Guardian woman


Let’s face it: sometimes our homes can be stressful and chaotic, especially when we have children. The first step to making your home a more peaceful place is by setting house rules. Co-founder MumsAloud.com and parenting enthusiast, Tina Ok said.

House rules are important for many reasons. The first and most important is to help everyone in your household get along better, and make family life more peaceful. Another reason is for predictability. Children thrive on routine as it keeps them safe and helps them know what to expect. Having rules teach children to know exactly what is expected of them always. If there are no rules, it’s difficult for children to know how to behave.

“It is important to have house rules as they reduce power struggle and ultimately reduce the number of times we have to shout for something to get done. House rules can start at any time; for younger ones, you start by showing them what is expected of them. As they get older, you can include them in creating a house rule and remember that after a while they won’t seem like rules anymore, as it becomes what everybody expects and does automatically.”

Tina stressed that it is key to be mindful that the house rules can change especially as they get older. An easy way to set the rules will be to look around the house and identify “problem” issues that you may find yourself struggling with and having to shout about so often. Make sure it is something they can relate with like throwing school uniforms on the floor after they return from school and you having to tidy up the trail after them or leaving food crumbs on the table after eating or talking to each other rather than shouting at each other among others.
Brainstorm the problem areas with them. Ask them something like: “what is it that mummy shouts about most of the time?” They will remember this and it will help you come up with a list. Then ask them how they think they can help mummy shout less often around these problem areas. And because they are involved in coming up with solutions, it will be easy for them to remember rather than impose some random rules on them.

Make sure the rules are simple and easy enough for them to follow. Help them understand that, as a family, just like parts of the body, when they do their part it becomes easy for parents to do their part.
She added that other ways to come up with house rules could be around three main areas:

• Firstly, protection from harm (don’t go outside to play without telling any adult first, as it may be too dangerous out there. Don’t play near the kitchen when I am cooking, as you may get hurt from fire, sharp objects.

• Secondly, taking care of things (keep your toys away after playing with them so they don’t get lost and you become miserable, make your bed when you wake up, keep your clothes in the laundry basket after taking them off so that they can get washed).

• Lastly, showing respect for other members of the house (no fighting with your brother or sister as they can get hurt).

Make sure you explain the rules and the reason why it is necessary for everyone to adhere. When they understand the reason for the rule, they are most likely going to cooperate in implementing it. When you have put it together, confirm that everyone is happy with it. Then, print it on a piece of paper and place it where everyone can be reminded of it, and everyone means that adults, too, are not exempted.

Remember, when you model following the rules with your children, they will have no choice but to take after you.

Photo credit: Fantastic Services Group.

Source: Guardian

Peju Ugboma is the Founder/CEO of I Luv Desserts and also runs a blog, The Service Critic where she reviews restaurants. A graduate of Microbiology from the University of Lagos, she was the Head of Business Strategy at First Independent Global before resigning and setting up her business. Certified from Gastronimicum, Agde and Le Notre in France and The Taste Lab in the United Kingdom, Peju wants to launch a training school for aspiring chefs, baking enthusiasts and home cooks. In this interview, this ardent Manchester United fan talks about dumping Microbiology for dessert making, turning a huge business mistake into a best seller and three things women-owned businesses must do and avoid to stay successful.

Making desserts is a pretty unique concept, what led you down this path?
I cannot honestly tell you why I chose desserts, but it possibly stemmed from watching chefs on TV do amazing stuff with butter, sugar and flour. I would watch on TV and wish there were places locally to buy them. I still remember the first time I went to a store on Awolowo Road in Ikoyi and saw a white forest gateau, I was in cloud nine.

When I started out, I knew only a handful of people who were doing desserts commercially for events back then. There were lots of cake makers but proper desserts connoisseurs weren’t available locally. I knew to be able to do it the way I saw it on TV, I would require at least basic knowledge in basic baking techniques, so I enrolled in a baking school locally for one month and the classes were very hands on. I also bought loads of books to help out. By the end of the first month, I knew I wanted more of the real stuff. I searched locally for a proper culinary school but nothing was available so I had to look outside Nigeria.

You switched from microbiology to dessert making, what informed this decision?
To be honest, Microbiology was never my first choice. I come from a home where daddy’s words were the law. My dad initially wanted me to study Medicine but I didn’t score high enough in JAMB to study it.

Secretly, I was quite pleased, but I dared not show it outwardly. I had just about enough points to study microbiology. If I could have chosen my own course, it most likely would have been the arts. I hated Chemistry and other science subjects.

Peju Ugboma, Founder/CEO of I Luv Desserts and blogger, The Service Critic
When I finished from university, I knew I was not going to do anything with the Microbiology, so I tried my hand at different things but I didn’t find any job exciting enough to keep me occupied till I went to work in a customer service training company.

I loved it enough to stay for a few years before I moved in a completely different direction into learning about business strategy. I learnt very quickly and was fully dedicated to it because I needed to grow up. I eventually got restless there after about two years. My husband (then boyfriend) knew how excited I was watching baking shows on TV, so he always encouraged me to try it out. Then I quit my job and went for my first baking course and 12 years later, I am still at it.

You were once a 9-5 employee for over five years, what would you say is the difference between entrepreneurship and full-time employment?
Entrepreneurship is a full time job, especially when you are a start-up. You eat, drink, sleep and dream your new business.

In my candid opinion, entrepreneurship is way harder because you are responsible for other people’s livelihood. People are dependent on you so you have to strive to make sure things are done properly. If you don’t have a dime for yourself, you must provide for others.

When I started out, I was the baker, cleaner, delivery personnel, phone operator, shopper, everything! When you are in paid employment, you have a job description but with entrepreneurship, you are a one-man army.

In your opinion, what are some of the key issues startups face, especially in Nigeria?
I know you have probably heard funding many times but I disagree. The main issue a lot of startups face is knowledge, the knowledge of how to run and manage a business properly.

You have a business idea, it looks good on paper and we run with it without adequate checks, research and even proper training on know-how. We start, then get stuck and eventually throw in the towel until the next best thing comes along. Access to funds is also another big problem.

I am very anti-get a loan from a bank to start a business, the interest rate will almost cripple whatever you have gathered. I am a firm believer in starting small and dreaming very big. Electricity is also a big problem. I know this is a third world problem but it’s a huge challenge in my line of work.

A large chunk of our generated income goes on power generation. I would also say human power because in my industry, retaining excellent staff who are dedicated to the job with great work ethics are very few and far between. Artisan turnover is quite high.

Your company pioneered frozen cookie dough in West Africa, tell us about that?
The cookie dough project came about when there was some kind of ban on importation of goods into Nigeria. Before then, when you go to the freezer aisle of most supermarkets, there weren’t any locally manufactured brands of cookie dough stocked there. It got me thinking and research started on producing cookie dough locally.

The idea behind the frozen cookie dough was to create convenience and save time for the average home baker whilst still enjoying freshly baked cookies in the convenience of your home. All you need to do is place dough balls on trays and bake for 15 minutes.

The whole process took about 24 months from inception to product testing, sourcing packaging and licensing from NAFDAC. We rolled out and gradually started retailing in stores. We were stocked in about 22 stores in Lagos and Abuja then we hit a brick wall. I think it was largely because we had lapses in our marketing strategy and supply change management.

I am no longer ashamed to say that it failed the first time it launched, it was quite humbling and I refused to talk about it for a while but I have learnt a whole lot from this experience, because this kind of experience, as humbling as it is, helps you build resilience. We are back to drawing board trying to retrace our steps to understand why it didn’t work in the first instance. Hopefully, it will work out better and stay in the market for as long as we have projected it to stay.

How important is mentoring for women especially those in business?
I have often heard women say it was a waste of their time, but in my own case, it was one of the wisest decisions I took. If you are in business, whether man or woman, you need mentoring. It is hard enough running your business solo, with you being the all in one CEO and ‘Jackie’ that does even the most menial of jobs.

Personally, I have benefitted from having a mentor who not only guides me as regards my business but spiritually and even issues regarding the home-front.

When I am asked how I chose a mentor, happenstance, I came across her by accident and I prayed that I was choosing the right person. The first question she asked was “what are you bringing to the table.” I was stunned. When I asked her why she said that, she wanted to know how serious I was about our relationship. I have since nicknamed her iya-aje because of how tough she gets when she needs me to do something.

Tell us something that has influenced your life and career positively today?
It took me a while to figure this out, but life became much easier when I got an understanding of Proverbs 3:5-6. It says trust God with your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will straighten all crooked path before you. As hard it may be, I have chosen to trust Him.

As a member of BTS Welfare Hub, what do you do specifically for women?
BTS Welfare Hub is a faith-based group, it doesn’t cater to just women, but to the needs of the downtrodden. The hub takes care of a range of things like visiting old people’s homes, orphanages, cerebral palsy centers, poor communities and visiting the streets to encourage someone. An average visit to a poor community will include sharing the word, praying with the people in these communities, encouraging and then giving out presents and food.

As a former business strategist, briefly tell us three basic things women must do/avoid when running a business?
First, separate purses; your business account is not your personal account; you should not draw funds from the business account just because you can. I believe you should pay yourself a realistic salary. If the business is unable to pay you a salary, create an IOU, which can possibly go towards your equity in the company, there must be some sort of reimbursement for the work you do.

Second, whilst I believe you shouldn’t hire too soon, I also believe that it is important to delegate so that you don’t burn yourself out. Micromanaging when you delegate is a killer of creativity. You need to prioritize what is important, what can be delegated and what you can afford to put on the back-burner.

Finally, don’t be afraid to make a mistake or be too cautious to take a risk. I know it is not always easy to accept when we assume we have failed at something but it shouldn’t define who we are.

One of my biggest sellers at the moment, the cheesecake popsicle came about as a mistake I made when mixing one of our products. Now I am grateful that it happened, I acknowledge that it’s not all mistakes that have a somewhat happy ending but use whatever mistake as a stepping- stone to better yourself.

If you could influence change, what would you want to do for Nigerian women?
If I could influence change, I would like to start with reorientation, reorientation of the mind, that being a woman is not a limiting factor. I can be anything I want to be if my mind is aligned to it and I am willing to put in the work.

A lot of our parents did some form of damage in us with a limiting mindset, that no matter what we do or achieve, the kitchen is where we will end up as women. I would also love for women to truly support one another, not just using it as a buzzword but also actually bearing one and other up. These are little things we can be deliberate about it.

What do you do to relax? What is your guilty pleasure?
Relaxing is relative nowadays, as an entrepreneur, shutting down, mind body and soul is hard. So the easiest thing for me nowadays is reading and eating out. I also love watching football but nowadays the team I support isn’t doing well so it is a bit of a drag. My absolute guilty pleasure is travelling to new places, learning new cultures and experiencing new culinary adventures.

What should we expect from you in the next five years?
Whenever I am asked this question, I get a bit overwhelmed. Whilst I understand the need to plan for the future, I have learnt to take it one day at a time, planning five years in advance in my books is a wrong pressure trigger.

So I will change from the next five years to tomorrow or in the near future; I want to co-own a properly run internationally certified culinary academy in Nigeria and an online culinary school because that’s where the business world is gearing up to. I pray for sustenance, God’s grace and grit to carry forth.

Source: Tobi Awodipe for Guardian

This week, Guardian Woman continues the list of its annual #100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria list for 2019. For the fifth consecutive year, the list features 100 Nigerian women drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds and sectors who are deliberately impacting their world and local communities through the power and strength of their ideas and achievements. Women who are making great strides in the world of Business, Politics, Advocacy, Governance and Enterprise. “It’s perhaps our most diverse list yet,” says Francesca Uriri, Founder, Leading Ladies Africa.

Funmi Oyatogun- A travel experience designer and founder of TVP Adventures- a one-stop-shop for exciting travel experiences across Africa. Through TVP Adventures, Funmi plans and creates bespoke trips on social media where she has a huge following. But beyond that, Funmi also creates immensely useful travel infographics and materials that are useful for travelers, tourists, and those looking to learn about new places in the world.

Gbemi Adefuye (Toni Tones) is a Nigerian actor, photographer, singer, and radio host. She recently starred in Kemi Adetiba’s ‘King of Boys,’ where she gave a stellar and critically acclaimed performance as the younger Eniola Salami. Gbemi studied Marketing and Economics at the University of Lancaster in the UK, and then returned to Nigeria in 2009 to explore her ambition for show business. She does photography work both behind and in front of the camera. She has appeared as an actor in the Web TV series “Gidi-culture” and in several films including “It’s Her Day” in 2016.

Glory Osei- Founder of Femfunds, a growing organization with a goal of providing women in Nigeria with interest free loans and free skill acquisition. She is also the CEO and Co-founder of Divergent Enterprise, Land Lagos and PorkMoney.com. Glory is also a travel blogger who chronicles her travel escapades formerly under the name Nigerian Abroad on her social media page.


Habiba Ali- Managing Director and CEO of Sosai Renewable Energies Company, one of the largest distributors of renewable energy in Nigeria. Sosai Renewable Energies provides renewable energy products like solar lamps, water purifiers and solar panels, as well as energy consulting services to help bring clean, renewable energy solutions to Nigeria’s budding communities. Habiba also co-founded the Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) and is a member of the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air and the Nigerian Energy Network.

Ibijoke Faborode – Head of Agritech and Healthcare Advisory, West Africa with UK Department for International Trade. There, she leads on International trade facilitation and investment advisory between the UK and 6 principal West African markets. She is an astute professional, gender advocate and change-maker; with a decade of cross-geographical experience spanning various fields including Agribusiness consultancy, Policy Advisory, International Trade Facilitation, Investment Promotion, Pan-African Media Management and International Business Development. In 2017, she led the very first bi-lateral agri-focused dialogue between the UK and Nigeria in London, which attracted over 100 delegates from Nigeria including the Agric Minister, eight State Governors and multilateral bodies such as the Africa Development Bank in a bid to promote opportunities in Nigeria’s growing agric space. She also currently co-chairs the Women’s Network at the High Commission. Prior to this, she worked with The Africa Report, Groupe Jeune Africa: a Paris-based pan-African media group as Regional Business Development Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa.Her passion for driving social change and touching lives led to the recent creation of The Social Change Network (TSCN), Africa – a non-partisan, non-profit civic engagement organization focused on promoting social change and inclusion across Africa.

Ife Durosinmi Etti – Author, Entrepreneur and young global leader with over 10 years of management and leadership experience working in the fashion, marketing and manufacturing industries. She holds a first degree in Biochemistry and an MBA in Global Business. Prior to moving back to Nigeria in 2012, she worked with Arcadia Group Plc, a British multinational retailing company headquartered in London and Aspire Acquisitions. She later joined Nigeria Breweries (Heineken Operating Company in Nigeria) as a Young African Talent (YAT) and transitioned to their Corporate Communications Department as Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Support Manager where she successfully managed various corporate social responsibility and sustainability projects.

Ifedayo is also an associate member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON). With her passion for women and children, she launched Parliamo Bambini and Philos and Zoe, startups disrupting the baby and child industry through locally manufactured furniture and clothing for children with the aim of reducing poverty, empowering the youth and promoting access to quality education in Nigeria and Africa. She is also very passionate about women and youth contributing to national development, so she launched a platform called the AGS Tribe to democratise opportunities for entrepreneurs across Africa and the AGS Enterprise Challenge, to empower female entrepreneurs through funding, mentorship and training.

Ife Diary of a Naija Girl – Editor of Diary of a Naija Girl- a personal website that houses her contemplations on various issues including lifestyle and social commentary. She is also the Executive Director and founder of DANG Network- a revolutionary storytelling company that specialises in solid content creation and media production.


Read full list here  https://m.guardian.ng/guardian-woman/leading-ladies-africa-nigerias-100-most-inspiring-women-in-2019-2/

Adeyoyin Adesina is an experienced educator and Chief Executive Officer of Corona Schools’ Trust Council. She has built her career in the educational sector where she has been impacting the lives of students and teachers alike for over 18 years. A degree holder in English Studies from the University of Ife, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Lagos and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (International) from the University of Nottingham, she is a mentor, coach, public speaker and very passionate about educating young minds. In this interview, she talks about the state of the country’s education, her journey into the world of education, amongst other things.

As a seasoned educator of several years, does the country’s present standard of education give you cause for concern?
Yes, but it is not enough to just say ‘yes’. I acknowledge we have come a long way and even with the worries and concerns I have, I know the educational system in Nigeria has made some progress from where we were before. However, if you measure it with the lightning speed at which things are improving and changing globally, we are still a very far cry from where we should be in the education industry. What makes it more painful is that not only are we aware of this, sadly, our government has not seen the need to attach due importance to education policies and infrastructure. There is so much more we need to do in terms of improving educational standards in Nigeria. As a nation, we are educated, we travel to other countries and see the way things are done but never replicate it back home. Our tertiary education requires a lot more attention than it is presently getting. Our children, because of their exposure, do not want to remain in Nigeria and it is becoming an endemic problem and the government should wake up to its responsibilities before it is too late.

What attracted you to the world of teaching?
I wasn’t always a teacher; I used to work in a bank. Before working in the bank, I worked in the print media for a while and I loved it. I served in Jos and did my youth service at Standard Publishing Company, publishers of Standard Newspapers. I actually stayed on after service because I was very interested in what I was doing then. I did this for about a year before coming back to Lagos and got a job in the bank and that started my journey in the banking sector. Somewhere along the line, I discovered I wasn’t finding fulfillment in what I was doing. Around this period, I was teaching a pre-marital/counseling class in my church and I knew I had found my niche as I enjoyed it thoroughly. I took further classes in counseling to brush up my skills and this spurred my interest in teaching and that was how it all started, and I have never looked back since then.

Take us through your career journey over the years
I started teaching at a private school in G.R.A, Ikeja and within a couple of years I rose to become the academic superintendent of the primary section. In that time, I had the opportunity to travel in the Summer of 2002 for an education development programme for teachers in the U.K and it was there I was introduced to the then Educational Administrator, Corona Schools’ Trust Council. We hit it off and she offered me a job. I came back and resumed at Corona and started work as a teacher and my journey progressed quite rapidly. I started as a teacher in Corona School Victoria Island in 2002 and by April 2003, I had risen to become the Deputy Head of School in Victoria Island. I was D.H.S for three years and in 2008, I rose to the position of the Head of School. A few years after that, I was asked to start the Corona School, Lekki, the newest of the Corona Schools. I was the pioneer Head of School at the Corona School Lekki where I worked for another six years before being moved to Corona Secondary School, Agbara where I worked for another three years as Principal and in April 2017, I was promoted to the position of Chief Executive Officer, Corona Schools Trust Council.

Looking at the constant strikes that affect students in Federal universities, what would you suggest as the panacea for this age-long problem?
I think it is important to look at the reasons for the strike, which is oftentimes, a clamour for better pay, welfare for the lecturers amongst other things. Rarely do the students go on strike, it is usually the lecturers that embark on strike actions. This is why I said we need to place a premium on the education sector. In some advanced countries, teachers are rated as highly as doctors and other professionals unlike what obtains here in Nigeria and if the right priority is given to the sector, I doubt we would have these strikes coming up so often. The government needs to pay attention to their welfare, provide a conducive environment for the staff and students and generally upgrade the infrastructure. I graduated from the University of Ife many years ago and when I went back to my alma mater recently, I almost wept. Instead of things getting better, there is decay and erosion of values. When I was a student in the university, I was so proud of the school. We were just four in our rooms then but what do we have now? Everything is falling apart. What is the welfare program available for lecturers? How often are they paid and how often are their salaries reviewed? These are the major issues we have to consider. I am not saying the strike is the solution because as they are in a standoff with the Federal Government, the students are stranded at home and when they resume, the issues are not fully resolved so another strike is imminent. If the government has a roadmap for education for say, 10 or 20 years and is systematically working to achieving this, it would give us hope. But nobody makes any plan in this country and for the few that do, these plans and projects are not sustained by the incoming government as they roll out their own plans and agenda. Education shouldn’t be politicised.

As CEO, what does your job entail?
(Laughing) I call myself the Chief Executive Messenger because I seek, more often, to do what makes for the progress and satisfaction of all our stakeholders. My role is simply to actualise the strategic imperatives of the Trust Council. Corona Schools’ Trust Council will be 64 years this year and we are still evolving. As a leading educational institution in Nigeria, we hope to translate this to other parts of the world. My role is to ensure we deliver what we promise to our customers, which is to deliver world-class education. As a leading educational institution in Nigeria, we strive to ensure our relevance and influence, not just in the private sector, but also within the government and public sector.

This school has produced so many big names in Nigeria today, how does this make you feel?
I can tell you that there is a feel-good factor in seeing that you are doing something well, that after so many years down the line, the products of the schools can and do acknowledge the quality and pedigree of their early years education at Corona as what has set them off well on the path of life. It is gratifying to see all of our alumni doing well and excelling in their areas of chosen endeavours. We are currently working on bringing our alumni together and we know this would be a great motivator and influence factor for people to see the outcome of quality education. Seventeen years of my life have been given to this great establishment and I am proud and happy to be a part of it.

Running a private school can be very challenging, what are some challenges you face?
Living in Nigeria itself is challenging. Running a technology-based school where power is not guaranteed is a huge challenge. We all know the cost of diesel and the huge cost centre it represents. Excelling at running a school with the standard or quality of available workforce in the market is challenging. How do you deliver on your promise? As we see, our tertiary institutions are churning out half-baked graduates yearly, this is a huge problem. Many parents are facing uncertainty now because of the unstable economy. Many are not able to give their children the quality of education they desire. Amidst all of these, we must find a way to move on and excel. These challenges give us the opportunity to think of creative ways to pull through and overcome.

As a teacher, counselor and shaper, do you take special care in guiding young female students?
We are dedicated to turning out well-rounded young women and men and for every stage of their progression, we know they will be faced with fresh challenges at every developmental stage of their lives and we try to prepare them for these; we teach them about their physical make up, about life, the birds and the bees, monthly cycle, sex education, the do’s and don’ts of their bodies and so on. This is more necessary in this day and age where children are under attack, living with paedophiles and all. We have created an environment of trust in our schools and children can freely disclose to us if they are touched inappropriately in any way. Children do not lie mostly and when a child opens up to you, do not make them feel like they did something wrong. We also try to educate parents who might expose their kids to danger unknowingly.

Tell us something that has influenced your life and career positively?
I would say God, unequivocally. I am a Christian and, in every situation, I ask for God’s help and guidance irrespective of where I find myself. I always pray in every situation and ask that the essence of who I am shines through. I am an influencer and I am conscious of this and this guides me in how I act and speak. There are so many people looking at me and emulating me that I am not aware of and this influences everything I do. I look up to a lot of people and believe I should learn lessons from other people’s experiences.

What advice would you give a woman starting out on this career path?
Be true to yourself and who you are, do not try to walk in anyone’s shoes. Integrity is something we have sadly thrown away these days, but it is the one distinguishing factor that would help you irrespective of your position in life. No matter what you do, your integrity is the only thing that would stand for you and whatever you do, ensure you do it with all your heart, this is the only autograph you can leave. Do not let one part of your life suffer at the expense of another, find that balance and give everything a 100 percent.

What are three life lessons you have learnt and want to share with us?
One is to be yourself. The second is to have and maintain integrity at all times because that is what will help you sleep at night. The third, love people, help people. Take them as they are, as you are going up in life, take others along with you.

CEO Corona Schools’ Trust Council, Mrs. Adeyoyin Adesina.

You do so many things at the same time, work full time and are raising a family. How do you make them all work?
It hasn’t always been easy and I must confess that when my family was still very young, I had to put career on hold for them. All my children are grown and have left home now so that is no longer a problem for me. I had a meeting that ran late yesterday and I couldn’t go home so I stayed with my son in Dolphin estate. My husband thankfully understands and knows this is my passion. When I was still having children, I left paid employment so I could devote time to my growing children. It requires delicate balancing, but it has to be done. There was a time I used to go home with my laptop every night and work late into the night but I realised this wasn’t the best, so I only go home with it now when very necessary. This was what worked for me and while there may be a general principle there, I also realise that one cap does not fit all at the end of the day and what works for me might not work for the next person.

As a mentor, what would you say is the importance of mentoring for women?
Nigerian women need to support one another especially those juggling home and careers. It is even harder for single mothers and we have all realised that we need two incomes to support a home. We need to create effective support systems for one another especially if you have a broad experience and can guide younger women just coming up. I mentor several teachers, counsel a couple and encourage my managers to do same for other people. In church, I lead a group of women that support one another and what we are doing now is supporting young wives that are struggling with wifehood, motherhood and career. We pray for one another, help one another financially or just offer advice and guidance. I have three biological children and uncountable other children that I support, guide and mentor.

What is next for you?
(Laughing) Retirement and enjoyment of life. A lot of us don’t plan for retirement when we are young, and this would be a problem when you get to that stage. I used to think I would open a school when I retire but I have changed my mind, I am not doing that again. I would always be a teacher, educate and train others as long as I have the strength but this wouldn’t be the core of what I would do in retirement. I would do the things I love that I have been unable to do all these years including traveling, spending more time with my family, give my services out to those who need it. In my church, we recently organised a programme where we gathered the teachers in the community and held a workshop on capacity building at no cost to them; I would do more things like this and also make time for food business. I love to cook.

So how do you relax and unwind?
My routine now doesn’t allow for as much rest and relaxation, sadly. The horrendous traffic also contributes to this. My unwinding, for now involves not taking my laptop home from work and after eating at night and sorting myself out for the following day, I basically become a couch potato, watching T.V before going to bed. I try to read as much as possible. I have books everywhere; in my car, on my phone, by my bed, I try to read even if it is a page per day. I also try to make time to see my children when I can.

What is the one thing you want women reading this to take away?
Be you, take the time to know yourself and regularly introspect, place value on yourself always. It’s very important that a second party does not dictate the value you place on yourself. Finally, exercise utmost integrity in all you do. When you place the right value on yourself, it is easier to act with integrity because it becomes easier to see yourself above certain things and situations.

Interview by: Tobi Awodipe for Guardian

For the first time since 2016 I’m spending Christmas home in Turkey; for the first time in forever I get to spend a whole month home. A whole month calls for as many reunions with friends as one can fit in. As tricky as it might be logistically to get together a number of friends during the festive season, considering I haven’t seen some in almost 20 years and this is the first time I am home for an extended period of time it was a challenge I was willing to take on. Hence the tale of two reunions.

The first was a dinner date with three friends two of whom I hadn’t seen since our high school graduation – a whopping 23 years ago. The second a lunchtime birthday celebration with a group of friends from university some of whom I had seen since graduation or at least kept in touch with on social media. The two reunions couldn’t have been more different.

In hindsight, perhaps the first was no more than giving the past another shot, potentially an oversight. As my friends who’d since kept in touch and met each other regularly over the last two decades and some caught up with each other, deep in conversation, they also discussed mundane matters – the ever rising inflation and currency rates, different levels of credit cards, different levels of upper middle class folk we all went to school with… At one point, talking about a guy who was one of the jocks in high school, one of my friends mused, “We didn’t know he was that rich then, did we?” At which point, I was struggling to pick my jaw off the floor.

Granted we went to the top private school in Turkey and rubbed shoulders with some of the richest heirs in the country, those kids you knew were born with a silver spoon and raised to take over the golden key to Daddy’s empire. Regardless, I don’t think I ever contemplated ‘the rich list of Robert College’. To think that, 23 years on, some people were still hung up on high net worth, platinum cards and brand names, was baffling.

Incidentally, the jock in question years later married the sister of a friend I went to university with who happens to be the birthday girl of the second reunion. When I mentioned this conversation, she was equally baffled.

Then we thought of how our friendship circle was never defined by the money our parents made, the first car we had, the labels we wore or the holidays we took. As a friend pointed out, even in twenty years of friendship, none of us had ventured to ask another what their husband did for a living – not because we don’t care for those dear to our friends, but because it didn’t make a bit of difference whether their significant other was a prince or a pauper.

There were of course those who would boast about their latest designer buy or their last holiday skiing in Courchevel, but we quickly x’ed them out of our friendship circle. Labels didn’t define us but the bonds we had created over the years, built on love, trust, respect, nourished with shared experiences. Maybe it is for this reason when we meet, several months, years or even decades later, the conversation flows with ease, just like we’ve only see each other yesterday. Because what we see is what we get – the very same friend we’d made all those years ago, with no labels.

This is why when in the company of those who define themselves or others any other way, I struggle to see what the fuss is about. I am tempted to shake them up and ask: How do you define ourselves? What’s your label? What’s your price tag? Surely, it is more than our pay check, or the red sole of the shoe we wear, or our postcode. And if it is, perhaps it is time to rip these off and have a long hard look at your reflection in the mirror to find what really defines you.

Next time you’re tempted to keep up with the Joneses, or reach for the designer handbag, or obsess over the Os in someone’s pay check, Consider this, if you have a label, you have a price. What sets you apart from mere merchandise?



Credit: Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo, Guardian Woman

“Smile when that smile can be returned…” she said, barely containing her tears.

This was earlier in the week when Lydia, a Kenyan acquaintance shared with a number of us the story of her life. Married in 1998, and blessed with two daughters soon after, the first curve ball off left field came in the shape of meningitis. She found herself bedridden, with no brain functions, no sight, no mobility. “I was a cabbage,” she said, recalling over half a year in hospital spent with no improvement and no hope of recovery.

Eight months after her admission, with insurance payments running out, she had to be moved back home. “I knew I was in familiar surroundings, but not much else. I still couldn’t see my husband or my children,” she said of the time. Until one day praying with neighbourhood women who had come to support her, her vision came back all of a sudden. Then she realised, even with some difficulty, she could move. She called her husband to break the good news.

Then for months, she worked on rebuilding a broken life. Slowly she regained her speech, her mobility, her life. Once an eloquent speaker on international platforms, she had to go back to school to learn the basics of the English language.

Just when she was back on her feet, hard at work, in November 2002, she had another health scare where she spent two weeks in hospital. At this point, not certain whether she would regress, she had already started planning for her death. “I even had picked my husband’s next wife for after I’d died,” she jokes, “I told him, a year after my death, he should marry her. I also told him she had better treat my daughters well or I would come and haunt them from beyond the grave.”

Yet life had another card up her sleeve. She was blindsided just two weeks after, death calling at her door in a way she had not expected.

“It was a public holiday that day,” she recalls, “I’d woken up early to see my husband off. He was going to a village for business. This time around he didn’t tell me where he was going. He assured me he would be back in late afternoon and we could go out for dinner in the evening. I had an uneasy feeling, as if I wanted to run after his car and stop him, but I thought I was being foolish and went back to sleep.”

She woke up again at 9am with a bad headache and an even worse feeling in her gut, but it wasn’t until noon she would get a call from the police asking her to come to the mortuary to identify her husband. He was killed in a car crash soon after 9am.

“At 8am I was a wife,” she says, “At 9am I wasn’t.” Death had caught her unaware. It was another decade of building her life, raising her kids singlehandedly while shutting the outside world out, battling in grief and finding solace in long hours in the office, all the while questioning her faith and asking God, “Why me?” Today, she knows the lesson and she shares so generously.

“Smile when your smile can be returned. Give flowers when they can be received. Show someone you care when they are there. And ladies, appreciate your husbands when you have them.”

Isn’t there such power in those words? By the time she was finished telling her story, there was not a dry eye in the room. Not just because we felt her pain, but also because she was like any one of us. Any one of us could have gone to sleep on Friday, or a Saturday or any other given day a wife, and woken up an hour later a widow. A daughter, then not. A sister, then not. A mother… and in a spilt second not. Such is the threadbare line that is life, with death lurking in the nooks and crannies ready to jump on us and break that line, throwing into ricochet all the things we hold true about ourselves and our loved ones.

So, in Lydia’s words, “Smile when that smile can be returned…”


Credit: Sinem Bilen Onabanjo, Guardian Woman

Photo credit: Google


Ore Onile-Ere relocated to Nigeria with a ‘healthy dose of optimism, faith and grace’ to gain success in the motherland and afar. Having worked at the BBC, ITV, Vox Africa, she honed her craft in hospital radio for the NHS. Since moving back to Lagos two years ago, Ore has found a home at the newly launched Lagos Talks 91.3 FM, anchoring the popular drive-time belt, ‘The Live Drive With Ore’ every weekday. A host as well as a voice-over artiste, she has expanded her reach to include modeling, walking for ‘About That Curvy Life’ at the Arise Fashion Week earlier this year. With her sights firmly set on other media platforms such as television and more hosting gigs, this budding avid traveler talks about her move back to Nigeria, encouraging other women to pursue their dreams and her plans for the future.

You recently relocated to Nigeria from the U.K, what informed this decision and how easy or difficult was it?

I always had it at the back of my mind that living in England my whole life wasn’t what I wanted for myself.It was getting to a stage in my life where I knew I wanted a challenge; something that could take me out of my comfort zone and let me thrive at the same time.
So two years ago, after much deliberation and research, I moved to Nigeria.
It wasn’t the easiest of decisions, but it was important to me that I tried. What however made it easier was that I was landing straight into a job right in my field.
I knew if I moved here and then looked for a job, the frustrations would seep in quicker.

Why did you say you moved with a healthy dose of ‘optimism, faith and grace’?
Lagos is a terrain I am not familiar with, and when you have grown up seeing how things are done in a completely different manner, I really think you need those things; prayer included.
You hear about the realities of life in this country and you have to shut it out, with the belief that yours will be different and make a success of it. So I took a leap as big as I could contend with, and two years later, I’m still here.

Having worked for the BBC, ITV and Vox Africa, how did this experience prepare you for your career in the media and how will you compare with working in Nigeria?
The experience I gained in those media houses after graduating really helped put me through the steps needed to become a full-fledged Broadcast Journalist. It helped me recognise both my strengths and my weaknesses. Comparing it to working here, you almost have to compromise on things, because the rules are completely different here and you have to learn to adapt to it; not necessarily conform however.
Coming in guns blazing, saying ‘back in England, this is how it’s done and what not’, would do me no favours whatsoever. I’m still shocked about what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable for broadcast.

Tell us about your journey to working on radio in Lagos?
In 2013, I came to Nigeria for a family event and that’s when the media realm in Lagos caught my attention.Once I was back in England, I did a little research about it and then left it on a back-burner for a year.Early in 2015, eager not to get complacent about a change of scenery, I looked into it again, sent my show reel-out to various media houses (both TV and Radio) to see what was out there and the feedback was great. I spent the bulk of 2015 flying in and out, alongside doing Skype interviews. I ended that year feeling confident about the reception I got.
At this point, in the deliberation stages and tedious contract agreements going back and forth, I contemplated being on ground in Lagos without a concrete offer in place.
Luckily at the beginning of 2016, I got my first break with Lagos Talks, which was also a brand new station and we went live in August that year.

You wear several hats: radio host, voice over artiste, and even model, how do you make everything work?
(Laughing) Oh, am I a model? I didn’t realise that. Yes, radio here definitely opens many doors here.
You’re not just a Radio presenter; your personality gives way to a brand you make for yourself, which other people want to associate with. And all the other hats are most welcome.
Since being here, I’ve hosted governance ceremonies in Abuja, been on Television programmes, hosted luncheons for Women in Business and voice-overs for both popular and private clients.
It all seems surreal when I think about it long enough, but it’s all part of the bigger picture- branding. Anonymity is quite scarce in this industry.

Some people claim that the only criteria for getting on Radio/TV now is having a foreign accent, how true is this in your experience?
Yes, it’s a popular conundrum in this industry and although I’ve heard it and fallen prey to the authenticity of my accent, I don’t like to think so.
I work on Talk Radio, therefore, the requirements are that one must be knowledgeable in the topics being discussed. How far will your accent take you if you’re not concise?

What would you say has been your greatest achievement so far?
Besides moving here and immersing myself in all that this city throws at you? I’m joking! All the opportunities being here have afforded me so far has been fantastic.
My plan is to build myself up on radio, before going in for TV, that’s always been the end goal for me, but I’m enjoying the journey towards that.
On a daily basis though, getting on the airwaves talking to Lagos, interviewing interesting people and networking, it’s all been a big deal for me.

Has there been any experience recently that made you want to give up?
Thankfully not. The terrain can sometimes make you feel like packing it all in and booking a one-way ticket back to Heathrow Airport, but then again, it also adds colour and there’s no greater feeling than to conquer the struggle.At the end of the day, I’m happy with my decision thus far.
In the beginning, my parents were against this move, they did try to dissuade me at the time and I almost got the sense of them wanting to say, ‘if it doesn’t work out, don’t say we didn’t warn you.’

If I ever gave up (laughs) but I know it came from a place of concern and love, which I understand, but that’s all in the past. I’m taking in all of Lagos, flaws and all.

What changes would you like to see effected that would positively turn things around for Nigerian women?
I believe we have to start from an earlier age. Girls being told from a young age that they can do and be better.
This change in mindset from early on will result in Nigerian women who have no fears and can compete for all the positions they deserve.
There is definitely a change in movement where women are concerned, and not to sound like a feminist, because I’m not, their voices are getting louder, the faces around the tables are changing and they are getting what they want and deserve and teaching young women to do the same.
I look at the Forbes’ women under 30 and 40 lists and you can pick a number of Nigerian women from that list.Look at Genevieve, with her break with Netflix. It’s all happening and the generations of women behind are seeing this.

What inspires and motivates you?
Learning from my mistakes, because every experience or encounter, mainly the mistakes, helps teach and push me into being more of who I ought to be. It’s much like ticking off a goal I’ve set for myself.
Getting results. It is also encouraging to see my work help others accomplish their own goals.
When it comes to people that inspire and motivate me, a number of my family members that have surrounded me growing up, do well on that front.
Irrespective of how well and comfortable they were brought up, their work ethic, readiness and go-getting attitude to accomplishing success on their own, has afforded me a similar vision that I want for myself.

How do you relax and de-stress?
There’s a big social scene out here, whether you’re waiting out traffic, or weekends, there’s just always something to do in Lagos and I’m happy to be a part of it, sometimes.
When I’m not a part of that, my immediate family live in England, so nothing gives me more joy than checking in with my family and friends overseas; updating each other on what’s on ground. Sometimes it feels like I’m still there.

What should we expect from you in say, two years from now?
Well, I’ve started on radio in Lagos and plan to establish myself on that platform; after that, the next step is to get into television. By then, all anonymity will be out the window.
Television should be a focal point in my broadcasting career, be it in Nigeria or Diaspora, it all works for me.If ever I’m in England, I’d hope to be recognised as an African Broadcaster, that’s what I want for myself- doing great, informative things in this industry.

Any last words for women that have been inspired by you?
Thank you so very much! I do not take any of it for granted. I hope women see that what they want is attainable and they themselves can do it.
Don’t be afraid to take risks and push yourself out of your comfort zone that might just be the step that leads you to your biggest accomplishment yet.
And know that all our lights shine just as bright. Not brighter than another’s but just as bright.

Interview by: Tobi Awodipe

For : Guardian Nigeria



Adeyinka Tekenah is the founder of one of Nigeria’s premier indigenous coffee franchises: Happy Coffee, and a recipient of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs Foundation award.

Adeyinka is a Bachelor of Arts graduate with high honors from the prestigious Harold Washington University, Chicago. She also went ahead to acquire a Business Management degree from the University of Phoenix.

Her career has traversed government, charity and business development. A life member of the Phi Theta Kappa honours roll call and Dean list, she serves as an advisory member of “Apple of All Nations Nigeria and UK” (a charity for the needy and fatherless).

She is currently the Business Designer for Ochaoptasia Limited and Lead Consultant for Reywal Ventures. Adeyinka previously served as a Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on CSR, PPP and MDG to the Amuwo Odofin LG Chairman.

She’s passionate about business designs and advancement leading to sustainable growth and development for African women.