My name is Pamela Ogang.
I created Minority Women in Business out of necessity.
Ready or not, I was tired of pretending that inequities do not exist. I found myself asking, “Where are our role models?”, “How can we succeed together, instead of struggling apart?”, and “How can we show ourselves and others that minorities are exceptional?”.
1. It all started with a question: "Is this what life is meant to be?"
I was working long hours as a project manager, not making much money and on the brink of a burnout.
I wanted more for myself, but the job market did not look optimistic. I had business ideas, but I was afraid to tell anyone, let alone allow myself to think about them.
2. I was frustrated and I had an idea...
My idea was to have a safe place for women to share their project or business ideas without being told that it was not going to work, but given solutions to turn their ideas into reality. Furthermore, if someone’s idea was great and they were afraid that someone would steal it, in this environment of like-minded women, her idea would legally-protected.
3. Lesson 1: The more people you tell about your idea, the more likely you'll pursue it.
I still had this idea of a collective environment in mind when I went to a Meet up group for women. In this group, I talked about my idea. I partly did so because I knew that the more people I told, peer pressure would force me to act. One of the ladies was really excited about the idea and offered to give me a helping hand. This wonderful person kept me accountable.
4. Collective Labs was born!
The concept was tested with women in my network and it was an instant success. So many of us just need support and people around us to answer our questions and who believe that we can achieve anything. I was scared by the fact that my idea was suddenly real and decided to pursue it full-time.
5. I was approached by a man...
Not that type of man!
While marketing Collective Labs, I had the chance to have a private meeting with a Marketing Guru. I was just hoping that he would agree to mentor me, but I got a much bigger offer: he wanted me to head an organization for Immigrant Women in Business. The idea was exciting because I am an immigrant and he suddenly made me aware of how I could apply my business to a bigger scale. The idea also meant that I would not have to worry about finances and I would learn from people who succeeded in business.
6. Tempting as it was, I said no to a deal that would have saved my financial life...
I had sleepless nights thinking about heading an organization for immigrant women, but my gut told me not to do it. I really asked myself, who would really benefit from it?
I wanted to help people of colour specifically because minorities are usually seen in a negative light. When I thought of “Minority Women in Business”, my whole being said “YES!!!!!”. I was instantly excited and I knew that I had to create MWB even if it meant talking about a topic that many of us just want to sweep under the rug.
7. MWB Inc. was born.
Of course, the process took a lot of planning, courage and conviction. A major lesson that I learned was that everybody needs a team. Perhaps you will be the person who does most of the work, but everything is easier with support. I had support from so many people including my family, friends, business owners and professionals. MWB Inc. is growing and I cannot wait to add more highlights to “our story”.