Gwennaelle Madiba Moubouyi is a masters student in sociology at the University of Ottawa and a humanitarian activist. She has been nominated as one of the Women’s Executive Network’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100.

You started the Black History Month gala at U of O. How did that happen?
I was thinking of having a big gala for Black History Month and trying to make people realize that Black History Month is not just for black people. I talked about it to His Excellency Jean-Daniel Lafond, who is the husband of our Governor General, and I asked him if he would come and he told me for sure they will be there. They came and it was amazing!

Rideau Hall takes your calls?
Rideau Hall takes everybody’s calls, to be honest with you. Both Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond are humanitarians, and they want to meet people. Obviously, there is this protocol and stuff, but when you actually meet them they put aside the protocol. They’re really inspiring people and they’re really accessible, once you get a hold of them.

On top of your studies and humanitarian work, you’re a poet and a model. What would you do if you had free time?
Honestly, I believe you can make time for everything. It’s just a question of organization and everything is possible. I mean, you don’t want to burn yourself (out) either, because that did happen to me, and something that I realized is that in order to be able to take care of the world you have to be able to take care of yourself.

You’re from Gabon originally. What does it mean to you?

I lived in Gabon from age zero to seven and every two years afterward we would travel there. One thing that I keep from Gabon is this connection between people. When you come back, even if it’s been 10 years that you haven’t been there, people are there to welcome you and ask you about your great-grand­-father that you didn’t even know.

Do you know what’s going to happen in November with the Women’s Executive Network?
No, not yet, and as a matter of fact I can’t really talk about it now. One thing I can tell people is that, yes, I was nominated and I’ll know on Nov. 29 if my nomination was approved. So, I would say keep waiting until Nov. 29 and we’ll see.