STORY

Giving Back to Her Community: Fostering Financial Freedom for Women in Guyana

January 31, 2024

Shamela John is the founder of RESYSCO, a financial management firm based in Guyana. An accountant by trade, she faced many obstacles on the way to creating her own business. From a young age, Shamela struggled in Guyana’s male dominated society. Although she had a strong interest in working in finance, others told her repeatedly that she was not capable of doing anything in the finance sector simply because she was a woman. After working for a male-owned startup firm without pay for almost five years to gain experience, the firm told her they would not pay her or even acknowledge her experience. She was told to stay home and bear children instead. More determined than ever to pursue her dreams, Shamela left the firm, went back to school, and built valuable connections that eventually led her to meeting a woman who had participated in Counterpart’s Global Women In Management program—and who encouraged Shamela to do the same.

ExxonMobil Foundation funds the Global Women In Management program, which has provided tailored instruction and support for over 70 groups worldwide. Shamela had dreams of building her own business, and this program gave her the tools to actually do it. With training and guidance, Shamela narrowed her focus and identified a unique niche in the market. She completed the program in 2022 and by June of 2023, had incorporated RESYSCO. Her company provides organizational financial services for women who are starting their own business. By easing the administrative burden that comes with starting a business, Shamela hopes to increase the number of women entrepreneurs in Guyana and other traditionally male-dominated communities.

Shamela John handing out papers at a conference in a room full of women.

Shamela John at a recent conference in Guyana, working with members of her local community.

 

Beyond skill building, Shamela benefited from the invaluable support of the the Global Women In Management program community. The program introduced her to a network of like-minded women both in Guyana and around the world. The women share ideas and feedback. One of them, her accountability partner, has become a close friend. Program facilitators continue to give Shamela feedback on how to grow her business, including how to solicit additional donor support and use her network.. One of these connections, led to the expansion of her services into a new region in Guyana, and she now aims to grow her company internationally.

In an effort to give back and benefit other women the way that GWIM improved her life, Shamela recently reached out to the organizers to ask how she could share their “life changing” programming with other women. In October 2023, Shamela partnered with Counterpart to put on a hybrid event specifically for women-owned growing businesses. She shared her own knowledge gained from the program to help participating entrepreneurs navigate the financial needs of organizations to achieve better growth and improve conditions for women in their own communities.