A Long Way Home: Giving Hope To The Next Generation Of Liberia!
Please allow me to briefly introduce myself. I am Maisie Dunbar, a Liberian multi-business owner for over 30 years. I am the President and Founder of the Maisie Dunbar Beauty Brands Featuring Bluffajo Cosmetics. I built my businesses as a single mom. My message to my Liberian women and youth is “ If I can do it, so can you”.
By Maisie Dunbar, Contributing Writer
Everyone things the grass is greener on the other side, it is within our best interest that our women and youth understand bloom where you are planted. Liberia might not be perfect, but nowhere is. I shared best practices as a businesswoman, which will enable them to thrive where they are. It is all about the mindset which is the first step to thriving.
My trips to Liberia often are about how I can help solve the problem with our youth and how I can empower our women. When I think about the youth and the women of Liberia I thank about me, my mother (Mai Porte Eastman), My Grand-mother (Anne Zane Brewer-Dunbar), my Aunty (one of Liberia’s trail blazing business women (Sophie Dunbar, Sophie’s Ice Cream) and all the female entrepreneurs in the Dunbar family. As an entrepreneur off over 30 years I have had the successes, the failures, the mistakes, the waking hours of my dreams becoming a reality, and the ultimate question we as entrepreneurs sometimes ask ourselves why I am doing this? Experience cannot be purchased. You must go through some things to gain the knowledge and be willing share with so others they will not have to go through those things.
I help prepared them for their entrepreneur’s journey. There is no one size fit all, it is not one size fit most either. It is your dream, and your journey. You must own all of it. There are so many factors to consider as an entrepreneur. I can’t imagine how they feel on daily basis. They are in an environment that they feel lack the support of women and youth. I have taken a pledge as a businesswoman to help the women, single moms and the youth of Liberia succeed and show them the steps it takes to thrive in any environment. Until you have walked in these shoes you can’t possibly know what it takes to be a fulltime entrepreneur and a single mom building your businesses.
Sometimes just the simple things you say to can help with a mindset shift. Everyone has a story, sitting with them and hearing what they had to say and guiding them in the process and proving tools was what I feel would help them. Sometimes we are provided information, until we are shown what to do and how to implement the information, it is useless. My goal was to make sure they took and implement at least one strategy at a time. I visited several schools to speak with the youth of Liberia (they are dear to my heart). It was blessing to speak to the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), Cohort 1, USA State Department Program, thanks to Salamtu Duncan for the invite. Speaking with these ladies and being able to drop nuggets to help their businesses succeed was all I need to confirm we have work to do, but there are some gems in our country. We must change our narrative to our story we are telling/showing the world. I visited Cyber Ed, Christine school, New Hope Community School and outside of the US Embassy I had a Palavahut conversation with the female entrepreneurs from the AWE Program at the Colony Hotel in Congo town. I also serve as a judge at the Heritage Culture Center in Congo Town. This International Women’s Month I want to invite the world to help me celebrate these amazing Liberian businesswomen and the Youth of Liberia. Knowledge is power, sharing the right information without sugar coating the truth of business climate in the United States, is imperative. When I see these women, I see me therefore I am committed to see them succeed. When they succeed, Liberia succeeds.