I am in the business of raising female leaders – Guardian Woman – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News
Named one of Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants, Tracy Folorunsho-Barry is breaking boundaries in North America, lifting other women and helping them find their way in life.
The Nigerian-born Amazon is the founder of GROW Women Leaders and the GROW Foundation. During her migration to Canada from Nigeria, she faced difficulties integrating into the country; lacked the guidance and support she needed as an immigrant.
Barry also found that her struggles were common for other immigrant women in Canada and decided to take action after breaking free from a limited lifestyle.
She took the initiative to start helping other women, especially immigrant women, reach their full potential and access new opportunities in their careers. Since then, she has dedicated her career to helping thousands of women, especially immigrant women, gain employment and advance their careers.
In 2017, as part of the GROW Foundation, she launched Project150: Accomplished Immigrant Women in Canada and the Speak Out Women series where she began collecting the stories of over 200 immigrant women across Canada who have overcome adversity to succeed in their careers and in their lives.
They shared their stories and expressed that they would have liked to know the knowledge, resources and advice available to succeed in Canada. She collected these stories and published the book, Untold Stories of Immigrant Women in Canada.
Later in 2018, Barry founded GROW Women Leaders (GROW), a career leadership development and advancement platform designed to help women get hired and advance their careers. In 2021, she opened GROW Space, a 7,000 square foot socially conscious facility that houses a Nurture cafe, lounge, coworking space and more.
For her contributions and community involvement, she has received various awards and accolades, including Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada, Top 6 Inspirational Immigrant Women, and notable recognition from Mayor Don Iveson and the City of Edmonton. in 2020.
She shares her inspiring story with ESTHER IJEWERE in this interview.
Influence from childhood
Growing up, I enjoyed helping people as it came naturally to me. Even though I had no idea what I would be doing when I grew up, I guess that played a major role in who I am today.
For example, my mother had a grocery store, and thanks to this grocery store, I was able to help people who I felt were in need in the community. I think staying true to yourself has a way of showing up in your career path.
The Inspiration Behind Women Growth Leaders
Coming to Canada as an immigrant and having no guidance, I did not know anyone; I had to go through the onboarding process on my own. The name came to me when I started Project 150: Accomplished Immigrant Women in Canada and the Speak Out Women series under the name Gradual Rising of Women (GROW), where I began collecting the stories of over 200 immigrant women across Canada who have overcome adversity to succeed. in their career and life.
They shared their stories and expressed that they would have liked to know the knowledge, resources and advice available to succeed. As I collected their stories of resilience, I realized the wealth of knowledge these women had and the valuable insights they could share with other immigrant women and their communities. Thus, the book Untold Stories of Immigrant Women in Canada was published.
I wanted to inspire other women like me, and from there it grew. Hearing others talk about their stories was life changing and I knew it was something much bigger. I started GROW Women Leaders and had to find a way to help more women become women leaders because their careers are what set them apart. It’s the idea of helping women and empowering women. But in this case, I’m doing it by helping women connect to businesses. I want to grow people and train them to become female leaders.
The journey so far
No one prepares you for the entrepreneurial journey. It hasn’t been easy and still isn’t, but the positive impact of my work on others has been worth it.
Being at the forefront of helping immigrant women in Canada find their voice and purpose, and Project 150
What started as a project has become so much more. I believe that if you have gone through challenges and are successful, it is important to help others so that they don’t have to go through the same challenges that you went through. That’s the idea I’ve been through and I want you to be able to succeed. This is why I do what I do today, which stems from Project150: Accomplished Immigrant Women in Canada and the Speak Out Women series via Gradual Rising of Women (GROW), where I started collecting the stories of over 200 immigrant women across Canada. who have overcome adversity to succeed in their careers and in their lives.
My aspiration for black women in Canada, especially new immigrants trying to integrate into society
For those trying to fit into society, it’s about knowing one’s worth. If you know yourself, others cannot define you; I see it as a community of immigrant women. You may not know what you would like to do, but once you understand what you are worth, Canada will give you space to do what you want to do.
Canada offers many opportunities and the world is waiting for you. Follow your passion and you will find your way. For every goal, there are people who depend on it. I followed an unconventional career path and was able to
helping more than my family, I’ve helped my team, the women who use GROW’s services and more.
The GROW space and its impact since 2021
The GROW Space is a 7,000 square foot socially responsible facility that houses Nurture Café, a lounge, co-working space and more. Nurture is more than a social lounge, we are a socially responsible kitchen and cafe located in the GROW space serving brunch, meal prep, catering, cocktails and more. The proceeds generated are used to support the women of GROW, helping women, especially immigrant women, get hired and advance their careers.
The impact our space has had since 2021, has been an open space for the public, as well as our candidates to work and relax in our space, while Nurturers have access to amenities to help them develop and make advance their career.
I encountered a lot of challenges, especially since I was doing something unconventional. I didn’t know there were negative connotations behind the word “ambitious” until I started pushing for my goal of creating a business that helps others. Ambition can really be a terrible thing because for a society that pushes women to do more, it can also be the same thing saying you are doing too much!
That being said, I didn’t get a lot of support and had to prove myself a lot, especially since I was trying something from scratch. People usually support what they understand and unfortunately for a creative like me it takes time for others to understand your work before supporting it.
Be recognized as one of Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants
To be recognized as one of the top 25 immigrants to Canada is very exciting, as it is a validation of my work and my journey towards it.
One thing I wish I could do to make the world a better place for women, especially black women
That’s what I’m doing right now, which is making sure everyone gets a fair job, especially women. Although it is improving, there is still a lot of work to be done for gender parity.
To be a ruby woman
I am a visionary. It’s one thing to be a visionary, but he’s the one who can execute the vision.
To young women who yearn to be where I am but lack opportunity and support
Keep pushing; push until something good happens. Your vision and your idea are valid, stick to what you want.
The women who inspire me and why
The people who inspire me are everyday women who are usually unsung heroes who constantly strive to create a better home and build a better community and the world at large. These women are those in entry-level, mid-level, and senior-level jobs.
For women who want to join the GROW community
GROW Women Leaders is a leadership development and advancement agency that helps women get hired and advance their careers. Registration is FREE so REGISTER NOW! Our digital talent platform is dedicated to helping women, especially immigrant women, connect to the job market. We will put you in touch with our partner companies. Join us now! See you inside where we all grow together.