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Blessing Okebe is a Facebook and Google certified Digital Marketer, a project manager and a corporate event host.

She is the founder of ‘Building Influential Brands’. A Facebook community focused on helping individuals discover what they want to be known for, build influence and visibility around it and make money out of it.

She is also the Lead Trainer at ‘The Brand Mastery Academy’ where she trains industry experts, career professionals, impact drivers and business owners to build and grow a profitable Brand and position it for Influence.

She is an OAP, Writer, speaker and teacher and has spoken on a number of media platforms across Nigeria.

She has also been nominated for several awards to which she was awarded some.

She believes in every man’s capability to live a life they truly desire and deserve.

She shares her “RUBY GIRL” story in this interview.

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Blessing Okebe?

Blessing Okebe is a Facebook and Google certified Digital Marketer, a project manager and a corporate event host.

She is the founder of ‘Building Influential Brands’. A Facebook community focused on helping individuals discover what they want to be known for, build influence and visibility around it and make money out of it.

She is also the Lead Trainer at ‘The Brand Mastery Academy’ where she trains industry experts, career professionals, impact drivers and business owners to build and grow a profitable Brand and position it for Influence.

She is an OAP, Writer, speaker and teacher and has spoken on a number of media platforms across Nigeria.

She has also been nominated for several awards to which she was awarded some.

She believes in every man’s capability to live a life they truly desire and deserve

2. What inspired you to choose a career in Mass Communication?

I have always loved to talk. Been in front of the Camera or a large number of people puts me in my element and this is something I can do even without getting paid.

3. What does being a brandpreneur entail? And what made you choose to become one?

BrandPreneur is a combination of Branding + Entrepreneur. Just like a modern day entrepreneur, I provide solutions to problems surrounding Branding. I help people go from obscurity to visibility and influence. I choose to become one because I am committed to helping people become the best version of themselves and being a BrandPreneur helps me achieve that.

 

4. As a digital marketing strategist, what do you feel is the greatest challenge of Nigerian businesses and brands in relation to digital marketing?

How to Sell without Selling. Most businesses migrate online with the same mindset they had offline, the mindset of making sales. While this is good, businesses must understand that promoting a business online comes with a different strategy. Relationship building is key. People come to interact and build relationships online and not to buy, that is why it is called SOCIAL media. Every business owner must therefore key into this to make money online.
They should focus on interactions and building relationships through creating valuable, relatable and consistent content around their business and around themselves. These content should focus around solving the problem of their target audience as regards to their brand/business. When this is done, it makes the target audience trust the business owner enough to do business with him/her and this is where they make the most sales

5. Your most memorable moment as a corporate event host?

Seeing the smiles on people’s faces, especially my hosts as they watch me do what I am definitely good at. Oh and the picture moments too.

6. One accessory you can’t leave home without?

My earpiece/headset. Helps me listen to podcasts on the go or while waiting. Enjoying good music is an added benefit too.

7. What are some challenges young people in Nigeria face in the process of carving out a name and brand for themselves?

Primarily confusion especially if they find what they can offer as value or if they are into several things and can’t find which to choose. I help them out by asking certain questions. Some of which are
Which are you most passionate about?
Which can you make money from?
Which have you built expertise or gotten results in?
Is there a ready market for it in your current environment?
Which do you see yourself doing in the next 3 to 5 years.
They also have issue on the kind of content to create and how to position themselves online for opportunities and influence. I solve this through my trainings and coaching sessions.

8. Mention five tips for young people trying to build their brand or venture into the digital marketing space.

– Define your WHY. Don’t start out on something because of pressure or because everyone is doing it.

– Understand that clarity is a journey. You will never have it all figured at once. The further you go, the clearer it becomes.

– Have the mind to SERVE and not to make money. Doing the first guarantees the second.

– Never take relationships for granted. Build profitable relationships with people below you, within you and above you.

– Never stop investing in yourself. The market out there is a very dynamic one. If you stop growing, you get left behind

9. If you were to be the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

The educational curriculum. Infuse more practicals than theories and equip students with the right knowledge and tools they need to succeed in Nigeria. Knowledge surrounding money, entrepreneurship and business.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Adebola Deji-Kurunmi.
She is a pure definition of FireBrand and Slaying it.

Joyce Daniels.
She does exactly what I will achieve in my ‘Event Hosting’ career and she does it so well.

Adaora Lumina
Her creativity, thoughts and processes are not the usual, they are different.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Travelling round the world, hosting corporate events, speaking to people and helping them go from obscurity to visibility and influence

12. How do you juggle academics and all other ventures?

Definitely not easy but I have learnt to prioritize which comes first in a particular season and for now it is my academics.

I manage my time productively for my business, work and trainings. Though this makes me miss out on some of the activities my mates are fortunate to engage in, I know my future self will thank me for it.

13. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of young females five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

JUST START. Start anything, it doesn’t mean you always have to continue with it. Stop over thinking, most of these thoughts are just in your head and may not happen.

Expose yourself to new ideas, relationships and places.

Be selfless when building relationships especially with people you admire. Serve them with your skills and knowledge and don’t always think of what they can give you.

Whatever journey you embark on won’t be easy so prepare to be disappointed, confused, discouraged etc. But not matter what happens, keep pushing. Keep tweaking until you see what works, take a break if you must but make sure you come back stronger.

On November 9th, President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris announced their advisory council to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic with some of the nation’s leading doctors and scientists. At the helm is Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith with her co-chairs Dr. David Kessler and Dr. Vivek Murthy.

“Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most important battles our administration will face, and I will be informed by science and by experts,” President-elect Biden said in a press release. “The advisory board will help shape my approach to managing the surge in reported infections; ensuring vaccines are safe, effective, and distributed efficiently, equitably, and free; and protecting at-risk populations.”

Dr. Nunez-Smith comes from Yale University, an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, Public Health, and Management at the Yale School of Medicine. Her research focuses on marginalized communities’ health and creating an equitable and accessible healthcare system for all.

“Everyone is affected by this pandemic, yet the burden is disproportionate,” Nunez-Smith said in a statement. “We know communities of color are grieving at high rates and are facing substantial economic impact. The transition advisory board is setting a course for everyone in our country to experience recovery.”

According to the Yale press release announcing her appointment, “Munez-Smith is an internist and an expert in healthcare equity, is the founding director of Yale SOM’s Pozen-Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Health Equity Leadership, which trains healthcare practitioners to address disparities in healthcare access and outcomes that affect people of color and other vulnerable populations. She is also the founding director of the Equity Research and Innovation Center at the Yale School of Medicine.”

Her official Yale bio lists Dr. Nunez-Smith as the Deputy Director for Health Equity Research and Workforce Development for the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, Core Faculty in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, and Research Faculty at Yale’s Global Health Leadership Institute. She comes from the Virgin Islands, earned a BA from Swarthmore College, an MD from Jefferson Medical College, and an MHS from Yale University.

We’re glad to have you on our nation’s team on this road to recovery! Congratulations, Dr. Nunez-Smith

We’ve always heard that age-old adage that knowledge is power – these seven black female authors have the credentials to prove it! Check out these books written by successful Black women about entrepreneurship, securing the bag, and self-development.

Hustle Healthy

Hustling isn’t easy. Nurses can certainly attest to this, and Princess Lomax is no different. In her debut book, 6 Highly Effective Strategies of Making 6 Figures As A Nurse, the Family Nurse Practitioner and CEO of Diamonds CBD shares with readers her firsthand industry knowledge along with tidbits gained from her extensive experience and education. 6 Highly Effective Strategies of Making 6 Figures As A Nurse is a quick, inspiring and informative read that acts as a resource for those in the field of nursing who want to get ahead financially, from someone who’s done it (and done it well) themselves.

Success Story

Elaine Meryl Brown is a storyteller with a passion for writing that ranges from novels to screenwriting. The award winning writer (along with two colleagues) penned the Little Black Book of Success, and its accompanying workbook of the same name for “any woman who wants to build her career, or in transition, re-thinking, re-imagining, re-focusing and re-positioning herself for her next career move within a company or considering entrepreneurship. ”The Little Black Book of Success puts the focus on the foundations of being a successful entrepreneur – key elements like confidence and collaboration, and acts as a step by step pocket guide written by Black women for Black women.

Think Like A Winner

Mindset is everything. As the founder of the Coaching and Positive Psychology Institute and international speaker on resilience and happiness, Valorie Burton knows this to be true.

The power of the mind when it comes to one’s life path and career is what Burton’s book, Successful Women Think Differently: 9 Habits to Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Resilient centers around. The book takes a brain-centered approach, providing women with the tools to get to know themselves from the inside out and cultivate mindful, solution-based thinking.

Insta-Triumph

Those thinking of getting their bag online should look no farther than Ronne Brown’s From Mopping Floors to Making Millions on Instagram: 5 Steps to Building an Online Brand. There are many books that claim to help you make money online, but not many are authored by someone who has built their business from the ground up on Instagram. Brown’s book pulls out all the stops and reveals secrets behind becoming a success on Instagram using strategies that have worked for her brand and clients and even provides examples of what and how to post.

Picking Up the Pieces

There’s a reason why many of us refer to Iyanla Vanzant as “Auntie Iyanla.” With her numerous books and programs, the author and life coach are wise, relatable, and no stranger to adversity. Peace From Broken Pieces takes an honest look at Vanzant’s personal life and the experiences that helped shape her mindset and life. Hardship is a part of many of our lives that can oftentimes hold us back, but this inspiring work sheds light on how to put the pieces back together in our own lives as well so that we can shine professionally.

Model Marketing

While having each other’s backs is important, a good bit of competition in the business world can be healthy and is often necessary. Thankfully, Ming Lee does both with her book, Best Marketer Wins. Lee is a lifestyle and beauty expert who has seen how powerful marketing is and learned to make it work in her own career. No matter what your field is, Best Marketer Wins is a short and sweet business guide full of questions, goals, affirmations, and more to help you be your marketing best.

Work Vibing

Being a creative attempting to navigate the professional world can be confusing, to say the least. Alex Wolf, founder of BossBabe and author of Resonate: For Anyone Who Wants to Build An Audience realizes this, less of a traditional guide and more of a conversational look at the business world and the humans who inhabit it, Resonate provides insight from a more casual angle, but still manages to be informative, witty and inspiring.

Whether you’re looking to revamp an old venture or moving onto a new career path, advice from those who have been there is always invaluable. Here’s to the ladies who inspire us to keep climbing the ladder of success and guiding us as we do the same.

Source; Baucemag.com

Onyeka Onwenu is a singer/songwriter, actress, human rights activist, journalist, and politician. Popularly called the Elegant Stallion, she is a former chairperson of the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture, as well as former DG, National Centre For Women Development (NCWD). She has won many national and international awards in recognition of her inspirational work in many fields. At the recent launch of her autobiography, My Father’s Daughter, she describes the book as a deeply personal account of her life and everything she has ever done. She tells TOBI AWODIPE of her introduction to feminism with her mother being the first role model of a liberated woman, how Nigerian youths are giving the nation hope with the #End SARS campaign, why more women must participate in decision-making and execution to stir growth and development.

 

Could tell us about your childhood? How would you say it shaped you into the woman you are today?
My childhood was idyllic, filled with the extraordinary love of an indulgent father, but too short-lived. It was filled with memories of good times and strewn with life’s lessons.

You recently released your autobiography, why did you decide that the time was right?
I think that the book decided for itself when to come out. If I had my way, it would have come out two years earlier, but situations and circumstances kept delaying its completion. I stopped worrying when I realised that each break afforded me the opportunity to better the book. It ended up being a case of all things working together for good.

You’ve been involved in music, journalism, politics, and so on, did you ever feel you had to sacrifice a parts of your life to succeed at all these?
Thank you for this huge compliment. I may not have planned my life that way, except that I took on opportunities as they presented themselves and dared to believe that I could give them my best shot. There is a whole lot more to be done. I will not limit the God who works in me; I am not able, but He is. I have never sacrificed one thing for the other. Like every other woman, I am simply multitasking. I can do many things at the same time and bring them together in some sort of harmony; it comes naturally to us.

In your book, you spoke about your contact with feminism and how your father’s life influenced your decision to join politics, tell us a bit about this?
I spoke about how my mum, Hope Onwenu, a strong Igbo woman (she had to be as she was widowed twice by age 37 and raising a family on her own) was for my siblings, a veritable role model of a liberated woman. She carried herself with a sense of self-worth, determination and grace. I was taught to carry myself in a similar manner. If that is feminism, then that’s what it is.

As an activist yourself, you must have felt some stirring within you regarding the recent #EndSARS protests sweeping the nation. What would you say to the youths and government respectively?
As a mother of young men and being of an older generation, you have no idea how proud of the Nigerian youth I am. I am familiar with their angst, their frustrations, and at some point, their hopelessness. I live with them; they are my children and wards. I have gone through the pains with them, in discussions and debates, arguments, and agreements, these topics have always been part of our interactions.

Some of us of an older generation had wondered if the youths would one day shake off their apathy and take back their destiny. Then one day, seemingly out of nowhere, the youths of Nigeria woke up. In the process, they taught us some greatly needed lessons. I am writing this today, but I have spent the last two days weeping and depressed for the mowing down of our beautiful children, right in front of our eyes. I am shocked and grieved beyond measure.

I never thought that our government would, in front of the whole world, take such an unwise retroactive measure, to kill in cold blood our unarmed youths, who are legitimately demanding a better life for us all. But something has happened with the #EndSARS campaign that can never be erased. There is hope still; I feel personally vindicated. The agitation and activism one has been engaged in for so long has not been in vain. The youths will yet save Nigeria or versions of it.

Having experienced the Civil War, do you fear that we might ever go down that path again with present happenings all over the country?
I have my fears about my country and my war experience informs that fear. We would not survive another, no country ever has. The question is this: do we have enough Nigerians who care to give peace a chance by doing the right things and giving us all an equal stake in this entity we call our country? That is what we need to ask ourselves right now.

As an advocate for social change, what are some ways young women can drive this even more in Nigeria today?
Instead of devising more ways to extract more obligatory commitments from women who are overstretched and hardly supported, I would rather we enable and allow them to participate in decision-making and execution. Believe me, we would witness remarkable growth and development in Nigeria.

You mentioned in your book that you experienced workplace harassment, what would you advice women that find themselves in that position?
I cannot assume to have an answer for everything. I just stated what I did and how I coped with workplace sexual harassment then. Perhaps, they can learn something from my experience. I said a firm ‘no’ and left the environment.

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As a seasoned TV journalist, would you say the profession is friendly to women?
I never experienced any discrimination on account of my being a female journalist.

Tell us some of the challenges you faced when you ventured into politics, are women today still faced with these issues?
The challenges I face when I ventured into politics are well documented in my book, My Father’s Daughter. I recommend it highly to everyone.

As a Nigerian music icon and entertainer, are you satisfied with the state of the industry? What can we do to improve it?
The answer to this question should be a whole interview on its own and would require more than my contribution. Suffice to say that we have no functioning institutions and no government agencies with oversight functions really working. They have allowed the ones that exist, like COSON (a copyright collective society), to run amok. No one is in charge here and it shows.

Not many people know you married a Yoruba Muslim, is this something you generally don’t talk about?
I generally do not talk about my private life, but it was necessary for the authenticity of the book; it rests there. It was never hidden, but it was not for public consumption, only on demand.

Many women are going into activism today and are at the forefront of many protests, how does this make you feel?
It is lovely to see young women not allowing themselves to be kept down by the limited expectations of society and its rules. The women are awesome and it is a delight to watch them in their strength, boldness, and purposefulness. I am proud of every one of them.

What peculiar challenges would a woman that wants to venture into the entertainment industry today face?
The problems in the industry are not peculiar to women, except that would have to deal with the added pressure of sexual harassment and lack of respect from a society that does not appreciate the achievements of women. We only care they see them as sexual objects and not much else.

What is the importance of feminism to Nigerian women?
To me, feminism is the right to be myself, to believe in my self-worth, and to do my best work. These are the convictions that have allowed me to excel in anything I have the opportunity to do. Does it make me a productive member of society? Most definitely, yes!

What last words do you want to leave with people reading this?
Hopefully, these will not be my last words but my words for now. Keep striving; God’s got your back. Soar, no matter what. You are here for a purpose. Keep trying. I love you.

Source: Guardian

Do you sometimes feel you are not good enough, or think your best isn’t enough? This article is for you.

Confidence — it’s a powerful word and an even more powerful feeling. Can you remember a time in your life when you felt confident? A time when you felt unstoppable… on top of the world? Now imagine you could feel that way more often. What impact would that have on your health and well-being, your career, your relationships?

Not only does being confident feel good, it helps you seize potential opportunities, take more chances and make that big change or take the next step in your life and career. Life is crazy, busy and beautiful. Figuring out how to be more confident is just part of the journey.

So how to be more confident?

Lack of confidence can stem from many places.

Perhaps, growing up, your parents said a certain career was outside your reach and you could ‘never do that’. Or maybe you have a belief system that says ‘I could never start my own business, I’m not entrepreneurial’.

Perhaps you had a bad experience which opened the door for self-doubt to creep in. Or maybe your inner self-critic is telling you ‘you can’t’ or ‘you’re not good enough’. Maybe (ok, likely) you’re comparing yourself to someone else – a friend, colleague or spouse.

Or perhaps you feel there is something missing in your life – a relationship, the dream job, kids, a degree or title.

Here are 9 powerful ways to be more confident

1. Uncover What Gives You Confidence

This is personal, so it will vary from person to person. There’s no one size fits all approach to confidence and what works for one, won’t always work for another.

How can you figure out what gives you confidence? Think about a couple times in your life when you felt most confident. Now, think about what was it about those times that made you feel so empowered.

Was it the environment you were in? Something you were doing? A feeling you had? The more you get clear about this for yourself, the easier it will be to tap into when you need it.

2. Be True to You

One of the surest ways to lose confidence is try to be someone else. One of the best ways to build your confidence? Be true to yourself

When you’re trying to be someone you’re not, every part of you resists it. You are not everyone else. You are you. And the more you can understand who you are and what you value the stronger you will be.

When you stray away from who you are, you lose confidence because it’s ‘just not you’.

How?

Think about what makes you, uniquely you. Write it down. Think about what you value and what’s important to you. Write that down, too.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself

Nothing zaps your confidence more than comparing yourself to others. Especially now, with social media and the wonderful opportunity to judge yourself against so many others! Lack of confidence comes from a gap in where you see yourself and where you think you should be.

Imagine you are preparing to give a big presentation or speech. So you do your research, which includes watching some of the best speakers in the world doing their Ted Talks. Of course you are going to feel inferior.

How?

Stop comparing yourself to others. Just stop. If you still feel a compelling need to compare – compare yourself to yourself. Measure how far you’ve come. See how much improvement you’ve made. Acknowledge your wins and successes.

4. Realize You Are Enough

This may sound a little bit corny, but try it. This positive affirmation will resonate at a deep level and have a powerful effect on your subconscious.

How?

Every day for the next 21 days repeat this mantra “I am enough.” Don’t just say it, but feel it, deeply, at the core of who you are.

Want to get more specific? Replace ‘enough’ with whatever word you’d like to ‘be’. What would give you the most confidence?

I am brave. I am strong. I am smart. I am beautiful. I am confident. I got this.

5. Acquire New Skills

Since confidence is often directly linked to abilities, one of the best ways to build your confidence is to get new skills or experience and step out of your comfort zone.

Growing your skills will in turn grow your confidence. And please, as you work on building your skills and expertise, don’t mistake a lack of perfection for a lack of ability. No one is perfect. But if you’ve got a perfectionist bone in your body (like I do), it can make you think that just because you’re not the best, that you’re not good at all.

Make sure to check yourself – am I really not good at this, or am I not good as I want to be just yet?

How?

Ask yourself: Is there a specific area where you are lacking confidence? How can you expand your expertise in this area?

6. Change Your State

Changing your physical and mental ‘state’ is one of the quickest ways to access a feeling of confidence. To do this, you need to know what the state of ‘confidence’ looks, feels and sounds like for you.

How?

Here are a few strategies you can use to access that:

  • Remember – Think of a specific time, associated with feeling confident. Sink into that feeling deeply and moment by moment relive every detail.
  • Imagine – Imagine how you would feel if you were confident. How would you act? Feel? Be?
  • Modelling – Think about someone you know who exudes confidence. Imagine what that person would do.

7. Find Yourself a Cheerleader

Yes, while I understand confidence is a state from within, you can also boost your confidence by the people you choose to spend your time with.

How?

Make a concerted effort to surround yourself with others who provide encouragement, positivity, and inspiration.

Spend more time with people who ‘get you’ and see all of your greatness – and less time with those that zap your confidence or cause you to feel self-doubt.

8. Just Do It

When Nike came up with this slogan in the late 80’s, they knew just how to get the general population off their butts and moving. Turns out, this is a great strategy for being more confident too.

Action builds confidence and each step you take builds it further.

How?

Think of one step you could take right now that would get you moving in the right direction. Then Just Do It and see what happens. An incredible thing about human brain is that once it realizes something is working, it will keep that momentum going!

Final Thoughts

Being more confident starts with one thing — YOU.

YOU making the decision to take action. And when all else fails, YOU can make a choice.

YOU can choose to be confident. YOU can choose confidence over fear and self-doubt.

Your mind believes what you tell it. If you continue to tell yourself the story that you are not confident, you will believe it and your self-doubt will continue. But if you tell yourself you can do it, that you got this, your mind will believe that too.

Remember, fostering a strong sense of confidence is critical to experiencing overall levels of health, happiness and success.

And once you get started you’ll be unstoppable. Be brave. Be confident. You got this.

At 21-years-old, Kennedi Carter has made history as the youngest photographer to shoot a cover for British Vogue in its 104-year history. Carter had the privilege of photographing one of her musical idols, Beyoncé, for the December 2020 cover. The North Carolina native said she was shocked when she got the job.

“It feels like it dropped out of the sky,” Carter told British Vogue. “I’m 21… I haven’t really had many opportunities like this.”

Carter is a fine art photographer who describes her work as showcasing “overlooked beauties of the Black experience” and was handpicked by Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful and Beyoncé, who asked for a woman of color specifically for the shoot. This isn’t the first time Queen B has had a hand in a historic Vogue cover; in 2018, she tapped 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell as her photographer. He became the first-ever Black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover in the publication’s 126-year history.

Although Carter’s aesthetic falls in line with Beyonce’s, especially with her recent Black Is King visual album, which uplifted the Blackness across the diaspora, Carter still felt shocked due to her perceived inexperience. She is younger than Irving Penn and David Bailey who’s first Vogue covers were 26 and 23, respectively.

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to do something at this level unless I was older, with many years in the game,” she told Vogue UK. “This is for people at the pinnacle of their careers.”

The senior African American studies major at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro told British Vogue that she didn’t let nerves get to her during the two-day shoot. She said she was going with the flow, having researched how the star worked and was surprised at how much control over the shoot Beyoncé gave her.

“I had underestimated how much she’s willing to submit herself to a vision and truly become someone else’s muse,” Carter said. Adding that the star’s ability to “control her own narrative” was something that she admired and that she was “just so, so nice.”

She said she appreciates the opportunity Beyoncé has given her and other artists that may not have been recognized without her platform.

“It’s really amazing that she’s using her influence to be able to give young artists this experience, and allowing their voices to be heard,” Carter told British Vogue. “She’s opening the door for others.”

Growing up, Carter didn’t expect to be a photographer; she’d only taken a photography class in high school because she thought it was going to be easy — it wasn’t. However, she kept at it and found her passion. She credits Dana Scruggs with getting her work in front of editors. Now that she has Beyoncé on her resume being noticed shouldn’t be a problem. But even with her newfound acclaim, she said she isn’t looking to leave her family in Durham to find a big city anytime soon. But she does plan to celebrate with them.

“I think we’ll just sit outside and make a little bonfire, the four of us,” She told British. “And I’ll invite my man.”

We can’t wait to see where you go from here, Kennedi! Congratulations!

Photo Credit: British Vogue/@internetbby Instagram

Tayo is an accountant who manages the payable and receivable functions of her workplace. When she started her career, her main career goal was to become a renowned CFO and thought-leader in the financial sector. She’s been with the organization for over 7 years on the same role. She approached me and complained about how she hasn’t progressed toward her goal in 7 years. I probed some more, but didn’t find anything tangible.

Coincidentally, I happened to know her line manager, and decided to ask about his individual team members and opinions about them. One thing that stood out from what he said: “Tayo does her job well but sticks only to her job description. When you give her something else that may push her to higher task, she complains that it is not her job description and she would rather stick to only what she knows.”

He also went further to say, “How will I help her grow in the finance space if she’s so rigid? I’ll rather pack the challenging work to someone else and leave her in her comfort zone.” I thought about this deeply and realized I’ve actually met people like that in the past. Outwardly, they sound like people who want to grow, but when they’re at work, they’re the ones filled with unnecessary complaints. Line managers notice it and avoid getting into any trouble with these people. They’ll rather smile with them and leave them in their rigid place. People join, learn more than them and eventually move on.

There are a lot of Tayos in the workplace and they are wondering why their mates are soaring and earning way higher while they are on a poor salary scale despite going to the same school and even having a higher GPA. As a career professional willing to grow, don’t get stuck with the mentality that everyone just wants to ‘use’ you. Sometimes, the exposure you get from these experiences will catapult you towards something greater.

I once had a team lead who used to pass flimsy work to me. That was when I just started my career. Within me, I’d grumble about how unnecessary tasks were being added to mine. Yet, I would do them without complaining or giving attitude. One day, I jokingly asked him why he gives me such tasks. He told me he’s deliberately doing it so that I can learn the ‘basics’.

Always learn to ask for feedback from your supervisor, at least every quarter. This will help you know how you need to get better. Let your team members and team lead see the burning passion in you to learn.

Go the extra mile and even if you’re not sure you can do it, take it, use Google, and then ask for help during the process. You’re building yourself. Learning to go the extra mile will definitely pay off for you in the long run.

I hope you have learned from Tayo’s story. I wish you the best in your career.

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Photo Credit: Dreamstime 

You’re having one of those days or weeks. Nothing seems to be working, your motivation i gone  , and you’re daydreaming about quitting. Your confidence is running empty and you’re feeling worthless. Sounds like you? Then this article is just for you…Read On

First of all; Breathe, because we’ve all been there. Furthermore, I want to remind you that a high growth lifestyle comes with vulnerable emotions. You feeling this way does not say anything about your character or capability.

However, the longer you stay in a state of feeling worthless, the more clarity and momentum you start to lose. Because while feeling this way is normal, staying there becomes a choice.

In this article, you’re going to learn 7 things to remember and practical steps to help you come out the other side with more resolve and clarity, not less. Let’s dive in.

1. High Growth Equals High Vulnerability

You wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t someone committed to their personal and professional growth. And let’s be clear here—a high growth life requires dealing with messy emotions.

Why?

Well, for starters, you’re leaving your comfort zone. You’re working on yourself. You’re no longer a “talker” but someone who is actually doing it. It’s important to remember what you’re going through now is a natural part of growth.

2. You’re Exactly Where You Need to Be

One of the biggest misconceptions in psychology is that you should feel bad if you’re feeling badThere couldn’t be anything further from the truth; ”negative” emotions are as healthy as positive ones. It is our reaction to negative emotions that can cause harm. But the emotion alone is a healthy and normal part of life.

3. There’s So Much That Is Working

Being in a vulnerable state can shift our awareness to stack all the ways life isn’t working for us. We think of the people who betrayed our trust. We think back to being fired after giving time and energy to an organization. We overanalyze a comment on social media and obsess over how our goals aren’t happening fast enough.

Remember, you woke up today—50,000 people didn’t. Your heart’s still beating to the tune of 2,000 gallons per day. You likely have access to shelter and clean water. This is a simple perspective shift that allows us to lower the bar on gratitude and remember what is working.

4. Contrast Creates Perspective

We live in a culture that emphasizes 24/7 positivity. We must present our best selves—we must find the ‘silver lining’ in every circumstance. And while these are great aspirations, they’re not real life.

Enter contrast in life—the experience of something different. Hard moments, unsettling emotions, and experiencing conflict in our lives all lead to a newfound perspective we wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.

With “contrast,” we ask better questions. We seek better answers. We ask for help, creating a deeper connection. We become empathetic to others’ struggles. We may even get an idea for a change in our lives that could only be accessed in the contrast.

With that said, stay curious. When we are curious about our emotions and what we’re going through, we are compassionate instead of judgmental. We stay open to new insights instead of labeling ourselves. All of these lead to healing.

5. Dig Into the Truth About You

Years ago, I started keeping a digital file that someone advised me to call “the truth about you.” It is a simple document where I keep screenshots, emails, comments on compliments, and reminders from those I respect.

We all have a folder in our minds where we can remember the truth about ourselves—the places we showed up and followed through. The accomplishment someone else is amazed by. The consistency we showed when it was easier to quit. You may not have this folder available, however, I highly recommend you start building it.

But even without it, remind yourself of the truth. To do so, you’ll have to transcend your current circumstances and emotional state and dig deeper.

6. This Is Why You Do the Work

If you’re reading this article, you’re interested in maximizing your potential and living a productive, fulfilling life. This means you have a toolkit at your disposal—practices, and actions that are designed exactly for what you’re going through right now.

Remember that the tough times are the best times to use these tools, whether meditation, time in nature, doing some journaling, or going for a long walk—don’t forget the power of these tools.

7. Breathe, Play, Lighten Up, Help Others

When you’re emotionally contracted, you also tend to be physically tense. Body language tends to be less open, shoulder slump forward. It’s easy to tighten up and even enter fight or flight.

We often forget we possess the number one tool to release overwhelm and get back to the center—our breath. By engaging in a breathing practice—taking some much-needed deep inhales or box breathing—you can manufacture a state of clarity and peace.

Another tool when you’re feeling worthless is to help someone else. It sounds crazy, right? We must focus on ourselves. We must fix the issue and do so now.

Oddly enough, by taking the focus off ourselves, we find healing. It doesn’t have to be anything grand—but encouraging an old friend, a random act of kindness, or dropping off snacks for a person on the street pays dividends.

All of these can create what psychologists call the “giver’s high,” and shift your perspective.[5]

Rukayat Sadiq, is  a software engineer with over 5 years successful experience leading engineering teams to build and deliver scalable software products in multiple languages and technologies.

The need to solve problems around her led Rukayat to study Electrical & Electronics Engineering. The same zeal also directed her the field of software engineering field where she has focused on working with teams to build software solutions targeted at the health, financial and educational sectors through her career.

Rukayat decided to go into software engineering after she realised what she could potentially build through computer programs having successfully written code to solve her engineering mathematics problems in her undergraduate days.

She currently works as a software engineer with Influitive – a Canadian based marketing technology firm.

She had worked as a Full Stack Software Engineer and Technical Team Lead, Senior Software Engineer at Andela, after completing the Andela Fellowship Program. At Andela, Rukayat also co-foounded and co-led the Andela’s Ladies-in-Tech group. She is also a co-organizer of the Lagos Women in Machine Learning and Data Science Group.

Rukayat holds a bachelors degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Ilorin and is completing her masters degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Rukayat was one of the women celebrated in Tech Cabal‘s Tech Women Lagos series, which profiled 50 women in the Lagos technology ecosystem from different backgrounds and at different stages of their technology careers.

We celebrate Rukayat for pursuing her dreams and inspiring others to do so and we’re rooting for her!

Source: Bellanaija

Omotoke Olowo   Olugbode is a passionate inclusive education advocate with over 5 years’ experience in education, community service, and advocating for children with disabilities. She is the Founder and CEO of The Autism Awareness Foundation, an organization that is focused on inclusive education for children living with disability especially children on the Autism spectrum disorders. She is also the CEO at Theraconnect an online mobile App that connects parents of children with special needs to the nearest and affordable therapist.

Omotoke holds a Bachelor Degree in Education (Educational Foundation and Counseling) from Obafemi Awolowo University and a certificate in Youth Mental Health First Aid in USA. She is a Mandela Washington fellow and a 2020 LEAP Africa SIP Fellow.

Omotoke has spoken at International conferences including, The Concordia Summit at the Grand Hyatt, Voice of women at Wagner College. She also had an internship opportunity with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability, Philadelphia, USA

Omotoke believes education is the bedrock of everything and without it she would not have been able to achieve all she has.

She shares her “Ruby Girl” story in this interview.

1. Who is Omotoke Olowo Olugbode?

Omotoke Olowo Olugbode is a passionate inclusive education advocate with over 5 years’ experience in education, community service, and advocating for children with disabilities. She is the Founder and CEO of The Autism Awareness Foundation, an organization that is focused on inclusive education for children living with disability especially children on the Autism spectrum disorder, while also raising awareness and advocacy in the community to change perspective and myths about Autism as she believes that each child counts and each child can learn irrespective of their disability, mental health or environment.

She is also the CEO at Theraconnect an online mobile App that connects parents of children with special needs to the nearest and affordable therapist.

Omotoke holds a Bachelor Degree in Education (Educational Foundation and Counseling) from Obafemi Awolowo University and a certificate in Youth Mental Health First Aid in USA. She is a Mandela Washington fellow, Outstanding Global Youth Ambassador for TheirWorld UK where numerous articles on her advocacy has been published, an Ashoka ChangemakerXchnage Fellow and a Robert Stiffing Alumni. She is also a 2020 LEAP Africa SIP Fellow.

She was awarded The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders New Jersey, and also awarded as International Associates on civic Leadership at Wagner College, New York.

Omotoke has spoken at International conferences including the MakeImpossiblePossible Summit at United Nations General Assembly, The Concordia Summit at the Grand Hyatt, Voice of women at Wagner College. She also had an internship opportunity with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability, Philadelphia, USA

2. ‎ What is The Autism Awareness Foundation (TAAF)?

The Autism Awareness Foundation is a not for profit organization that raises awareness about disability and inclusion of children with disability in the classroom and society while eradicating stigmatization and marginalization. We ensure children with disability especially children on the autism spectrum disorder get access to good and quality therapy for early intervention to function and get included in the school system as most children with disability are always denied access to inclusive and quality education.

The Autism Awareness Foundation started in 2017 as a not for profit where we create awareness for children on the Autism spectrum disorder, we have been involved in active teachers training and parental support group, due to our work expansion and experience we set up the social enterprise of THERACONNECT as physical connecting platform before thinking of the App. Currently, since May 2018, we have been involved in outsourcing over 50 therapist and special needs educators to parents, teachers and school.

3. What prompted you to start an inclusive education?

I am a Teacher by profession and I got into the Teaching sector as a zeal I have for Teaching which was further influenced by my friend who had a disability during my secondary school days, and I watched how he couldn’t get the adequate and efficient education during our school days.

Teachers would rather not have her in their classroom and she most often does not come to school at all. So, from there I developed a passion to become a teacher and a deep commitment for children living with disability so that I could be able to teach them in the classroom. After going through my University Education, I discovered that my Teachers then could not teach my friend because they do not have the knowledge and skills to teach children with disability.

The spark and motivation to start my Social Initiative come after reading an online article about a mother with a child with Autism, about how people refer to her child as being possessed, this brought back memories of my experience in secondary school with my friend.

Autism as a disability was strange to me and foreign, and as such I wonder if children in my community has this disability and they don’t have access to education.

I decided I want to advocate for children living with Autism because its disability in which a lot of parents and teachers are not familiar with and a lot of stigmatization and marginalization.

4. ‎ Apart from running an inclusive education that other thing to you into?

Apart from my NGO, The Autism Awareness Foundation, I am also an Innovator, I am currently working on an online App where parents can connect with Therapist without leaving their home which saves them stress, money and time.

I am a social Entrepreneur, I currently run a social enterprise called “The Sensory Place” that focuses on sensory materials, Toys and Montessori schools equipment for parents and schools owner while also consulting for schools on issues pertaining to inclusion in their classroom and connecting with therapist to schools and parents.

“We ensure children with disability especially children on the autism spectrum disorder get access to good and quality therapy for early intervention.”

5.How do you relax despite your busy schedule?

Netflix and gist is my friend when I am less busy. As a person who provide support in issues relating to mental health of parents and disabilities, I take my mental health seriously too, I know when I need to close my laptop, turn off my phone data, decline a speaking engagement and just relax, either with talking long hours on the phone with friends, watching amazing series on Netflix or just sleeping. I am more of an indoor person than outdoor.

“I decided I want to advocate for children living with Autism because its a disability in which a lot of parents and teachers are not familiar with and a lot of stigmatization and marginalization”.

6. ‎ What has the pandemic taught you?

The pandemic has taught me how to prioritize, most time we waste our time on things that are not really important but the pandemic has really taught me to cherish each moment, love people around and check on my families more. It awakened my sense of commitment and knowing how to show love to others too, even during the pandemic, I was still on long calls with parents on how they can support their kids at home in terms of therapy and achieving their milestones

 

7. ‎As a global youth figure, what has been your achievements on inclusion?

My achievement on inclusion has always come through my NGO, my impact has made over 100 parents accessed therapy for their children for early intervention, increase the awareness around autism spectrum disorder to over 5000 people in the community, through our annual Walk Aware Autism and trained over 1000 teachers on skills needed to include children on the spectrum in their classroom both online and physical training, with the advent of our online support for 30 parents as a form of continued training and counseling.

In all of this, my greatest achievement is when parents call me after their kids have been able to achieve a developmental milestone and when they get accepted in an inclusive school, the joy and smiles on parents at such moments always mean everything to me.

8. ‎What was growing up in a Nigerian home like for you? Did it in anyway contribute to everything you do now?

Growing up was a bit challenging but I grew up in a family full of love. Both my parents are quite loving and amazing people, my mum is the disciplinarian of the house while my dad condones me a lot, people will say it’s because we look alike.
I never had all I wanted while growing up but received love from sisters all the time, we shared everything and we could confide in each other.

Well, I will say my upbringing definitely contribute to what I do now, because I could feel what it means to be like one is unworthy or not enough. I understand the pain of women with children with disabilities in rural communities having being born and raised in one at Oworonshoki community, so yes my passion for setting up The Autism Awareness Foundation definitely stemed up from my own personal experience too.

9. ‎What are the challenges you faced when you became an inclusive educator? Do you still experience them? And also how were you able to overcome them?

Challenges are bound to happen, will happen and they still happen, one of the challenges I faced is the stigmatization and marginalization that comes with working with children with disability which is a big problem of acceptance and inclusion, another challenge is the myth associated with children with disability as a punishment from God as such most parents in my community prefer to keep their children at home and lock them inside rather than bring them out for assessment and therapy, as most schools won’t accept them and when schools finally accept them, other parents in the school sometimes withdraw their children from the school, saying they don’t want their children to catch the disability. And finally I am faced with the challenge of lack of trained teachers to facilitate learning in the classroom. I have been able to overcome these challenges through trainings and holding meetings with school owners to explain that disabilities are not contagious and children benefit more when they learn in inclusive settings.

 

10. ‎If you were to be the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

If I were to be the president of Nigeria for a day, I would change the Educational sector. The Educational sector has become a shadow of itself and what it is supposed to achieve, most public schools lack trained teachers, use outdated curriculum and old teaching methods that does not facilitate independent and collaborative thinking on the part of students. Our graduates can’t even compete globally and our state of inclusive education is nothing to write home about especially with no therapist and special educators to facilitate learning. After changing the Educational sector, I will definitely reform and change the health sector, too much death, misdiagnosis and sometimes lack of doctors to train patient has led to more death than anything in recent years.

11. ‎Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

One of the women who inspire me is Clare Henshaw, she runs Girls Inspired Foundation, she has gone off to inspire many girls and yet with an humble and kind spirit, I am surely learning humility from her.

Another woman that inspires me is Jasmine, Jasmine is a mother to a child on the autism spectrum disorder who I met in Philadelphia, despite her position she has constantly been reaching out to me on how to provide support for more mothers in Africa and especially Nigeria.
Lastly is my Mother, being a mother to four ladies without a boy child, I know we all know how the narrative would have been, but she have kept it all together, fireful and always there for us her children, she constantly teaches faith and trust in the most difficult time.

 

12. ‎Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In the next five years, I see myself running The Sensory Place into a big social enterprise, settling up a safe center for therapy and play center for inclusion of children with special needs and disabilities while they also learn a skill through our coder dojo club. I see myself running different starts up into big businesses and ensuring that I am constantly giving back to the society. I also see myself in a place of policy advocacy and implementation at the government level to ensure policy reform on inclusive education and ensuring inclusion in the workplace where each child can truly count.

 

13. ‎If you were given the opportunity to address a group of young females five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

I will tell them to explore all the opportunity they have at their disposal, aim for the sky and land among the moon, dare the impossible and to keep showing up for themselves. I will tell them that impossible is nothing and they are born to do great and amazing things. They should never underestimate themselves and to keep shattering limits and breaking new grounds.