Archive | December 2014

Extraordinary Woman- Featuring Ava Brown

Ava Brown

Ava Brown

Ava –Gaye Sandra- Lee Brown MBA, BBA, Dip. Ed.

Ava Brown is the author of the book “Bamboo & Fern” her recently published biography. She is a woman of many talents and is a Speaker, Trainer, Coach and Global Business Development Manager. She received her 2nd MBA from The University of Wales and her 1st from Newport University California. Ava also has a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Diploma in Secondary Education from the University of the West Indies Mona, Jamaica.

Over the years Ava has worked in a wide variety of professional capacities namely: education, finance, maritime, telecoms and business development before deciding to embark on her own business. She currently works as a coach, mentor, and motivational speaker as well as helping businesses develop and grow. In addition to her multiple work activities, Ava is a regular contributor to the education magazine Be Magazine published in West Africa and The Children Hope Newspaper on topics such as “Hope for this Generation“, “Location and Education” to name a few. She is actively involved in assisting African students in accessing tertiary education in the UK, via distance learning. She is now in the process of collaborating with friends to publish the anticipated recipe book with her favourite treats.

Reading and writing and of course music given her strong Jamaican background. Ava is an extremely motivated and driven individual who now resides in London with her daughter Chardonae Elizabeth and son Mikhel Kai.
She lives by the motto that “sometimes life will throw you down however; you must find the will power to pull yourself up above your circumstances.” She believes that everything is about correct timing and tapping into the Universe for that which you need. Opportunities will knock, but we have to be able to recognize them and take full advantage.
Bamboo and Fern Ava BrownBamboo and Fern documents Ava’s life growing up in Jamaica. From mango seller to gaining an MBA, Ava Brown turned her life around, overcame adversity and poverty. Her story starts in a poor rural area, where the need to find food often won out over school attendance and follows her journey through her adolescent years, which were encased in the dark shadows of incest and sexual abuse, to her young adult years when the event of being held at gunpoint finally led her to flee her home country in order to save her sanity. Yet, her resilience and love for her native country allowed her to see all of her harsh and disappointing experiences as stepping stones to becoming a strong and self-reliant woman, one who is capable of helping our society to break the cycle of poverty and its effects.

Bamboo and Fern can be purchased through WHSMITH and Amazon or better still, you can get a SIGNED COPY via her website.

She can be contacted at info@avabrown.org or www.avabrown.org

You are such a motivated and determined woman. What keeps you motivated?

I am motivated by not wanting my kids to have the life and legacy I was left with as a child and even as an adult. Seeing people overcome obstacles and pick themselves up spur me on and gives me great joy.

As a coach, what would you advise women who are stuck in a rut with the men they choose or the relationships they are in?

As someone who knows how this feels I would say if it isn’t working don’t keep trying to make it work; life is far too precious and valuable to be wasted. Love is meant to be something blissful for the most part. If he causes you hassle, get out. I have recently coached women as to how to get out of a rut in my latest webinar Get Out of the Rut, which provides some simple proven set of strategies that can change your life and break the overwhelming feeling of non-progress- uselessness and non-achievement in your life. You can download the CD here for free at Get Out of The Rut.

 

Why do you think some women continually choose Mr Wrong?

I think its loneliness, societal pressure that at a certain age you must be hitched, financial reasons e.g. expensive cities like London and low self-esteem. These in my view are some of the reasons- though not exhausted as I am sure there are many other reasons for choosing Mr Wrong. I am hoping to have Mr Wright (Right) find me one day soon.

Your book Bamboo and Fern is incredibly inspirational, what inspired you to write it?

I didn’t set out to write a book at all. I grew up in Jamaica where kids were seen and not heard and I had so much I wanted to say. I was a chatterbox essentially, yet, I would not dare utter some of it, so I started keeping a diary and as I got older it almost sort of became my best friend, it didn’t share my secrets, thoughts or feelings with anyone. It was safe.

By the time I found myself pregnant with my daughter the diary was used more and had now become a permanent part of my life. In 2002 when I moved to the UK and with some amount of trauma, I wanted to share some of my experiences. I felt I had something to say, it wasn’t now just about a cathartic outlet anymore. I felt many other women could resonate with aspects of my story and so I took my diary more seriously. That’s how I ended up with the book Bamboo & Fern out of my life experiences really.

Without giving too much away in the book, what is the most challenging obstacle you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

My most challenging obstacle was perhaps dealing with being held up at gunpoint in Jamaica. I migrated essentially as a coping mechanism and the sought help in the UK in the form of therapy, calling the gunman and having that dreaded conversation.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

Since the launch of my book, I have had a few, from being featured on Jamaicans most watched and prestigious TV show Profile to being featured in the Financial Times however, I have three great achievements that truly mean the world to me namely: being a mom, graduating with an MBA (considering my background), but also finishing my book and actually seeing it in people’s hands, on the shelves and thankfully the reviews; it’s priceless. From the list, being mom and my book are my proudest achievements. My kids mean everything to me. They are the reason I work so hard. I want them to have a better life than I had.

What’s in your handbag?

I carry large handbags always, except on the occasions when I need an evening bag. As a mother there is always, wipes, my diary, my tablet, my book of course, sunshades, business cards and pencil case. There will be mints and my purse always has a cheque I have written to myself for £600,000 that I hope to cash in one day soon.  Something I’ve practiced ever since I read The Secret.
What would you advise other budding authors just starting out who say they’ll “like to write a book but…?”

Start writing, get your ideas on paper regardless of how silly you may think it sounds, there is a story in all of us and you are the best person to tell it. There is an audience waiting to hear from you, but if it’s not written how will they hear your voice and understand your message?

If you could go back and give your five year old self a pep talk or give her some advice what would you say?

Don’t be deflated if no one believes in your dream, the only supporter you need is you and don’t be afraid of criticism and rejection, just keep going and the right links will be made at the correct time to believe, support and elevate you.
Finally, what’s next for Ava Brown and her projects?

Gosh there is so much from Part 2 of my bio Indomitable which is out in Q3 2015, to my Coaching & Mentoring Programmes, Motivational Speaking and Collaborative work with other great people in my field. I also have plans to get partners in on my dream to open a Safe home in Jamaica for kids who suffered abuse like I did , but had no place to run to.

You can contact Ava at: www.avabrown.org

Twitter: @avabrown24

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Extraordinary Woman- featuring Amanda Epe

Amanda Epe

amanda epe

Amanda Epe, author of Fly Girl

Amanda is the author of travel memoir A Fly Girl that was flying in the Best Seller list since its release date in November. As a writer, she has also contributed to several anthologies and press reports. Amanda is a blogger and lead for Ms Rose Blossom, a project that encourages girls and women in promoting health/well-being and literature. She is also employed as a Health Trainer in the NHS.

Amanda is also a much valued contributor and author of her story I’m Guilty on Three Counts in Mr Wrong and has contributed her poems How Do I Love Thee? and How Do I Love Thee Like a Rose? in poetry anthology 7 Shades of Love where she talks eloquently on Self Love and valuing herself as a woman. This too, is evident in her contributions such as Brighter Days for African Beauty in Nicole Moore’s anthologies Brown Eyes and Hair Power-Skin Revolution focusing on identity and race.

Amanda’s Fly Girl, is a witty, adventurous and candid account of her experiences as an air stewardess. From rising above racism, to breaking the mould, to witnessing the stark contrasts of wealth, poverty, racism and acceptance, she takes us on an unforgettable journey.

Fly Girl

A Fly Girl, Amanda Epe

A Fly Girl can be purchased via Amazon  and Waterstones

For a SIGNED copy contact Amanda atmail@msroseblossom.org

Website: www.msroseblossom.org

How does your work with Ms Rose Blossom impact young women?

Ms Rose Blossom’s work is duo-dimensional. The work impacts the lives of young women from being influential in building self-esteem to talking about sexual health taboo topics; all via creative communications in creative writing and workshops and speaking at events.

What inspired you to set up Ms Rose Blossom?

A number of life experiences have contributed to the innovation of Ms Rose Blossom. Firstly, my service in schools and colleges when I was employed to mentor and teach students with Special Needs as well as ‘mainstream’ pupils, then my work in programme development for economic empowerment of marginalised women. I realised that there are a group of women that were marginalised and needed to be targeted and coached and given extra support in areas such as self-esteem, self-image and sexual health

 

FGM practices are still going on and many young girls are being taken abroad to have this procedure done. Can you explain what FGM is and what is being done to educate these girls and their families about their rights/this harmful practise?

FGM stands for Female Genital Mutilation involving the cutting of the clitoris and other genital parts. This is practised on both babies and young women for non medical purposes and mainly to chastise women. There are a number of charities and individuals working as activists, educators and psychotherapists who work with affected communities and also inform the general public for safeguarding purposes, such organisations include 28 Too Many, Integrate Bristol, Daughters of Eve, and key speakers like Alimatu Dimonekene and Hilary Burrage who have fought for years to safeguard girls in education authorities. Ms Rose Blossom contributes to FGM awareness by talking to individuals from affected communities, being a point of call and signposting through the blog and also speaking at community events.

Having been a contributor in Mr Wrong what would you advise women who constantly attracted and accepted men who were emotionally unavailable?

Women need to step back and take a look at their relationship as if an outsider is viewing them. When we keep repeating the same mistake obviously we are not learning and then we start blaming. If I were to advise, I can draw from my own experiences and study my self-worth to see where I am guilty in failed relationships.

What inspired you to write and contribute the story Guilty on 3 Counts?

It was the first time I had written and shared anything on the nature of love and relationships. I was inspired to write on this topic because it would also be a learning curve for me. As a memoirist I have learnt a lot from reflective writing, and it was quite essential to share as other woman may relate and learn from my story too.

Did you learn anything about yourself during the Mr Wrong process?

It was when I wrote that story that I understood a lot of my psychological traits and looked at my patterns. I gained further insight when the book was published and I was in the category of emotionally unavailable and looking deeper, I found that quite accurate and a hard hitting wake up call.

You have recently published your own book called Fly Girl which is very exciting; can you tell us what inspired you to write the book?

The love of writing and creativity was the initial inspiration to join the travel industry. Whilst the inspiration for the book came from a number of factors, I became confident in sharing my writing as a contributor to Nicole Moore’s Shangwe anthologies, Brown Eyes and Hair Power- Skin Revolution. Later, I was inspired by other writer’s progress including Daniella’s Mr Wrong book, and as a reader and writer of true stories I knew that it was time to write mine.

What was your biggest challenge as an air stewardess?

I learnt a lot from my writing my book. At the time my biggest challenge would have been being different, but now I am clear that being different is a grand thing; standing out or not fitting in is unique. So my biggest challenge was my mindset. With a positive mind all challenges are minimised.

What was your most memorable event?

After writing the book, I am now grateful for many magic moments in my memory; to be safe after the fear of being lost in LA, and fun in the USA, but most memorable was being part of a national rescue squad. In 1998 I was part of a cabin crew rescue squad rescuing civilians who were affected by the riots in Jakarta. For more info buy A Fly Girl!

What’s next for Amanda Epe?

I am pleased to be invited by UN Women to start the New Year speaking at an Inspirational Women event at The House of Parliament. In 2015, I share my story with 29 awesome co-authors in a forthcoming book called Born for This where we share our journeys of failure to success in the areas of life, love and business. I will also be playing a key part in The Mr Wrong Book Tour where I will be sharing my story, performing my poems and speaking about personal love and relationships in libraries and Waterstones across London from 12-14th February. I encourage readers to go after their dreams in this self help writing. I intend to continue with inspirational stories for women and the growth of Blossom Books.

How can we keep up to date with you?

I can be reached on social media through Google+, Twitter and Facebook

7 Shades of Love is here!

7 Shades of LoveI am proud to say that my poetry anthology 7 Shades of Love is officially here.

As a Spiritual Woman who believes in the Power of Positive Affirmation and Meditation, 7 Shades of Love was borne as an exploration of what exactly Love means. What is it to Love someone purely, unconditionally without demand or selfishness or a desire to change? What is it to truly accept someone for who they Are and Love them regardless of imperfection? How can we achieve this type of Love in a physical world where much of our happiness is dependent on expectation and need? Is it even possible??

It was then I realised that Love truly is a discovery of Self. The more we Love and Accept and Value Ourselves without Judgement or a desire to change, to accept just as we are, the more we can Love and Accept others- not just as “others” but of reflections of ourselves. A Unified Body. A Unified Self. As 14 year old Nikesh, when asked impromptu (in an English Romeo and Juliet lesson I was teaching at the time) what Love was he answered back unfazed and without hesitation, “Loving an Imperfect person perfectly.”  It was then that I realised that Love far transcends the concept of loving another because… or loving another when… but what it really meant was that Love means loving and valuing OURSELVES as imperfect people, recognising our value and worth and so seeing this in others. To see ourselves as wondrous beings that have been perfectly made flaws and all. For how can we expect others to Love us without this Love and Acceptance from and of Ourselves?

We spend so much time judging others when we forget to look within. We spend so much time expecting others to fulfill our needs and looking for a God that exists outside of ourselves when everything we truly need resides inside us all along. It was then I realised that my journey or quest to discover what True Love was, was it is something that could not be measured, qualified or even summarised in words but was something that had to be felt and experienced. There are many different types of Love ranging from parental love, to spousal love, to codependent love, passionate love, sexual love, addictive love, unhealthy love and 7 Shades of Love, through an eclectic mix of poets from all across the world, have written about it all.

7 Shades of Love explores these types of Love, along with unconditional True Love through colour and their associated Western and Eastern meanings. Alongside these poems are Positive Affirmations to help us rooted, balanced and in remembrance of what Love truly is in this complicated world.

Thank you to every single poet who made the publication of this book possible. I have loved putting this together and have learnt so much. 7 Shades of Love is available via my website (you can buy a SIGNED copy) at www.daniellablechner.com and Amazon

Blurb

Author Daniella Blechner takes a unique approach to the ways in which various people, all poets, have dealt with love. Psychologists classify love as an emotion, others deem it the highest of all universal frequencies. In a somewhat surprising correlation between the vital chakras of the human body and the ways in which we connect to and separate ourselves from love, Blechner illuminates how our energetic frequencies can influence our approach to love by a simple shift in balance. She’s combined this with modern psychology and added the artistic writings of people from around the world in haiku, rhyme, and free verse. 7 Shades of Love is a comforting read that will help you connect to the people in your world through a better understanding of yourself, letting you attract the relationships you want and assuring you that you’re grounded in the universe.

Check out contributor poet Nicole Moore’s Review here