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Meet Meryanne Loum-Martin,  A Parisian lawyer turned entrepreneur and founder of Jnane Tamsna, The only Black woman-owned boutique hotel located in Marrakech, Morocco.

We had a chat with her to talk about her inspiring journey from  France to Marrakech, lessons she learned from the challenges and the triumphs along the way, the importance of Black female hotel ownership and how she created one of Morocco’s most beloved retreats, and the incredible plans she has for creating a space where African artists and creatives of the diaspora are celebrated!

Faces - Incagraphy

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Meryanne Loum-Martin. My father is Senegalese, my mother was French West Indian. Paris was home until I discovered Marrakech. I always travelled a lot either as a child with my parents and as a teenager and young adult alone. I am fascinated by the world and the diversity of its cultures.

 What led to your path of being a Hotelier?

By pure coincidence Since I was a child, I was  fascinated by architecture and design.  As soon as I could  I would  always travel to explore famous architects work. I went to architecture school at 17 yrs old,  after my Baccalauréat, ( French A Levels)  . I was totally at ease with creative subjects but was too bad in Maths to become an architect. Unfortunately it is part of the architecture studies in France. So I  went to law school and became a lawyer, like everyone in my family. On my mother’s side I am 4 th generation, on my father”s 2nd generation.

But I always kept as a hobby a foot into design, advising friends on their house, etc..
In the mid-eighties my parents wanted to build a holiday house abroad  but close to Europe. As the self-taught designer of the family, I asked to be in charge. This is how I came to Marrakech for the first time in December 1985 to scout for land.

Meryanne Loum-Martin: Q&A with Marrakech Hotel Owner - Indagare

Immediately I fell in love with the country, dark blue skies, the regal Atlas Mountains covered with snow, the palm groves and the rose gardens . I built and designed a house for them, convinced them to do a bigger place than what our family needed so I would turn it into a business. It opened in 1989 as the 1st boutique hospitality concept in Marrakech. It had unbelievable press coverage worldwide and the most discerning and famous clients.

As Marrakech, only had big hotels before, my first property, which opened in 1989, happens to be chronologically the one which put Marrakech on the map of boutique hospitality. Our clientele was: Giorgio Armani, Mick Jagger, Brad Pitt, Princess Caroline of Monaco, European royals, David Bowie and Iman,  Sade, top models, European and American socialites, fashion stars, and all Parisian CEOs. The place reputation took off as very connected people started the word of mouth. We also had amazing features in all major magazines in the US, in Europe, and worldwide.

I had carefully listened to the complaints about the  holidays on offer and made a marketing study based on well-travelled friends whose expectations I trusted.

I created a “private home” experience with the excellence of a hotel service.  In 1996, – I had by then resigned from Paris Bar and my law career –  I moved to Marrakech and went on to do new projects. The hotel I have now www.jnanetamsna.com I built in 2001. My husband, who is passionate about plants,  designed the gardens, and I did the architecture and the interiors. We broke grounds on January 6th 2001 and opened on Dec 27th the same year with a full house. I believe building a place in 11 months and 3 weeks is a record.

What were some of the highlights and challenges that came with growing Jnane Tamsna to the point where it is?

Highlights: We are blessed that our hotel attracts wonderful people. And word of mouth has been very good. I have also been able to design and host cultural events which I love doing. Literary salons,  creative writing workshops or celebrating the creativity of our diaspora, through the “ Afreeculture forum” that we launched this year. Our diaspora creativity in literature, cinema and entrepreneurship were celebrated for 4 days as Jnane Tamsna hosted conversations brilliantly moderated by authors, film screening with their directors and festive events in the evening. Among our Nigerian guests, we had the authors Taiye Sélasi, Enuma Okoro, Chika Unigwe, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and the phenomenal photographer Misan Harriman who shot the front cover of  British Vogue September issue.

I am particularly happy to have now a real diversity of guests. In the last 3 years, after having been published for the 1st time in the African-American press, our clientele started to be much more diverse. And now it looks often like our own family !

For me the world of today is for example when a Norwegian family befriends around our pool an African-American family and both the adults and the children keep in touch. I love that our hotel has been such a connector for so many and for so many years. It is wonderful to know that people who met here, who all came to my own house on site for drinks, have become friends and have kept in touch, meeting  abroad, sometimes travelling together.

One of the highlight I will always remember was having a famous French musician and jazz pianist on holidays with his family and discovering that a New-Yorker guest was singing at the Carlysle hotel in NY which had the most amazing  jazz scene. As I have a piano in my house, I introduced them and asked them if they wanted to do a jam session. On that night I invited all the guests and my house was rocking with the best old standards.. When I am able to live this kind of moments I forget about the challenges of building, marketing and running a hotel !

 

Challenges: There have been many but I am the type to move forward. In the late eighties when my law career was very promising, (I had won a national competition and was representing France in international lawyers debates, the path to a bright legal career was visible) I focused on to design which was my passion and my call. People thought I was totally out of my mind ! To focus as a Black woman, on a country which was not mine, where I did not speak the language ( Arabic) and in a field notoriously for men ( construction)  was certainly a challenge. I took it as an opportunity to do what I was passionate about.

I went on, taking on very tough challenges for two years, until we opened, but never being that discouraged that it would make me change ideas or drop the ball.

I was paid back beyond my wildest dreams as my design and our family property was published worldwide from Architectural  Digest, to NYTimes, Vogue and within a few years, it was featured in 62 publications.  My work had significant features, including a front cover.  In 2001 “Harper’s and Queen” gave me the award of the best private estate in the world at an award ceremony in London.

There are challenges in every field, every job, every life, it is the way one faces it, which will make it bearable or impossible, which will make it a hurdle or an opportunity. I choose to never give up. But don’t get me wrong, there are some very difficult moments.

My constant challenge is to take into account that it is not every one who has my energy: -) … or intuition. Right now I am sitting on a fantastic new project which could really be a trailblazer for the continent. Will I find the finance for it .. ? I hope so as this would be a game changer and after this world crisis we live, we do need to create a lot of jobs.

 

Today’s challenge : In terms of challenges, it is not particular to our hotel, but to the tourism trade and to the world economy now. The virus has put everything on hold.

The challenge is planetary and goes way beyond my little hotel or bigger projects.

What is very important is that mankind never forget the lesson.  We can live differently, we don ‘t need to waste. We need to open our eyes and be grateful for what we have. Be ambitious to grow, but not be greedy and inconsiderate. Be thoughtful about our choices. As today we are the victims of  the wrong choices’ consequences .

Why Morocco? What brought you here?

Just this fact : it is 3 hours flight from Paris which was home. When my parents decided to buy a holiday home they were not interested in France or Europe. Their countries of origin were too far from Paris to go there on weekends. So what attracted us was the proximity of the most delightful exotic city.

The importance of Black female hotel ownership?

I am a Black female with a foot in very diverse circles, African American,  White European, White American, English Speaking African and French Speaking African. This has given me a very diverse approach to all things. Being at a crossroads of influences  has boosted my creativity. Even if other Black females  have a different  path as mine,  I believe that females are very good with hospitality. Especially now that hospitality excellence is not necessarily attached to a corporate brand but can be carried by independently owned hotels.

As females in general and as Black females in particular,  we have to constantly be better, work harder to reach executive levels in the corporate world. This constant “ having to prove ourselves” (instead of being only exhausting) has created a natural excellence for many females.

I am in absolute awe and admiration of African businesswomen. From the Nana Benz of  Togo who ruled the economy 100 years ago,  while being sometimes illiterate but knowing how to count, to the many African females graduating from the best Universities in the world. I am proud, happy, and elated to be a Black Female. I believe that many of us have a unique strength, we understand how both worlds work, the white world where we have gone to the best schools and our own African world. This is a very unique richness brought to us by diversity.

The Ultimate Travel Guide to Marrakech, Morocco

In the late eighties when I could feel that very individual and stylish boutique hotel would be the obvious  future, I was living in a Parisian world where being a Black Female was not the conversation. I had always been the only Black in school, the only Black in law competitions, the only Black at the National School of Beaux-Arts where I went for 3 years before going to law school. I was very happy to carry the flag of Blackness as well as I could but I would be lying if I was saying that I suffered from violent prejudice. Never in my own circles. Sometimes with people I did not know like in a shop or in  a post office…but these were really rare and totally minor. Today I am very happy to see that Black Female ownership is a statement.  It makes me realize that indeed there were many challenges that I had to face while deciding to ignore them.

What are some of the biggest business lessons “you’ve learned along the way that serve as your ‘secrets to success “in running a company?

I believe that there might not be a universal lesson as each destination must have different challenges and hospitality is so much rooted into the essence and D.N.A of a destination. I think that the most important is to know your sphere of competence and to stick to it. I am good at creative stuff, I am bad at management and accounting. These are fields that specialists and competent persons are running for me. But when I started my business I was multitasking like a lot of new businesses have to. Then one takes the habit to control all, and to forget that this is not one’s competence. As it grows, you must let go and focus on what you know best. I am very happy now that even though I follow with a distance all aspects of the business, it is run by the best people and I can focus on creativity, intuition, vision and projection.

What is a typical day like for you?

I am working on a new project which should be a breakthrough in hospitality. The same way that my first pioneering property here, led to 1800 ones directly inspired by it in the city of Marrakech, (the N°1 tourist destination of Morocco, voted among the 1st 5 of the world 3 years ago), I do hope that my concept will be pioneering a very successful type of hospitality which will inspire others on the continent.

Right now I am working on raising finance for this new project. So my day, is a mix of working on the new project, and of running the present business.  Since the lockdown, I have very often been invited to speak to conferences on zoom. I am also developing selling on line some of my porcelain collection, home accessories and luminaries. As I said I focus on creative matters. The borders are closed, so we do not expect business for a while. However, I am working on creating theme stays with future partners. My book “ Inside Marrakech” published by Rizzoli is coming out late September and I am very busy organizing virtual launches and zoom events in Black owned bookstores in the US.

How would you define good hospitality?

You have very different travelers. The business traveler needs are not the same as the millennial digital nomad’s, or the family on holidays, I would say that good hospitality is the one which understands the needs of the clients before they even formulate it. It is an attention to details which will enchant the client. It is about generosity and kindness, about flexibility and warmth.  In Africa, I think it is about the visitor understanding that our gorgeous continent has a content of many layers. For generations,  tourists would come to Africa for beaches or safaris. Our culture was denied its value. People thought that a cultural trip was about old churches and museums in Europe.
The rest of the world was only about outdoors. Grand Canyon in the US, Safaris in Africa or beaches..

It is time for the foreign tourist to explore and discover our modern culture, urban vibes, music, art,  and the vibrant creativity of the  modern African capitals.

What advice would you share with women who are the start of their hospitality careers?

I think that my strength is to have direct access to my clientele. Since my first project, I have only done projects to satisfy specific needs that I knew existed. I understand that this is a unique position that I am in. So I cannot say “do like me”. I am an accidental hotelier who never went to hospitality school… If you have gone to hospitality school, have found a job in the  industry, and plan to open your own hotel or guest house one day…
To invest you need to minimize the risk. To minimize the risk you need to be sure to have the right product for the right client.

So I would carefully formulate my unique selling points. Then I would create my style, and go totally virtual on social media. Why not have an Instagram account of a virtual hotel, which would be full of ideas, events, mood boards of what you plan to do… and then when you have a lot of followers, and have established your virtual brand, then do the hotel.
Maybe there are great old buildings that are available to restore if you plan to be in a city.. and if you need an interior designer I would love to advise !  or take a new project..

What role will the diaspora play in the future of Africa travel?

The diaspora has a foot in Africa and a foot elsewhere. Most of the diaspora does not travel back home to do safaris, or stay on the beach all the time.  The diaspora is often urban and will support the art , music and cultural scenes, new restaurants, city hotels, guest houses with a vibe should be supported by the diaspora when traveling back home. I also know brilliant elements of the diaspora who have gone back and started a creative business. I am thinking about studio Lani in Lagos for example. This is a perfect example of the diaspora return and impact on the creative scene.

Hotels and tourism are inseparable. In your opinion, how has the pandemic affected Morocco’s tourism sector?

Like for the whole world, the economy is on halt. It is particularly hard for a city like Marrakech which economy is based on tourism. The government has done a lot to support the population but it is getting harder and harder as we are entering the 6th month of  economic paralysis. It is not only the hotels and the staff, but all that gravitates around tourists spending, the markets, the antique shops, the taxis, the local tours, really everything. It is the hardest time ever. We pray that the recovery one day will create a new trail for prosperity and health.

Website : Jnane Tamsna

Instagram: @jnanetamsna

 Jeyza Gary has a rare, inherited condition that causes her skin to shed every two weeks.  She was born with a rare skin condition called lamellar ichthyosis,

Two years ago, Jeyza Gary decided to pursue a modeling career while completing her bachelor’s degree in special education. Now, she’s signed to a modeling agency, and has been featured in Vogue Italia.

DESCRIBE JEYZA IN 3 WORDS?

Giving, observant and smiley!

 HOW DID YOUR APPEARANCE INFLUENCE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS? FRIENDSHIP, LOVE, EVEN IN YOUR FAMILY?

My appearance has always been something that is seen. Consequently, in all of the relationships mentioned there is a form of dialogue that usually takes place. Nonetheless, once that conversation takes place my appearance is the last topic of conversation moving forward.

 WHO WAS YOUR BIGGEST ADVOCATE BEFORE YOU KNEW HOW TO ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF?

My mom was undeniably my biggest advocate.

Jeyza Gary

 GROWING UP WITH YOUR SKIN CONDITION, DID YOU FEEL THERE WAS PROPER REPRESENTATION IN FASHION/ BEAUTY MEDIA?

Growing up I didn’t see anyone in the media or fashion even with my condition.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GO INTO MODELLING?

Taking pictures with my uncle and seeing how I can evolve into something totally different behind the camera really made me want to work until it became my reality.

#InspiredByHer: Ezinne Kwubiri, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at H&M North America

WHAT WAS THE MOST EXCITING PROJECT YOU EVER WORKED ON?

The most exciting project I’ve ever worked on is an unreleased Editorial for a magazine in London. I got to wear vintage Chanel and other amazing designers. I met some of the most talented artists and models respectively. Jeyza Gary

 HOW DO YOU DFEINE BEAUTY? WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL BEAUTIFUL?

I define beauty as carelessness. What do I mean by that? Well, True beauty in my opinion isn’t definied by societal standards, if anything it’s the complete opposite. I believe true beauty is when individuals challenge conventional standards and break molds. Beauty is courage, it’s boldness when everyone wants to silence you. Styling my hair, a casual outfit and lip gloss makes me feel the most beautiful. It doesn’t take much for me to like what I see.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES YOU FACE IN THE MODELLING INDUSTRY?

Standards and precedents. Being someone that isn’t represented in the media and trying to break into the industry is undeniably challenging. It is already challenging To be a model in such a competitive industry let alone a model that does not fit conventional norms.

Woman Who Sheds Skin Every Two Weeks Becomes Probably The First ...

 

Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Chebet Chikumbu, I am a Pan African woman of Kenyan origin and South African cultivation. I currently serve as the Regional Director of Southern and East Africa at Global Citizen.

 What was the path that led you to this role at Global Citizen?

I was working under the extraordinary leadership of Mama Graça Machel in her capacity as Chairperson of Mandela Institute for Development Studies. During this stint, I was exposed to the power of information dissemination for social change and finding solutions for
development challenges on our continent. I was in awe of her humanitarian efforts
through various interventions and channelled her lessons into my own line of service. I
was responsible for shaping the nature of the development programmes in African
Heritage and Economic Development which planted seeds in the role that Africans can
play in actively seeking our own interventions through collaboration and coordination.
Prior to that, I served at Praekelt Foundation – an organisation dedicated to using mobile
technology to improve the lives of people living in poverty. This was my introduction to
advancing our development agenda using digital platforms to tackle social issues.

Can you tell us a little about your duties as the Africa Director at Global Citizen?

I am responsible for leading our Joburg-based team in the execution of our regional strategy.
I oversee the delivery of our key advocacy campaigns, communications, programmes
and strategic partnerships in the Southern and East Africa region.

Did you always know that working in the Humanitarian was what you wanted to do?

Yes, working in the humanitarian field was always what I wanted to do as a conscious
citizen fueled by serving others and using my inner agency to uplift vulnerable people.
As a first born child, I was taught to work hard and treat everyone with kindness while
remembering my roots. As a grown African woman, I am determined to lead with
compassion and live with purpose to tackle the systemic causes of extreme poverty.

What  motivates you on a daily basis in the humanitarian field?

I am motivated by those who have gone before us and fought for our economic freedom such as Mama Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Mama Wangari Maathai as well as living legends devoted to leaving a legacy for a better world for our next generation, driven by their individual stories for social justice and I emulate their ideologies through my own existence.

And what are the main challenges?

Given the nature of finite resources in our world, we will continue to experience inequalities and scarcity to some extent. Thus the opportunities for us remain to address shortages, to source supplies and mobilise those who are fortunate enough to meet the growing demand of basic needs in our communities.

What was it about your mentality that changed when you started working at Global Citizen?

I have gained a greater appreciation for diversity. Working for an advocacy
organisation that spans across five continents has affirmed that our thinking and actions
are truly shaped by our cultural awareness, lived experiences and varied background.
Our cultural differences should not separate us from each other, but rather cultural
diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity. As a member of
the human race, our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the
socio-economic solutions we develop and pass them on to the next generation.

You’ve had so many career highs. What’s been your proudest moment?

Being part of a team that delivered the Mandela 100 campaign culminating in a festival which
galvanized 16 governments, eight international institutions and foundations, and 12
corporations to make financial and political commitments. This campaign saw engaged
citizens take over 5.65 million actions globally, which resulted in 60 commitments and
announcements worth USD $7.2 billion (ZAR 104 billion), set to affect the lives of 121
million people around the world.

How do we achieve having more women chairing government or business Affairs in
Africa?

We need to lean into our own inherent capacities and capabilities to chair all
types of affairs on the continent. It starts with self belief to apply our innate strengths,
followed by making decisions using facts and figures with good sensibilities and
sensitivities when needed. Additionally, I am learning how to make a difference and
move the needle through teachings from some of our formidable African elders such as
Amina Mohammed, Maki Mandela, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Winnie Byanyima.

Which topics or Areas are most interesting to you?

Early childhood development, gender equality, women’s empowerment and partnerships for development.

What’s your advice for women trying to discover or build upon their passion?

Go for it wholeheartedly, grind hard and have a willingness to try again if at first you do not
succeed. Life is a series of learnings and wins, there can be no failures if we build upon
each lesson. Condition your mind with positive success stories and fill up on courage to
step outside of your comfort zone. As the great late poet Maya Angelou said “you
develop courage by doing small things like just as if you wouldn’t want to pick up a
100-pound weight without preparing yourself.” The inches we need are everywhere.

#InspiredByHer: Annie Jean-Baptiste, The Woman Fighting To Ensure Google’s Product And Workforce Reflect Its Diverse User Base

What are the main characteristics you believe every successful leader should possess?

Empathy, humility and integrity.

 What Woman inspires you and why?

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; for her outlook on identity, feminism and fashion as well as her excellent command for storytelling and positively shifting narratives through her craft.

Why is it important for people to care about the crisis and disasters that are happening
around the world?

We have a shared universal obligation as members of the human race to care for each other as well as our planet as our home. The negative externalities we face are often within our control to course correct as we have the agency and abilities to take action to make our world a better place. We need to generate more consciousness about the collective power of active citizenry that lifts societies for our greater good.

 

Stevee-Rayne Warren is Producer Manager, Community crew up program, NOVAC recruiter and Consultant. She pairs up capable PA’s with real Hollywood opportunities.

 

Tell us about you and your background.
– I was born and grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and attended Southern University and A&M College where I majored in English and Liberal Arts. My mom was a cosmetologist and I would spend afternoons and weekends in her salon watching tv and movies to occupy myself and to not be in grown folks business. I recall always waiting for the credits and watching behind the scenes. I also would tag along to hair shows in the southeast region and that in itself was an entire production. I knew I wanted to have something to do with film and television I just did not know what my options were or even what the first steps were. It wasn’t until high school and after taking a video production elective that I started to see working in film as a reality. Our teacher Mr.Kyle really pushed us and exposed us to various aspects of productions. We made two feature length films that premiered at one of the AMC’s and actually gained some local and youtube buzz. I loved the collaborative process and being apart of something that brought joy to so many people.

Tell us about your profession and how you got into your line of work.
– While in college I worked at a restaurant and for the Bureau of Community Preparedness part-time, which I genuinely enjoyed but did not feel completely fulfilled. So, I applied for a security position at the local film studio in Baton Rouge. I didn’t get the position but the receptionist told me to look into an organization called NOVAC if I wanted to get some production experience. I did some research and saw that NOVAC had a tone of resources for individuals interested in film and tv. I signed up for the free cinematography workshop. Shortly after the workshop I reached out to the NOVAC Baton Rouge program manager Jillian Godshall to inquire about internship opportunities and a week later I was interviewed and hired. The opportunity was paid so I left my state job and took a leave from my restaurant job and worked the organization’s membership system. I was later promoted to membership coordinator.
Following my roles with membership, I started to help out with workforce development every chance I got and in 2017 I was assigned to manage our partnership program with HBO and a month later we garnered an additional partnership (PA pipelining program) with Warner Bros. The thing I love the most about working for the state was the community outreach and connecting the right people with the right situation and with these programs I get to do that but in a field that I am passionate about.

What professional accomplishment has given you the most satisfaction ?
– This year has been a big one for alum of the various programs I manage. We advocate that these opportunities will lead to sustainable careers in the industry but I did not expect to see such tangible impact so soon. There are a number of people in the union or on the union track, working director’s assistants, location managers, costumers, script supervisors, associate producers, staff writers that all came from these programs in the last 3 years. I’m proud of that, I’m proud of them.

What does it mean for you to have a commitment to Equality/Diversity ?
How have you demonstrated that commitment ?
– Having a true commitment to equality/diversity means actively recruiting storytellers and crew from different backgrounds through every stage. Not looking for black and brown faces at the very last minute for the bottom line. Another thing we tend to abandon is the environment that we place people in…Yes, it may be a chance of a lifetime to work on a big budget production but what does this “dream job” come at the expense of? Is it their comfort? Their peace of mind? If so, it’s not the right opportunity and it’s not worth it. When I started out I use to think the chance was enough. It is not. We also have to ensure that all involved are truly invested and supportive of facilitating more inclusive hiring processes.

Tell us how you work with brands to create or foster equity in the workplace ?
– Because I am a consultant through a non-profit and work under the social responsibility umbrella, I work with other non-profits and productions rather than brands. One thing I do love with working Warner Media (HBO, Warner. Bros, Turner) productions is the privilege to engage with a number of nonprofit groups and community based organizations around numerous social issues – many of which are addressed naturally in the content. For instance, the series BARRY is centered around a veteran, so I recruit exclusively from organizations that serve veterans for that show. That is one of my favorite things about this work, making authentic connections.

How would you advocate for equality and inclusion initiatives with individuals who don’t see its value ?
– I am really not in the business of changing people’s hearts. Because the people who are admitly against the type of pipelining programs I manage are usually those who have greatly benefited from the system that so often excludes the people that we serve. I am more focused on bridging the gap and setting the tone for the emerging creatives and industry leaders. One thing I do emphasize is that things are not the way they are by chance, it was intentionally set up to not be accessible to all, so our efforts for change have to be done with intention and care.

What experiences have you had with recruiting, hiring, training, and/or supervising a diverse workforce ?
Some of the recent productions I have recruited and placed PAs or interns for include; JOKER, QUEEN & SLIM, LUCIFER, DAVID MAKES MAN, JUST MERCY, YOU, QUEEN SUGAR, CHERISH THE DAY, IN THE HEIGHTS, CLAWS, ALL AMERICAN, LEGACIES, BLACK LIGHTNING, WATCHMEN, EUPHORIA, BALLERS, INSECURE, SILICON VALLEY, DEADWOOD, THE RIGHTEOUS GEMSTONES, DIVORCE, LOVECRAFT COUNTRY, WESTWORLD, THE LOVEBIRDS, PARADISE LOST, FILTHY RICH, and THE WALKING DEAD.

As more women of color enter and strive in the workplace, how will that affect the future of diversity and inclusion ?

Women hire more women, Black people, and people of color. Point, blank, period.

Any advice or tips for women trying to get into your line of work ?
– For women, specifically black women, a tip that I can offer about working in this industry, is that, it is possible to simultaneously be grateful and to stand up for yourself. I think a lot of us retract in these spaces because we are in fear of conforming to stereotypes or we are in fear of losing the opportunity. But it is so important to know who you are and advocate for yourself in this world because you better believe your counterparts are doing so.
Be sure that you are focused and attached to your personal purpose and walk and not a company, brand, or other individuals. I ask myself often, “what is the goal? why did I start this? Is what I am doing in fulfilment of my purpose?.” If so, I keep pushing. If not, I stop evaluate and readjust.

Whenever I am unsure or not feeling confident, I always think about a quote by Audre Lorde, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” I have this up in my house and office and these are truly words to live by.

What do you see as the greatest leadership strength ?

– I believe the greatest leadership strengths are empathy, emotional intelligence, and empowerment. The best leaders are those who are understanding and supportive.

 

 

 

 

#InspiredByHer is an interview series that focuses on black women, showcases their expériences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and Professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.

Do you know any black women doing phenomenal things ? Send an email to info@moyoafrika.com and we just might feature her.