The GAIA Dining Club celebrated her first anniversary last Thursday, April 25th, 2019. It was an elegant evening of female connection in which guests were able to convene, converse and enjoy a finely curated four-course meal.
Hosted at Angelikas Home Design & Concept Store, the venue was transformed to feature a fairytale-like dining area with decorative trees and green ambient lighting. The attendees, all of whom dawned stylish attire, complimented this high end finishing.
Upon arrival, the ladies engaged in the evening’s first icebreaker: “Knowing Me, Knowing You.” Each of the women picked a number from a box and sought to find a partner with a matching number. The game’s objective was to strengthen the ladies’ bonds by allowing them to reveal tidbits such as their hidden talents, personality traits and personal perceptions about GAIA and so on.
The Founder, Olatowun Candide-Johnson led the night with her opening remarks, emphasizing the importance of deepening authentic female connection when she stated;
“We deserve to relax and have a good time. We deserve to have this sort of experience with each other… I believe each of us is a conduit for good, for each other’s successes and for the success of others.”
As the starters were served, the ladies played the lighthearted, albeit enlightening game: “One Truth & One Lie” where each person stood up to introduce herself and then say two things about themselves – and other ladies would then guess which is the truth and which is the lie. This resulted in the sound of laughter repeatedly erupting from the witty comments and tales offered up by the entrepreneurs, who quipped about their love/disdain for cooking, guilty pleasures, and funny young adulthood revelations.
The ladies were treated to enjoyable food and service by the notable Chef Fregz, with options for vegan and vegetarian members.
The highlight of event was verifiably Oke Maduewesi, Founder and CEO of Zaron Cosmetics Limited – the evening’s guest speaker. Through her talk, she discussed her career origins from Zenith Bank and experiences establishing her business after obtaining an MBA from the University of Leeds. She was also very open about how her personal history as a widow and a mother influenced her conscientious business model and overall life outlook. Oke Maduewesi’s talk was totally inspiring. She presented several insights into why and how women can run and excel at running effective businesses in Nigeria, Africa, and beyond.
Key takeaways from her speech are as follows:
- Entrepreneurs have a strong and conscious vision but must be aware of their consumers’ needs, wants, as well as the world in which they live.
- In order to succeed, one must hone their focus and tenacity; “Having grit and staying power is essential. You must have focus.”
- As a business owner, one of her core intentions is to be a good employer of labor. It is extremely important to train your staff and to treat them well. This requires one to have a level of patience and flexibility.
- The “Growth of Zaron has been organic and intentional. It’s not the money that you start with, but the way you nurture it, and the resources you develop out of it.”
- Lastly, Oke advocates for strengthening pan-African business connections I.e. not to rely primarily on endorsements from European-based support. She notes how African nations are often overlooked as being powerhouses for successful opportunities. Therefore emphasizing the power of connection and networking from within.
A compelling Q&A followed the rousing talk which earned her a standing ovation. The ladies engaged in an uplifting and illuminating discourse about the specific challenges and solutions which they’ve come across in their varied fields of work. Both the rich conversations and lavish evening simmered to a close with the ladies group dance to the electric slide. It most certainly a night of splendour , female empowerment, and connection.
Photographer Credit: @nenginelson1