#1 An Inspiring Story – Sitting in Front of the Mirror She Dreamed of the Future She Wanted

At the 2018 African Women in the Media (AWIM) Conference I met many women with inspiring stories. One of them was Maimuna Kolo, the first Female Press Secretary to serve the deputy governor of her state in Minna. We laughed together as she shared a little glimpse from her journey into getting to her present work. Life has dealt her some blows as she lost her first husband yet she rises above her loss to become the formidable woman she now is. Let me share with you a bit from my interview with her.

Maimuna Kolo:  I grew up in Jos. While in Jos, my first husband passed on may his soul rest in peace and I moved to Minna where I remarried. Broadcast journalism has always been my passion ever since I was a little girl. I will sit in front of the mirror, start reading story books, practicing how to read the news. At that time one of my role models was Bimbo Roberts, I loved the way she read the news. So I wanted to be that kind of person. When I was writing my JAMB, my dad, may his soul rest in peace, didn’t want me to go into the media because of the stigma that is attached to women in the media. But I was stubborn, he didn’t know and I put in for Mass Communication. And that was the course I studied even though he was not happy. But I wish he was alive now to see where I am now and what I have become.

A.A: Did you ever work for a media organization

Maimuna: I worked for the state TV. I was a producer, presenter, and a news reader. When I moved from Jos to Minna and I got the job at the state television, at the interview I was asked about how many years of working experience I had. I said none. And they said, “we mean where have you worked before?” I said, “I have never worked before” because my late husband didn’t want me to work and this is my first time working. It was after his death that I moved to Minna. They were so surprised because when I auditioned I read the news perfectly. They thought I had experience but It was all about my love and passion for the job.

A.A: In other words, you are saying if a woman reading this now has a dream, regardless of whether she has experience or not, she should just step out?!

Maimuna: She should strongly step out! She shouldn’t let her dreams die. Like I told my children, at a point in time, “I have lived my life for you but now I want to live my life, I don’t want life to pass me by”.

So if you have that passion for anything, you should step out; don’t let anybody kill your dream. Make your dream come true. – Maimuna Kolo

A.A: Fantastic, so how did you land this job as the first female press secretary to the deputy governor of your state?

Maimuna: Since the creation of the state no woman has ever held that kind of position. Actually, I have never met the deputy governor until I was appointed as his Press Secretary. I didn’t lobby or beg for it but I remember saying it some time to someone that I wished to be the press secretary; maybe the right people heard about it, I don’t know. But I was just sitting in my office when I was summoned to the government office to come and collect and appointment letter. I was surprised and wondered but I went anyway and that was how I got my letter.

A.A: Some people say nothing just happens; you must have done something or sowed some good seeds. Were you covering bits at the statehouse as a reporter?

Maimuna: Honestly I wasn’t. I was just doing my thing as a producer, presenter, and newsreader on my station, I have never worked in the government house.

A.A: So we can say providence smiled on your hard work.

Maimuna: (Laughing) Yea, you could say that and I am not a politician nor have I ever been a part of politics.

A.A: How is life now as a press secretary? Being the woman, how do you manage the men that have to work with you in working for the deputy governor? How do you manage your time and the challenges?

Maimuna: It has not been easy because when I first got the appointment, the men were not ready to accept me as their boss. An interesting thing happened; a man worked up to me and congratulated me for my appointment as the Press secretary to the wife of the deputy governor. I smiled and said no, I am the Press secretary for the deputy governor. The man gave me a cynical look and said aloud, “No, A woman, Is impossible! I responded and said, Yes! A woman, I am the Press Secretary and it is happening”. I have 13 men working in my team; they make up my cameramen, photographer, managers of public address systems, the driver and more. They were all not corporative at first but I devised a method to put them under control. We had a meeting and some were even rude to me but I didn’t mind but I finally managed to get them to work with me.

A.A: How did you do that? Did you make them your friends or wielded your authority wand? (Laughing)

Maimuna: I used both. I became friends with them because if I don’t make them my friends they would not give me what I want on the job. If any of them fell ill or had a wedding ceremony I honor them by paying a visit and being a part of their celebrations, sometimes I ask about their wellbeing, wives, and children.

A.A: That is a beautiful leadership principle, using a leadership style that cares for staff members. How do you manage the odd hours of work?

Maimuna: Sometimes I have to leave home as early as 5am to meet up with my team for an assignment. At other times a travel assignment comes up after I must have left for work, then I would have to call my husband to inform him; pack my things and we are off.

A.A: So your job as a Press Secretary demands that you travel all the time, Is your husband supportive of you?

Maimuna: He is very supportive of what I do and even encourages me. He is also a journalist who works with NTA international and knows what the job entails.

A.A: (Laughing) And I guess the money too that comes with being a Press Secretary. Alright, your final words for women who have a busy schedule. I have had conversations where people believe that if a woman wants to become a politician, her home will suffer and In fact, Widows are better for such roles.

Maimuna: There is no woman job, there is no man job. If a woman has a passion for whatever please go out and live your dream. Some women shy away from taking on certain roles. For on my job when we travel in a convoy I happen to be the only woman.

There is no woman job, there is no man job. If a woman has a passion for whatever, please go out and live your dream. – Maimuna Kolo

A.A: What are you doing to encourage other women to come on board?

Maimuna: I mentor female youth corps members posted to my office and engage them even after their service year giving them some stipend to manage until they get a job. I also have a female journalist in my former office that I have brought on board to work with me in the government house.

Making Visible women in Leadership Positions or Aspiring. 

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

16 YEAR OLD GIRL MENTORING OTHER GIRLS – LAUNCHES AN “ALL GIRLS MUST GO TO SCHOOL PROJECT ”

In Nigeria, it is estimated that 23% of women aged 15-19years have begun childbearing and 32% of teenagers in rural areas have become young mothers, according to the Demographic Health Survey of 2013. One of the focal points of discussion at the just concluded family planning conference in Nigeria which took place on the 3rd – 6th of December, 2018 in Nigeria is the prevention of teenage pregnancy and promotion of adolescent reproductive health rights.

Youth and Adolescents were given the opportunity to speak up about their health needs so policymakers can put in place services to meet these needs. As part of efforts to make visible the works of young people making an impact in their communities, 5 young people shared their innovative work as it relates to reproductive health needs of adolescents and young persons. The youngest of them, to give a pitch about her work was 16 years old, Peace Ayo Adegbola. It was heartwarming seeing this young determined girl doing something to make the lives of others better.

Peace giving a pitch about her work with girls in her community.

Peace Adegbola is a role model to other adolescent girls in her community. She equips girls with life skills and information necessary to curb teenage pregnancy. She shared the story of her journey into becoming girls advocate in this interview with me.

A.A: Tell us your name

Peace: My name is Peace Ayo Adegbola

A.A: So are you a student?

Peace: Yes I’m a student. I just wrote my WAEC, waiting for admission into the university. I am a girl advocate and I’m 16 years old.

A.A: What steered you up in that direction?

Peace & Her Dad

Peace: My daddy works with Society for family health and so he goes to rural communities to educate these young girls about the importance of family planning. Sometimes he normally takes me along. When I go to these communities I find that the majority of these adolescent girls are not in school. Boys are going to school and a majority of the girls are at home. I was just 10 years old so I started asking questions, became anxious and wanted to do something about this. I felt like if a 10year old girl Like me is outspoken, I wanted other girls to be too and I decided to be an advocate. And my dad inspired me, the communities I have been to and what the girls are passing through.

A.A: That was how you started the girls club?

Peace sharing her story in a quick interview with Adebisi

Peace: The girls club actually started as a self-esteem session with the girls. I launched a project on “All Girls must go to School” which targeted girls that are not in school to ensure that these girls go to school. We have about 200 girls are now in school as a result and come this September more girls will be enrolled. I needed a sustainability plan to keep these girls in school. I found out that something so simple as self-esteem makes them drop out of school. So I created a small group where I talk to these young girls. At first, it was just the girls we were sponsoring to school.

A.A: How are you funding this sponsorship?

Peace: Strong Enough Girls are my key partners, Youth Hub Africa, and so many partners and some individuals that buy into the idea.

A.A: Going forward where do you see this? Are you intending to fully make a career of development work?

Peace: Yes! Because my partner, who happens to be my dad, and I currently jointly own an organization. It is something I want to do for life; it’s something that even though I do other things, this is one thing I will never leave. This is service to humanity and girls like me. I believe so much in their potentials.

A.A: Your advice for girls, adults and especially parents.

Peace: My advice to young girls is that there is time for everything; take it one step at a time. And if you have made some mistakes don’t use it to judge yourself or pull yourself back. The thing about making mistakes or falling down is for you to know the right way to take. My advice to parents is that they should have a close relationship with their kids and to actually open up. Tell them about sexual reproductive issues. Talk to your child about hygiene, menstrual hygiene. Do not code things and give wrong information, for example, say that “if a boy touches you, you will get pregnant, No! Tell them that it is sex that gets a girl pregnant. Prepare them so they will make the right choices.

Adolescent and youth health needs is a must attend to.

Someone mentored Peace Aydegbola right and now she, in turn, has become a mentor and role model to other girls in her community, nipping teenage pregnancy in the bud and inspiring girls to go to and finish school.

One person can make a huge difference

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

What You require to start & grow your business -Interview With Mrs. Temilola Adepetun, Chief Executive Officer, School Kits Limited.

Mrs. Temilola Adepetun

At School Kits Limited head office in Gbagada, Lagos, I waited patiently to meet the CEO in one of the offices to extend my appreciation for the generous donation of school items for visually impaired young Samuel, a beneficiary of the Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative school support project, I and my team initiated.

A door opens and in came a beautiful woman. She had a simple demeanor to her personality and as we were introduced, she welcomed me warmly. I couldn’t have guessed that she was the Chief executive officer of the company. Mrs. Temilola Adepetun chatted away with me like we had known each other for ages. Now that is the kind of CEO I would like to be. As I thanked her on behalf on my team and me for supporting our efforts in giving this vulnerable child access to quality education and an empowered future; I felt Mrs. Adepetun passion as she responded and talked about the need to give back to our society as privileged citizens.

I became curious about how she started her company, School Kits Limited which had now grown to have 3 outlets in Lagos and one in Abuja. My nose for news picked up the smell for a great and inspiring story and so I asked her to share her story.

Me: I would love to know what inspired the idea that birthed, School Kits Limited

Temilola Adepetun: Many years ago my first son got admission into secondary school and I had to shop for the things he needed. Back then I worked in the Oil and Gas industry and had a very busy schedule. I had to visit about five different markets to get everything my son needed. It was stressful and so I thought to myself, “isn’t there a shop that has everything one needed for school”? I mean for parents like me who had such a busy schedule, it will be a great relief.

Me: After that thought crossed your mind, what did you do with the idea?

Temilola Adepetun: I remembered a few shops that I shopped in while doing my A-levels in England between 1977 and 1979; this made me think that it was possible to replicate such a shop here in Nigeria. I put down my thought on paper and spoke to a few friends who were enthusiastic about it and said that it was doable. Soon afterward in the year 2000, as another school session was about to begin, I collected my son’s school list and got a few friends to also share their children’s list with me. Then I traveled to Dubai to get the items and a few more. On getting back I decided to hold an exhibition to test the market. I sent out notices to parents of different PTA directorates and friends; it turned out to be a huge success. And in September, that same year, the company was Incorporated and opened her first outlet to the public at Onikan, Lagos.

Me: Surely the ride hasn’t been a smooth one, how have you managed the challenges that come with running a business and company?

Temilola Adepetun: Passion for what I do and the service I provide which is to offer a one-stop shop for parents and students keeps me going. It feels rewarding that I am able to meet the needs, my customers. The company has also evolved and grown over time. A time came when the company became much bigger than what I could handle alone and so I engaged a business strategy consultant to help restructure the business. That step created room for hiring a Chief Operating Officer for the company. It is a move that has produced great results and we have expanded to having different arms at School Kits. Apart from providing wholesales; we now operate our own cloth production line and we are still expanding.

A few  take away points about what is required to step out and start your own thing/business that stood out for me as I had this conversation with Mrs. Adepetun:

  1. Ideas can pop up from your own life experience and needs.
  2. Write down your thoughts, brainstorm about your idea and share with trusted friends.
  3. Try to think about where you have seen a prototype of your idea that worked.
  4. Be creative with your idea and step out; test your idea.
  5. Once you achieve success in operating your idea on a small scale, start your business.
  6. Get registered and be visible to the public so clients can find you.
  7. As you grow and expand don’t try to do it all alone, hire experts and professionals who will compliment and provided the required skills for your growing company.

School Kits prides herself in providing quality Uniforms and school items to cater for needs of the parents and students population

Company Goal: Be a Household name and “The Go to Company”

School Kits: Everything you need to kit for schoolTemilola Adepetun

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Principal Producer (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Guest Interview: A Political Scientist Clicking Away with Her Camera

My eyes, ears, and heart are always tuned to catch real-life stories at events, training or workshops. So here was I trying to take a few photos at a Management and Leadership conference for Female Journalists; this lady kept bumping into me or was it me interfering with her professional photography work. And look at me holding a simple Android phone trying to take my amateur pictures😀 After bumping into her a few times the light in my head turned on! 🌞🌞 The writer in me asked, “what’s her story? So here I am ready to bring this beautiful damsel’s story to you. An interesting, down to earth chat it was. Enjoy meeting this talent. 

Interview :
Me: What is your name? Any brand or pet name?

Tiwa: My name is Tiwatope Badmus… My brand name is Tiwa Badmus Photography.

Me: Could you share the schools you attended?

Tiwa: I had my secondary school at Adesina College, Ibadan.
Then I proceeded to the University of Ibadan where I studied Political Science.

Me: What was growing up like for you

Tiwa: Growing up for me was two-sided… We used to leave somewhere that I termed as a ghetto. I learned a whole lot as a young girl of 5. Street fights and drinking was the order of the day.  so I learned a lot of self-defense. I was a really gentle kid growing up.Then by age 6, we moved to a new environment where our movement was restricted then I became the ‘get inside’ kinda kid. I was a very shy girl throughout my secondary school days. But as soon as I entered the university I began to build up the courage to meet and approach people.

Me: Photography! How did you get into photography, what was your motivation?

Tiwa: Photography has always been in me. I remembered as a secondary school student how I used to save my lunch money so I can go take pictures with my friends… How I used to capture the sun moon and stars with my First camera phone which was a Nokia C1.
My Motivation: When I was in 300L at the university there was this very long ASUU strike that broke out and I decided to learn Photography as a passion and then it became my career path.

Me: Do you do anything else besides photography?

Tiwa: Right now, I don’t do any side jobs… I only do photography.

Me: Is it lucrative, I mean pay your bills?

Tiwa: Photography is a very lucrative job.. Especially when it comes to events. I have met several people I would have never imagined if I was on other jobs within a short span of time.

Me: What has been your challenge following this career path?

Tiwa: The first challenge was procuring all the necessary equipment… OMG!!! Photography can be a very expensive biz to start with. Getting clients too was another challenge but when you know what you are doing and they see your work, they will eventually want you to work for them. As a female photographer, I have had experiences of some sexually related insults like a guy was trying to hit me on my back(bum) the other day.

Me: When you feel like giving up, stressed out, what keeps you going?

Tiwa: My passion for the job keeps me going. Most of the time I don’t look at the money. I work because I enjoy what I do which is why I am into so many voluntary groups.

Me: So if I want to become a photographer like you *wink, what do I need to do?

Tiwa: What you need to be a good photographer is in You. You need just your eyes to see something picture worthy of your environment. And then you need to be creative with that you can get behind the cameras and shoot your shot!!! It doesn’t take long to learn if you put your mind to it. In the space of 2 weeks, you can start shooting!

Me: You must have a favorite food…

Tiwa: My favorite food will always be Amala with Abula as a core Yoruba girl that I am 😃

Me: What is your parting word for young people like yourself especially ladies?

Tiwa: Believe in yourself, believe you can do it… Birth your dreams in Prayers. Don’t ever let anyone talk you down from following your passion.
You are strong
You are powerful
You are beautiful!!!

Me: I am so having fun and enjoying your story but hey we to wrap it up somehow😀. On a final note, what else would you like to share about yourself?

Tiwa: I am a Christian and I love God with all my heart.

Me: Don’t go away without giving out your social media handles

Tiwa: Instagram @tiwabadmus_photography
Facebook page @tiwabadmus_photography
Twitter @i_am_tiwatope
Thank you very much for the opportunity, ma’am. I do not take this for granted… I am so very grateful🙏🙏🙏

Hope you enjoyed meeting Tiwa? Go leave your dream, don’t let anything stop you!

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant, Radio Drama.
Catch me on Twitter @DebisiBusybee
Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Celebrating a Woman: Yinka Bode – Are (A photo Journalist)

Photojournalism is an art which takes time to build. They tell stories of real people, real life situations. A picture always tells the story better than words and you never forget it. Your mind’s eye captures the message. A photo-journalist can stir up action more quickly than many words of appeal will do.

I met this fantastic woman wearing a plain wine shirt on a simple trouser at a journalist training workshop(Writing Feature Stories on Family Planning) facilitated by DEVCOMS/NURHI. She looked all ready for work and moved smartly while walking alongside her. When we introduced ourselves I got to know that she is a photojournalist. I was fascinated and very soon she showed her skills clicking away with her camera taking different angles in an attempt to capture our own workshop story.

I simply could not pass up the opportunity to know a little more about this fellow woman journalist. So here are a few things I came away with from my chat with her.

Meet Yinka Bode-Are a photojournalist with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Yinka has been practicing for over 25 years now. 

What she finds interesting about her job: Working in what is considered a men’s terrain as a photo-journalist

Challenges on the job: Yinka sees no challenge too big to surmount. In her words, “I love what I do”.

Do male photo- journalist have any issues with you : The people I meet really appreciate me for what I do. Sometimes I hear people say that I do a better job with my photos than my male counterpart.

Married? Yes I am happily married

How do you manage your family life & work: My family understands what my job entails. In this profession, I don’t have public holidays and I work sometimes 12hrs a day.

Kudos to this hard working woman.

You can live your dream; You can be anything…The world is waiting for you!! At least I am *wink*😀😀

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Meet Temi Olajide – Business Consultant, Productivity Strategist & Coach for Women

Temi, Studied chemistry at the university of Ilorin and performed brilliantly so much that she was encouraged to become a lecturer.  Temi instead went further to get certification in project management ; Introduction to media and journalism in London school of media and journalism; and Diploma in graphic design. Temi has also taken many short courses in business management.

Now she runs her own businesses and their family business in partnership with the love of her life(Husband).

A peep into her businesses

Temi: I run an initiative called Dreamwithtemi – The Chicmumpreneurs Academy, where I teach and empower busy mums who want to start or grow a business along the home-front to achieve business and life success .

I also run an Online makeup school as a side business to also teach and empower women to learn how to “do it yourself”. This helps women to save money while looking glam all the time on their own terms.

How did you get here

Temi: I started doing business while in school and had plans to work for myself after graduation. When I got married our families adviced that I get a job while my husband runs his business so I got a job with a bank. Working in the corporate world enabled me gather some experience and I later resigned to join my husband in running our busines. This enables me to manage my time and my home well.

How long have you been running your business with your husband
Temi: I’m married to my best friend of 17yrs,  Olawale Olajide , a lawyer and entrepreneur . We are blessed with two beautiful children. We’ve being running our family business officially for about 12years now, though we’ve been doing small businesses alongside for about 16years after we started dating in school.We try as much as possible not to allow our emotions and relationship as a couple get in the way of our business.

Has is it been easy running a business as a couple

Temi: It was very challenging at the beginning but we’ve been able to put all that aside and work with each other’s strength and it gets better now each day.
What else do you do

Temi: I  blog on http://www.urbanfixmakeupacademy.com/blog under dreamwithtemi umbrella on women related topics, but haven’t done so in a while since I began to do videos.

Lifes Motto – You can only experience true happiness and fulfillment when you discover and run with your purpose.

What is your best meal

Temi: My best meal is Eba and vegetable soup, but I can actually eat it with any soup even ordinary stew, Lol.

Social media handles
http://www.urbanfixmakeupacademy.com/onlineschool
Instagram- http://www.instagram.com/dreamwithtemi
http://www.instagram.com/urbanfixmakeupacademy

I met Temi at a training and she is an interesting personality with so much to offer women about how to succeed even as mums

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

Guest Interview : Toyin Odedele-Odugbesan (WhatsupIbadan) / CEO Geomeridien

At an on-going training for Social Media Bloggers on Effective Family Planning Projection organized by DEVCOMS NETWORK, I met this fantastic Lady doing great things.

Her story is real, funny and inspiring for every woman out there and even men.

I will sum up her story with these words:

Where you think there is nothing, therein lies your future

Toyin Odedele-Odugbesan is the co-founder of a blog platform named: WhatsupIbadan where she works alongside her husband as Marketing manager. Toyin is also the CEO Geomeridien travel and tours business intertwined with community service.

How did she get here?
Toyin was offered a Diploma admission into the Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State Nigeria to study Transport and Management. It was not what her heart was set on doing but you know how parents will want their child to start any available course instead of waiting at home to write JAMB again. This will mean another year of wait.

Toyin’s words: My first thought when I was offered this course (Transport & Management) was the “Agberos”(Bus conductors) or at best a Taxi Cab driver. For like three months I didn’t attend classes.

It was like she had been sentenced to the worst kind of course which had no future prospect little did she know that therein laid her dream career ticket.

Bisi: So what changed things for you?
Toyin: My first-semester result was bad. I barely passed, this woke me up. I, therefore, determined to study hard. As time passed by and I came to a realization that transportation covered is a wide field and offers me an array of career opportunities. I found out that there were different categories of transport such as Land, Air, Water, Cargo to Ship. I discovered that I could work in Customs service, VIO, Ministry of works and transport, tourism and much more. Soon I fell in love with my course.

Initially, she thought of studying Economics at the BSc level after finishing her diploma instead she went further with a degree in Transport and Management.

Bisi: What happened after your first degree?
Toyin: The Tourism aspect of my course struck me most and it became my passion this led me to do a Masters in Tourism and Hospitality Management in India.

Bisi: What did it feel like studying in a foreign country?
Toyin: At first it was difficult adjusting to the new culture. I found my way gradually and began to mingle. Where I come from we greet everyone but I noticed people kept to themselves. I started to take the initiative to say hello to people I meet every day from the security man to the gadner and my schoolmates too. People began to warm up to me. Over there in India far away from home, I engaged in community service visiting Orphanage homes and even organized a summer event that brought rich and poor children’s children together. This I did in collaboration with my colleagues in school, lecturers who bought into our idea. It was a rich rewarding and fulfilling time.

Bisi: When did you start your business?
Toyin: All these community service activities inspired me to start my Travels and Tours business back in India even as a student. Now we are also here in Nigeria. Our business name is Geomeridien Travels & Tours.

Bisi: So what is next for you?
Toyin: I continue to look for ways I can reach out more to my communities and make a difference.

Bisi: Your Life’s Motto/Inspiration

Toyin: What you give to life is what life gives back to you.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)