In conversation with health entrepreneur Chi Igboanusi

Chi Igboanusi

17 June 2022

Could you tell us about your childhood? Where were you born? Is there anything about your childhood that stands out for you? Helped form who you are today?

I have always been an independent and self-sufficient individual for as long as I can remember, even as a young child.  I was born in Lagos, Nigeria where I grow up in a single parent household and watched my mother work very hard to keep my older brother and I comfortable. My mother was a local entrepreneur in her time, from working as an independent community nurse, and midwife, and owning a small bakery where she fed many. I watched my mother use her modest income to provide and shelter those in need. This influence allowed me to have a mature mindset at a young age and created a sense of service to others.

When did you come to Canada, what made you decide on Canada, Ottawa?

My father moved our family to Canada in 2004 at the age on 10 for better education and life opportunities.  I am eternally grateful to my father  for the opportunity he was able to provide and  for his hard work and sacrifice in singlehandedly moving us to Canada for a better life and future.

What is your educational background?

I completed my degree in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing with honours at the University of Ottawa. I am also a certified Nurse injector for Botulinum Toxin and Dermal Fillers through the Canadian Association of Medical Aesthetics ( CAMA). In August I plan to write my board exam for my certificate in Holistic Nutrition with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.

Can you describe your previous and current full-time jobs as a registered nurse?

I am a Registered Nurse with over 6 years of clinical experience. I worked diligently on the Trauma and Neurological Acute Care Unit at the Ottawa Hospital Civic campus for 5 years before deciding to pursue her passion for Business, Nutrition and Aesthetic medicine. Now, I work casually as a Registered Nurse Contractor in the Medical-Surgical unit at the Kemptville Hospital while simultaneously growing my new business “Chiorganics Aesthetics”

You have recently established a new business initiative named “ ChiOrganics Aesthetics ”. Can you tell us about it?

Chiorganics is an all-new, concierge-style service that delivers a variety of aesthetic treatments, such as neuromodulators, dermal fillers, micro-needling, premium facials as well as holistic nutrition and wellness counselling in the clinic and in the comfort of your own home. Our mission is to unveil the best version of yourself through Health, Beauty, and Wellness. With our passion for holistic health, medical aesthetics, and wellness as well as the wealth of nursing knowledge brought into the business, you can always rest assured that you’re in safe hands at Chi Organics Aesthetics.

What motivated you to set this up? Do you see a gap in similar health and nutrition services currently offered by hospitals, schools, and community health centres?

My motivation to start a nurse-led aesthetic and natural nutrition practice was birthed during the COVID -19 pandemic. The world as we knew it changed during the pandemic and being a nurse at one of Ottawa’s busiest hospitals at that time, I was at the forefront of it all.  The pandemic showed how ill-equipped Ontario’s healthcare system was to address many health-related challenges brought about by COVID -19, not to mention the lack of support, under funding, and poor patient health care provider ratios experienced by many frontline workers.

Like many others, my health was also impacted by COVID-19 directly and indirectly.  I soon discovered an interest in alternative medicine through natural nutrition to support my holistic health. Holistic nutrition is a complete, natural approach to health from eating the right foods to healthy lifestyle practices to achieve optimal health. The knowledge I acquired through my studies in natural nutrition in the prevention of many chronic health diseases, is one I know will be of benefit to everyone especially in our black community. 

The aesthetic portion of Chiorganics primarily focuses on slowing down the physical signs of aging such as fine to deep wrinkles, fine lines, and facial volume loss through holistic nutrition, medical aesthetics via botulinum toxin, dermal fillers,  micro-needling  medical skin grade products and other wellness practices. Holistic nutrition and medical aesthetics work in synergy in meeting all holistic health and beauty goals. Chiorganics uses an inclusive partnership model to formulate a treatment plan that meets your needs without compromising on the luxury experience.  

What type of individuals would benefit from this innovative service?

Our holistic nutritional counselling and medical aesthetics services are available to any one 18 and older.  Our free complimentary consultation will enable us to pinpoint your health and aesthetic goals and together we can develop a plan that works best for you.

How does one contact you to enroll for this service?

You are welcome to visit our Website – www.chiorganics.ca to find more about our products and services. We are also on Instagram: @chiorgancis.aesthetics, so feel free to follow and stay updated on our educational content and monthly promotions.

There is a belief in some quarters that women experience significant barriers in breaking into the private business sector, and that Black women in particular face an uphill task in getting into what is predominantly a white male-dominated landscape. Do you subscribe to this belief?

Absolutely!  I believe that women especially black women are trying and are successfully creating a space for themselves in the private business sector. However, this isn’t without very much difficulty. I came to learn this firsthand in my journey as an entrepreneur, that certain factors such as limited funding from investors and financiers, gender /race inequality, and limited knowledge for entering the business sphere, impact our ability to enter the world of entrepreneurship and thrive, when compared to our white male counterparts.  It is evident that as much as the world is trying to be more gender-inclusive to diverse cultural groups, many institutions tend to favor and fund more male-owned businesses.  Though this setback is prevalent in our society, it has not stopped women from entering this space successfully and laying the foundation for future generations.

Looking at Ottawa’s black community, what do you see as our biggest challenges? How do we overcome them?

I believe that when it comes to preventative health care or other elective medical aesthetic services, we are severally under-serviced by means of lack of education. I feel as though a lot of us are in survival mode, trying to build and establish certain aspects of our lives that we start to lose our sense of well-being. Most times, we don’t really focus on our holistic health, until there is cause for concern. At Chiorganics our goal to provide you with education that empowers you to make informed decisions on your health, wellness, and beauty goals that unveils the best you.

What do you consider your biggest personal achievement?

My biggest personal achievement would be launching Chiorganics. It has been over 2 years in the making, and it is finally out here in the world. My hope is that my business can make a solid difference in the lives of others.

In the years since you have been in Canada, have you seen the situation of Blacks change for the better: more access to jobs, social inclusion etc.

I believe as more and more people of color pursue a higher level of education to enter the workforce, or as we continue to pursue entrepreneurship in various sectors of the market, we are making our mark in getting better access to jobs, business development, and social inclusion. I believe our generation has this drive, ambition and being unapologetically bold in venturing into new untapped spaces and finding innovative ways to make it work themselves. With this in mind, I have no doubt that we would be able to break down racial barriers and achieve a new level of success as we keep growing.

Finally, do you have a message for readers of Black Ottawa Scene?

I have a quote by Les Brown that embodies everything I am trying to communicate and capture in this interview. Although lengthy, worth the read and it goes as follows: “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” We all have it within ourselves to attend heights unimaginable, so don’t give up. Share with the world what you have to offer.

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