There is a popular maxim that says there is hardly any successful individual, venture or organisation without a story to tell. That perhaps explains why Betty Irabor, award-winning CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Genevieve Magazine, turns emotional anyvtime she is discussing the success story behind the glossy lifestyle publication.
In her view, “There were times when I was so discouraged as an entrepreneur that I wanted to quit but I thought of all those people I had promised that quitting was not an option, those who believed in me and started their various enterprises because I said it was possible.
“I have since learnt that there is a process to success and that process can break or build us depending on our beliefs and inner strength. Our thoughts can make or mar us so be careful what you’re thinking about.”
In truth, those who know Betty’s story and how she forayed into the world of entrepreneurship would readily affirm that she has indeed weathered the storm and teething problems associated with the first-five years of every new publication.
Was there never a time that the publisher feared Genevieve Magazine would die off due to paucity of fund and lack of patronage?
A staunch believer in miracles, hear her story...
“For those who feel God has abandoned them, let me share this story with you! I hope it rekindles your faith in Him!
One day in the early years of Genevieve magazine (11 years ago), we had no funds to publish our next edition. I sat in my office bemoaning my fate and feeling like a downright failure when I got a call from the front desk that I had some visitors.
"Did I not say No Visitors? Send them to the editor!" I yelled.
A few minutes later, my phone rang again. This time, it was from the advert guy! MD, I think you should meet with these visitors" it was a plea. "Ok, let them come up" I said truly exasperated.
Minutes later I sat face-to-face with this genial woman and her West Indian partner. "You may not remember me, but I am a great admirer of you and Soni (hubby). I see you together all the time at parties and you are always so friendly. I also love your magazine. I am a distributor for Revlon and here is my UK partner. We have adverts for you and want to sign a 2-year contract" she said.
To cut a long story short, by the time they left, we had a cheque of about three million Naira (N3 million) in our hands... and hope rekindled.
Do you see why I said that miracles still happen?” she quipped.
Interesting testimony, isn’t it?
Today, Genevieve Magazine has since risen from the shell of that near-fatal trial to become Nigeria's leading lifestyle magazine circulating across Africa, America and Europe, inspiring wholesomeness in all women globally.
Just in case you are wondering how somebody like her suddenly dabbled into the world of journalism, let us take cursory look at the background of the ace publisher.
Born 59 years ago, the mother of two is married to ace broadcaster, Sonny Irabor. She had worked as a journalist at Concord Newspapers and held freelancing jobs at the Vanguard, The Guardian, Thisday and some lifestyle magazines abroad before venturing out with her own publication idea for a glossy lifestyle magazine for women home and abroad.
As planned, Betty entered into the world of publishing 13 years ago with a simple vision that has since grown.
Over the years, the magazine’s cover has been graced by leading women of style and inspiration; high achievers like Tara Fela-Durotoye, Tiwa Savage, Edewor twins, Agbani Darego, Abike Dabiri, Onyeka Onwenu and Genevieve Nnaji.
Starting her magazine at the age of 45, Betty braved all odds to transform her dream into the success story that we know today. However she has since attributed her success in entrepreneurship to an inner strength, strong will, and divine sense of purpose, maintaining that entrepreneurs must possess the quality of stubbornness in order to keep going WHEN the storms arrive
When interviewed in a recent publication, Betty confessed that the secret of Genevieve’s success bothers more on passion.
“Passion is top on my list, followed closely by tenacity of purpose. I love what I am doing especially as it is impacting people. Genevieve changed my way of thinking from “What if I fail?” to “What if I succeed?”
“I grew on the job both emotionally and mentally and I am still learning and growing because in the words of author, Anthony Robbins “The road to success is always under construction. It is a progressive course, not an end to be reached,” she said.
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