Behind every successful woman, there is a tribe of other successful women who have her back


In a tribe of women, you live, learn, and laugh (Photo credit: Jessica Foumena)

"Behind every successful woman, there is a tribe of other successful women who have her back," the popular saying goes. My father and my mother are originally from two different Cameroonian ethnic groups or tribes. Therefore, I understood the concept of tribes at an early age. Beyond the stereotypes associated with both tribes, my maternal and paternal tribes have unique foods, music genres, and languages. Of course, they are geographically located in different parts of the country. These differences exposed me early on to diverse cultural backgrounds, probably making me extra sensitive to tribalism and any form of discrimination based on one's heritage.

I don't remember neither my father or my mother pointed out tribal differences in our family home. This was probably due to the fact that we're more busy living those differences. One day, we will be eating a meal from my mother's tribe and the next day, we'll be served with one from my father's ethnic group. One hour, I will hear my dad speaking in his language with a visitor. The next hour, my mom will be speaking over the phone with a relative over the phone in her language.

While the concept of tribes may sound archaic to Western ears, I argue that most human beings seek and maintain at least one tribe membership during their lifetime. In a tribe of women, you live, learn, and laugh. Tribes are small communities where a woman can grow and become the best version of herself.  In our world where an increasing number of women are seeking safe places and aspire to become the best version of themselves, it's relevant to (re)introduce tribes as alternatives. This is even more so for women who are increansingly having their voices heard.

Despite all, I will not change anything because my past and current life successes are products of a tribe of successful women who have had my back. 

As a young leader who happens to be a woman, I realized sisterhood would be an important component of my personal and professional achievements. While I have remained purposeful in my approach to connecting with my fellow women, I always made sure to keep an open mind. Over the years, I found myself developing quicker and stronger affinities with younger and seasoned women. The younger friends would share the newness that comes with their experiences in exploring a world that sometimes appears to be completely foreign to me. In return, I would happily share what I would humbly define as "my wisdom." In my exchanges with younger women, I have enjoyed playing the role of big sister and/or mentor.

Connecting with seasoned women has been very rewarding as well. Here, I have played a wide range of roles including the ones of a daughter, sister, friend, and/or mentee. Besides being a silent observant, I usually ask questions about life, work, relationships to learn from my seasoned women friends. They have achieved so much and successfully handled a balanced life that often includes a successful career, keeping up with a husband, or raising at least a child.

Drawing from the experiences of young and seasoned members of my tribe, I have been able to project myself in the future or to understand my past. They didn't hesitate to share with me the struggles, their achievements, their hopes, their dreams. By including me in their lives, they offer me the opportunities to witness first hand what being a woman meant. Most relationships with my young and seasoned women were interrupted for different reasons. One person moved away, we grew apart, or something else. Yet, my heart still carries fond memories of many former and current relationships. Pretty much, each member of my global tribe of women has added their own set of stones in the edifice of my life started by my amazing parents.

In a tribe of women, you live, learn, and laugh.

For the relationships that stood the test of time such as the ones with my American Mom aka Mama Susan, my Jamaican sister Okine, my Cameroonian spiritual Mom aka Maman Rosalie, or my awesome cousine Estelle aka Big Sis, I am so-oh grateful. In a different post, I may develop more about the impact of each in my life. The international tribe of women who have carried me for these past thirty years comes from various social, economic,  educational, professional, racial, religious backgrounds. I'll be forever grateful for their positive impact on the story of my life. Of course, there have been misunderstandings and heartbreaks. Despite all, I will not change anything because my past and current life successes are products of a tribe of successful women who have had my back. 

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