Creating a Legacy Outside of Her Brothers' Shadows
“I Am African & I Can” is a women’s empowerment blog that highlights stories of black women’s struggles and success.
Hadiatou Wann is the creator of "I Am African & I Can" as well as the writer and editor for the blog. She is the author of "Magnetic Bond: The Love Every Woman Deserves," a nonfiction narrative that empowers women to take charge of their love lives.
By Hadiatou Wann | 02/15/2019
To the world, Khady Thiam Gueye is known as Akon and Bu’s younger sister. But this Senegalese entrepreneur is more than that. She is a savvy and confident businesswoman on a mission to create a legacy outside of her brothers’ shadows.
“Growing up, I’ve always had my own way of making money,” Gueye recalled.
From working at a hair braiding salon to Taco Bell, even at 16 years old, this go-getter always made sure that her pockets were not empty. At that age, the average girl (who has brothers as popular and financially stable as Akon and Bu) would much rather sit back and nibble on their brothers’ wealth. On the contrary, Gueye wanted her own.
Gueye has a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Akon hired her as his assistant as soon as she completed her undergrad studies. Following that, she became the project manager for Akon’s “Lighting Africa” initiative. Being a part of the “Lighting Africa” initiative was an eye-opener for Gueye. She was humbled as she traveled to different countries in Africa because for the first time, it was “not for money, just sharing.” It put her in a place of selflessness and “not being able to complain.”
The moment Akon brought Gueye in to speak on his behalf and close big deals like Samsung, was when Gueye knew that she couldn’t pretend to know what she was doing. She had to expand her knowledge in order to be confident and adept in her field. She understood that when big business opportunities emerge, being Akon/Bu’s sister and having a pretty face alone wouldn’t earn her the respect she wanted. She enrolled in an online program and in 2017 earned her MBA in entrepreneurship from Brenau University.
When most people laminate their goals on a vision board, it is mostly centered around them. Gueye’s vision board does not only revolve around her. Her vision is to “awaken a giant” in entrepreneurs and women, and empower them to build something for themselves and their family.
Tomeka Robinson Thiam—Akon’s wife since 1996— says that Gueye “is everything anyone has talked, heard and read about. She is beyond amazing. She is empowering. Khady always had a firm foundation in God first and it lead every aspect of her life. She have always been honest, sweet, loyal, respectful, obedient and committed to always doing the right thing.“
Gueye is the founder and CEO of consulting agency TMI Worldwide, as well as the chief operating officer for KonLive, and chief brand officer for Bu Vision Entertainment. In the near future, she plans on launching a makeup line that will help people of color embrace their melanin, as well as improve their skin conditions.
When Gueye walks in a room, she means business! One cannot ignore her polished image. She is well-spoken and comes off as overly confident. But Gueye says that hasn’t always been the case. She had to train herself to be that way.
“You have to put your foot down and show you know what you’re doing,” the entrepreneur said.
In addition, Gueye’s sister-in-law, said: “Statistically, [Khady] never got lost or pressured to follow the wrong crowd. That was something to appreciate. You could trust her—as a young teen—to do good for others and make good decisions. That ultimately guided her on a path from a teen to adulthood to becoming well respected and loved by anyone that’s ever crossed her path.”
Gueye admits that it wasn’t until she gave birth to her son that she realized she needed to pave a way for her children. Her son also taught her “how to be more independent and self-reliant.”
Although she may never escape from being referred to as Akon and Bu’s sister, Gueye has shown that she is competent and can kick-start her own ventures. She has the heart and drive to uplift others as she sprints towards her own dreams.
Welcome to Gueye’s World
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