The behind-the-scene success story of Jibs Abitoye, Alberta’s first black immigrant elected City Councillor.
“My name is Jibs Abitoye. Let me tell you about my “COULDN’T” story.
I was told I COULDN’T get a good job as a new immigrant from Nigeria in Canada because I didn’t have Canadian education or work experience. I got a job in a bank with my own office in one month.
I was told I COULDN’T win in an election because I lived in a community that was less than 1% black and as a black woman…hmmm…the chances of winning are even more unlikely. I made it. And I’m the first black woman elected in the province of Alberta since the 70s. I won in the election as a City Councillor in my community and I’m honored to serve in this capacity.
I was told that I COULDN’T run a successful fashion business because the fashion industry was saturated and it would be difficult.
I started a fashion business and within 3 months of launching it, I was in New York Fashion Week to showcase our latest collection. Our products are in a big retail chain with over 500 stores in Canada and the US. We have clients in Europe, USA, and Canada.
I was told that I COULDN’T be influential as I was only a token black woman to show representation, not for anything else. I can tell you I have chaired committees where I was not just the only black woman but the only “woman” in the room.
Wife and mum
“I was told that I COULDN’T be a wife and mum and still have a successful career and business. I can tell you I have an amazing partner who is super supportive as well as three beautiful children.
I have shared a few of my success stories but I can also tell you that in between all these success stories are many failures, many sleepless nights, many tears, many vigils, many prayers, many guilt and shame, many doubts, many mistakes, the list is endless.
So don’t let anybody “COULDN’T” you, because yes you CAN!”
I million people out of poverty.
Jibs in her usual character has set her sight on another record-breaking project. Question: If you had an opportunity to impact one million people in the world such that these people came out of poverty, would you do it?
That is exactly what Jibs has set out to do. Project 1 million is a movement intended to bring one million people out of poverty. It’s a fusion of charity and fashion.
In conjunction with Compassion Canada, they will carry out child-focused, impactful, community-led projects through the new collection, Alphabet by Divinity, launching on August 20th.
Donors will get exclusive fashion clothing and at the same time participate in a compassion project in some of the world’s poorest countries.
The one million beneficiaries will be drawn from the Phillipines, Brazil, Nigeria, and four other African countries.
Helping one million people come out of poverty seems a mission impossible. But Jibs is already familiar with being told it couldn’t be done. And she never gets tired of showing that it can.