Friday 28 June 2013

2Inspire Profile: Tokie Laotan-Brown - Environment Architectural Technologist/ Principal Curator

In this 2Inspire Profile we meet Tokie Laotan-Brown, a woman with an inspirational story, working in her chosen field and using her purpose in life to drive her towards her success. Her life is an example of someone who proves that all things are possible with passion and hard-work.
Tokie Laotan-Brown
Please tell us what is a typical business day for you? 
I spend most of my day from the moment I wake up, depending on where I am in the world, either contacting my home to find out if my family is up and ready for school, work etc. I then start on projects or visit Architectural offices to consult or work on various projects. I spend the rest of the day making phone calls, (Making sure kids are at home doing homework via Skype) researching old buildings and updating my calendar or finishing up on assignments for my Master’s program. 

What made you start the business and how did you get started?
I am an entrepreneur, writer, leader, mother, wife and mentor: I have always worked around issues that currently affect me, like running for local council in Galway city when I was directly affected by not having a playground close to my home. By returning to college when after sitting in Council as a Housing representative for the community, certain issues around buildings were ignored (hence my Architectural background). My role in co-ordinating the first Ms Ebony in Ireland pageant (Featured on Irish National TV programme: Pobal) etc.  Now my current issue is with the visibility of Black Female Women in Construction and Architecture, which prompted the start of the organization.

What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment in the business world to date?
The improvement in visibility of young Black girls in the fashion industry, after the Ebony pageant.

What has been your biggest challenge in business so far?
Juggling family life, my husband’s dialysis and my work.

What are your future plans for the business?
I will like to improve the visibility of women in construction and architecture. I am also working on educating the younger generation on African Architecture and Heritage which is being lost due to the fascination with Western ways of building.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I will do it all in the same way.
Why is it so important to inspire young women in particular to follow their dreams?
There is no limit except limit itself. I think this is the problem young women face these days. They are afraid of not succeeding so they do not try. They become influenced by traditions, by culture, by what they see around them.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to start a business in your industry?
To find a supportive role model either male or female. If you do not succeed the first time, try again. Do not limit yourself to just one thing; be open to new ideas always. Never give up hope, it will eventually happen. Success should not be judged in monetary terms but in the satisfaction derived from it.

What or who inspires you in business and why?
To God, who I owe my life, my husband, who takes life so easily even though he is on dialysis, my kids that enjoy my various adventures through Skype, the girls and friends I mentor 24 hrs a day through crisis, joy and successes. They inspire me always!

What is your favourite inspirational quote?

Contact Details:

Tokie Laotan-Brown

Environment Architectural Technologist/ Principal Curator

Merging Ecologies

21 Gort Mhaoilir,

Raheens, Athenry

Galway County, Ireland

Facebook pages: Black Women in Construction and Architecture

African Vernacular Architecture: Predated to 1980

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