All Articles Tagged "Funlayo Alabi"
Shea Radiance, makers of a line of natural hair and body care products made with shea, has launched a month-long Indiegogo campaign in the hopes of raising $18,000 for training workshops during this year’s Global Shea Alliance Conference in Abuja, Nigeria.
The Global Shea Alliance Conference, now in its sixth year, is an annual gathering of people across the shea industry. Shea nut and shea butter are ingredients in some of the most popular personal care products on the market. This event, taking place between March 4 and March 6, brings together experts, investors, business owners, retailers, and others to discuss a variety of international issues impacting the industry.
According to a press release from the Global Shea Alliance, more than 15 million women across West Africa are part of the shea industry, whether it’s gathering nuts or making food, personal care products, or other items from the harvest. “Shea is critical to the livelihoods of millions of women in West Africa,” said Eugenia Akuete, president of the Global Shea Alliance, in a release statement.
Because the market for shea has gone international, this year’s conference theme is “Global Perspectives.” Corporations participating include The Body Shop, L’Oreal, and Burt’s Bees.
Shea Radiance first attended the conference in 2011.
“As a woman and the owner of a growing personal care brand, my interests were a little different from some of the larger companies who were in the business of buying and exporting shea nuts,” Funlayo Alabi, president and director of Shea Radiance, told us in an email. “Several of us smaller brands who worked closely with the local shea producers were concerned about the interests of the local producer.” Among the five “key priorities” of the Alliance that Alabi identifies are “rural women’s empowerment” and “rural communities development.”
With partners Dr. Georgia Duerst-Lahti from Duerst-Lahti Global and Marla Bosworth from Backporch Soaps, Shea Radiance is presenting a series of workshops at the Abuja event that will help entrepreneurs with business planning and creating better products using the various resources natural to the African landscape. The money Shea Radiance raises through the Indiegogo campaign will fund transportation, materials for use in the training, and other items. So far, they’ve raised nearly $1,800. There are 19 days left in the campaign.
“By offering our knowledge and expertise in creating natural based hair and body care products to small business owners in over 17 West African countries, our hope is that they in turn will buy the needed ingredients from the local shea producer in their region,” Alabi’s email continued. “The needs in rural Africa can be overwhelming. We are focusing our efforts on initiatives that can lift women out of poverty through economic opportunity.”
After the jump, we’ve included a video that illustrates what Shea Radiance would like to achieve.
Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that minority enrollment numbers for some of the nation’s top MBA programs were misleading. While most schools boast about minority rates that are above 30 percent and rising, researchers have discovered that Asian-Americans make up the bulk of these numbers, revealing that true enrollment rates for underrepresented minorities (African American, Hispanic and Native American) is actually much lower.
When it comes to enrollment numbers for women, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) estimates that women represent 31 percent of the population among top business schools. And if we were to examine these numbers under the same lens as in the above example, I’m sure we’d find that the rate of African-American women pursuing MBA degrees is relatively small, which to some is cause for alarm.
Given today’s economic realities and a dwindling number of job opportunities, it’s important for women of color to equip themselves with the proper tools for career advancement. And while pursuing an advanced degree may not be the right answer for everyone, having the degree can distinguish you from your peers and put you on the fast track to a more robust and visible role at work.
Speaking of visibility, Ursula Burns of the Xerox Corporation is the first African-American woman to run a Fortune 500 firm and she is currently only one of six African-Americans who hold the top job at any major company. While she is illuminating the path for many black women, her peers Sheryl Sandberg (COO, Facebook) and Marissa Mayer (CEO, Yahoo) are also making huge strides in the business world.
And one of the things all three of these women have in common is they all have an advanced degree.
To give you an idea of how post-graduate education can effect your career, I spoke with nine successful African-American women with very diverse backgrounds who have all obtained an MBA. What they have to say may surprise you.