Ebele ‘Lush Eby’ lyiegbu Covers GO Lifestyle Magazine
Ebele Iyiegbu, popularly known as Lush Eby, the founder of The KIEK Foundation and the wife of popular Nigerian socialite Obi Cubana, is featured on the cover of the latest issue of GO Lifestyle Magazine.
In the exclusive interview, she talks about her journey as a businesswoman, philanthropist, and mother, while also carving out her own unique identity.
Read excerpts from the interview below:
On her entrepreneurial journey:
I am a woman who has always been passionate about making a difference, impacting the lives of children and women, and writing my name in the sands of time by leaving behind a legacy that those who are yet unborn can read about. These have inspired me to pursue numerous ventures. As a 21st-century African woman, I made up my mind to become a trailblazer by leveraging my passion and strength. I am always drawn to businesses that inspire and bring joy to mankind. I established my NGO, the Kiek Foundation, not as a business venture but as an avenue to impact my society, one life at a time. I love entertainment, planning, and parties so that led me to establish my events planning and decorating company, the party managers, and gifts Et’al, a gift shop. I have several other businesses and several others in partnership with people. I have a coaching company, the Ahava Coach which aims to empower women to live and become the best versions of themselves. I am also the vice president of Cubana Group Ltd. I am an author. I recently introduced my first book, WIFILY EVER AFTER, 15 lessons marriage taught me. I have other books in the pipeline. I have other products that I partnered with other brands.
Her tips on effective strategies for managing and growing successful businesses:
Prioritize, Draw a line between home and work, Delegate, Avoid time wasters and irrelevant issues, Make time for your spouse, Make time for yourself, Exercise regularly, Be close to God and Pray regularly.
What has helped her maintain a strong and fulfilling partnership in her marriage:
God, Friendship, Forgiveness, Regular communication, Patience, Trust and honesty, Shared goals and values and Openness
On her charity foundation, Kiek Foundation:
As a child, my parents were my most significant influence and role model, especially for all that they did for the less privileged. I saw how my parents provided for the welfare of the disadvantaged in my community by feeding them, clothing them, and paying the school fees of the children who could not afford to do so. I will not forget how my dad had packages and gifts for several families during Christmas. The excitement on their faces whenever he gives these gifts to them is priceless. Although my dad did all he was doing out of volition, he never knew that the community was watching. It was just a matter of time before his good deeds became rewarded with the title of ‘Onwa- Obosi,’ which he never shared with anyone in the community until his demise
In no time, I found myself taking after him as I soon began to visit orphanages to put smiles on the faces of the children. I started going for outreaches organized by my Church, and by the time I eventually got married, I realized that my husband shared my passion for impacting people’s lives. At this time, he had gifted houses to people while touching their lives in more ways than you can imagine. To him, it felt like the natural thing to do. Some of our close friends who saw how we were touching people’s lives suggested that we make it formal by building a structure around it by registering a Non-Governmental Organisation where we can get more people involved. Two of my friends, Joy Onoh and Ashley Olachi, were helpful during this phase. Even though I initially objected to registering it as an NGO because of my kind of person, they insisted. So, I took my time and prayed about how to start.
One incident that convinced me of the need to start was that which took place on our way from Church sometime around 2017. My first son, Alex, is passionate about helping the needy. He always made it a point for us to stop on our way from Church every Sunday to support some beggars we find on the street with money. So, on this Sunday, we had barely driven 3 kilometres from the Church when we saw some people begging for alms. Alex insisted that we give them money, but on that day, I had nothing on me. I told him there was no way I would be able to assist or support them as I did not have money. Although he insisted, I drove off since I did not have anything to give to the beggars. By the time we got home, I realized Alex had become moody for the rest of that day. Upon inquiry, Alex told me that he was not happy because we did not give money to the beggars, and they would think we did not care. I explained to him that I drove off because there was no money on me. At some point, he insisted that we bring all the beggars to our house; I eventually had to let him know that we could not bring every homeless person home because it was not
At this point, I became convinced that it was time to register the NGO. Even though we may not be able to care for all the homeless people, feed every hungry person, or send every child back to school, I knew we could make a difference, one child at a time. I used KIEK because I needed to delve into children. KIEK came from the first letter of my children’s name. My husband supported me all through and gave me his blessing. He is still doing his humanitarian deeds and is a co-founder of the organization. My love for children and women played a significant role in why the mandate of the NGO revolves around children and women as secondary beneficiaries. All I have done in the past has something to do with children. Children are not only the most vulnerable in times of emergency but also the most vulnerable in times of famine and war. I made up my mind to protect them as best as I could. When people ask me why I am focusing on education, I tell them I love the freedom education affords. Though my parents never attended a formal school, they made it a point to start reading in their old age. My dad was passionate about education. Even up till his death, he insisted that I get a PhD. He even promised to sponsor me, not minding I was already in my husband’s house.
The magazine is available for free download at www.georgeokoro.com