We were slated to host an event together on personal branding, but then the #Lockdown forced us to switch gears. I'm thrilled to share with you excerpts from a chat I had with Wunmi Akinlosotu on what her journey has been like as a mother, wife, entrepreneur and woman on a mission to connect and empower more women for personal growth and development. Wunmi is the Founder of The Blooming Ladies, an inspiration movement with chapters across three continents. She had this to share with Reinvented Today:
RT: Wunmi – tell us about yourself, where you are from and what inspires your growth.
WA: I am from the South western part of Nigeria. I believe to whom much is given much is expected. I strongly believe God has given me a big vision to help other women, so I owe it to my maker and Lord to grow and become all He has called me to be.
RT: You’ve garnered a great deal of traction hosting empowerment and training events for women under your Blooming Ladies organisation. Tell us about Blooming Ladies, what pushed you to create it and which markets women can connect with this hub?
WA: I think part of the answer to this question can be found in my first answer. I started Blooming Ladies because I believe every woman has a purpose/passion and for her to truly be successful in life she must bring her passion to life. I have seen many women (myself inclusive) struggle to lead a thriving life for different reasons, so we end up burying our dreams/passion and just lead a mundane life. I decided to create a space for women to thrive, by giving them access to the inspiration, connection and empowerment they need to build a thriving life and business.
RT: What have been the greatest lessons you have learned from bringing women from different cultural backgrounds together?
WA: I have learned that at the core we are all the same! We all have dreams and passion that is longing for actualization.
RT: Name 3 people who are an inspiration to you as a Founder of a Women’s Empowerment group? What about their methods or teachings convinced you it was time to start Blooming Ladies?
WA: My first inspiration is a woman I never met; she lived thousands of years before my parents were born. This woman is called Deborah, she was the first and only female Judge in Isreal. Deborah inspires me as a woman not to be intimidated but to be bold and lead, if God gives me a word I can bank on it.
Oprah Winfrey, is another person that inspires me. She charted a path for herself as a black woman in the talk show industry. I like that she’s true to who she is.
Sandra Yancey is the Founder of Ewomen in the USA. The group have been around for about 20 years, of course for the first few years things were tough, she almost gave up! She was investing money in her business but nothing seems to work. Good thing is that she didn’t give up, she kept building her community and today she has chapters in different countries.
RT: You left Nigeria and went on to live in Europe, then Canada and now the UAE. Talk to us about your journey as an entrepreneur living in these different markets. Have you always been entrepreneurially minded or was it something that was birthed along the way?
WA: As a child I knew I wanted to do something different, I wanted to make an impact in my world, but I did not know how or what that looked like. I do not know if I should call this being entrepreneurially minded or not. Every country/city has different cultures, and this determines how business is being carried out. One challenge I faced and am still facing is learning to understand the business culture in my location and adapting myself and style to fit that culture. In every location/market there are advantages and disadvantages
RT: You are a wife and mom to a beautiful family now living in Abu Dhabi? What have been the biggest lessons you have learned in navigating this space as a Nigerian woman that still wants to remain connected to her roots while raising her family in a family far from home?
WA: I must say it’s not an easy task to stay connected to my root while raising a family far from home. I have learned that I need to decide the traditions/cultures that are important to me and those that I’m willing to let go, understanding the fact that my children are growing up in different culture than I did. I then find ways to ensure the traditions that are important are taught to my children. Also, knowing that I have to make conscious effort for my kids to stay connected to their grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles.
RT: What are some of the challenges you have faced and key learnings you have enjoyed from being an African immigrant with a fairly nomadic way of life?
WA: To be sincere I have a love hate relationship with this way of life. Many times, I feel like a tree that has been uprooted many times, with a part of me being left in those places. At the same time, I love the adventure, I love the opportunity to start again, I love meeting new people.
I have learned to love and accept myself; I mean my whole self before expecting anyone else to accept me. You must be comfortable in your own skin! Challenges would be with people relating with preconceive notion of who they think you are or should be. Or having to prove myself more than others.
RT: Name three things that you believe anchor a Blooming Lady?
WA: Purpose, Impact, Legacy
RT: Name 3 tips or tools that help keep you organized as a woman wearing multiple hats while having their footprint across different markets?
WA: I can’t do without my Google office suite!
People! People!! People!!! I can’t do it all alone, I have a support team.
The most important help and my backbone is my anchor on God
RT: The year 2020 has taken on a different turn that we imagined when we started it with the advent of COVID-19. We have witnessed everything from full lockdowns the world over to not being able to travel or connect with our family members and friends in the physical. What has come through your moments of reflection during this season?
WA: This period has taught me to take life easy, enjoy each day to the full and not to hold onto plans too tightly. It also made me trust God more because he alone knows all things. Imagine, the big and the mighty, the world powers couldn’t find a solution to a virus that nearly crumbled the world economy!
Finally, to survive in this world you have to learn to adapt, learn, relearn and unlearn, if not you will be made obsolete.
To connect with Wumni and the Blooming Ladies visit https://www.bloomingladies.com/