This year for international women’s day we would like to highlight GoWomen who you may not know who turned planning into action and made it happen in their own lives. Ultimately before we can all go out there and save the world we must first stand on our own very able two feet. She came, She planned, She Made it happen.
She finally went solo | Edleen Elba
registered her HR company JobSearch over 7 years ago. It was her passion and what she wanted to do full time but for those seven years while she worked in corporate Sierra Leone JobSearch was just a side gig. Two years ago she told me she really wanted to work on it full time, to build an HR company that was going to really train locals with the skills they need to help build Sierra Leone and the companies that hired them. At the time though she was working for the National Power Authority and the conditions still weren’t right for her to move on. Today Edleen has resigned from her post at the NPA and on this IWD she is doing exactly what she planned for so many years in the making. JobSearch Sierra Leone is one of the head hunting and training firms in Freetown. So to all of you sitting at your desks week out after week dreaming of doing your heart’s calling think of Edleen and be assured that you too can and will make it happen.
She took a chance | Lydia Forson
said she wanted to make a movie, to find a script she loved and spearhead its production from start to finish. When she told me this I did internally roll my eyes. It seemed that the trend among Nollywood’s thespians was for actors/actresses to want to add producer to their title. Almost a year went by and she said she’d found a script and was looking for sponsorship. Later she sent me a teaser and then months after an invitation to watch her film A Letter From Adam at the SilverBird Cinema in Accra. I went and I watched and like much of the feedback that I got it was an truly impressive effort. She took the film to premieres all across Ghana and this summer it was announced that the film A Letter From Adam was nominated for African Movie Magic’s Viewer’s Choice Award and on March 13th
this same movie will have its London Premiere. Through out the start of the production process Lydia was nervous, and often felt insecure about the film. She knew that she was risking her reputation as an actress and a bad producer credit on a film would really be a personal blow but she did it anyway. Fear of failure is probably the number 1 reason why people never get started on their dreams; What if I fail but GoWoman what if you fly instead?
She stepped up | Memuna Janneh
is a very well respected business consultant in Sierra Leone. She’s known for being a straight shooter, who gets it done. In September 2014 the government announced a 3-Day Lock Down across the whole country to sensitize the general public about the ebola virus. Everyone had to stay home. Memuna was in London when she heard the news. Being all too familiar with the challenges of the average family Memuna knew that food would be a major problem for many during the lockdown. The state of emergency bans on inter district travel had already reduced the availability of food. So Memuna and her family and friends pulled their efforts together and they were able to supply 2600 meals to 7 communities during the lockdown but they didnt stop there. By the end of February they had served 40,000 meals to families, healthcare workers, and now children orphaned by ebola. If Memuna had seen the news like many of us do and said poor them, nothing I can do, if she had let herself be overwhelmed by a feeling of helplessness…thankfully we don’t ever have to wonder because she didn’t. Memuna asked if not me, then who? She stepped up and got involved and you can too. If you don’t start to make it happen, it never will, and no amount of wishing and hoping is ever going to bear fruit unless you do.
She keeps growing | Afua Osei
was in business school when she decided to compete for the Miss Ghana USA pageant. A most unusual thing for Afua to do if you know her and especially since she would be entering into her final semester, thesis and project due at about the same time the competition was to happen. She entered the competition and weeks after graduating from University of Chicago’s Booth with an MBA and a Masters in Public Policy she was crowned Miss Ghana USA 2013. By September 2013 she had landed a job at Mckinsey’s Nigeria Office and anyone would say she was well accomplished and should rest a bit and enjoy success but not Afua. At the end of 2013 she came to Accra and hosted a day long mentoring event for young women in Ghana but she still wasn’t done. In March 2014 Afua co-founded She Leads Africa “a platform that provides the most talented female entrepreneurs across the continent with access to the knowledge, networks and financing needed to build and scale strong businesses. Our goal is to jumpstart female entrepreneurs from SMEs to pan-African industry leaders.” To date they have awarded $55,000 to female led start ups and garnered support and sponsorship from IBM, Google, and GTBank. Sometimes we take small accolades and accomplishments as a fait accompli. Oh I just finished this so I can stop. The truth is that we all have to commit to continuous growth in all aspects of our lives. If this our continent is going to reach where we know it must and will it will be because go women like Afua and yourself commit to growth and keep making it happen not just for themselves but opening doors for others as well.
She started small | Jay Gyebi (@MukaseChic)
first reached my timeline as part of a duo for the concept TV Show, Cooking in Heels. I followed them on Instagram and watched the posts of recipes and photos from two women who clearly and a love and talent for food. Then I started following Jay on instagram and what initially looked like a hobby transformed to a full time obsession. The selfies and photos of friends were soon overtaken by non stop consistent posts of new and old recipes. Then 16 weeks ago I saw a post that she was going to open an eatery and today you can find the Mukase Chic Eatery on the Oxford Street in Osu.
I have never tasted her food (soon come) but I can recognize a woman in full bloom when I see one. To come from just posts on social media to opening your own restaurant is no small feat. It takes guts, passion, and all around GoWomanness. So to Jay and to you out there starting out small doing what you love, not necessarily sure where it will lead please keep going, and be rest assured that your steps no matter how small will manifest into what ever you seek as long as you don’t give you and keep following your heart
She keeps going | Wade C. L. Williams
(FrontPageAfrica) is an award winning investigative reporter and chief of the news desk for FrontPageAfrica
newspaper and website. Some call her the most powerful newswoman in Liberia where few women have been able to make a career in the media, let alone reach the top ranks. Wade has interviewed warlords and written about discrimination against homosexuals, which has seen her death threats. Wade was one of several reporter’s whose lives were threatened during the coverage of elections in 2011. And when her publisher was forced to flee the country, she kept the paper running. Wade continues to embrace her bold passion for storytelling and can be seen at the front lines of the ebola epidemic fearlessly doing what she believes is not only a calling but also a responsibility. In october last year she was set to deliver the McGill Lecture to journalism students at the University of Georgia but the school cancelled her trip over fears she would become ill with Ebola. Wade holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from the United Methodist University. As a student, Wade pioneered the first student newsletter, Inside UMU
, and graduated magna cum laude.