L ori Spivey is the founder of the Florida Africa Foundation. I had the opportunity to chat with her about her work with entrepreneurs, sustainable businesses, and healthcare initiatives in Africa.
A world traveler, Spivey spent time in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “But the place that really caught my heart was when I spent some time working in Zambia with the UN.”
There, she promoted sustainable businesses and provided resources for entrepreneurs to overcome obstacles. Fast forward ten years and Spivey found herself working for the Boston Consulting Group where she focused on global issues relating to health.
Throughout our interview, Spivey emphasized that she wasn’t a nurse but a collaborator with private sector health businesses. She was in charge of everything from policies, distribution, finances, access, awareness, and demand.
In short, Spivey said she’s concerned with the following questions:“Are patients aware they have a disease? Are they aware they can get treatment or are they getting the right treatment? Do they get treatment in time?”
After leaving BCG, Spivey founded the Florida Africa Foundation to support health businesses full time. “It’s amazing what you’re able to do with technology these days. Although I live in Florida, we’re able to do a lot with several entities in Africa.”“Advocate for yourself and seek others who will advocate for you.” ~ Lori Spivey . Click To Tweet
When I asked Spivey about how she creates partnerships, she explained that it all starts with connections. She first discovered need with an organization in Zambia. From there, another link popped up in West Africa.
Spivey heard about another contact while attending a conference. Unexpectedly she met a clothing company CEO there who had ties to a health organization fighting AIDS in Malawi. “It comes down to word and mouth and need,” she stated.
Spivey talked about her work with the Young African Leaders Initiative. She’s connected with a lot of entrepreneurs through that organization who need financial assistance and business support.
She segued into another result of networking: “I had a fascinating conversation with an eye doctor from Nigeria yesterday who runs three brick and mortar clinics and one mobile clinic in rural Nigeria, and we talked about how we could partner with him and some of the things he’s doing. It’s just incredible how networks can help identify those opportunities for us.”
When asked about how Spivey encourages women entrepreneurs, she responded,
“I met so many amazing [women] entrepreneurs that have amazing ideas, and everything is there,” she continues, “They just need some help executing it.” She told me a story about meeting one entrepreneur: “All she really needed from me is to tell her is that she could do it. She had never been in an environment where someone told her that before.” Spivey acknowledged that, unfortunately, this scenario remains a common occurrence.
Spivey also spoke about coaching spectacular women who are confident and skilled one on one, but their demeanor might change when an elder or male enters the room.
She then offered some profound actionable advice: “Be respectful of cultural norms but still be yourself. Show that person your spark and brilliance and how amazing you are.”
We’re so glad Spivey heeded her own words because The Florida Africa Foundation continues to positively influence our world.