Marjorie Esomowei is faith leader, and leads a number of churches along with her husband, Pastor Clem Esomowei. She’s also leads Wisdom for Women International, CIC that provides leadership and business training and spiritual empowerment for women and has just release her leadership manual for women, The Leading Lady, Her Life and Her Influence.
She shared with WeAreTheCity insight into her life, her work and the power of mentoring.
I was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. I had my Primary, Secondary, A Levels and University Education in Nigeria and am an Economic graduate of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria.
Thereafter I had over a decade long career in banking spanning working in retail, commercial and investment Banking
I relocated to the UK in 1995 to join my husband who had come to the UK as a missionary in 1995
Since living in Britain I have worn many hats. I work alongside my husband leading a church in Tottenham called Triumphant Church International.
I am also a speaker, and the founder of an organisation for women called Wisdom For Women International (W4WI).
I host an awards event for women of faith called the Wise Women Awards and I also put on conferences, retreats and breakfasts for leaders. This includes an event for female leaders and professional women called ILead IChange AND Influence,
I also mentor and coach to business owners, female leaders and professionals.
Have also recently published a book called The Leading Lady Her Life and Her Influence which aims to provide strategies to help women become better leaders.
As you can see I do a lot.
I would say 50/ 50. Growing up I always dreamt of working in the entertainment industry or the Military. I honestly don’t know why but that’s what I wanted. However, whilst speaking to the admissions officer at my University, he advised against both and encouraged me to study Economics. Living in Nigeria, it was always difficult to say no to people who had influence and some level of authority over you. He felt studying economics would be more economically beneficial. My parents also resisted my choice of career so I “bowed” to their wish.
Searching for a job in Nigeria after graduation could be excruciating so sometimes, like in my case, I stumbled into Banking as that was the door that opened up for me. I remember going for an interview to join the Police but I wasn’t offered the job. However, when I got my job in banking I loved it. I worked with mentors within and outside my organisation to plot a career path that spanned over a decade through Retail, Merchant and Investment Banking.
In 1995 my husband became a Pastor in UK and that led both of us into full time service as Ministers in the Church. I didn’t stumble into this. When he shared his vision with me, I felt a strong conviction to go with him and serve full time in the Church. This continues to be one of the hardest decisions of my life.
I have served in the capacity of Trustee and Administrative Pastor for the Church, initiated and opened branches of the Church in Africa and England and also as leader of the women’s Social Enterprise Wisdom for Women International which has developed many arms to empower women spiritually, economically and professionally, as well as help them deal with real issues that women face today.
I have developed my career by identifying the needs of my community and sphere of influence, positioning my personal development towards meeting those needs and bringing solutions to the needs of women. That’s what inspired my training as an NVQ assessor, and a Trauma coach during lockdown. I also took a course of women in leadership at the Said School of Business Oxford University.
Like many woman I have faced many challenges. This includes
The culture shock from working in very vibrant environment like banking to working full time, voluntarily, as Minister in the Church for over two decades. I overcame some of the challenges through utilising transferable skills and developing a part-time career as a Conference speaker
The challenge of working in a primarily male dominated sector – The Church. I overcame this by my determination to be my authentic self along with the support of my husband.
I really cannot pinpoint a specific biggest achievement but can say each time someone gives me a nudge or a thank you for supporting them, I count that as a great achievement. Each time a husband tells me “my wife’s life turned around for good after you started mentoring her”, I count that as a great achievement.
The Wise Women Awards, an event I founded and have hosted for 17 years has given me the opportunity to celebrate ordinary women who are working in the community and each time I see a woman climb the podium for her award, I count that as a great achievement.
When a set of twins who are now 15 years plus told me “Mama our parents have never bought school bags for us because of the benefit of your annual back to school project” I saw that a great achievement.
I believe my faith and good home upbringing, contentment, empathy for others, good friends and great support from my husband and friends has played a major role in the success I’ve experienced.
I believe that mentoring is a good thing. It enables people to quickly learn insights and productive ways to conduct themselves professionally and personally that would otherwise have taken years to learn by trial and error. I highly recommend mentoring, particularly for those who aspire to be successful in their work, business and personal life.
I have had the opportunity of being mentored throughout my career and Church work by those who have gone ahead of me in the field, and of course by my very first mentors who were my parents. I also have the privilege of currently mentoring business owners, pastors’ wives, women in leadership and women aspiring to leadership.
I believe the pace of change in this area would happen more quickly by encouraging men in top positions to always join discussions and conversations about Gender Equality.
As one gets older, more mature, and more experienced you become more reflective, you want to give back and do not want upcoming women to walk the same leadership route uncharted.
I’m hoping that by sharing my experience of serving in leadership it will help other women and provide them with the tools to enable them to become better leaders and effectively deal with challenges that they will encounter on their leadership journey.
My understanding about the concept of the double bind. This has given me more freedom to be my authentic self which has been so liberating.
My advice to my younger self would be always stay authentic to your true self and don’t let anyone stop you from doing so.
I am looking forward to getting more opportunities to stand on platforms as a public speaker to share my life experiences and lessons I’ve learnt with other leaders and those who desire to be leaders in order to prepare them for the road ahead.
For more information about Pastor Marjorie’s book The Leading Lady Her Life and Her Influence visit www.theleadingladybook.co.uk
Some of the proceeds from sales of the book will be used to finance some of Pastor Marjorie’s charitable activities.