#OurBlkCEO & Founder Adolophine Lukabu Sheeley
Adolophine is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known as Zaire). Adolophine is Baluba and grew up in Kinshasa. As the daughter of a Diplomat, Adolophine has traveled to many countries and developed a zealous interest in philanthropy, languages and cultures. Adolophine’s diverse background and ability to speak six languages fluently gives her the flexibility and understanding to bridge gaps between different cultures.
Adolophine has always had a love for commerce, design and fashion. Her mother, Georgette, bought goods in Europe and then sold it in the markets of Kinshasa. “The colors, sound and energy of the markets in Kinshasa are a part of my soul,” she says. Growing up, Adolophine was surrounded by strong women who ran their own business. It has always been a dream of hers to follow in their footsteps.
1. Why is it important to embrace who you are?
You can’t do good for others if you don’t love and embrace yourself. Just like on the plane they say put your mask on first and then help the person next to you. It’s also important for your own mental health.
2. How does your brand or what you do cultivate female empowerment?
We are all about female empowerment. We help women start or run their own small business, improve financial literacy skills and support them emotionally so they can better provide for themselves and others. When you help a woman you help a village. We’ve seen that happen time and time again. Our brand also brings together a lot of great women and we’ve created a great circle of sisters.
3. What is your leadership style?
I choose a leadership style based on the environment and culture of where I’m working. For example, in my home country I am a straight dictator. I let my team members be the fun and kind ones. I come in and drop the hammer and make sure things are done exactly the way I want. It’s not always fun to be the mean guy but it is necessary to be effective and get things done well.
4. In your opinion, how can we as a culture work together to banish prejudices and social clichés?
I think sharing our stories in a more respectful and kind way so that others can’t use it against us For example, I’m very careful of the images I choose to display on my business page and for my nonprofit. We are fixing an orphanage in Kinshasa. I decided to not show the bathroom conditions or the girls’ bedrooms. I cried when I saw it in person but I refuse to use those images and have them associated with my kids at the orphanage. Also sharing our culture, history and traditions helps bridge the gap and knock down preconceived notions of a group of people. If we are more careful about all these things, I think the culture, respect and cliches will change.
5. What are some things you are most proud of?
Wow, that is a big question. I’m most proud of my family. They inspire me in so many ways. I’m also really proud of just taking a chance and starting a business and a nonprofit. I’m most proud of my kids in the orphanage. They are hopeful, happy and kind even though they have had a tough start in life. They make me proud everyday.
6. What have you been up to and what can we look forward to seeing from you?
Oh gosh, I’m working on getting looks together for the February fashion show, dealing with all the shipping headaches, planning my Africa travel schedule for 2022 and working on some fantastic new jewelry designs. On the nonprofit side we are looking for a bigger office space, working with three orphanages, interviewing an Agranome to help the women with their plantation skills in Lau, finding ways to save some of the amazing stories from our elders in the nursing home in Kitambo and tightening up our processes. We have learned a lot and we want to make sure we are doing the best work we can to help others.
Follow on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest @Adolophine.
Website is www.Adolophine.com
Youtube page is Adolophine Designs.
You can learn more about her nonprofit at www.lesamg.org
We are all about female empowerment. We help women start or run their own small business, improve financial literacy skills and support them emotionally so they can better provide for themselves and others.