Our Model Muslimah of the week played an active role in the Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016, particularly in Michigan where she had the honour of speaking at the final rally on November 7, 2016. Meet Ganiyah Tope Fajingbesi; a Nigerian-American social entrepreneur, a financial management consultant, an inspirational speaker, purpose driven life teacher and an author.
Salam alykum warahmatullah wabarakatu.
Walykum salam warahmahtullah wabarakatu.
Who is Sister Ganiyah Tope Fajingbesi?
I am an Ijebu girl, born and raised in Lagos on a mission. And that mission is to live each day unapologetically and in full in shaa Allah. But if your question is, who am I professionally, then I like to describe myself as a Nigerian-American social entrepreneur, independent financial management consultant, inspirational speaker, purpose driven life teacher and the author of the amazon.com best selling novel, Love in Cancun.
Tell us a little about your educational background.
I obtained a Bachelors degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos, and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the Goizueta Business School of Emory University in Atlanta. I also attended the University of Oxford’s Women Transforming Leadership Executive education program in October 2014.
What inspired you to become a Life coach; helping people to realise their purpose and walk their paths?
I actually do not like to call myself a life coach. I prefer to call myself a purpose driven life teacher, because that is in my mind more suitable for the type of work I do. And I got into this field because of my own experiences, which I have been very open about. I struggled with a failed marriage, being single in my thirties twice, loss of pregnancies, my dad and jobs. These were things that shook me to my core, but fortunately they also made me very close to Allah (S) and brought me to my purpose. And I firmly believe that a trial or set of trials that don’t kill you aren’t meant for you alone. You have a duty to help others too. Thats why I like to teach people how to use their pain to find and embrace their purpose.
Been part of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was such a huge highlight for you in 2016; at that moment, when you stood on the podium addressing thousands of supporters, you a NIGERIAN MUSLIM WOMAN what was running through your mind?
Ha ha, well when I first got on the stage and saw how long the walk way was, my first thought was, oh my goodness, I better not fall down in front of all these people. But as soon as I got to the microphone, and saw all the people and the cameras, I knew I was carrying so many people with me, and I had to do what they couldn’t do, I knew I had to show up for other Muslimahs, Nigerians, Women, Africans and African-Americans.
How do you think Nigerian Muslim women can help contribute to the growth of our Nation?
By stepping into our purpose boldly and unapologetically. By learning about great women like Khadijah RA, Fatima RA, Aisha RA who were bosses. Until women decide to act like the women Allah (S) created us to be, we will be stuck in the dark ages.
Your book, Love In Cancun is an Amazon.com bestseller, can you tell us briefly the inspiration behind it?
Honestly, I just wanted to escape from my troubles at the time, (laughs!) I had just left my job and I was mourning the loss of my dad, so I decided to go to Cancun to clear my mind. And I just began to write because that’s how I think, and Love in Cancun happened by the mercy of Allah (S).
Your advice for a muslimah who will like to be a Writer.
Just do it! Whatever it is you want to do, whether it’s writing or something else. Start today, start now, start small, don’t worry about the fame, don’t worry about the fans. Just do it with authenticity and passion.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years in sha Allah?
In a State house with my hijab and my family around me in sha Allah.
How do you define success?
Dying empty – doing everything Allah created me to do. Not wasting time getting distracted by the noise of the world at the expense of my calling. I don’t actually believe we will know if we succeeded or not until we die.
A typical day in your life…
After saying my prayers, I revise and move things around on my very long To Do list, and honestly I pretty much work from after fajr until midnight. I take breaks to dance (thats my preferred type of exercise,) eat and pray. When I feel stressed out and overwhelmed, I go on social media to laugh a little, but honestly I am very boring. I just work.
Describe your personal style.
Comfortably covered. I love looking nice, but my style is very simple and it’s comfort over style. I don’t know designers or labels, so honestly I just wear what fits and makes me comfortable.
Please share a fun fact about yourself.
I am struggling with a funny addiction to biscoff cookies. Oh! I am extremely terrified of dogs and needles.
Your advice for the young muslimah still struggling to strike a balance between the attractions of this world and the deen.
Be true to yourself. Listen carefully because Allah (S) speaks to all of us, we just aren’t still enough to hear Him most times. So find moments of stillness, and you will get your directions from Allah (S).
Jazakallah khairan for your cooperation Sister Ganiyah; we pray someone finds it inspiring and beneficial.
Photo Credit: Ganiyah Tope Fajingbesi