Mena Fombo Interview

Mogul Magazine catches up with activist, consultant, mentor, and American football player Mena Fombo to discuss her upcoming event the Black Girls Convention & more!

1. What is The Black Girl Convention? 

Black Girl Convention is an all-day event dedicated to women and girls of African and Caribbean heritage. Our theme this year is Love & Power. The day is packed with inspirational talks, break out workshops, an afro hair and beauty expo including live demos and opportunities to browse and buy from some amazing black-owned businesses in the marketplace. I wanted to create a space that specifically was focussed on individuals being able to celebrate, connect and share experiences as we navigate the world as women of colour.

*Woman = self-identifying.

2. Who are your inspirational influences? 

My birth mum and my foster mum.

Oprah Winfrey

Serena Williams

Angela Bassett

Eternal still to this day, loved what this group did for black British girls in the 90s!

3.if you could collaborate with one female entrepreneur to create an all-female event who would it be and why? 

OMG – hands down it would be Oprah Winfrey! But I think I’d be so star struck I wouldn’t be able to do anything, she’d probably think I was an awful business partner!

4. What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome? 

My foster family pretty much all emigrated when I was in my early twenties. I went from being the youngest of seven with a strong family network to being alone and broke! I have amazing friends,

friends who are now my family – who carried me through, and I guess I kept my faith, I’m very driven and so I found a way to keep going in the face of adversity.

5. What do you think are the advantages of being a female in the entrepreneur in the business industry today? 

Honestly, I don’t think there are any advantages, other than if you want to do work specifically targeted at other women. on the assumption, you know your market better than anyone else. Otherwise, the world is systemically unequal and favors men – sad, but true, I think women have to work harder for every gain, and if you are a woman of colour it only increases.

6. Outside of your career, what are your hobbies? 

I play American Football with the Birmingham Lions. I play Defensive Line, usually Nose tackle, or 3tech for anyone out there who understands the game.

7. We hear that you are a maverick on the sports field, what made you start playing American Football? 

I’d always wanted to play American Football, but back in the day it wasn’t around in the UK for women to play, so I ended up playing rugby for about 11 years, and then switched to American Football about three years ago. Proud to say I made it into the Great Britain practice team by the end of my first season, never got selected to play a game, but at least I tried!

8.Any advice for upcoming entrepreneurs? 

Working every hour God sends isn’t the be all and end all of success.

Be strategic, invest your time well, surround yourself with people who support your vision, and share your personal values, but most importantly take breaks and have holidays! I definitely burnt myself out last year and ended up having almost 2 months out of action whilst I sorted myself out. I’ve been very conscious since that time just enjoy the ride as much as chasing the dream, I’m not saying I’m perfect at doing it, but I keep working on it. Health and wellbeing is everything, and without it, you’re no use to anyone including yourself!

9. What are your thoughts on the black hair movement in the UK? 

 I’ve always had natural hair! Bar two incidents! My birth mum tried to put a relaxer on me when I was 11! The pain was horrific, I remember the burning sensation, I cried and protested and it was washed off pretty quick after that! I tried again at 17, hated it and have never looked back! Like many black women I’ve had many many styles, but I went fully natural wearing my fro about 5 years ago – one word – Liberation!!! Having the confidence to do that took about 6months of youtube videos, mental preparation and lots of experimenting, but I got there! I LOVE my hair, it’s like my best friend and my worst enemy combined! I love my hair so much I plan many parts of my life around it! I go back to braids or cane row now and then just as protective styles or when I’m playing a sport. I think the natural hair movement is beautiful, I would love for us to take back full ownership of the industry at the same pace that we take back full ownership of our bodies, including how we wear our hair!

10. What can we expect from Mena over the next year? 

Two highlights for 2019 include:

Black Girl Convention hosting a range of smaller talks and workshops over the year – keep an eye on the website, we’ve got some surprise planned!

You can also find me delivering the monthly coaching programme for the BAME home students on EQUITY ran by UWE.

You can also get in touch for bookings throughout the year via my website

11. Where can people follow you online?

@menafombo (twitter)

@blackgirlcon_ (fb / twitter / insta)

Leave a Reply


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)