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January 20, 2006

Preview: Chioma - Nigerian-Born Canadian Entrepreneur, Speaker and Publisher Shares Her Personal Journeys Of Overcoming Hardships And Achieving Success

As part of my mission to profile individuals and organizations who have made positive contributions to our communities and across the world, one of my friends was able to connect me with a Toronto-based woman, who has been able to make a very unique mark.

Chioma was born in Nigeria, West Africa and came to Canada at 4 years of age. Her family's home in Nova Scotia in Nova Scotia was a busy place with many siblings, uncles and aunts. Chioma's father always said "…you are a woman, you are black and you are going to have a tough time, so you have to excel."

One of Chioma's uncles sexually abused her when she was a child and Chioma has decided to overcome her feelings of shame and speak out to thousands of students, parents and educators every year about her experiences.

After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Nova Scotia, Chioma's travels took her from the Maritimes to Toronto when she decided not to study law, as had been her father's goal for her. In Toronto she had to take minimum wage jobs just to make ends meet and even ended up living on the streets for some time.

In 1990 one person changed her life: a bank manager approved a loan for her to get her real estate license and Chioma embarked on her new career. Initially she started without any of the tools of the trade, she had no car, no pager, no cell phone. But she had lots of energy, motivation and tenacity, set goals for herself and knocked on 100 doors a day. 2 years later Chioma had achieved some of the highest awards and distinctions in her profession.

Throughout her struggles Chioma reflected on life and boiled her conclusions down to three essential principles: Chioma's "3Rs" encompass

- Respect
- Restraint, and
- Responsibility.

As an award winning speaker Chioma has carried this message to thousands of students, many of them at risk and living in impoverished areas. Her speeches are designed to generate lively discussions and interactive problem-solving to equip students with critical life skills.

Chioma's most recent project is "Sway", a, new glossy magazine celebrating the lifestyle and interests of black Canadians, a joint project launched by Metroland Printing, Publishing & Distributing and Chioma Productions Inc.

Its first edition hit the news stands on December 1, 2005. In the first issue Chioma features an exclusive interview with Michaëlle Jean, Canada's Governor General, herself an immigrant from Haiti and the first black female to hold this prestigious post. Chioma's says that Michaëlle Jean's inspired life and her message to the world sums up what Sway is all about.

In our upcoming interview Chioma will share her experiences of transitioning from Nigeria to Canada, some of the hardships she has faced and how she has risen above these struggles and become a successful leader and a shining beacon in Canada's black community.

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