Celebrating Outstanding Diaspora MothersBy Nana Ama Addo
A well known Fante proverb says “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family.” Similarly, at FunTimes, we honor the powerful nature of motherhood, and the wisdom passed down through this matrilineal rite of passage. In celebration of Mother’s Day, we are profiling some very special women of the African diaspora. Let’s jump right in!
Sena Owereko is an award winning, multilingual professional with over 20 years of experience in consulting, training and facilitating. Hailing from Ghana, West Africa, with a M.S. in Training and Organizational Management and a B.A. in International Relations, both from St. Joseph’s University, her work has impacted spaces such as Drexel University, Schools without Borders, Daddy University and Fortune 500 companies. Sena is the founder of eMOMcipation, a digital motherhood group that celebrates the matrilineal experience. She is also the Director of Strategic Initiatives at a Philadelphia-based higher education institution, a freelance consultant, as well as the Lead Facilitator and DC Trainer for the SEN7 Diamond Conversations (DC) Program. In addition to being a business extraordinaire and super coach, Sena is a doting mother. She shares her intriguing story with FunTimes.
What motherhood means to Sena: Motherhood for me is ever evolving parenting and leadership based on love. It means guiding your children as you rise to accept your responsibilities, and that you are willing to grow and learn in the process. It has its unique challenges as well as joys. It means loving my children more than myself (not at the expense of, but making their care the priority.)
How Sena balances motherhood with her career: Firstly, by letting my sons know that they are my priority and secondly, a strong support system. That support system starts with my ever-praying Ghanaian parents, to my wise older brother, the other parents, our extended family, friends and other moms. This is what I often refer to as “my tribe.” I have also been blessed to have the gift of care and love from the mother of one of my closest friends, who has become our “Mi-mom”. She has been there through the daily ups and downs of trying to manage our hectic schedules with all the laughter and tears, through the years. I also thankfully have boys who understand that both being their mother and my career are important to me.
I try to identify the non-negotiables. For example, I may be able to miss a few days of recitals or a play, but I need to be fully present for at least one. This allows me to give up the myth of work-life balance and think more about work-life integration. For example, how I work out our week to have significant touch points—moments when we connect through conversation, shared laughter, or needed hugs both at work and at home. You also have to be willing to challenge yourself, and establish healthy boundaries for self-preservation.
The most rewarding part of motherhood: Getting to witness phenomenal world changers grow into themselves. I am fortunate enough to have been blessed with three sons, Nile, Micah, and Rey, who are amazing, compassionate, intelligent, talented, resilient, and witty human beings. Getting to experience and watch them grow into themselves has been a joy. By virtue of who they are, they remind me to count my blessings and make me feel like the world is a wonderful place, no matter what is happening.
On whether Sena thinks the roles of womanhood are changing: The roles may not necessarily be changing, but there are more things happening around women and women’s issues globally. One is that many of us are claiming our power and challenging ourselves to do more and more things that have not been done before (for a variety of reasons, including systematic barriers, gross stereotypes, and sexist agendas.) Something else is happening: more of our stories are being told by us in ways that raise the collective consciousness of societies. We now can celebrate more of our accomplishments together, to inspire each other in new ways.
How Sena relates her role as a mother to strengthening the Diaspora community: Our family represents Ghana, Jamaica, and the United States. My biggest role as a mother is to help my children be proud of where, what and who they represent. This could be as simple as the diversity of the food we eat and the music that we listen to. This confidence helps shape them as strong future leaders. Our family is driven to help others, and as a mother, part of my role is to model and encourage this behavior. Our history of preserving the community through intentional, compassionate, and thoughtful action is essential. This sense of community, instilled at an early age and nurtured as my sons grow, is part of what will strengthen the diaspora community as they challenge themselves and others to provide powerfully positive contributions to support the community.
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Our next featured Honoree: Yvette Rouse