Mercy Francis (pictured above) discovered her talent for connecting people while looking for a means to pay the bills at home. With five children and growing businesses and responsibilities everywhere, Mercy shows how she has not been held back by her circumstances. Rather she has used them to achieve her goals and come out on top. In this interview for International Women’s Day, Mercy connects the dots from motherhood to international recognition.
Congratulations on becoming the Ambassador for the Christcast.world streaming platform. On the launch of its new video box device, can you tell us about the website and how the new gadget will transform the way audiences receive the content?
ChristCast is the first OTT (over the top, streaming over internet and also video-on-demand) platform that stores, shares and distributes Christian content globally. Christian organisations, missions, churches and ministries can store unlimited content on Christcast and at the same time, share their content with the world.
The difference between Christcast and other sharing and streaming platforms, is that Christcast will never mix Christian content with secular content. Families are safe to use Christcast without fear of negative content. Christcast is dedicated wholeheartedly to unifying, storing and distributing Christian content to the world by using online and offline state of the art technologies, which are easily accessible and ubiquitous. Christcast is accessible on over 1000 devices including iOS devices, Android devices, MACs, PCs, streaming media boxes such as Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Nexus Player.
Who stands to benefit from the new technology? What makes Christcast unique from other streaming sites?
The way people watch TV is changing. Nowadays, viewers like to choose what they watch and at what time they watch it. Christian content is lagging behind other distribution methods because it relies too much on linear TV for broadcasting. This is geographically restricting.
Christcast distributes content using online and offline streaming. It has also introduced a device called Videobox. A mobile TV that does not require the internet to stream content. It has the capacity to store and stream up to 2TB videos, ebooks and music content. Christcast uses this wonderful device to take the gospel to areas of the world that have limited or no access to internet.
What is the estimated reach/viewership of Christcast?
Christcast’s reach is global. So estimated viewership is in billions.
You are yourself an entrepreneur, having started several businesses in your time? You run your own PR business. Can you tell us about your back story? How you came to be appointed Ambassador to one of the biggest international digital companies?
Mercy’s Media and PR Management is the name of my company. Our main aim is to help businesses grow. A lot of businesses lack the know how to promote their own businesses and branding. Amongst my clients are Fashion4Africa.
I started in business when my son was still a toddler. I was a stay at home Mum and I wasn’t one for sitting watching TV soaps. I had done that and got it out of my system. I am a very ambitious person. At first, I did voluntary work for friends and family but then something clicked. I was like a broker for people, connecting people and I could actually charge for the services I was rendering. I wanted the best for my kids and knew I needed money to do this.
This is how I started importing sculptures with a company I called Art Connoisseur. Its main purpose was to support artists in the developing world by bringing various works and showcasing it to suppliers here in the UK. I mainly dealt with Zimbabwe but due to the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, the business dwindled.
I then started a cleaning company. This time it was a do a die situation. By this I mean we had just moved, bought a house and I needed to pay bills. Sometimes you do not know what you are capable of until your back is pushed against a wall.
As mothers, having children we end up discovering our inner strengths and talents. I wanted to be a stay at home mum. As did my own mother. I saw the benefits of how it created a happy and healthy environment for the children. I would not say it’s for everyone but for me, it was the right path.
However, I was not prepared for the phenomenal gap in the market for cleaners which pushed the business to grow very fast within a short space of time. Because of the success, people would come to me for help to market their businesses.
The success spilled over into my family life with my kids obtaining full scholarships at some of UK top independent schools. The reason why I was asked to become an Ambassador for one of the biggest digital companies is because firstly, the founder was my former boss. He had discussed something similar, tried and tested me and saw I was hardworking and able to get the job done fast.
Secondly, my background is in Media. Last year I graduated in Media Culture and Communication. A lot of people fail to understand how the power of media, especially today’s digital media can help grow or destroy their business. It’s about building a brand! If you have a business and only your close circle of friends and family know about it, it will drain your resources. We want our clients to grow and be known as international leading brands.
How would you define success?
Success is setting a goal and achieving it. For some people it’s crossing a bridge for others, it’s climbing Mount Everest. The goals I set for myself were to obtain a master’s degree, to enter politics, to have a media company and for my kids to do well in whatever field they chose.
I can say so far so good. Last year, I completed my Master’s degree and also a one year MP shadowing Scheme. I am now the political Chairman of my local area and executive committee member of the finance and general purpose committee. As mentioned earlier, my kids are musicians and thriving in whatever they do including playing at Buckingham and Kensington Palace and singing for the Royal Family. My eldest just produced his first album last month.
I am in the process of becoming an MP and part of the Women’s Forum. I am also the Chairman of a local Charity.
With so much going on, how do you achieve balance?
Having a big family means everyone chips in. The older ones help with the younger ones and chores are allocated down to the youngest. I feel it’s important to have discipline from an early age. This actually helps in preparing the kids for the future. Giving children responsibility from the onset helps to develop character and prepare them for the big world outside.
I try to respond to emails and texts on the go so as not have a backlog. Most of my work is done during school hours after the kids have gone to bed.
On International Women’s Day, what is your message of encouragement to women around the world?
My advice to women everywhere is never allow your gender to define your destiny! Women everywhere need to know that, in this current time and season, we make the world go round! With role models like Michelle Obama who comes from humble beginnings; to Oprah, an abuse victim; to Maya Angelou, who tells it perfectly in her poem “Still I Rise”. These are the many role models of womanhood. We pass through so much but we still come up on top winning!
For more info contact:Mercy415@icloud.com