Mercy Makinde is a seasoned entrepreneur, writer, speaker and enterprise advocate. She is the CEO of IASPIRE RADIO – Nigeria’s first Motivational Radio Station. She also mentors and expresses her thoughts, knowledge and experience through her blog, the IASPIRE BLOG. She helped to preach the message of change and reawakening to the present generation in dire need of motivation and empowerment with the Iaspire Radio and Iaspire Blog.
She is the MD/CEO of Crested Crane Tours and Travels, a renowned travel agency affiliated to Radius Travel Group, one of the world’s leading Travel Management Companies. She represents the Oxford International Education Group, U.K in Africa. She has the franchise to run the British English Olympics Competition for Schools in Africa. Mercy sits on the Advisory Board of TechieFarmer Limited, an agric-tech company that focuses on inspiring a green revolution. She is also on the Board of Team Funding Coop, U.K an international co-operative alliance company that helps SMEs with funding.
She shares her story with Guardian woman.
What’s the motivation behind Amazing Amazon Initiative?
The AMAZING AMAZON is a support group for women from all walks of life. We are out to empower, enhance and uplift women around the world as many women today are becoming a force to reckon with.
We are an ACTION orientated group that does not just pay lip service to women empowerment or betterment but we take practical steps and actions to support and assist women in all areas of their lives; business, relationship, career, marriage, parenting etc.
Your organisation seems to be everywhere in terms of women empowerment. How do you get funding for your events?
Funding so far has been through my personal resources and in most recent times contributions from our members. But some corporate organizations who have been impressed with our work so far have currently indicated interest in partnering with us with special regards to our upcoming conference on the 24th of September 2016.
What’s the purpose of the conference? The ‘ LAGOS AND THE WOMAN’ Conference is borne out of the recent spate of domestic violence, rape and early child marriages prevalent today and has become a major threat to the lives of many women and the girl child today. The conference would seek to discuss the above and several other topics that would empower and improve the lives of women in our society. The event is designed to educate women on domestic abuse; signs, causes and help available. Other issues affecting women who are resident in Lagos that would help them become well-rounded individuals, make them live a more fulfilled life and compete favourably with their contemporaries in other parts of the world would also be discussed and they include: women and finance, excelling in a man’s world, how to get and stay married and raising children in today’s world.
How much of your personal experiences do you bring to bear on the activities of AAI?
As a survivor of domestic violence and abuse for 11 years of my early life, I know the travails of the average woman in our society that lacks a support system and laws that protect women. Amazing Amazon initiative was borne out of a need I once had and I know many women would be in the shoes today.
The is a great need for woman to come together to rise above their challenges which often range from financial incapacitation to lack of experience, proper education, self-esteem, confidence, exposure and mentoring. These are some of the factors that kept in an abusive marriage for 11 years when I was given out in marriage to a man older than my own father at age 18.
So today, I see women from different background with different stories. I can relate to their situation. I hear their unspoken words and I see their unshed tear…I can feel their pain without them having to say so much because I was once there.
I’m able to use myself to encourage them and let them know they can always pick up the broken pieces of their lives and bounce back big time if only and only if they are willing and determined. My life story is my greatest teaching and mentoring aid!
As an entrepreneur, what do you find most challenging in running your businesses?
Human resource is the most challenging for me. I am very passionate about everything I do, sometimes I’m almost like too demanding so it’s usually difficult to find people operating on that same frequency with me. But I’m grateful to God that today I have a bunch of them today who have caught the vision and are equally very passionate now.
You are a woman of many parts: you own businesses, run an NGO, you are also a motivational speaker? How do you manage to do all these?
Sometimes I ask myself this too! But you see, when you love what you do, a lot of the stress is eliminated!
Secondly, I am an entrepreneur, not a self-employed person, meaning I have set up structures in my businesses so much so that they can run and survive without my physical presence. Same with my NGO! So the only thing I do that requires my full involvement is my speaking and writing! It’s all about personal organization and time management.
What do you think are the most limiting challenges women are facing in Nigeria?
I could write a whole book on this subject but I will mention a few and discuss briefly.
First is ourselves, the women! We need to rewrite our mental DNA and refill our positivity tank! We need a re orientation…we need to change a believe set and mindset. We need to drop the sense of entitlement and take up the sense of responsibility! As women, we must begin to accept the fact that we can change the world in our own little way. We need to accept the fact that no one owes us anything but we owe ourselves everything. We need to drop our self-limiting beliefs that “because I am a woman, I can’t do this or that “. Let’s address our self-inflicted challenges before we begin to point the proverbial finger to others as the other four will be pointing back at us
Then our Patriarchal society has left us no room for mercy. We are had hit with subservient demands and expectations from the moment we stop suckling on our mother’s breast. Aspiring for more than a place in the kitchen or bedroom is often seen as a form of rebellion and waywardness! Do not shudder as this still, occur amongst people with the very good educational background even in 2016! Hence the dreams and aspirations of many Nigerian women are at best a beautiful picture of the life they want only when they are asleep. It never sees the daylight!
It is quite sad this is happening at a time when women have taken over globally! Women are ruling in countries such as Germany, Argentina, Bangladesh, Liberia and by God’s grace America. In the UK, we have the Queen and of course the PM – a woman! Woman are indeed taking over and Nigerian women won’t be left out. We will rise above our challenges and make the difference in our world*
In which ways is AAI helping to solve any of these problems.
AAI is uniquely different from any women group you know. Like I said earlier, we are action oriented… Less talk! We walk the talk!
We have taken advantage of modern technology and the Internet age to device training, coaching and mentoring programmes for our members Globally using the online platform. We conduct at least three online seminars ranging from Business to Health and Life Coaching classes to our women world over. That way we are able to teach them some basics about being a real woman. Those online Classes have transformed the lives of many within a short period of time as they have learnt valuable lessons and life skills to improve different aspects of their lives. So Amazing Amazons know that success is not sexually transmitted…. their husbands or father’s success is not theirs. They have to hold their own. Amazing Amazons have learnt that no woman became famous for her prowess in bed or culinary skills but great women are known today for their great works! These are the kind of great women we are raising in Amazing Amazon Initiative. We are poised to impact the lives of women, changing their lives one woman at a time in order to raise above any challenges.
Who is Mercy Makinde?
Mercy Makinde is a woman that is passionate about improving the lives of women. She is one woman who doesn’t want any woman to go through what she went through in the early part of her life’s journey. She is that woman who is ready to lift and support another woman because she clearly knows what it means to be down with no support from anywhere.
Mercy has a knack for excellence and breaking new grounds. She loves learning, thinking, creating and promoting entrepreneurial solutions to business issues. She particularly enjoys helping people start-up their businesses and also assisting early stage companies to prepare for significant growth. She has a very strong passion for women, youth and entrepreneurial development