My name is ChiChi Dike-Emeson is the CEO/Founder of MNIA, Inc. I oversee the program implementation and development for the organization. I am also the Executive Producer and Director of the Miss Nigeria in America Pageant, a program within MNIA, Inc. that seeks to promote women empowerment and education.I am also the founder of a production company – Danick Productions, that creates and produces films/events that promote social issues as it pertains to women.
All my life, I have been a staunch advocate for Women’s Education. I graduated with a business/accounting degree from Howard University and went on to get 2 Masters; an MBA in Management and an MPA in NonProfit Management, Lending my voice to causes that help people better their lives and seek self-sustenance, I am a firm believer that by “educating at least one woman, she will in turn educate two more and through that process build a strong force of educated women who will fight for change.” A strong proponent for change, I continue to speak out against the maltreatment and marginalization of women in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
I live and breathe volunteerism. I believe that everyone should give back to society and dedicate hours to events in life that call for empathy. Through my organization, I formed the MNIA Feed the Homeless Team and we lend our culinary skills to People Assisting the Homeless [PATH], a homeless shelter in Los Angeles. Since 2007, we have collectively cooked, served and fed over 1,500 homeless men, women, and children.
I also love to spread love during the Christmas season. I have led toy drives, bringing joy to sick children, the most notable being the Texas Children’s hospital in 2007 and most recently for the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Combined, we raised over $2,000 worth of toys and will continue to have toy drives every Christmas. A member of fashion and entertainment associations and an avid supporter of other charitable organizations; I will continue to dedicate my life to fighting for justice for women, creating awareness on health issues and fighting for peace and quality of life in Nigeria. Through my projects (Project Women’s Education (WE), Project Blue, The Beauty of Rose and Project Raise Hope), I am personally committing to empowering women, to help them battle self-esteem issues, realize their potentials and take charge of their lives.
Currently, I am pursuing a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Non-Profit Management and I lecture part-time at the University of Phoenix. I am married to the most wonderful man and my best friend and we enjoy raising our 4-year-old son.
WHAT FUELS ME?
Integrity – Bob Marley once said – “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. Integrity means everything. When you commit to anything in life, you have to work hard and deliver. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and as a person, let your word be enough. If leadership in Africa can keep their word of making Africa a safe haven and an environment that caters to the basic needs of life, then we can all applaud integrity among our leaders.
Vision – Every woman should have a vision, an idea of her path and be fully aware of her destiny. I believe as a woman, one should know what motivates her, what drives her and what makes her who she is. Every woman should define her vision and live by it. I am the creator of my vision. I strive to live by my words and I engulf all positive energy around to help bring my vision to life.
Assertiveness – To be assertive in my opinion is to understand who you are and what you want. You have to be assertive in order to set your goals. You have to be assertive to achieve your dreams and objectives because you are the only person who can define your path in life. My assertiveness comes from my desire to speak into existence the power that women have to make their own path and dreams, and to be great leaders.
MY GREATEST INFLUENCE:
My parents have had the greatest and most profound influence on me. I learned perseverance, integrity, honesty and hard work. My parents taught me the value of consistency and always putting myself in other’s shoes. I got my business acumen from my dad who was my first investor to my business when I was 17.
MY TOP THREE ROLE MODELS:
Saran Kaba (http://faceafrica.org/) – She is the CEO/Founder of Face Africa and is one of them most generous women I have met. From building drinking water in one village at a time, she continuously inspires me to do better, be better and be an advocate for change
Dr. Leslie Nwoke – (http://drleslienwoke.com/) – Dr. Leslie Nwoke was the first Miss Nigeria in America and defined the path for the pageant. Her work ethic and her empathy for mankind inspire me. She is a renowned Psychiatrist and continues to lend her voice to fight for justice for women.
Dr. Amara Enyia – (http://my.amaraforchicago.com/) is my role model. At the young age of 30, she ran for Mayor of Chicago and continues to use her voice as a tool to encourage and empower women to be educated and aware of the resources available to them to improve the quality of their lives.
IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS…..
My goals for the next 5 years are to take the next step with my foundation. I want to continuously work with women to understand social issues that affect us and work on methodologies or ideas that will help to empower ourselves to effect change. We need to understand the where, the why, the how, the when and what of our existence and place in society and to be able to use our voices to effect this change.
THE AFRICAN WOMAN’S CHALLENGE:
Because we live in a Patriarchal society, most African women may or may be what is considered second class citizens. There is a huge disparity in terms of leadership positions for African Women and some of the challenges we face are with being a voice for each other. Certain laws in African countries are detrimental to the growth and progress of the African Woman. My platform as a Woman and as the Founder of MNIA has always been to use my voice and advocate for women rights, and to advocate for justice.
WHAT I DO TO RELAX:
I love to listen to music, read a good book or watch television.
MY – I.C.E. [INSPIRE|CELEBRATE|EMPOWER] VISION
African women need to inspire each other so that we can do more in the society, encourage the next generation, and celebrate our achievements. How can we move forward as a society, if we are not aware of our successes or our challenges? They say to “Know Better is to Do Better”. If we know our strengths as African women, we would understand that we can be whatever we set our minds on. Be it a doctor, lawyer, CEO or the President of any African Nation. Inspiration, Celebration, and Empowerment come from within and as African Women, if we do these for ourselves, then this will be reflective as a generation of women.
MY AFRICAN UNION PLANS:
I would love to work in the Education sector. My belief is that an Educated Woman is an Empowered Woman. I want to work on Education Policies that will help African countries. I would advocate for the rights of the girl child. I would advocate for more stringent laws on rape, child molestation and work to implement laws that will bring to justice, individuals responsible for these atrocious crimes. I would also work to abolish child slavery, work to make hawking (children selling goods on the street) illegal and fight for free education for all children up to High School. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that we educate the next generation so that our Africa will continue to thrive.
FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE
Be yourself. Encourage each other. Inspire each other. Educate yourselves on Social Issues that affect women. Be Kind to each other. Mentor each other. If we can do this for each other as Africans, we will start a movement to be able to lead and have the world understand that Womanhood is a blessing and that we deserve a seat in leadership as Presidents, Senators, Ambassadors and Global Advocates for Change.