Interview with Juliet Asante: Film Maker & Entrepreneur

“Many women look for validation and seeing other women going out and making things happen is the greatest motivator”

Juliet Asante is an award winning Film Maker, Entrepreneur and Activist. Her awards include the ‘Hollywood-Reporter’s next generation awards (2009) and the ʻWorld of a difference 100ʼ by the International Alliance for Women (2009). Juliet has worked on movies like Deadly Voyage (an HBO movie, starring Omar Epps and Sean Pertwee), and Tinsel for MNET. She has written and directed some of the longest running shows on Ghana Television. She served on the World Economic Council’s Global Agenda Council on Entertainment. She is the founder of Eagle Productions ltd, a Production, Communications and Consulting Company, founder and President of Save Our Women International and past President of the Eagle Women Empowerment Club (EWEC). Juliet is an avid blogger for the Huffington Post, an Aspen global leadership fellow and an alumnus of Vital Voices Global Leaders programme.

Vera: Words like ‘’astute, inspirational, thought leader, amazing’’ have been used to describe you. How do you describe yourself?

Juliet: I am a passionate individual who has very strong convictions and put in the work to achieve my goals persistently and consistently. I believe in the power of the human spirit.

Vera: Your track record making a difference seems is as a result of self driven efforts to do what you love, use your talents and make impact. How do you choose what you focus your energies on?

Juliet: Whatever I get involved with must appeal to my core. It must resonate with me and I must feel an internal pull. That is the only way I can remain dedicated. I am not one for wasting my time and the precious time of others by getting involved in something I know I can’t finish. Whatever I get involved with must also be progressive in some way.

Vera: A lot of your interests focus on or touch women’s lives including your organizations, Save our Women international, Eagle Women Empowerment Club and the work you do supporting women entrepreneurs. What are the most intractable issues you deal with and how do you find ways forward?

Juliet: Every day we make progress, but unfortunately, things keep happening that take us back all the time; things that we have no control over. Ghana for instance is making good progress, but then careless actions by individuals you would expect to be more responsible, whether in public or the private sector, continue to threaten the gains. Issues range from women making wrong choices based on wrong or no information to societal pressures that make the woman feel that she really doesn’t have a choice. I must say though, that the progress in some sectors is very tangible and so we continue to press on. Many women look for validation above all else and seeing other women going out and making things happen is the greatest motivator. This is one of the elements that keep me focused

Vera: You mentor young women and having being a mentee yourself in the Fortune500 US State department mentorship programme what would you say to anyone wanting to get the most out of mentorship?

Juliet: Mentoring is a tricky business for both the mentor and mentee. It can be so rewarding for both parties, but needs to be managed tightly and both parties must be emotionally intelligent to get the best experience. Unfortunately, the term has caught on and it is being pushed without the right preparation and this is what worries me. Bad experiences can make the push to have more women offer themselves up as mentors very difficult. The mentee who gets an absent minded mentor who doesn’t appreciate the developing relationship and the responsibility that goes with it may leave the experience in a really bad state. Prior preparation of both parties is therefore critical.

Vera: You write for the Huffington Post, currently promoting your big movie ‘’Silver Rain’’ and of course regularly use media and mobile technology to share knowledge and products such as mobilefliks. What is your vision around using media to bridge the gender gap?

Juliet: I see media, and in my case, both visual and written, as a powerful tool for social messaging and impact. I don’t have the luxury of making entertainment for its sake. The stories I tell therefore carry these messages. They come in various forms. Some may be more overt than others. For instance, Silver Rain is an aspirational story that delves into the strength of the woman and how she can change her circumstances despite the odds. Failure is mostly mental and believing that winning is a possibility can change the conversation.

Vera: In a recent article you urged people to choose the life of an entrepreneur,  live for possibility rather than the predictability of a safe job. Any rules you would like to share from your own experience for those who want to embrace your call to be more daring?

Juliet: As in everything, prepare and plan to the teeth. Leave nothing to chance. When you have done that, let it all go. I hope that makes sense

Vera: Of the many rich experiences you’ve had to date including participating in the prestigious Harvard Masons/MPA programme summer internship. What’s been the most ground breaking opportunities for you?

Juliet: I don’t believe that I have had my groundbreaking experience yet. The one thing that keeps us moving as humans is the belief that tomorrow brings better opportunities. Life is a discovery. I appreciate every opportunity I have had, both good and bad as collectively, they have produced my present; but the future holds mysteries I am excited to discover.

Vera: I love your motto ‘’whatever it is it must progress the world in some way’’ what’s next on the horizon for bettering the world that’s within your reach?

Juliet: This best way I can serve the world is living tomorrow to the best of ability and not betraying who I am. I am presently writing a book. I am excited about that.

For more information on Vera Ng’oma’s work and resources in leadership, personal and career development and excellence building, click here

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