Life is a journey and surely as the Bible puts it in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”, and this is exactly what the Managing Director of Think Mahogany, Debra-Jane Nelson did and has since then enjoyed the unending favour of the Lord.
As an innovative and ambitious woman, Debra-Jane moved back to Ghana from the UK, away from many of life’s comfort to chart a new course and start a new chapter of her life with no idea she would become a business owner in Ghana’s event industry, but that was God’s divine plan for her life.
Being the second and only girl child of three kids and the favourite of her aunties and cousins, Debra-Jane did not let this get into her head. She realized at a young age that she had no other option but to succeed in life and pulled all her efforts into doing so, with her parents wholly supporting her career choices and that of her brothers.
A rare gem in a friend, Debra-Jane has learnt to be patient and appreciative of life more by seeing her parents go through the phases of life together.
Debra-Jane Nelson who has suffered prejudices in her stay in Ghana believes Ghanaians need to move beyond seeing only the physical being to knowing people at a more personal level.
“In Ghana, people judge you by your looks. I am seen in a different light because of my skin tone, my love for piercings and tattoos. But when I tell people I studied Christian Theology, they look at me with expressions of shock. This is because they don’t wait for me to speak but they all just assume and create their own perception of me.”
Featuring on the Y107.9FM’s Leaderboard Series hosted by Rev Erskine, Debra-Jane who’s every decision is guided by prayer, ventured into the events space by helping a mutual friend organize his event.
Working with Sony Ericson at the time, she started getting gigs after posting pictures of the aforementioned event on her Facebook page and she attributes this to the favour of God. With contracts pouring in on a regular basis, she decided to pursue a full-time career in the events industry after getting confirmation from God.
“I prayed and fasted to God and asked for an answer if it was truly time for me to move on. I went to church and the man of God called and gave me God’s message. He only told me one thing; lady, God says your business is here to stay” and the rest is history.
She believes Ghana can become a better place if all its citizens possess the entrepreneurial spirit and advised business owners to focus more on their personal branding. Her advice to every young entrepreneur is, “As a young person pursuing entrepreneurship, know that you need to work twice as hard as everyone and you will lose some friends.”
Food wastage is a global universal problem in an era where some families and individuals also find it difficult to have three square meals a day. With the passion of putting smiles on the faces of the less privileged, Debra-Jane Nelson started the ‘Zero Hunger Ghana’ charity to meet the needs of the less privileged in her community.
With this idea dropping into her soul, Debra at one of her events spoke to her client and the caterer she used for the event about her plan and they both agreed she could give away the excess food to support her cause. “I immediately went to buy some packs and gave the food to the street kids.”
She noted that after starting the ‘Zero Hunger Ghana’ project with this initial step, she has received immense support from friends and family which she is appreciative of.
Amongst her several social care services, she is also the co-founder of Shika Tamaa Support Services (STaSS), a non-profit organization providing free, private and confidential independent HIV/AIDs Support Service, Health and Social Care Services to all.
Debra-Jane derives a lot of satisfaction from being able to put smiles on the faces of the less privileged and making their lives better.
The YLeaderBoard Series is a weekly segment on YFM’s ‘Myd Morning’ radio show with an objective to develop and inspire the youth to achieve greatness. Leaders are hosted weekly to share their life story, journey to greatness and lessons for personal/national growth and development.