Tech & Innovation June 15, 2022 at 12:00 pm

After beating the odds, this Nigerian immigrant helps other women break the glass ceiling through dance

Abu Mubarik June 15, 2022 at 12:00 pm

June 15, 2022 at 12:00 pm | Tech & Innovation

NetWerk founder Jen Ngozi. Photograph courtesy of Jen Ngozi

Jen Ngozi is the founder of NetWerk, a group that hosts dance fitness classes for women that also double as networking events. Becoming an entrepreneur stems from her childhood conviction that she could be whoever she wanted to be in the future as a child of an immigrant family.

Her family migrated to the United States with just $10 in their pockets. Ngozi grew up in a minority community and didn’t have business role models to emulate. Nonetheless, she was determined to work hard to make it in life and also give back to society, which led her to start NetWerk.

“As a child, I was taught the importance of hard work, education and giving back,” she told Penny Bauder via Medium. “From an early age, my parents instilled the hunger for excellence within me. When you come from a developing country, you never forget your roots. And that creates a lifelong burning desire to give back. And that’s exactly what planted the seed for NetWerk,” she said.

She uses dance to bring women from all walks of life together and to inspire them to dream big as she did as a kid.

“This means, women gaining more confidence to ask for promotions, start businesses, and say no to toxic relationships. We believe the world becomes more powerful when women are self-confident and connected to a supportive community,” she said.

Besides holding events, her networking and dance fitness movement, which she started from her basement in Washington DC, also certifies women to become instructors so they can run their own workouts.

Ngozi has been a lifelong dancer. According to her, dancing gave her so much confidence at a very young age and she wants to use dancing to boost the confidence of other women and also create a networking space. She worked for many companies that did not have women in leadership roles so she knew something had to change.

“My quest to climb the corporate ladder led me to attend more networking events. And that’s where I discovered a problem. Quite frankly, they weren’t fun. Networking events were sometimes overly formal and intimidating even for an extrovert like myself. I saw a need for a networking experience that was playful, boosted confidence and designed for the everyday woman,” she noted.

Since starting NetWerk, Ngozi said several subscribers have been inspired to start dance businesses, interior design, and photography. “Dreaming big is contagious! And I’d like to think I infected those around me with the desire to follow their dreams,” she said.

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