(L-R) Mariama Kamara, Naberay Bangura, Memuna Forna, Georgina Walker & Grace Camara
Beam Talks, Smiling Through Light, showcases the diverse career routes taken by Sierra Leonean women living in the UK, and provides a space where role models can discuss their achievements, experiences and challenges with a new generation of change-makers. On 4 October 2017, Mariama Kamara, Founder and Director of Beam Talks hosted the sixth edition of the empowerment series. Speakers included Memuna Forna, Publisher and Founder of Insight Media and Communications; Georgina Walker, Director and Property Consultant at Walker Property Group Ltd; and Grace Camara, Legal Manager at Thomas Reuters Foundation. The panel was moderated by Naberay Bangura, TV Presenter and Host at the Wan Pot Show on SKY TV.
Mariama Kamara, Founder and Director of Beam Talks
Naberay Bangura & Memuna Forna
Memuna Forna, Georgina Walker & Grace Camara
Sharing her journey on how she started Insight Media and Communications, Memuna Forna noted that she was driven by the desire to create a platform where businesses could showcase the potential for investment in Sierra Leone, while offering an insight into the Sierra Leone marketplace. Memuna confessed that running a business in Sierra Leone is exhausting, adding that financially, it can be challenging. She however admitted that she finds the experience exciting and takes great pride in her work.
Memuna advised attendees to discover what it is they want to do, create their niche and always remain professional. She emphasised the importance of working with a handpicked team; as like-minded people who have the same goal and passion can drive businesses to heights you could never imagine. She further highlighted the importance of having people that support you and believe in you.
Sharing her 3 Beams, Memuma advised attendees to:
- Invest in yourself;
- Trust the process; as process imparts knowledge;
- And become more like companies being invested in.
Georgina Walker noted that being a woman has not impeded her success in the property market, as there are people who welcome working with women. She noted that as a woman you are an ambassador of the era and should strive to impart knowledge. Sharing her 3 Beams, Georgina advised attendees to:
- Prepare to make sacrifices and face challenges;
- Choose what you really want to do; as you do not want to live someone else’s dream;
- And know your craft.
Grace Camara highlighted the importance of collaboration, noting that if you find people with passion that share your dream, they will work for free and income will gradually grow. Grace advised that all entities, including non-profits, think like businesses in order to grow and ensure longevity. She also advised attendees to look for alternative sources of income to aid and grants.
Isatu Harrison, Founder and Creative Director of Izelia
Mariama Kamara is the Founder & Director of Smiling Through Light, a company working to provide clean, reliable and sustainable energy in Sierra Leone. Beam Talks is the company’s UK initiative. She started the company in May 2013, after a trip to Sierra Leone in 2011 on a placement with Restless Development as a SRH Curriculum Development Technical Assistant. Prior to that, she worked on different HIV, advocacy and campaigning projects at local, national and international level with organisations such as SciDev.Net, African Health Policy Network, VSO, African Development Association for Progress, Restless Development and Africa UK in contributing towards the development of Africa. She has always been interested in development issues especially on poverty, energy, education, sexual and reproductive health and HIV issues relating to women and young people. Mariama has a MSc in Development Studies from Birkbeck College and BSc (Hons) in Psychology.