In commemoration of International Women's Day, I would like to introduce you to eight amazing, beautiful, pioneers from Sierra Leone. These women were selected after contemplating one very important question: Who are the young women in Sierra Leone who have made an impact on the lives of those living back at home and are pioneers of industry? While every woman who deserves to be celebrated is not listed, the following ladies have made a mark in Sierra Leone and will continue to do so. Following are eight women from Sierra Leone you need to know.
Ami Dumbuya - Managing Director/PR Consultant, Pinnacle and BSI - When IPTel needed a face to launch their services in Sierra Leone, Ami was it. When SierraTel was looking to rebrand and relaunch nationally, Ami was it. As managing director of Pinnacle, a company she founded a couple of years ago, Ami is the go-to woman for brand promotions in Sierra Leone. Before she said goodbye to her locks, she single-handedly pioneered a natural hair revolution. Ami now runs Business Services International (BSI), providing fully furnished serviced offices and meeting rooms for short and long-term business users.
Dr. Fatu Forna - Obstetrician/Executive Director, Mama en Pikin Foundation - A mom with a medical mission. Every year Fatu and her husband, also a medical doctor, raise funds at their home in Atlanta and travel to Sierra Leone with medical supplies and offer free medical services. Dr. Forna studied medicine at Duke University School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health. She completed her Obstetrics and Gynaecology residency at Emory University School of Medicine.
Sidi Koroma - Managing Director, Positive Changes - Sidi runs Positive Changes, a head hunter firm headquartered in Freetown, and she is the woman that big and small businesses go to first when looking to hire the nation’s best and brightest. Some of her clients include Addax Bioenergy Sierra Leone Ltd. and Guarantee Trust Bank.
Adama Kai Kargbo - Designer/Creative Director/Stylist, Aschobi Designs - She pioneered Freetown's fashion revolution with the launch of Aschobi designs in 2008. Her fashion line became the first Sierra Leonean brand to be featured on the BBC, Arise Africa Fashion Week, Canoe Magazine, Huffington Post, Good Magazine, Ladybrille, and more. Aschobi is the fashion brand of the future.
Millicent Hamilton-Hazeley - Managing Director/Entrepreneur, Clas Legal/Kotintri - Millicent is a legal powerhouse behind Clas Legal, a business advisory law firm she founded after repatriating to Sierra Leone. She also recently launched an arts and crafts boutique with a partner in Freetown. She is an expert on translational and telecommunications business. Her clients include Compass, WPP Group, GE Capital, Geopost Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Barclays Bank.
Yvonne Aki-Sawyer - Investment Director, IDEAS UK - She dreamed big, planned, and fought to make it happen. When people first heard the Yvonne wanted to build the multimillion dollar Mape community in Lungi, some people said it would never happen. They also said winning the bid to turn Cape Sierra Hotel into a Hilton subsidiary was impossible. Late last year, the President and others turned the soil, and the bulldozers went to work demolishing what once was for what is to come, The Cape Sierra Hilton.
Mariatu Kargbo - Miss Sierra Leone 2009/Performer/Singer - Many people hadn’t noticed the Miss Sierra Leone beauty pageant until Mariatu flew in from China and won the title. Her afro-chinese changing mask and fire dance stole hearts at the Miss World Competition in South Africa 2009. She went on to place higher than any other Miss Sierra Leone at the pageant bringing home the prize for best costume and talent performance. Today, Mariatu is a celebrated public figure both in Sierra Leone and in Beijing, China where she lives.
Lisl Renner - Founder/Philanthropist, Visao Foundation - While many of us were still only dreaming of making a contribution to Sierra Leone, Lisl Renner had started the Visao Foundation in 2005. Every year she gets together a team of volunteers to conduct educational week-long camps for underprivileged teenagers in Freetown. She goes and contributes without much fanfare or pretense, but with passion and commitment to give back, and that is why she is loved.