(Note: Before we begin, I just want to disclose that I met this wonderful woman of God during a vision board party I attended on Christmas Day 2016. When all the participants were afforded the opportunity to describe their boards, she got my attention when she reported that God gave her a vision at the age of 13 and that she currently has a mentoring program for young girls. I immediately said to myself that I needed to connect with her to pick her brain and hear about her journey and impact in the community. We finally connected when she asked me to be a speaker at her organization’s Mentoring Mondays session. Of course, I couldn’t say no. –Jadine Louissaint)
In celebration of International Women’s Day (which is part of Women’s History Month), we are excited to share the stories of Haitian women entrepreneurs who are impacting their communities with their love of God and talents. In TransforMe Ayiti we call these women “Fanm pou Bondye,” which translates to “Women for God.” We’ve decided to highlight a woman each week this month.
Jacqueline Louis, BSW, is the founder of Beautiful Beauties of Tomorrow (BBOT), which is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering girls ages of 5-19 to reach their full potential by discovering their true beauty, building their self-confidence, and cultivating the greatness they find within to help transform the world around them. BBOT offers mentoring, educational workshops, community service projects, as well as age-appropriate enrichment activities to help girls transition through various phases of adolescent life in preparation to become the next generation of beautiful, strong, successful queens of the future. I had the honor of interviewing her on March 12, 2017 and would like to share this “Fanm pou Bondye’s” story.
Jadine: Where were you born?
Jacqueline: Miami, Florida
Jadine: What part of Haiti are your parents from?
Jaqueline: My mother was born in Bassin Bleu, but raised in Port-de –Paix. I’m not sure about my father
Jadine: Have you ever visited Haiti before?
Jacqueline: No not yet, I look forward to in the near future
Jadine: Describe your business in one statement.
Jacqueline: “Empowering young women to become future successful women.”
Jadine: When did you find Jesus and how did it change your life?
Jacqueline: Oh my goodness, that was years ago….I would probably say 12- 13 years old. I think I had a passion for God even though I didn’t really know who He was. I could always remember at the age of 5 loving God. At the age of 13, we were having a youth meeting on a Saturday, this woman began to talk about God and who He really is and we began to breakout into a worship. I mean, I began sobbing the whole time. It was something that touched my spirit. I didn’t really know what it was, but I just knew it was something greater than me and from that day on I accepted Him as my personal savior. I never looked back.
Jadine: What is your favorite bible verse(s)?
Jacqueline: Psalm 46:5 “ God is in her, she will not fail.”
Jadine: What’s your “why” and how did that help you start Beautiful Beauties of Tomorrow?
Jacqueline: The reason I went into this, because at a very young age, God placed this woman in my life. At the time, I didn’t know to call her mentor, but she pretty much had that role. She was very instrumental and helping me become the woman that I am today. My mom was a single woman who raised up 5 children. If there’s one thing my mom didn’t play about, it was about attending church. This woman helped my mom by taking us to church, making sure we were on top of our grades in school, helped me learned how to take care of myself, talked about boys and these lessons were so impactful to my life. I was so moved that I wanted to be like her and share the love with others, especially young girls.
Jadine: How do you balance everything?
Jacqueline: That is a challenge every single day. I literally have a prayer everyday, asking God to help me balance everything. I believe in prioritizing. I have a big planner, phone planner and work planner. I try to plan everything as possible. I am a mother of two, I am a wife, I run a profit business and I work full-time. I definitely have to plan my life accordingly, as I have to make time for my children, my husband and of course my spiritual life. So I realized that I have to be abnormal. I have to be up when everyone is sleeping and I’m working when everyone is sleeping.
Jadine: Can you share an “A-ha” moment?
Jacqueline: Well, one of the recent “A-ha” moment I had was last year, when we had 7 young ladies from the program go to college. I get emotional when I talk about this, because you know, we all get those moments in the business where we ask God “ Is this what you really want me to do?’ There’s so much to do and I don’t have the support I need around. I started crying, telling God, I can’t do this anymore, this is too much for me and God said, I called you to do it, so I’ll get you through it. So when May 2016 came around, I’m getting texts, email and phone calls from the young ladies letting me know that I needed to be at their graduation. It was a reminder that it’s the little things that we do matter, it may not be impacting the whole world, but I’m painting a picture in the world little by little.
Jadine: What has been a discouraging moment during your journey as a business owner and how did you overcome it?
Jacqueline: My most discouraging moment was during our second year of business. I had a people who had titles, but weren’t carrying their weight. I was doing everything. I was like, “God I cant do this.” Everyone has titles and aren’t doing anything. At the time, I’m using our family funds to sustain the organization, my husband looking at me sideways and trying to understand my ‘why’. God reminded me that He gave me the vision and He would provide. That year, we received our 501c3 designation and met a woman who faithfully donated to the organization for scholarships. He just opened up doors—they were little, but major blessings for us.
Jadine: Do you have any last encouraging words for women who are sitting on their purpose?
Jacqueline: If God gave it to you, stay focused on what God gave you. I mentioned the scripture earlier…if God is in her, she will not fail! Even though things seem shaky or you hear the water rumbling, you will not fail.
For more information about Beautiful Beauties of Tomorrow, please the website at http://www.bbotqueens.com/