Hello all! As always, I appreciate you visiting the blog! My mind is constantly running free with new ideas for this platform, one of which is to feature some of the amazing people that I've had the pleasure to meet, in hopes that you may find as much inspiration in their story as I do. Since I was a child, I've always had an interest in having a dual career, which is how I describe a person who has a white-collar profession and also works in a creative field, or some other field of interest. But when I was a teenager, and I told people that I wanted to be both an attorney and a back up dancer for Janet Jackson, I was met with confusion and laughter, lol. This series is for all the young, or not so young, women who dare to dream of using all of the talents that they have while they are alive. Even if that means using them simultaneously. I have been able to draw a lot of courage and inspiration from friends that I've seen make great strides in more than one professional sphere, so I hope that by sharing these stories, I can inspire others as well. The series will be called "Posh Profiles," and my first feature is Nana Spio-Garbrah; a self-described trained banker, interior stylist and global wanderer!
On Identity: Nana describes herself as a pan-Africanist by definition and by design. She says, "My father is Ghanian, my mother is Ivorian and my maternal grandmother is from Cape Verde. I consider myself a perfect example of regional integration."
Nana on her Passion Project: My passion project is my interior styling firm, BluePrint Africa . We offer sourcing services, art direction for lifestyle shoots and set design services. I recently worked on the set decoration for the popular web series "An African City," and I was excited to see how people reacted to the set. That said, the part of BluePrint Africa that I love the most is that we are a marketing platform for artisans, home wares retailers and manufacturers of African descent who draw upon Africa for inspiration. My goal is to bring more awareness to Africa's interior design scene and talents.
Nana on Relaxation: I lived in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, an idyllic Mediterranean city, for five years. It was only after moving there from Washington, DC that I truly began to understand self-care and Tunisia’s seaside hotels are some of the best places to relax and recuperate. La Residence Hotel in Gammarth is home to my favorite hammam and the infinity pools at La Badira Hotel in Hammamet are gifts from a cerulean heaven.
Nana’s 2016 Mantra: Do not be afraid to speak your mind. Passive aggressive behavior is a silent killer.
Nana’s Proudest Moments: This is a tough question for me. Sure, I have accomplished some pretty amazing things. I graduated, with distinction, from the University of London with a Masters in Finance even though I am terrible at math. I got accepted into the extremely competitive Young Professional Program (YPP) at the African Development Bank, after applying three times. At a young age, I had the privilege of interacting with important historical figures including the Queen of England and former President Bill Clinton. Yet, my parents raised me to never carry a chip on my shoulder.
My proudest moments come when I can applaud the people around me. Friends that have taken leaps of faith to follow their dreams. Family members that have stood up to authority or have become a voice of their community or generation. Such people let me know that I have not yet scratched the surface of what I am capable of achieving. When I realize my full potential maybe then I will feel real pride. For now, I am just working towards being the very best version of myself and making sure not to take myself too seriously.
Nana on Her Travel Philosophy: I love my passport. I have been very blessed in my life to travel the world. I have been to over 30 countries but I still feel there is so much more uncharted territory for me. Travel is my dose of endorphins. Generally, I travel for my job, but even vacations were starting to feel like work to me. Planning, scheduling, logistics. Trying to do everything that Conde Nast or Time Out says is a ‘must see’. I have moved on from the hectic travel schedule. More and more, I find happiness on holidays in just being in a place where nothing is urgent outside of being with loved ones in new surroundings. I respond better to trips that are opportunities to succumb to sloth. My fondest travel memories are those where I did not try to control the details and rather let the good times flow organically.
How Nana would describe her lifestyle: Laid-back global indulgence.
Nana on Self-Motivation: In the past, I was motivated by the idea that someone ‘out there’ would eventually commend me for whatever it was I was doing. My motivation was externally driven. It took time for me to learn how to motivate myself from within. I had to evolve into it. Today, I am motivated by my vision for myself and the dreams I have for my continent. Every day is a do over. Every day is a chance to get it right. Nowadays, while I hope to have the support of friends and family on my life journey, whether anyone is watching or applauding what I am doing is no longer as relevant. My opinion of me is what counts.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Nana's amazing journey and what drives her to work towards excellence in both the corporate and creative spheres. Is there a passion project that motivates you? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.