“Entrepreneurship and community building have always been a part of my upbringing” – Kemo Camara, Founder of Omek.
In a bid to promote diaspora engagement and expertise for positive impact, we are happy to have Kemo Camara; Founder of Omek share his story. His platform is dedicated to the social and professional advancement of the African diaspora community and beyond.
Please tell us what the Omek platform is
“Omek is a community-centric platform dedicated to the social and professional advancement of the African diaspora professionals. Our mission is to unlock and share the talent, voice, and energy of the African diaspora.”
What does Omek do and how do you do it?
“We create programs and events that connect brands, businesses, and organizations with diverse views, trends, and communities. Through our networking events and peer groups, we are connecting talented, like-minded professionals of African descent with each other, with opportunities, and making collaboration as simple as possible for them.
For the past 18 months, we have been engaging with young talented bicultural of African descent. We have seen how much they crave a safe space to share their experiences and stories. How they want to connect and work with others with similar interests and experience but didn’t know how to find them.
Last year Omek hosted four in-person events in Amsterdam that brought together over 300 African diaspora professionals and allies. These events created job opportunities, creative collaborations, business partnerships, and facilitated many new connections.”
Omek’s focus in 2020
“Through our programming, we have continued to create a safe and trusted space for professionals in the African diaspora during these difficult periods of COVID, and the Black lives matters movement. With the shift to digital during the pandemic we quickly expanded our audience to the global African diaspora (including Europe, North, and South America) with these activities:
- Weekly check-ins with the community.
- Collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to organize the first global diaspora dialog to understand how different diaspora organizations are dealing with the Covid19.
- With our “Under The Baobab” signature event, we are bringing the community together with allies to share, listen, and learn from each other on how to cope and move forward together. Our last session brought together community leaders to discuss the next steps for the community post BLM protests.
- Our peer group initiative aims to bring people from similar industries or sectors and enable them to support and inspire accomplishment in each other. We are matching new generation of practitioners with their peers and those who are already established and experienced in the field. Through collaboration, networking, mentorship, lectures, and field trips, we believe that these peer groups can truly empower themselves to thrive and grow together.
- Omek has been working behind-the-scenes to develop blueprints and prototypes for events, tools, and resources which use an entrepreneurial approach to make this possible. We will be launching our digital platform soon.”
Please tell us more about Kemo Camara
“Entrepreneurship and community building have always been a part of my upbringing.
I was raised alongside eight other siblings, countless cousins, friends, and neighborhood kids. My parents not only raised us with respect and compassion but introduced us to the magic of community building. They held leadership roles in their community, organized meetings and social events, mediated conflicts, provided financial and material support, and led initiatives such as building schools, hospitals, and recreational centers. Although a stay-at-home mom, my mother was an entrepreneur by nature. She was the first and only woman in our city to own a modern bakery. Later on, she would teach herself to make the traditional tie-dye clothes and sold them to business people and family friends.
These experiences instilled in me a strong work ethic, an entrepreneurial spirit, as well as a belief in the power of the community. I grew, since, more curious about understanding the power of good leadership. This curiosity set me off on a journey around the world. Moving to the United States gave me the opportunity to study and work for two amazing Fortune 500 Companies. These experiences taught me how to look at big ideas and then develop actionable steps and processes.
While I was working and advancing in my professional career, I continued to stay more active in community initiatives and bridge the knowledge gap by bringing my technical expertise to support community aspirations. I founded the Minnesota African Cup, a football tournament connecting 12 diverse African communities. I played leadership roles in the Guinea associations in Minneapolis and in Nuremberg, volunteered for the local Islam organization, and helped coach youth soccer teams. I found that bringing new and innovative approaches to community engagement can lead to a society where people are more empowered to live up to their aspirations and contribute to the value creation of their society.”
Now and beyond…
“For me, Omek is the perfect representation of what the professional world (talent, technical expertise, and innovation) combined with the noble aspirations of the community can offer. Omek goes beyond connecting African diaspora professionals with each other and with opportunities and resources. It is about creating a sense of belonging, dignity, and prosperity.”
For more information, please visit: https://www.myomek.com/
Story Source: Kemo Camara / Omek
Image Credit: Kemo Camara