hard and play hard. At times I do get caught up more in the working hard aspect, but I have learned that you need a balance in order to be healthy and achieve your goals.  I love traveling, dancing and reading a good book. So going to the beach enjoying the day with a good book is a perfect way to unwind and relax. I have also learned that spending time with family and friends is important and that brings me joy also. So being around family and friends is something I make sure I find time for.

WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS


Q: Tell us a bit more about how Women Mean Business and what do you hope to achieve this year?

A: As you already know Women Mean Business is a unique and intimate educational and inspirational session created by myself and Roselynn Lewis for young and emerging female entrepreneurs in all business fields. We felt that young and emerging business women needed a platform where they could glean from one another and more specific other women in business. We also wanted to honor business women and recognize Africa Women entrepreneurs.

This year we want to spread out wings and widen the audience for WMB2015. It is a virtual event so that means women from all over the world can be a part of it. I am also excited about the panel of balancing your Business and Life, without a healthy lifestyle, one cannot maintain a sustainable business.


Q: Since we know the event is virtual this year which is highly innovative congratulations! Tell us what we can expect and look forward to a this year’s event?

A: We are looking for a wider audience and to inspire more women to take the next steps towards moving their dreams into reality. I am also looking forward to giving young African Women on the continent some of the tools they can use to help them to be able to compete within the international business markets. They will be encouraged by the stories from our Honorees and Speakers.

Q:  What is your long term goal with Women Mean Business brand and how do you hope to cultivate women in various business sectors?

A: As a brand we want to take Women Mean Business on the road. We want to host the event in other countries and cities and continue to encourage African women to choose business as a career choice.  As the backbone of our communities and the continent’s greatest potential to unlocking economic growth African women provide the majority of labor with the least amount of resources. So we want to use Women Mean Business as a platform to impart practical skills, confidence, and ambition among young women entrepreneurs giving them the tools to help them partake in economic inclusion and competiveness.

Q: Tell us about a personal challenge you overcame as a leader in this capacity and how did you overcome it?

A: I am someone who likes to be fully hands on in my work.  I needed to learn how to let go. Don’t get me wrong I am a great team player, however when it came to Rhoyalty Concepts, it was hard for me to delegate and give responsibilities to others thinking they would not be able to pull through the way I wanted things to look. I have thus learned that I need to let the team see  my vision from the beginning giving them the opportunity to add to that vision, I have also realized that I need to know the strengths and weaknesses of my team players and  as long as I have champion players on my team, I can  delegate and trust that we will all work towards bringing that dream into reality.

WOMEN


Q:  What advice do you provide to young women who are interested in going into this industry?

A: Dream and Dream big, don’t let anyone stop you from dreaming. The sky is more than the limit, if the sky was the limit how could man walk on the moon.   

Q: 10 years from now where do you see your brand?

A: I see my brand being one of the leading international brands with a focus on encouraging social entrepreneurship. We would be known as the brand that came, saw, gave back and conquered!  We are going to keep pushing to put Sierra Leone  on the map as a place where Women are making a difference.


Q: Finish the sentence “Women Change Africa because…..?”

A: We are Africa, without us there would be now Africa.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Event Alert: Women Mean Business



You are Cordially Invited to Women Mean Business 




      WHO:  New and Emerging Business women

      WHAT: A virtual educational series Honoring African Women Entrepreneurs and empowering new and     emerging businesswomen. The event includes panel discussions and skills building sessions where entrepreneurs, at various stages of success, can learn from the experiences of our Honorees and speakers.                                                                                                                                                 

      WHEN:
o   March 7, 2015- Taking your business from thought to action- Farai Gundan, Lande Sanusi, Dr. Lolade Adeyemi
o   March 9th How to fund your entrepreneurial venture––Samuel Suraphel
o   March 14th – Balancing your Business & your life – Ekene Onu, Vianka Chung & Thomas Edward


WHERE: Register at www.womenmeanbusiness2014.eventbrite.com today!


Don’t miss this opportunity to learn, network, and honor and empower new and emerging business women. Follow Women Mean Business 
       on Twitter @womenmeanbizz
       on Instagram @womenmeanbusiness





Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Looking Forward to the New Year : Personal Strategic Planning

As we look forward to a new year, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips I have used with individuals and organizations when it comes to planning and achieving the goals.  Here are some basic steps in putting together a personal strategy plan to ensure you accomplish your goals you set out to accomplish for the year.  I hope this helps someone stay focused. 

Step 1: Envision your year  by thinking about the things you want to accomplish by the end of the year. 
Step 2: Write down 10-15 things you want to accomplish for the year.
Step 3: What are the main areas of your life? Write them down, these are the main categories of your life (e.g. Travel, Work, Love, God, Family Etc.)
Step 4: Write 1 goal for the year per category this has to be a large goal (For E.g. Travel: Goal I want to go to Jamaica by September 2015)
Step 5: Group the 10-15 items under each category and organize your items into a monthly step by step process ( For e.g. Goal: I want to Go to Jamaica September 2015; Save 100 a month) 
Step 6: Plan out your year into a strategic planning template 
Step 7:  Create a Vision Board of   your Plan (Using your Categories only and not your steps this will allow for your vision to actually not be so cluttered. I have also found it is best to plan first and then do your Vision Board. )
Step 8: Always Pray on your vision and Plan once it is finished
Step 9: Work towards your Vision day by day by utilizing various planning devices (calendars, etc) 

Step 10: Make sure you have  an accountability partner that you can do a mid year check in with either mid point in the year of quarterly to ensure you have support as well as celebrate your accomplishments as you go along in the year. 
Step 11: Do something to celebrate all you have accomplished at the end of the year or at different points of your milestones and achievements.





Happy New Year to You all and Stay Blessed! 


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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Celebrate Empowerment New York City: A Fundraiser to Empower Young People in Sierra Leone

You are invited. Please Join Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone and the Visao Foundation as they host their 2nd annual Fundraiser to Celebrate Empowerment for Young People in Sierra Leone.

What: A fundraiser networking and entertainment evening to raise funds for youth empowerment work in Sierra Leone 
Location: Mariott Courtyard Hotel on East 92nd Street
Time: June 25th 20124 6-9pm



About Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone:

Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone (GESSL) is an initiative established to empower and inspire young girls in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The summit provides vulnerable young females (ages 12-16) in Freetown with  knowledge, skills, courage, and confidence so that they can become fulfilled and successful young women. For more information about GESSL, please visit their website

 http://www.girlsempowermentsummitsl.org/


About The Visao Foundation: 

The Visão Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that supports the educational needs of underserved children and youths in Sierra Leone, West Africa. For the past several years, the foundation has provided unding, much needed school supplies, and free academic support and enrichment for students from families living in severe poverty, to help increase their success in school, build their self-confidence, and enable them to have a better future. For more information about Visão, please visit their website 






Purchase your tickets at www.celebrateempowerment2.eventbrite.com

The Supreme Price and Many more films to Check out this Summer

With so much going on in New York City for the Summer, it's always nice to have a nice mix of what you plan to do and some spontaneity within it all. I stumbled upon the Supreme Price. The film covers the evolution of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Nigeria and efforts to increase the participation of women in leadership roles. Directed by Joanna Lipper. (Source Huffington Post) 




For more films to check out this summer Check out : The Top 10 Films every Human Rights Advocate Can watch  Link here: Human Rights Films

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Bosschique(ism): An African Female Humanitarian Lilian O. Ajayi



Our Bosschique(ism) series this quarter features Ms. Lilian O. Ajayi the Founder and Executive Director of Global Connections for Women foundation (GC4W).  Lilian sits on the board of Harvard Crimson Impact, NAAEP Ltd., Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, the HOPE Program and International Women in Business (IWIB). She spent a portion of her career working at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, representing the Mission of Nigeria to the UN, and served on the Social Economic Committee as the Economic Development Policy Negotiator. She has led Web Marketing campaigns along with SEO & Analytics efforts for Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies. Lilian was appointed as the Ambassador of Goodwill and Honorary Citizen of the State of Arkansas by Governor Mike Bebe.  She was awarded with the Special U.S. Congressional Award for Outstanding Community Service from Congresswoman Barbara Lee and recognized by Applause Africa Magazine as “Top 40 under 40” Most Inspiring African in the Diaspora. Lilian Ajayi was recently selected by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the “Power Women of the Diaspora.” Lilian continues to inspire, connect and empower women to follow and live out their passions through the GC4W foundation.
Lilian O. Ajayi 

ON LILIAN THE WOMAN 


Q: If you were to describe your personality in one word what would it be?

A: My personality varies depending on the situation, but a few consistent personality traits include Enthusiastic, Welcoming, Adventurous and Kind.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, your cultural heritage and what brings you to this work?

A: I was raised in Nigeria and I am the daughter of Chief Temitope Ajayi (Mama Diaspora). What truly inspired me to launch GC4W was my desire to participate in uplifting women in underserved communities around world and to support the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). I also watched my mother growing up support her community and saw how much joy it brought her ... "There's goodness in helping people" is a quote from her that resonated with me all throughout my childhood and now in my adult years.




Q: What motivates you to get out of bed every morning to do what you do?

A: my biggest motivation is knowing that we have a new opportunity to try something new in meeting my organization goals. I am also motivated by my passion to make a difference in the world.

Q: As busy as you are, how do you unwind and what do you enjoy doing to take time for yourself outside of work?

A: My world is ever evolving and at times quite difficult to unplug, but when I get a chance... I love to read, travel, cook, exercise and spend time with my family and loved ones. I am also a foodie who likes to participant in New York City’s Restaurant Week, NYC Wine and Food Festival or just sampling new food at various restaurants.


ON SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP 


Q: So you have this wonderful foundation called GC4W foundation, tell us more about your work and the purpose for forming the foundation

A: GC4W foundation was created in direct response to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) and established to support women and youth in underserved communities across the globe. We have established a few programs and continue to expand... Because we believe that there are more than one way to empower women and youth. GC4W has a partnership with Women in Need Inc. (an organization that provides New York City’s homeless mothers and their children with the housing, programs and services they need to transform their lives
) to set up a 3-part empowerment workshop series. We also have a new classroom project, where we plan on building new classrooms for disable students in the City of Karamajiji, Abuja.

Q:  You recently launched your event on March 7th Connecting for Excellence in New York City which had some very high powered women such as our very own Bosschique on WCA Ms. Adiat disu, Leymah Gbowee, Ngozi Iweala what do you hope this event can solve for?

A: The Global Connections for Women foundation held its inaugural International Women's Day Awards Gala to celebrate the accomplishments of women today, by not only bringing attention to the key contributions these women are making in communities around the world, but also unearth that there exists ample opportunity for better advancements and equality for women. The accomplishments and aspirations of those honored served as a reminder to the world of what is possible when a talented woman is given the opportunity to succeed or if necessary seizes the opportunity for herself.


Q: I read that you were working on your first fiction book tell us more about it, why not a memoir why fiction?

A: great question... I am asked why not a memoir by so many of my friends. But I'm too young for a memoir and I still have to wait until I am able to meet a few of my personal goals. However, without giving too much away.. I am writing a book that I hope will appeal to women of all cultures and professional backgrounds. It's a book every women wants to read and it is yet to be published - this was a feedback from my Harvard Club writers group. Some in the group advice that I should submit what I have written so far to Elle, Marie Claire or Essence Magazine as a series of short stories... Though all great and exciting feedback, I am committed to writing a novel, because I believe that the essence of the story is better portrayed in a novel.

Q: Tell us about a challenge you have faced in developing your brand and how you overcame it?

A: The biggest challenge we face in increasing the reach of GC4W is resources, we need funding to successful run our programs in order to meet our goal of enriching the lives of 100,000 women and youth by end of 2015. GC4W is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization and we try to overcome this challenge by forming partnerships and fundraising as much as we can. But we need additional funding from private individuals and co-operations who are looking to invest in our programs.




ON AFRICAN WOMEN



Q: As a woman living in the African diaspora what do you think the key important way women in the diaspora can contribute to the development of Africa both here and on the continent?

A: One very important way is to join the conversation and promote the ideals that will help to advance the development of Africa. The other is to try and refrain from those who are critical of the rate of development in Africa and instead help Africa grow by advocating the ideals that will ensure the future we would all like to see in Africa.

Q: Do you have any advice to offer to other young women looking to start up their own ventures?

A: My advice would be perseverance is key…maintain a positive attitude and outlook, do your research, Get a mentor, pray about your plans, and always remain passionate about your business venture.


Q: Finish the sentence “Women Change Africa because…..?”

A: The sentence is more like “Women will change Africa because Africa needs women.” With the emergence and increasing campaign for "full-participation" for women - also a key initiative spearheaded by the Chelsea Clinton, Melinda Gates and Hillary Clinton - through the Clinton Global Initiative. Women are increasingly being asked to participate in policies and the economic development of their society and nation. African women are rising and increasing their participation in not only their homes, but in their communities and ultimately throughout their nation.

 Q: 10 years from now where do you see the GC4W Foundation brand?

A. Great question... 10 years from now, I hope that GC4W is able to enrich the lives of 500,000 women and youth -- and we can start to hear more testimonies of their transformation.








Lilian O. Ajayi
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