Although I grew up in a small family owned business, my grandfather and Dad, as well as my grandmother set a good example for me in helping the less fortunate in our community. They extended small credit to ordinary workers who got paid very little to allow them to buy food, clothes, basic necessities and helped with their children's school fees. In the home, my grandmother extended this to our domestic servants as well and always taught us to treat our workers with respect and kindness - something that in my experience is lacking in the cut throat business world of international business today where being strategic, kind hearted and creative are viewed with suspicion rather than learned abilities and God given talents taught first in the home and how it is modeled through faith in daily life. I would like to help executives and their teams in business to reflect on the values that they promote in the work place through everyday newspapers, articles, songs, artists lives and journal on how that impacts their decision making in the business world. if business cannot do good in the world and profit is the only force driving it, it will continue to leave behind it large gaps in income generation, a dearth of values and promote people based on tenure and nepotism that is sometimes not clear and taught as having strong relationships especially impacting highly qualified migrants and refugees like myself who have worked hard but cannot move into decent jobs and full time careers in our professions. My vision has arisen out of the hurt in my struggle in having to start over many times in Canada after leaving the UK where I was on a working holiday after political problems broke out in Zimbabwe. I had to re-qualify to Canadian standards, have my education assessed by the World Education Services and discovered that despite my having to work twice as hard to attain my degrees in Africa, they were not highly valued or regarded in Canada when we do not have the same kinds of financial investments, donors and facilities as the West and have to overcome challenges students in the West could not imagine including studying by candlelight, infrastructure that has to be developed for the African climate and major challenges. People in the West do not understand fully the impact and ravages of discrimination, and I was shocked to see that there are not many visible minority women in positions of leadership in Canada unlike what I had seen in England. My vision is to have this exposed, talk about my challenges and experiences and the work I put in writing to professional bodies, government, making calls and sharing my story as an individual which has contributed towards new generations coming in benefiting from my hard work, however my own situation has not improved and led to a downward spiral of poverty. I too need to earn a living, to have an income and be able to make a life for myself without the ongoing lack of support from people who view my passion and being too passionate and lack understanding of the impact of growing up in a childhood that was idyllic and yet at the same time, impacted by racism, lack of opportunities and very few choices in further studies or careers. I would like others to think about how the call to freedom, the Gospel message and business interact and how financial supports can be used to help raise up others rather than just the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, and that the accumulation of wealth does not protect from ill health, provide happiness or strong community but it does provide a foundation which everyone needs.
I would like those from other cultures to think about the impact of their words on the life of the most vulnerable, taking things out of context and spoiling a single woman's name resulting in no one wanting to hire her. How recruiters decisions can be biased in choosing to hire someone in a suit rather than a dress, or because they do not like their trousers, not realizing that maybe those were the best trousers they had and that that job would have made the difference between a future and bankruptcy and that the hard work and qualifications they had should be valued more than the brand and image that the recruiter sees. I would use examples like the landowner and the workers waiting around for work and being paid the same wage at the end of the day to talk about the values that come out of that hiring and the virtues and vices that come about when tenure and relationship rather than fairness and equality are valued.
On my Facebook page, I posts songs that are both love songs, yet inspirational and thought provoking like Phil Collins - Another Day in Paradise to make people think, and reflect on life. How artists can be suffering as Phil Collins was and yet come out to celebrate the gift of music and talent and bring joy to others lives. Not everyone views my posts this way, some take it personally and think I post the songs for their friends or managers without having the courage to address it with me directly and ask.
My vision is compelling however without the support of the church and business I cannot make it come true alone. I need the support of mentors, investors and help to make a living from it as a lay person and business person.
Sadly in business women who do have the support and guidance of senior mentors covet those relationships and instead of helping one rise, when they are threatened get other women out of the business even if it means that their futures will suffer, and in my experience the men will protect them having personal relationships with them. Again, the injustice of this is not seen when it is personalized and whole industries can shut a young migrant out, into the street and poverty when a reputation is spoiled.
Separation between church and state means that any help the church could offer is limited and abuse of power takes place and a forced silence, or facing drastic consequences emerges when there is harassment and abuse as many women's cases and sometimes men have shown - people of colour, those discriminated against know, those who have had their phones tapped and emails read, and all their privacy taken away know. Suffering cannot be addressed by drugs, alcohol and feeding the system that creates problems. It must be addressed by understanding the wounds, healing them and building societies not dependent on drugs, alcohol and choices that respect the individual and families not promote death, euthanasia and ending life like a person is an animal and who must be gotten rid of, when the financial cost is too much or the values of the given day are popular.
Life giving values can only come about through understanding what future leaders need to think about is not money alone but that a society without God and true values that lead to life giving and flourishing leads to a culture of death, hardship and poverty for the majority and a break down of society filled with mental problems, drug and alcohol addictions and a lack of true community that turns a blind eye to those in front of us who need help and who when we ask for it, are told no in the name of policy and others knowing what is good for us without asking us and to promote making money, dependency and lack of trust. Suspicious minds and hearts will always lead to more suspicious minds and hearts. The God I know calls me to values that say do not fear, life life abundantly, have hope but the culture I live in says follow the rules, face the consequences and even doing everything right, my life has suffered because of the decisions of others. That is what sin brings into the world, the sin of others that leads to pain and heartache. The call of hope leads away from that to better things and opportunity but it calls for dialogue, and those in leadership understanding that they do not know it all.