BEYOUROWN: #IWILLUSEMYVOICE X Dr Ava Eagle Brown
In light of the recent events, we at BEYOUROWN want to develop our involvement with the #Blacklivesmatter movement and collectively stand in solidarity to help protect others who fall victim to racial hatred. We have put together a project with some of the UK’s leading black female entrepreneurs from a selection of diverse industry fields, these women have written a heartfelt letter, to shed a little more light on their own personal journey throughout career and business building.
Multi-dimensional, these women highlight many aspects of the racial discrimination experienced, whether it be the invisible limitations and challenges faced due to skin colour, or the micro-aggressions, racial inequality and disgusting abuse that occurs in and out of the workplace, much of which is typically down-played, humoured and is not a true depiction of what we often see in UK mainstream media.
At BEYOUROWN we stand in solidarity, love and humanity. Furthermore, we will maintain our commitment to working consciously as a community to address and improve the conditions regards to racial inequality. We will also stand behind and support those who push for justice and fairness. We must not stay silent, for silence will simply not dismantle this alone. We must educate ourselves and others. We absolutely must protect those who are prey to racial inequality, mistreatment, pain and suffering on a daily basis. We at BEYOUROWN will continue to acknowledge our position of privilege and will use it for the greater good. We aim to highlight and amplify the voices of our Black female entrepreneurs and will continue to do so.
Dr Ava Eagle Brown is a CEO, Founder, Multi-award-winning International Speaker, Author and Transformation mindset business coach, Dr Ava Eagle Brown is in a class by herself. Ava coaches, trains and speaks globally to help others shift their mindsets to change their lives and businesses ultimately affecting their bottom-line. She is the author of her memoir The Mango Girl which is soon to be a feature film as well as CEO & Founder of The Mango Girl CIC, a non for profit aimed at helping women live their best lives.
Her recent exploits include starting a hair and skin line called The Mango Girl named started after a nasty divorce and became her therapy, just simply making body butter. She made the non-negotiable decision to create a unique brand that combines the passions of ethnic hair, beauty, authenticity, personal empowerment, culture, and modern convenience – all with the added touch of everything being handmade. Ava has been featured in The Financial Times, BBC, LBC, Huffington Post, The Belfast Telegraph just to name a few. Her clients have included: Ulster Bank, Citi Bank, HSBC & London Borough of Merton.
Dr Ava Eagle Brown’s letter
I grew up, a girl in one of the most deprived areas in Jamaica. A place is so beautiful yet its memories so ugly. Always on a race for survival being chased by monsters of all kinds – incest, violence, sexual abuse, homelessness, and worse.
The community expected me to join the rooted recreational activities of sex, raising babies, and going to the farm. Deep down I believed there was light at the end of the tunnel. Just when I thought it could not get worse, I was raped in front of my 3- year old daughter, and a gun on my head. Enough was enough, I decided to flee to the UK.
I was broken, yes, but I could heal, and I was going to be stronger and better. What I was not prepared for, was how difficult it was, that I had to work three times as hard as my counterparts and still do!
I am now a mindset and resilience coach specialising in trauma and tough situations. I’m also an author to books such as The Mango girl and The Single Mother’s Diary (which is a documentary on Amazon prime video), multi-award winning motivational speaker having clients such as London Borough of Merton and sharing stages with the likes of Levi Roots. Nominated at this year’s The Tällberg/Eliasson Global Leadership Prize, received ‘We are The City Award 2017’ and also CEO of my skincare line – Mango Girl.
However, it’s not always stars and sunshine. Being a woman of colour in entrepreneurship is incredibly challenging, especially in Western countries. We are forced to deal with inequality, stereotype, and stigma that comes along with it.
Black women entrepreneurs face more barriers than their male counterparts, such as lack of mentors, discrimination, and, more importantly, inadequate capital, as highlighted by a new report from the National Women’s Business Council, prepared by Walker’s Legacy.
More and more black women are becoming entrepreneurs globally but investment in their businesses is not increasing in direct proportion to their activity.
Some of these problems can be solved by seeking traditional ways of getting funds, such as bank loans. We also need continued and increased support for community-based business resources such as Women’s Business Development Centres. Lastly, since investors tend to fund people who look like themselves, we need more angel investors who are also people of colour.
I hope that in the future, funds will be more accessible, and there would be more equal opportunities for African extraction women. I hope that we do not have to start most of our business from our bedrooms and kitchens; and that we are treated with the same respect as white women in our field. That more of us get to sit at the tables as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and that we are seen by our talents and not our colours.
Most importantly, I wish that we will keep on rising no matter what pushes us down.
With love and strength,
Dr Ava Eagle Brown