“Most importantly never lose your values or forget your roots.”
What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do?
The most rewarding thing about what I do is the excitement I see in my clients when they experience a transformation after working with me.
Tell us a little bit about what you do (business, career, etc.) How did you get started?
I am Dr. Eunice B. Gwanmesia, a registered nurse by profession for over 21 years and a former university professor for 13 years. I am a Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Educator, Author, Certified Life and Professional Coach, Philanthropist, and Speaker. I have been a mother and caregiver to my special needs son for 20 years and five years ago I assumed 24-hour care for my 82-year-old dad. My experiences as a caregiver and my passion for caring led to the founding of my caregiving charity and the creation of a curriculum on helping family caregivers learn strategies to avoid burnout so they can live happily while taking care of loved ones. Also the Founder and CEO of Eunity Solutions, a consulting company that provides cutting edge services in many areas to include the following: philanthropy, coaching, consulting and speaking. I also provide a platform for audiences to engage, empower and embrace cultural differences to build better, stronger and more productive communities.
I hold a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership, a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Nursing Education. I am a member of the International Nurses Association and the NGO Committee Chair of Education and Culture for Delaware African and Caribbean Coalition. I have earned several awards including induction into the Institute of Excellence of the National Black Nurses Association and have been recognized as a Worldwide Leader in Healthcare and a well sought after dynamic speaker. I have given keynote speeches, facilitated workshops and spoken across many diverse platforms to include the Harvard Faculty Club, Business Expert Forum.
I first learned the value of becoming culturally and socially proficient while attending the French speaking university of Yaoundé. In my book, “Cultural Awareness: A Strategy That Can Influence Your Journey To Success” I share my personal journey and how cultural awareness played a defining role in my ability to achieve my goals. Also, I cite my 5P Formula as my road map to success: Purpose, Passion, Patience, Persistence, and Perseverance. I recently partnered with five phenomenal ladies and co-authored a book,” Little Girls Dreams Metamorphosis To Women Realities: A Collaboration of Inspirations. Despite all the achievements, my most treasured award is being a mother to my two loving and beautiful children Keith and Kaitlin Gwanmesia.
Growing up as a little girl, I always wanted to be a teacher just like my dad. So after high school, I enrolled in the French speaking university of Yaoundé with the hopes of graduating and becoming a teacher like my dad. While at the university I refused to learn the French language because I saw it as someone else’s responsibility and eventually flunked out of college. You can imagine how devastated I was, thinking this was the end of my life. One year later, I received admission into the National School of Dental Therapy in Prince Albert Saskatchewan to study dental therapy. I successfully completed the program and earned a job in Rankin Inlet in the North West Territories of Canada. While in Canada, I failed at another opportunity to embrace my Canadian brothers and sisters and allow them to embrace me and my values and beliefs. I ended up leaving Canada disheartened and lonely.
My next stop was the Washington DC area where I thought I will meet people that looked like me. Oh boy was I wrong? While in the DC area, I realized that I was not looking for people that looked like me but I was looking for a place to call home. I would eventually make home in Delaware. Upon arriving in Delaware, I was faced with another transformation. I met a young lady coming out of a store and as we were chatting she asked me where I was going and I told her that I was on my way to apply for a nursing assistant job at a local hospital. She immediately responded saying, “you do not want to go there, they will not give you a job because you are an immigrant, with a heavy accent and you are a woman” as though these were pre-determinants to a job opportunity. I immediately remembered the teachings of my father who always said, if you want change that change must begin with you. I could not believe what I had just heard. At that point I made the decision to go home and make sure my resume had all the T’s crossed and all I’s dotted so no one will have a reason to deny me the job. I did that and submitted the application and a month later I was called for an interview and was offered the job. I ended up working for that institution for 15 years and we grew and learned from each other.
Was the journey that easy? Of course not! However, I seized every opportunity that came my way to educate people about cultural awareness and sensitivity because of how some people treated me. The moral to this story is that, we all have our experiences and our stories but we must always remember that as humans’ people have perceptions and preconceived notions. And, as we all know regardless of our cultural differences we are all of the human race.
When I arrived in Delaware my goal was to continue my education in dentistry. However, as an international student, I did not qualify for financial aid and therefore could not afford tuition to enroll in dental school. Because of this I made the decision to go into nursing and that is the best decision I have made in my lifetime. Through nursing I would end up becoming a teacher in a baccalaureate Nursing program at Delaware State University for 13 years ( my Alma Mater as well).
I also founded Always Care Health Services, a trade school and Home Health agency which opened March 2004 and closed down in December of 2009. Through this program my staff and I trained 230 nursing assistants 75% of whom are nurses today.
These are versions of my story that gives me the passion to engage audiences in the workplace and around the world in conversations about the power of diversity and inclusion and how we can use these concepts to improve team performances, improve internal and external customer relations, job satisfaction and ultimate outcomes.
Presently, I enjoy impacting and transforming lives as an entrepreneur or mompreneur.
If you could go back and share some wisdom or guidance to your younger self, what would that be?
I am so proud of my roots and my young self. I grew up in the cornfields of Cameroon in central West Africa in a family of six children. So, I come from very humble beginnings and proud to be the captain of the crew (first of the six children). And I will not trade that for anything. However, if I had to go back and teach myself or guidance, I will talk to myself about the power of having a mentor in life. Everyone needs a mentor who can guide you in life but most importantly one who is able to tell you what you do not necessarily want to hear because they want the best for you. Also I will teach myself the value of being culturally aware and responsive so that I do not repeat what happened to me at the age of 21, keeping in mind that whatever I want or need for my personal growth and success must begin with me as I am the captain of my ship.
How do you actively support other women and girls?
The biggest piece of advice I would offer is I strongly believe in the power of a woman because I very much agree that if you can educate a woman you educate the world. I work with both men and women in schools, healthcare organizations and leaders/employees of corporate institutions. I also work with family caregivers helping them learn strategies they can use to avoid burnout and live happily while taking care of their loved ones. However, I do support and collaborate with organizations that help women directly whose mission aligns with my mission and values such as Women In Leadership Development and Empowerment organization. My daughter goes to an all girls school and I help out with their school activities such as their culture day. I also help out at her dance studio to support her passion.
Give a shout out to the woman or women who inspire you the most.
I like to give a shout out to my friend and sister from another mother Linda Arrey Nkwenti for friendship and sisterhood and for always going the extra mile to connect, collaborate and grow together with other women changing lives one at a time. She is a phenomenal woman and I pray God continues to bless and guide her path.
What’s a surprising tidbit about yourself that most people don’t know?
One thing that a lot of people do not know about me is that I am an emotional person and very easily get my feelings hurt.
We understand that you emigrated from Cameroon to North America when you were young. How did being an immigrant affect your path to success? Can you give any advice to someone struggling to adjust after immigrating to a new country?
Yes I am from the cornfields of Cameroon in central West Africa. First experiencing failure at the age of 21 was devastating and humiliating to say the least. I literally did not see light at the end of the tunnel and I felt hopeless. However, God made it possible for me to get an opportunity to go to Canada to pursue my educational goals. From that point on I vowed never to fail at anything again.
As an immigrant, traveling abroad is a challenge for many families because it takes a lot to be able to raise funds for travel, tuition and living expenses. Personally, my parents had to sell a piece of land to raise money to send me to Canada. As an immigrant, when you think of all the sacrifices your family had to make to send you abroad, you have to work hard and do all in your power to live through your stumbling blocks. Challenges will always come so you have to find ways of dealing with them and getting back up to fight your battles. For me I relied heavily on prayer and my 5P Philosophy: Purpose, Passion, Patience, Persistence and Perseverance.
The first advice I will give is that they should expect to go through a culture shock. That is when they suddenly realize a stack difference between their home environment and their new environment. I will also remind them that the most important person who has to care about them and their ultimate success is THEM. I will also give them the following tips and tricks:
- Make friends and find emotional support
- Focus on the positive and surround yourself with likeminded people
- Find a mentor
- When having difficulties go to your happy place. Everyone has a happy place and it does not matter what it is, find the happy place and when things go wrong or seem hopeless, go there mentally.
- Have faith in yourself
- Most importantly never lose your values or forget your roots.
Why Dr. Eunice Gwanmesia is On this List
“I have so many emotions about her story. It’s nothing short of 1) heartbreaking — for the negative and careless words of ignorant people, and 2) inspiring — as she proves people wrong and rises above. It gives me hope in humanity and serves as a poignant reminder that sometimes the advice we receive is merely a ceiling made of clouds that we can completely ignore and break thorough. We do so with the help of our friends and our mentors. Most importantly, we do so because we have an inner strength and perseverance. Dr. Gwanmesia’s picture is right there in the dictionary.”
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