Woman of the Month

Ladybrille Woman of the Week: DIVINE MURAGIJIMANA, Editor-in-Chief Applause Africa and Co-Founder The Council of Young Africans

The ‘Ladybrille Woman of the Week’ is a feature on Ladybrille that celebrates women who empower themselves and others, through their contributions and actions, in their local and international communities. These women are intelligent, courageous, confident, and innovative. They strive for balance in their personal lives (whether emotionally, mentally, and spiritually), are persistent, and when they fall, they get right back up. These women honor and stand in their truths. They are business and community leaders, visionaries, and game changers. They are our sisters, aunties, mothers, friends and so much more. They are “Ladybrille” (brilliant) women.

If you are a woman or know of a woman who should be celebrated as a ‘Ladybrille Woman of the Week,’ please feel free to email ([email protected]).

This week, we celebrate Divine Muragijimana, Editor-in-Chief for Applause Africa and Founder The Council of Young Africans.

LADYBRILLE: What do you do professionally and what have some of your accomplishments been to date?
DM: Professionally, I am a Marketing and Events Development Consultant working with African brands. I am blessed to work with a diverse number of businesses and organizations that give me a daily interaction with the African communit. I would say that one of my greatest accomplishments has been the founding of The Council of Young Africans whose vision is inspire the next generation of African leaders by challenging their ideas and thoughts in appreciation of Africa’s diversity.

Working alongside a brilliant team of young African professionals, the organization has been able to put together networking events and conferences engaging both African Students, and young professionals. One of our fundamental values is collaboration, and to date, we have partnered with several organizations, collaborating on their initiatives and events. Other accomplishments include working with schools such as NYU on their economic forums, and serving as the editor in chief of Applause Africa. I also had the pleasure of heading the planning of the 2013 African Day Parade and Festival this summer. This was definitely the top accomplishment for this year.

LADYBRILLE: What drives you to make a difference the way you currently are?
I don’t know how else to live honestly. My parents raised me to always pay it forward. My name Divine- (Come from God)- Muragijimana- (Given to God)- reminds of this. My life is not my own. As a child, I was made to understand that I was a child of God, and that I had a purpose in life. Thus, my faith was, and continually is, my driving force in making sure that whatever I do, not only counts, but makes a difference. Additionally, I have a lot of people who in different stages of my life have made a difference in my life and I am compelled to live by their examples.

LADYBRILLE: When self-doubt creeps in, what do you say to yourself to stay focused?
Two years ago, I would have asked; “ What self-doubt?” As a leader I thought that it was not okay to admit that I had self-doubt, and that at time I didn’t want to throw in the towel and walk away. But the truth is as a woman, a young person, and an African operating in such a dynamic industry, self-doubt is part of the game. What I have learned however is to not dwell on the thoughts of doubt but to focus on the end-goal, and who I am. I remind myself that I have a lot of support around me and that no matter what I am going through, I have a lot of people who I can lean on and who in return can lean on me too.

ADA_Awards2013LADYBRILLE: What makes you smile?
A lot of things. I find that life is full of so many things to make me smile. I find joy in time spent with friends but also communion with these friends. I have also seen those I have mentored go on to become successful at their jobs, in their schools, and their personal lives- to be part of this growth is something to smile about.

LADYBRILLE: Health is so important but often many brilliant women simply neglect self because they are always so busy serving others. How are you taking care of your health?
You are so right, and it is something I had to learn the hard way during this summer’s events. I have gone back to running on a regular basis now. I am also making every effort to eat healthy and if I can make it, I cook at home. I also have to make sure that both my mental and spiritual health is intact. Every morning, I take an hour to do my devotions, and do the simplest things such as reading the paper and doing the crossword puzzle J . I try very hard not to cheat myself out of this morning routine.

LADYBRILLE: What is it you hope, when you look back on your life, you never regret not doing or being?
It sounds like a cliché, but I don’t want to look back at my life and think that I was driven by fear, or doubt and not living to my full potential. I aim to simply be a woman who loves what she does, loves her fellow man, and loves her life. I want to have walked through every door of opportunity afforded and opened to me. There is nothing that I can regret more that wasted opportunities or wasted talents. I hope in the end of it all, I can look back and say, “I was bestowed this amount of talent and I maximized and used my talents to the fullest capacity.”

LADYBRILLE: Tell us how you define yourself, the Ladybrille (brilliant) woman?
At the base of it all, I describe myself as a woman who is incredibly blessed to be a blessing. I am a visionary, go-getter, and a dreamer. These attributes are coupled with great management and organizing skills, which works well for the kind of work I do.

Books, shoes, music, cooking and football are my guilty pleasures. (Smiles)

LADYBRILLE: As a woman, what is the one most inspiring/empowering piece of advice you can give to our community of brilliant women as they navigate their personal and professional lives daily?
Be yourself! We live in a society where we are bombarded by constant demands to be anything but, ourselves. We are asked to change our values, our opinions, our hair, our face, our bodies- to fit someone else’s ideal. At the end of the day, as a woman, it is important for us to surround ourselves with other women who will support our growth personally and professionally. Which brings me to another piece of advice- Support each other.

I subscribe to what Madeleine Albright once said; “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” This sounds harsh, but as women, we already have to struggle with daily social biases, that we can’t afford to be catty or at loggerheads with each other. We are all guilty of this. It is time we make a concerted effort to be each other’s cheerleaders. I love what Semhar Araia is Doing with DAWN- Diaspora African Women Network- we need these kinds of networks everywhere. At the beginning of this year, my resolution was to be supportive and encourage other women, who are leaders, or starting their own ventures. I now have a daily reminder “encourage and support your fellow women today” that pops up on my phone. It is my daily reminder that I need to pay it forward to women in our community, no matter what.

Watch Divine Discuss Her Work and Passion for Women and Children Rights on SaharaTV

Ladybrille Woman

A running feature for 12 years on Ladybrille.com, The ‘Ladybrille Woman of the Month’ celebrates women in business and leadership, who empower themselves and others through their contributions and actions in their local and international communities. In 2014, the feature expanded to include a podcast show. If you would like to nominate a woman to be celebrated, please email [email protected].

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