A Royal Entrepreneur
Initially, my interpretation of success translated into being an ambitious girl who wants to work for the Bank of Canada, as my first LinkedIn bio read.
My first job was at a bank but not The Bank of Canada. Nonetheless, it was close enough to procure a sense of pride. Shortly afterward, I became royal. Working for the Royal Bank was not just a job to me; it was precisely where I had pictured myself after four years as an undergraduate UOttawa student.
I was fortunate to have female managers who quickly became my mentors. Things were going according to plan, and my dreams grew more significant. At some point, Ottawa became too small to contain those dreams, so I moved to Toronto.
As I was going through the process of making that decision, I was also intentionally tending my inner garden. I was reading inspirational books, having insightful conversations with elders, exercising, and meditating. Shortly after moving to Toronto, the taste of corporate life and a turn of events in my relationships became eye-opening experiences for me. I learned that I had to build my support system.
As I was facing my first big city life challenges, I dived right into networking. I started to value conversations with strangers genuinely, and my curiosity reached a peak where I began to connect the dots.
For me, the journey to entrepreneurship started with the desire for more than the 9-5 vicious cycle. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and looked for female entrepreneurs to connect with. It was such an enriching and enlightening experience to meet incredible women who helped to nurture my aspirations. They became such great mentors that I gained the strength and courage to start looking for my own solutions.
It all started with my mother, a true African Queen; she is the source of my story. She was the artist behind the first strokes that crafted me into the woman I am today. I am not only her carbon copy, but she transmitted some of her wisdom and entrepreneurial mindset to me. She would often say, "Being an employee cannot lead you to absolute greatness." Year after year, those words kept playing in my head. The women entrepreneurs I met had the same words of advice for me.
My mother left her 9-5 job to give her children opportunities they wouldn't have had otherwise. Had she not made that choice, I would most likely not be where I am today. Our relationship has not, however, always been the best. It has improved over the years, but I did not always turn to her for advice or guidance. Cultural and spiritual beliefs sometimes prevented us from bonding and having open discussions on specific subjects; parents still want to protect their children and preserve their innocence, but the other mothers in my life were able to fill that gap.
A few years ago, I started polling my friends; all young female immigrants like me and asked them what their support system outside their families was. It became more and more evident that here, far away from their families, most of them had this feeling of being on their own, left to adapt to a new country by themselves.
That realization was an epiphany, and I became determined to change things moving forward, not only for my generation but for the ones after me. I wanted to inspire women and highlight the benefits of reaching out for support: Mothers to Daughters was born.
Mothers would be the ones with the experience, knowledge, wisdom, and readiness to guide. Daughters, on the other hand, would be the receivers, inexperienced but eager to learn and receive guidance, with the women to women connection here being one that transcends generations to thrive together.
Through this initiative, I wanted to pay homage to all my Mothers and raise awareness about the various ways experienced women can help shape one's future. For me, those women were behind the voice that consistently reminded me that I had the power to be the leader of the changes I wanted to see in my life.
From the moment I conceived this project, it became clear to me that I wanted to be a free-range human, an individual who wants to have her financial freedom and live off of her dreams. I am well aware of what being an entrepreneur entails, and what excites me the most is operating on my own schedule. I will always remember that it started with the change I wanted to instigate: raising awareness in my generation about the power of reaching out to the more experienced.
Our community is growing, and I can't wait to grow beyond Toronto. I want to hold seminars, go back to my home town, Ottawa, to educate women through the knowledge that I have acquired. I want to teach them new ways to identify and seize opportunities, be braver, bolder, and stop undervaluing their capacities while also embracing their femininity and using it for the greater good.
I want every Daughter to realize the following: it starts with YOU, and all you need to do is embrace your vulnerability, get engaged, and be eager to learn and conquer. I also want Mothers to learn from other Mothers. There is a spiritual connotation in being a Mother beyond the biological meaning. In my vision, Mothers are those who nurture and help future leaders to reach their destiny.
I aim to connect women from all backgrounds, those who want to give back and shape future generations of women that will lead unapologetically. I want everyone to come out of this program as a better connector, strategist, opportunity giver, creator, and a fierce advocate for women.
My name is Francine, and I am originally from Cameroon, Central Africa. Join me on a life-changing journey where women can reclaim their position in society with grace and excellence.
Originally from Cameroon, Francine Mbvoumbo is the Founder of Mothers to Daughters. An empowering initiative designed to breach intergenerational gaps between Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z women. The aim is to create an environment where it is safe for younger women to reach out, open up, and find guidance from more experienced women in all aspects of personal and professional development. She is widely known for her kindness, generosity, and empathy, devoting her spare time to mentoring youth and newcomers to Canada. Some of her interests include reading, music, fashion, meditation, and physical wellness. She is always looking for opportunities to forge meaningful relationships and meet new people.