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{Exclusive} An Intimate interview with Marie Wilson, former President & Founder of The White House Project and new President Tiffany Dufu

2 Apr

After 13 years, the reins have been handed over at the White House
Project and Tiffany Dufu could not be more perfect for the position.
Marie Wilson, former President and Founder of The White House Project
and new President Tiffany Dufu sat down with RBRW’s Jacquelyn Aluotto
for an exclusive interview covering important issues from the very
beginnings of what is a most extraordinary organization, the change
over in leadership and the
future direction of the White House Project.

 

Jacquelyn speaking with Marie and Tiffany

 

 

Dufu and Wilson really have a special union. This is evident in their
interaction with each other. Meeting through a mutual friend who was
mentor to Dufu and one of Wilson’s oldest friends – Wilson knew that
she wanted Dufu on board right away and admitted to worrying about
losing such talent: ‘when your friends send you somebody it is usually
someone who you’re going to like…I was completely awed right away’.

 

 

Current White House Project President Tiffany Dufu

Whenever Dufu is asked the question; ‘How did Marie find you?’ Her
response is simple: “Marie Wilson had her eyes open… Marie has a gift
to see beyond [physical attributes] and see you as a viable leader. She can see your
skills and your qualities before you see them yourself.” Dufu has no
qualms in speaking about Wilson with admiration for her integrity,
honor and vision, although the feelings appear to be mutual.  Wilson
added, “This is the heart of what this organization is all about – to
see people. When somebody sees you – you think better.”

 

The White House Project is an organization that essentially enhances
public perception of leadership in the areas of politics and business.
It has changed how women’s leadership in America is talked about by thinking
outside the box and using popular culture, media and research to reach
countless Americans all across the country. 

 

RBRW will be covering the White House Projects  9th Annual  EPIC Awards – April 7th in New  York  which honors Outstanding Efforts to Promote Images of Powerful Women in Pop Culture.

At this event Marie Wilson’s legacy will be honored.

Stay tuned and view our exclusive interview with Founder and former
President Marie Wilson and new President Tiffany Dufu.

 

 

 

 

written by Francis Bobongie

 

The White House Project:

The White House Project is a non-profit organization which aims to advance women’s leadership in all communities and sectors—up to the U.S. presidency—by filling the leadership pipeline with a richly diverse, critical mass of women.

For more information about the White House Project visit
their website at www.thewhitehouseproject.org

 

Footnote: More Pictures from this exclusive interview can be seen on Facebook.com/RBRW.org check out the link http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=38023&id=137995686238191&l=b38869b0f1

Follow us on Twitter.com/RBRW

“God Save the Queens” Hat workshop | ‘Women’s History Month’ Event

16 Mar

A word from RBRW Team Member Fran

Francis Bobongie

I had never even heard of Paterson and certainly didn’t realize its place in history; and before you think I am entirely ignorant – I am from Australia, and Paterson New Jersey had never rated highly or had even made my list of places to visit here in the United States.  There are some treasures to be found in Paterson and I had the pleasure of visiting these over the course of two days.

Right now if you were to visit Paterson you would spend a lot of time held up in traffic. It is however, well worth the wait! With all the recent rain the ‘Great Falls’ that I had no idea even existed, right here on the East Coast have transformed into an amazing torrent of water cascading down all part of the Passaic River below. The sound and the beauty of the water, with the mist combined makes for an awesome experience that just tantalizes the senses. The warm weather has allowed for perfect conditions, and in just the right light, very prominent rainbows add to the picture perfect scene. People have been visiting from near and far with the odd helicopter zoning in to get a closer look.

Just on the next block on Market Street, is the Paterson Museum. This truly is one of the most exciting places I have ever been to. As you walk through the most amazing wooden doors I have ever seen, the transformed warehouse is host to some of the most ‘well preserved artifacts’ according to a visitor I met from Weehawken. There is a plethora of information available on a myriad of firsts. Did you know? Paterson was the first planned industrial city in America; John P Holland built and tested the first submarine in Paterson; and known as the Ryan NYP, the first engine that flew a plane from New York to Paris non-stop was built there. These are only the things that I can remember off the top of my head! My visit had me on information overload. At its height Paterson was an amazing and thriving industrial city.

It was here that I also met Mohamed Kahalil. He is the first African American artist from Paterson to have artwork displayed in the White House and the first Arab Egyptian Muslim to have designed the Christmas ornament for the First Lady Laura Bush. It is only fitting that he should work in Paterson at the Museum and joins all the other ‘firsts’ that are there too.

You can find Mohamed at the Museum working on a collection of pieces that will eventually be displayed in glass cases in front of prominent buildings in Paterson. These pieces stand tall and each one is different in its own right, however his signature symbol is very prominent: An eye with a spot in it reflects one of Mohamed’s own eyes that has a freckle.  In one way or another you can find this signature trademark on all of his designs. His artwork uses everyday materials that are recycled and reused in one way or another. He has the creativity and vision to see in something as simple as a glass bottle, a piece of wood or a rusty nail; something that can potentially look amazing. He divides his time between the Library and the Museum with his artwork displayed in both places along with a number of venues in both New Jersey and New York.

The RBRW team had the pleasure of attending “God Save the Queens” Hat workshop organized by curator Cristina Deutsch by Paterson Free Public Library and in line with ‘Women’s History Month’. This workshop looked at the significance of the church hat in the African American culture. The women were privy to an engaging talk, highlighting the transformation of the ‘church hat’ throughout history and its importance in making women look beautiful and feel special for one day of the week.

Women who attended the workshop were able to make their own hats from an assortment of donated materials and the opportunity to afterwards have a makeover using Mary Kay makeup products. There were hats with flowing tulle, flowers, feathers and shells. The creativity was brilliant and the women not only had fun socializing but also learnt a little historical information and were able to produce a final product that they could be proud of and take home. The workshop coordinators were supportive, helpful and encouraging and made these women feel good about themselves and with their efforts. Following the workshop, the women were ready to pose for photos and talk about their designs when interviewed.

To transform something is to make a “marked change, in appearance or character and usually for the better.” My visit to Paterson showed me just that – a transformation: in nature, people and just within the city in general. Whether transformation occurs simplistically or in its complexity the process is certainly evident in Paterson and is exciting.

Waterfalls, art and hats, seem like an unlikely way to highlight transformation.  However, this whole idea of transformation resonates well with me and what RBRW is all about. Our non-profit organization helps with a holistic healing process of making over battered women from the inside out. It’s amazing how something as simple as a makeover in every sense of the word, can see reach through the complexities of the soul and transform a person: discovering inner beauty and radiating it outwards.

International Women’s Day Message from RBRW

8 Mar

“When women thrive, all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life,” by Kofi Annan. Seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, 2001 Nobel Peace Prize Today is the launch of our new RBRW website and it coincides with quite a significant day. 100 Years ago, March 19, 1911, marked the first ever International Women’s Day. It was initiated by Claire Zetkin as a result of the second International Conference of Working Women held in Copenhagen with prominent Women leaders of the time. In 1913, the date was changed to March 8 and ever since Women across the world have been celebrating and embracing the advancements of women within society and their contributions to the world; making it a more livable, and more opportunistic place to be.
Today there will be high-profile women honored for their commitment, talents and contributions to different causes socially and internationally. Amongst women awarded will also be regular women too. Some women possibly will go about today and have no idea that International Women’s Day exists or is even happening; multi tasking family commitments and/or work…just another day. Unfortunately there will also be women who today are just trying to survive for whatever reason and make ends meet. This diverse group is the reality that makes up the ‘WOMEN’ of our world.
International Women’s Day should be a day where every woman across the world is celebrated for who they are and what they do no matter how big or how small their contribution or its impact on the world. The work you do as a woman to make your immediate place a better place to live needs to be acknowledged. For all women in the world, wherever you are, and whatever you are doing today on this the 100th International Women’s Day, please know this: You are valuable and appreciated by someone and your efforts have not gone unnoticed! Take pride in who you are and what you do. Happy International Women’s Day.

Facts:
·         On 19 September 1893 New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote.·         During International Women’s Year in 1975, IWD was given official recognition by the United Nations and was taken up by many governments.

 ·         International Women’s Day is marked by a national holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.