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.
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.