Hello and welcome to my blog! With me today is a fabulous woman who simply describes herself as ‘a cheerleader for most humans’. Grab a cuppa and enjoy my conversation with Marjy Marj.
Ama Duncan (AD): Thank you so much Marjy for making time to have this conversation with me. How are you?
Marjorie Boafo Appiah (MBA): It is an honour and I’m digging your fabulous earrings and that haircut too! Haha. By God’s grace I’m well and I’m motivated to keep pushing and stay prayed.
AD: ‘Stay prayed’, I love it! You have a way with words and I always learn something new from you. Please tell us about your life growing up in Ghana before migrating to the US?
MBA: My journey of being a Ghanaian girl… that journey never stops. I grew up in Ghana and did my elementary school years in Ghana. I was a smart girl. At school, I used to get prizes and I would raise my hands and speak up all the time in class and at church too. So to the rest of the world I was smart and confident. What they didn’t realize was I had my insecurities. I was never considered cool or part of the in-group. I wanted to have my clique too and that was something I dealt with personally. And it didn’t stop when I was getting all those prizes but to the outside world I had it all together. No. When I got to secondary school it continued. We had a group of friends, they were nice to me but they were friends with each other. I did belong to this group but I always felt like an outsider. I was always wondering, what will make me good enough? But as I got older, I got confident in myself and my abilities. I began to have friends that I had something in common with. I was no longer looking for that BFF. I would just stay in my lane and just find bonds and connections along the way. I grew up in a very religious household too. We would do revivals and all. My dad was also involved in politics and so I went to a lot of political rallies. I thought I was going to run for Member of Parliament someday growing up before I came to America. I wouldn’t now because of the current political terrain in Ghana. Those were my formative years.
AD: That’s wonderful! I can imagine you on a platform campaigning with your soothing voice actually. Now, let’s talk about how you moved to the US. At which point did you say, ‘I am done with home, let me move?’
MBA: I was never done with home. I loved being in Ghana. I decided to come to America for grad school and then I fell in love. I thought this guy whose dad was running a clinic in Kumasi was going to go back home right after. But he decided to stay and I told myself there was no way I was going to have a long distance relationship. So I decided that if this is where my life was going to be, I was going to live my life in America and invest myself in my community here because this is where I am now.
AD: I love that! I have met people abroad who have sort of put their life on hold because they think their situation is temporary and they would return home. I believe home is where you are so make the most of it. And now to your books, you’ve written several books with more on the way. Tell us the story of how you discovered the writer in you. Have you always been a writer?
MBA: I’d love to brag and say I’m so super talented, Hehe. I started writing when I was so young. I used to be in school plays and putting the scripts together for plays when I was in Aburi Girls’. I always liked to write and I had a vivid imagination, always thinking of something. Funny enough, I never published any of my work. Then after I had my kid, he liked to write. I was impressed but I didn’t think it was serious. When he was 13 years, he went to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. But before he went, he broke his wrists and he was an athlete and could literally do nothing in athletics. So he began to write his thoughts and he would type it out and I suggested that we publish it. It’s called ‘Kids Can Change The World’. Then I thought that if I could encourage my kid to write a book then why couldn’t I. After all he had the genes from me so I encouraged myself because I was a Management Consultant and I was writing business plans and I used to write a lot. I decided to put something together that would resonate with my Ghanaian and American community together and that’s where I ended up with my first book, the Shimmigrant. That’s how I began. Before long people were asking for a sequel. Then I began with my second book. I also have my children’s series that’s up, Sasha Goes To America, Sasha Perceivers In America and the 3rd one coming in September is Sasha Dreams Big.
AD: I bet you’re enjoying writing! I wonder, do you or are you looking into coaching other women to write? I ask because with your track record, you are a great resource to upcoming authors.
MBA: I do coach other women. I am the founder of Innovation Group which is a Management Consulting Firm. We have other arms; I have a non-profit which is under the Innovation Group called Girls in STEAM. We also have Giving Book Day where we give books to children all around the world and we’ve partnered with Project Lit Ghana to supply books to kids in Ghana as well. We have Bromaski where we have Made in Africa souvenirs then my main job Marjy Consulting where I work with SME’s on their strategic planning etc and finally AAA Press where we consult with folks who want to write or publish.
AD: Fantastic! I know who I’ll ask to reach out to you already! What do you have to say to the women in Ghana who want to write but feel like there are already a lot of existing books and so are hesitating?
MBA: Can you imagine if everyone felt like that? Then we wouldn’t have any books out there! There’s always a story to tell and there’s only one you. Whatever story you have, it’s important to share it. Just don’t do it haphazardly. If you want to write, I’ll say go for it, find a mentor if you don’t know what to do and get going.
AD: I love that! I see you as a woman who doesn’t believe ‘women are their own worst enemies’. Tell me please, what has worked for you and your community of women and how can women win together?
MBA: First of all, much respect to the men reading and those who have supported me and are part of my tribe. I mean no disrespect but I just get so excited and can’t help it when my women succeed. I have a very supportive husband and I’m very grateful to him for his massive respect to the men. But when it comes to women, it says that one person cannot go far as when we are together and having other women as my allies helps me to make a bigger impact. But there are also women who can be snakes and pretend to like you. So you have to be conscious of that. There may be some bad apples but there are still some good people. It doesn’t take away anything from you to lift your sister.
AD: OMG so true! Before I let you go Marjy, please complete the following with a short phrase or sentence:
If I could advise my younger self in one short sentence, I would say, “be confident”.
I am fabulous because, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. One book that has greatly helped me in business is, “Who Moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson”.
AD: That’s our book of the month for September! Where can we buy your book and where can we find you?
MBA: I’m very easy to find. The simplest place to find me is marjymarj.com, you can read about my blogs and subscribe to Marjy TV. On social media you can find me as thismarjymarj, on Facebook my author page is marjymarj. For my books in Ghana, you can contact Booktique Ghana or Booknook.store. Anywhere else you can try Amazon, Target, Walmart and independent bookstores.
AD: Wow your books are in Target and Walmart! Impressive! Thank you so much for making time for this interview. We wish you all the very best in all your endeavours.
MBA: It’s been a blessing. Thanks for having me Ama.
Dear Reader, Marjy’s voice is beautiful! Don’t believe me? Watch the interview below and keep being fabulous.