Women Making History: Ogo Ekweozor - Holley

Ogo

by Megan Montgomery

Ogo Ekweozor-Holley is the epitome of a serial entrepreneur.  After obtaining her law degree at 20, Ogo has since founded six companies with a seventh on the way.  Her companies have spanned multiple industries, including fashion, real estate, and an agency generating funds for non-profits.  She is the founder of her eponymous fashion line OGO New York, which has an online and physical storefront in Brooklyn; and Style Chest which offers personal styling boxes direct to your door.  

ogo new york 14 wo-1.jpg
ogo new york 9-1.jpg
017-1.JPG

Ogo has a strong passion for giving back as well and founded the True Beauty Foundation which offers events designed to inspire and empower women. She created the True Beauty Conference in 2012 to provide an affordable, educational, and inspiring event for professional women and entrepreneurs. Her achievements are frequently recognized with awards including the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction and Economic Development award, Brooklyn Reporter’s Power Woman in Business, and Third Avenue Association’s Business Pioneer Award.  And, if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she is also married with three very active children under the age of four.  

FB_IMG_1552186301866.jpg

When I met Ogo, the first question that came to my mind is “how do you do it all?”  And, yes, Ogo is a firm believer that you really can do it all.  She believes that it is possible to have a happy marriage, fulfilling career, solid friendships, and still have quality time with your kids. 

“It’s not about work-life balance, it’s about harmony and finding a way for all of the things that are most important to you to sync together,” says Ogo. “If you are involved in a lot, you need to be really intentional about staying present with what you are engaging in at the time, whether it be with the kids, husband, friends or a work meeting.”  To help her do that, Ogo will frequently turn off her phone or put it in another room so she can really focus on the person or task in front of her.  She also finds that she prioritizes better when she starts her day with quiet time with God. 

“One of the keys to success as an entrepreneur is having a clear vision that’s bigger than you,” says Ogo. “You have to know your why.  Most businesses don’t make a lot of money in the beginning and it can cost a little more time and money to start than you would think, so without having a clear vision and purpose, you can easily get discouraged and give up.” 

Screen Shot 2019-03-09 at 10.31.56 PM.png

As a Christian woman who owns a business, Ogo looks for ways to live out her faith in everything she does. She does this by treating all employees and customers in ways that honors and values them, being ready to be a listening ear, and praying for people when they are going through something. She also leverages her businesses to give back to various charities including ones involved in stopping human trafficking and supporting education in underprivileged areas. Ogo is in the process of expanding her True Beauty Foundation to provide resources to teenage girls through afterschool programs focused on leadership development, business management, and entrepreneurship. 

“Giving back is the right thing to do,” Ogo says. “I believe that having a strong corporate donation culture also helps employees and customers to have a deeper connection to the company which boosts overall retention and employee productivity. Personally, giving back also adds to my big WHY when times get tough and helps me persevere for the sake of all the lives I’m touching.” 

Learn more about Ogo and register for the sixth annual True Beauty Women’s celebrationon Thursday, April 25, 2019. 

Lil Mama Helps Empower High School Students In Brooklyn

Photo: Antwon Maxwell

Photo: Antwon Maxwell

by Julissa Soriano

“We are from Brooklyn, we come from the same place. If I realized my dreams, you can do it, too,” said Niatia Kirkland, better known as Lil Mama, in a one-hour surprise visit to Progress High School for Professional Careers in Brooklyn, NY.

In an effort to inspire and encourage students, Lil Mama shared her success story and urged young men and women to finish their education. Born in Harlem and raised in Brooklyn, Lil Mama felt a personal connection to the more than 40 students,  primarily Latino and African-American, gathered to hear her message.

“Please be aware of the naysayers and non-believers. They will hold you back.”

Best known for her roles in TV movies such as CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, with Keke Palmer and Drew Sidora and When Love Kills, with Lance Gross and Tami Roman, Lil Mama’s first break was in 2007 with her hit single Lip Gloss. She then went on to star on America’s Best Dance Crew, alongside fellow judge JC Chasez and host Mario Lopez for seven seasons. 

Lil Mama offered the following advice to students from her career as a singer, rapper, songwriter, actress, and dancer:

"Often times, the closest people to us discouraged us from pursuing what might seem abstract or unrealistic career interests. Please be aware of the naysayers and non-believers. They will hold you back."

“Take a look at the big picture, be sure to obtain the skills required to set you up for success in the working world. By that, I mean, get an education!”
 

Lil Mama’s visit was more than just charity work or good publicity; it was an example of one way she is using her celebrity status to help empower young men and women.  By sharing her story, we hope to inspire to do the same and providing them with a success story from someone real and relatable. So let’s help build and encourage future champions because you just might be the first person in their lives who has ever told them they can do it!

Photo: Antwon Maxwell

Photo: Antwon Maxwell

Julissa Soriano earned a B.A in Journalism and has a passion for arts, fashion, beauty, travel, humanitarian work, women empowerment, and animal rights. She is currently a Blogger and Associate Editor for Wit + Grace Magazine.