At the end of 2016, I was introduced to the most amazing, intelligent, and beautiful young woman on the planet whose spirit emits an abundance of wisdom and spiritual genius. This young woman’s name is Tenbite Seyoum. Her insight took me by surprise as I couldn’t help but recognize the magnificent gift she is giving to the world through her vision. The story of overcomeHer is a remarkable journey of three young women who are banding together to impact a generation. I personally took interest in finding out more about Ms. Seyoum. The more I learned about her story the more I realized how important women are in society. Even myself as a man can sometimes take for granted the blessing a woman is. I am so humble so say Ms. Seyoum gave me the inspiration to do my part in helping our women thrive in society. Ms. Seyoum has an aura that is undeniably connected to God. The founders of overcomeHER are Tenbite, Renia, and Fiauna, three leaders of the millennial generation who are destined for greatness. As 2017 progresses, so does the momentum for overcomeHer. The benefit that overcomeHer can be for this generation of women is remarkable and in a non-biased approach, I seriously feel in my heart the passion these young women have for success. There are many people who are doing remarkable things. I applaud them all but what makes overcomeHER unique is the timing of this monumental movement. As we are divided by a sexist country full of hatred, there are groups of women gathering around the country to organize and strategically uplift their communities. overcomeHER is one of those communities and I am honored to share the incomparable story of overcomeHER with you in the words of Tenbite Seyoum. I had the privilege of sitting down with this extraordinary leader and role model. Check out this story below.
King Armah: What is the story behind overcomeHER, and how did it come about?
Tenbite Seyoum– overcomeHER is a story of God bringing together a group of young women and through their friendship, something bigger than themselves would be birthed. We were all trying to figure out what we wanted to do with our lives with each one of us doing very different things. We had recently graduated college and found ourselves transitioning into the professional world. Like many other recent graduates, we were going through the process of figuring out what we wanted to do with our careers while seeking development on a personal level. When I got my job offer and I made the decision to move to Roanoke, VA I honestly wasn’t too excited. I saw myself moving to a bigger city than Charlotte after college, but I decided to take the chance with a plan. I gave myself time to get the experience I needed and move on to better opportunities later. When I got to Roanoke, it was just as I imagined. A very small town with not too many people who looked like me, especially in the office. The upside was the experience I was getting was invaluable on a professional level but the downside was that I was isolated from family and friends and worked so many hours. It was overwhelming at times, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I used this time to figure out myself, get closer to God, and invest in me- even with so much happening in the background. Shortly after, based on everything I was reading and learning I decided to come up with this “Power Group” idea. I pitched it to my best friends, and thankfully they were totally interested. We started doing biweekly conference calls where we went over a topic that was geared towards self-development and we became accountability partners for each other. After a couple of months of doing this, it not only brought us closer together as friends but we realized this power group model was helping each one of us stay accountable to ourselves. I was still traveling to Charlotte almost every chance I got on the weekends to hang out with friends. One particular weekend, we all got together to go to church and afterwards, we were sitting down in Renia’s living room talking about church and reflecting on what we were doing and how well it was working in our lives. This conversation continued to brunch and since it was a beautiful sunny day we decided to go to the park and take a walk. So here we were the four of us and my sister taking a walk through Freedom Park, laughing and catching up. A few minutes into our walk this woman ran up to us and flagged us down totally catching us off guard. She told us she was a blogger and that when she saw the 5 of us we caught her attention. When we asked her why, she responded: “It’s not every day you see 5 black women walking in a park smiling and laughing, completely in awe with each other.” Ironically, this woman was writing a blog on how women, especially young women did not have a lot of good relationships with each other. She said seeing us really inspired her and then she asked to take a picture to put on her blog. As you can imagine, our minds were completely blown away. The topic of discussion for most of our morning had been just this and we felt like running into this nice stranger at the park was a sign from God. The whole drive home we started brainstorming on how we could bring the power group to other women we knew and from that-overcomeHER was born. Funny thing is, now looking back it has transformed into something so much bigger than what we thought of that day. But that’s the beauty of our story.
King Armah: Why are you concerned with the state of millennials, and the role women play in society?
Tenbite Seyoum: Millennials were the generation that experienced what it felt like to grow up and experience essentially two different worlds. For most of us, we experienced our early stages of life before the technological revolution. I still remember the summers, my parents would drop me and my sister off at the library to do “research”. Now, obviously, the way of life is drastically different. We have access to so much information in the palms of our hands. Technology has added a tremendous amount of convenience to our lives but it has also brought about a huge challenge for millennials and the women of our generation. We are constantly fed so much information, the good and the bad and it’s getting harder and harder to filter out. Women are targeted much differently when it comes to the media and advertisements as well. The images we see and the type of engagements that arise from social media are very pivotal to how we see ourselves and each other. Our goal at overcomeHER is to change this. We need to redefine the way society see’s us, especially in the media. At the end of the day, the media responds to what the audience interests are…..so why not give them more items of substance to share.
King Armah: What can you tell the readers about countries like Ethiopia that regular tourists may not know about your country of origin?
Tenbite Seyoum: Africa is comprised of 54 countries of which are vastly different from one another. I think the biggest misconception that non-Africans have is that we are all similar when they could not be any more wrong. It’s honestly what I love about Africa. So many cultures, tribes, delicious foods . Even within countries, you will find so many different tribes, languages, etc. I absolutely love my Ethiopian heritage and culture. Addis Ababa which means New Flower is the capital of Ethiopia and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world! Many cities like it in Africa are rapidly growing which makes it a very exciting time.
King Armah: When did you know that transitioning to Atlanta would be the right move for you, and why?
Tenbite Seyoum: I honestly knew it before I even moved. I came to Atlanta for work for 2 weeks when I first started working and fell in love with the city then. Recently after moving, I quickly confirmed I made the right decision. Being able to meet so many people from all walks of life in and out of the office was great and there’s always something to do in the city.
King Armah: Who are your top influences as a leader and why them specifically?
Tenbite Seyoum: I have a variety of influencers who I look up to as a leader in various aspects of my life. For me, it’s not more of who but more of what makes up their character. From my mentor at my company to those in my circle, and others who I have not yet met– all my influencers are driven individuals who are passionate about what they do. It’s amazing to see the outcome of these people and how they manage others. If there is anything that particularly stands out it would be their ability to be a team player. A true leader will never ask of someone else something they would not do themselves.
King Armah: What makes overcomeHER different and unique from other women-focused organizations?
Tenbite Seyoum: What makes overcomeHER unique is our vision on creating a NEW culture, something that truly is not being done. To be an overcomeHER is a lifestyle, and we incorporate our mission into all that we do. Today’s cultural standards go against unity and collaboration amongst women. We push women to be genuine and honest with each other because we do not see that enough. We create a space for women to not only come together but to truly build authentic relationships as every single of one our events are geared towards the professional, spiritual, and/or personal development for women!
King Armah: What advice do you have for anyone looking to start their own collective, or brand?
Tenbite Seyoum: My best advice is quite simple, START! If you wait until you have all the answers, resources, and funding…you’ll never get there. Do your research and have a clear vision and remember to not get discouraged if others are not receptive because everyone is not you. It’s all a learning process, so keeping that at the forefront and always looking forward will help you overcome the times you get discouraged.
King Armah: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Tenbite Seyoum: I see myself as a full-time entrepreneur, traveling the world, and probably starting a family of my own.
King Armah: Has a degree helped you, and what do you recommend for those currently in college or considering going to college?
Tenbite Seyoum: My two degrees in International Business and Marketing have definitely helped me attain my professional job but it was honestly more the experiences I made in college that taught me everything I actually apply on the job and in other aspects of life. My biggest recommendation is to do all that you can in college to immerse yourselves in things and organizations that you would probably never do. Try new things! Meet all types of people! The people you meet in college are the beginning of your network. Some will go on to be CEO’s, doctors, lawyers, and even colleagues- I seriously cannot stress this enough. You obviously want to do well in your classes but the experience is what will get you far….not your books.
King Armah: Why do you want to change the way women are perceived in America?
Tenbite Seyoum: I want to change the way women perceive themselves and each other first. If we respect ourselves, wouldn’t we DEMAND respect from the rest of the world? Let’s go back to the basics and remind ourselves that we are the givers of life. No one can take that away from us and it is literally the foundation of our strength. When more women realize that God has already made them enough and they are already capable, I think this would create a community of powerhouse women. Women are the backbone of our families and communities..so let’s start there…and I promise the rest of America will follow.
King Armah: How can the readers get in touch with you and OvercomeHer?
Tenbite Seyoum: Hey everyone! You can follow my personal page on Instagram @yene_konjit and my two co-founders @kikora_joy and @fiaunaphotography. Be sure to follow overcomeHER on all social media platforms @overcomeHER. Please check us out at www.overcomeHER.org and subscribe to our newsletter so you can keep up to date to all of our great content and future events!