Time with Awura Abena: Founder of CWC and Agency

Image result for awura abena

Describe yourself in three words?

Creative, a people-person and self-reflective

Tell us what people don’t know about you?

To be honest, I share a lot online and offline. But what people don’t know is that I’m obsessed with a healthy lifestyle which is related to the mind, body and spirit. I love to keep my mind healthy by learning new things and I love to keep my body healthy by exercising and eating healthy food. Last but certainly not least, to keep my spirit healthy I pray by connecting to the Holy Spirit and I do a lot of self-reflection.

Tell us more about Creative Women Collective (CWC). How did it start?

It started with a vision board on Instagram, after 9 months I decided to launch the creative women collective. I started CWC by organizing different network events for creatives, by doing so a community was built. The purpose of the collective is to bring creative women together. As a child I always knew that I wanted to be active in the creative industry, but I had multiple interests. At that time, I found it difficult to choose one interest, so first I decided to follow the traditional path by studying law and becoming a lawyer. As I started to work as a lawyer for creatives, I realized I wanted to be on the other side of the table. It was through self-reflection, I discovered what my dreams and desires are. Slowly but surely Creative Women Collective came into existence. Step by step I created this collective, and now two and a half years later it has grown and flourished. It has become something bigger than myself.

How did you switch to become an agency?

The Creative Women Agency is a new company and is separate from the collective. We started the agency to help companies organize events and to be able to build their own community. After years of setting events and building a portfolio, we realized that what we were doing was impactful, so we decided to build our own community and also be active as an agency.  We have different expertises and the team is made out of only women. To be able to easily combine the collective and the agency, we organize big events twice a year instead of doing this monthly.


What are the challenges you are currently facing?

To become the best leader I can be for my team. I was always the leader but my responsibilities was limited to our events. But now that we also have an agency there is a different group dynamic, I need to acquire new skills as an employer. It is a lot of fun but very challenging.


Have you been facing challenges in your career for being a (black) woman?

I get this question a lot. I personally focus on what is possible, I focus on the opportunities. I never focus on the limitations but rather on my vision. Racism is very subtle and surely real. I experienced this when I was a lawyer when I had to meet up with clients. I believe that when you focus on human connection and you are open, labels do not matter. When people are not open, I don’t pay much attention to them. And I don’t take it too personal, when someone wants to fill in my identity by ticking boxes that’s fine by me and be  racist, it’s their problem and not mine.


‘I believe that when you focus on human connection and you are open, labels do not matter.’


Where do you see Creative Women Collective and the agency in 5 years?

For the collective, I hope to facilitate personal and business growth on a structural level. That is why we started the ‘growth circle’. Which kicked off on 29 April 2019 and which is a monthly gathering of 5 women who help each other grow from month to month with the help of speakers, coaches and professionals.  My goal is to build these mini collectives all over Amsterdam and then in all the big cities in the Netherlands. In this way the mission of CWC can exist separately from myself but still in connection to the CWC. By doing this, we will be able to reach more women all over the Netherlands.

For the agency, the goal is to help companies to build their own communities and keep these communities alive. And to create a level of connection between human beings and create safe spaces where people will be able to be vulnerable and open. By building communities, I mean groups of people who come together and share their stories or exchange knowledge, this could be about anything.


How do you deal with criticism?

You will always receive criticism, regardless of how great or bad you are doing. Criticism can be a stepping stone for growth, but sometimes it can also knock you down because you are a human being with emotions.So you have to also be okay with feeling negative emotions. You should be able to weigh the negative remarks for what it is, so can I turn this critisicism into action or is it a remark that is not beneficial or constructive. These are the questions you will have to ask yourself. Both can hurt but at least you can put the constructive one into action. So try to surround yourself with positive people.


What advice would you give to someone aspiring to be an entrepreneur?

Start small, execute your vision and experiment with your vision and test it out on the market. Are people interested in what you are offering? If the market is not interested you can still do it but do it as a hobby. If they are interested, try to do more research before you officially launch your business. If I look at other entrepreneurs and focus on what they are struggling with, I would advise anyone: learn about your own voice and who you are. Otherwise, you will be distracted by others and loose your vision.

How do you combine your career with your personal life?

That is a difficult one. Well a lot of people of the business have become friends, because we spend a lot of time together. I also think it is about prioritizing, I prioritize time with family and friends. To be honest it is something I’m not good at, it comes with ups and downs, but I find people very important. So I use my agenda a lot.

Faith and life

Where do you get your energy from?

I have been in a situation in my previous career as a lawyer   I did not have the energy and I was also asking myself how I could get the energy. The truth is, is that the work you do can give you energy but it could also drain your energy. So, you have to ask yourself if the work you do is draining you or is giving you energy. Right now I can say that the work I do right now is giving me energy because I enjoy what I do. Because of this I can also give back, it also gives to me. And next to that you need to sleep enough, have a good diet, drink water and take breaks and go on holidays.


How do you deal with setbacks or failures?

I see this as information. Anything that does not work out gives you information about either the product, the market, clients etc. In my personal life, I allow myself to feel the pain. I try not to suppress the pain, but when you do this it comes out stronger. In this way you can find out if you can change the situation. This is also why having faith is so important to me. For me faith is practical. I can not imagine a life from not having a connection with God. For me GOD is practical. I experience Him in everything I do. People that are not connected to a higher power than themselves are missing an important part of life. That is when you will find yourself in ‘action, action and more action’.


How do you deal with temptations/distractions?

Distraction is the number 1 struggle of our time. Opposite of distraction is conscious. To create focus you should be able to go into silence. The more busy you are the more you need focus. So you will have to make choices to be able to achieve focus. For example your phone can be very distracting you could replace your Iphone by a Nokia phone. Anyone can be distracted, we tend underestimate the power of distraction. It eats  away our time.


When you think of your past what has been your darkest moment in life and what have you learned about that?

The passing away of my dad was my number 1 darkest moment. But my other dark moment was me being a lawyer, I was in conflict with myself, dragging myself out of bed. I was living a life which I do not believe in.


What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your walk with God?

My biggest lesson is that everything in life is here for you to grow whether it is positive or negative. If you are able to surrender to this truth, you don’t see life as an enemy but a force for you to grow. I have experienced a lot in my life. When my dad passed a way, it was a very painful experience but it still drew me closer to God.


If you would like to know more about the collective or agency, kindly visite their website: http://www.thecreativewomencollective.com/

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