#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

2019 is Here…Why It Should Not Be a Hundred Metres Dash

Photo – Wikipedia

The Count Down to the new year ended days ago and here we are already counting days! Don’t be alarmed or worried if you are yet to figure out your goals and plans. Perhaps you have a few things figured out already but don’t even know the moves to make or steps to take yet towards achieving your goals. Hey… take your time, it is not a hundred metres dash race! Slow and Steady will eventually win the race! 

SOMETIMES YOU DON’T HAVE TO START A NEW YEAR WITH A NEW GOAL-

Review the previous years projects and goals and see if you need to build /consolidate on things you started last year. Mostly we all think that there must be new goals and plans for the new year, this is not always necessary. You can expand on things you are already working on and achieve a higher level of growth and success.

Tips to Help you with Running Your Race this new year

  1. Take time out to think through what you want changed; what you want to achieve or acquire.
  2. Write down a list of the changes you want and what you want to achieve.
  3. Take a closer look and ask yourself, “What is really important to me right now?”. This is cutting down on your long list to help you arrive at the most productive and profitable goals that will help make your life better.
  4. Remember 2019 is personal to you – Yes you arrived in the new year with friends, family and colleagues, remember the Journey is personal to everyone.

Run your own race, stop that habit of comparing yourself with that of others around you. YOU REALLY DO NOT KNOW THEIR STRUGGLES!

5.When you become clear about what is really important to you, get specific about what you want to achieve in that particular area. For Example : One of my main goal and pursuit this year is, “Self Development”. So I sat down to think through and pen down what area of my life I want to develop. SKILLS- I want to learn more about video editing using my smartphone. Already I am checking out apps and reaching out to a friend who is good at this. FAITH – Plan my week every Sunday and decide on what book of the Bible to study and focus on for each week.

6. TAKE ACTION – It is not enough to know or be clear about what you want to achieve, you have to take action to make them happen. You don’t have to necessarily take a big leap; take small and simple steps to get you to making a reality of your dreams/goals. It can be as simple as making a call; reading a book about the new skill you want to acquire ; changing your diet, exercising more; building a better love life ; enrolling in a course or simply just getting out of bed everyday to do something.

7. Take time to connect with the divine and pray about your goals and what you want to see happen for you. I tell you there is a place for divine or supernatural help.
8. Love yourself; Love your life, Live your life.

2019 is not a hundred metres dash; run your race, slow and steady and win your race.

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

Who Says You Can Not Pursue Your Passion in the Woodworking Industry

The Woodworking Industry is as old as man; I mean most tools and houses were built from wood before the advent of bricks; the block making industry and other modern materials for making things. Are you one of the people who believe that the Woodworking industry is for men?

Well if you love to craft and working with woods to make things and you have been wondering whether it is a lucrative profession for women, then you need to meet these four amazing women!

I found their amazing story on the Sawinery Blog founded by Robert Johnson and thought I should beam the light towards the great achievements of these women. Meet the Four Woodworking Women and learn how you as a beginner can begin your journey into the profession using modern technologies. These women are blazing the trail here. Enough of my gist…Just head there already…Interesting stories

Interview with 4 Woodworking Women

Follow your Dream; Follow your Passion

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

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

Inspiring Thoughts for Thursday -To Earn More, Increase your Value

Me bringing value to my work and business. ☺️

What value are you bringing to that group, job, career, and office?

It is whatever Value that you are bringing that people pay for.

Where you are deficient, get people to help you.

Increase your value through self development. Take a course, go for a training ; Read a lot more… Just Learn something new.

One good way to increase your value is to take a look at the market trends, find out what new skills are been sourced for by business owners and organizations and acquire such skills. Reposition yourself for greatness!

Enjoy your day 😘

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

Start That Thing Now…Step Out – My Personal Story

Starting A Non-Governmental/Non-Profit Organization:
It’s been a long time coming. About 6years ago family, friends, and colleagues began to encourage me about starting and registering an NGO. My initial reaction was, “hey…No way”! But they won’t let me be because as far as they were concerned I was already engaged in a lot of advocacy work at the community level and in the media. And sincerely I wondered too about what kept me going. The cases and issues I led my team to handle still leaves me amazed when I look at the list of projects and lives the Lord enabled us to reach and touched. We spent our money and time and through advocacy efforts got support to –

  • Pay hospital bills of a teenage mum who was a child traffick victim and had just delivered her baby.
  • Got donation from groups like the University of Ibadan cooperative group to provide 50 delivery packs for vulnerable mothers, generator for a primary health centre and also got mattresses from Bode Foam Industry for two primary health centres.
  • Facilitated a seminar for school girls in public schools in Oyo state. Through the support of ARDA 20 of the girls got school support. Other organizations who supported this event were BLUE TAG, Crown Delight Communication etc.
  • We were able to take a homeless teenager and her baby off the street.
  • Two at-risk pregnant mothers were supported and through my team’s effort, they were delivered of their babies safely as we linked them to resources and followed through. I will not forget the organization Self Reliance Economic and Advancement Program(SEAP) who donated hugely to ensure that one of the women who was an accident victim was taken care of at the hospital. These and many other projects were accomplished by the team led by me.
  • Aside what I have led my team to achieve I continue to advocate for social change on issues through storytelling, writing & production of radio drama soap; awareness campaigns on reproductive health, speaking on leadership e.t.c. And I am right here blogging on Femininematerz.

I am grateful to my bosses in the organization I work for, The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Ibadan who supported my passionate team and I and encouraged us to pursue these projects as community engagement extension of the Abiye (maternal & child health) Radio education program. 

In spite of these success stories, still, I wasn’t convinced and would not budge about starting an NGO. In my opinion, I did not want to start one simply because I was privileged to have been involved in what looked like activities of an NGO. I was just leading my team to do what we could about affecting lives positively in our community. In fact, these activities inspired me to take a Master’s degree in Social Work.

Last year the burden in my heart to do more increase and I got a notebook and started to write down the areas I would like to work on in contributing to social change. I began to read up and ask questions from those working in the NGO space. The funny thing was that I found myself working with a number of NGOs like African Radio Drama Association, IMESO, NURHI, DEVCOMS, Onelife Initiative , UNICEF etc on different issues of social change, still it was a path I was terrified of following. Some of these projects were by association and some directly. And so the whole of last year I kept doing projects and also was finding out more about the NGO space.

2018 came with me being clear that I really needed to kick-start this idea and dream in my heart in order to be able to do more. Amazing things happened when I stepped out in faith. People supported me in no small ways and today Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative is registered and we are already recording progress in projects we have set out to do for the year. My team consist of people I call burden bearers and vision carriers. They keep pushing me and are making personal sacrifices to see to the achievement of goals we set out to achieve (Oluwaseun Omoakinola, Tosan Akinwole, Stella Oyebanji, Adeyemi Adetunji & Agnes) 

I believe in mentorship and so I am been mentored by Onelife Initiative and I am grateful for Sola Fagorusi who has a large heart and is showing me the ropes of how to work in the NGO space.

Our accomplishment so far since inception of Beehyve Initiative:

• We have been able to facilitate and give a free training for media personnel in Oyo state on “Creating contents for Social change”.
• We provide and share opportunities for self-development and training with media personnel.
• One of our objectives is to link and provide school support for indigent boys and girls. This we kick-started by procuring an application form to enroll a visually impaired boy in Pacelli School for the blind. This is on-going as we have begun to raise funds to enable us to meet the requirement for his enrolment.

Other Projects:

• Our next task/project is the Mentoring Across Gender project. We will be reaching out and have training for undergraduates, NYSC corp members, and secondary school students. The aim of this is to empower the youth with information and skills required to pursue their dreams, and careers to become great leaders in our society. We also have wrapped in this a project to mentors boys and young men specifically in order to raise men who respect women and speak out against all forms of gender-based violence.
• My passion lies in promoting women and girl ’s wellbeing and
so definitely we have projects designed to promote the health and rights of women.

They say dream big and here I am pursuing a very big dream to my mind. I will take it one day at a time and hopefully down the line, many changed lives will attest to the worthiness of Beehyve Initiative efforts.
I will keep you posted.

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

An Opportunity on a Notice Board- What She did with It.

A notice board on a national highway. Credits: Alamy.com

There are people that you meet and see every day and simply don’t know their story. They lift their heads each new day ready to make the best of the day. Opportunity comes once in a while and a window into someone’s life opens and then you are blown away by what you see and hear. I got such a rare opportunity with Nifesi (Not Real Name). She is one of our cleaners in my office (Why do I keep meddling?) and I heard something recently about her that lifted my spirits.

Nifesi’s Story – She dares to dream and pursue

I had a conversation with  Nifesi, who dared to pursue an opportunity she saw while sweeping on a notice board.

A week ago I heard that Nifesi now features on the station’s Language (Yoruba) news commentary and had even read a major news bulletin on one occasion. So when I had an opportunity to chat with her to find out more about what inspired her. The road to appearing in the news commentary report started with an announcement placed on the general notice board. Members of staff of the organization were asked to see the management and put their names down if they had skills in presenting Yoruba programs. Nifesi while sweeping the corridor saw the notice and something lite up in her head. “I can do this”, she said to herself.

Opportunities jump out in places least expected sometimes…pay attention and take your chance.

As soon as she was done cleaning, she went in search of everyone that matters and she was advised to start translating news bulletin in English to Yoruba. Nifesi started to practice translating this bulletin every day after her cleaning job. He would then show her translation to those experienced on the job. When she was ready to showcase what she could to, Nifesi approached the news director and programs director to beg them to allow her to read what she had translated. They listened at first politely not wanting to embarrass her. They told her to go and register her interest at the top management level. Nifesi kept going back and forth and would not stop until an audition was sanctioned. After this, others could now listen to what she could do and approved and fell in love with her voice.

You never know what you can do until you try, make that effort, go that extra mile

Even after this nod of approval that Nifesi had what it takes to translate and read news items in the Yoruba language nobody gave her a chance to come to the microphone. Nifesi kept on in hope doing her cleaning job while also still practicing translation of old news bulletin. A day came when those rostered for the news where unavoidably absent. Nifesi strolled in to pick a bulletin as usual to practice her translation and she was given the bulletin to be read for that day. She was trembling and very nervous, carrying out this task that she had dreamed of for months felt like been taken to the court to receive a life sentence. Nifesi in spite her nervousness took the challenge by the bull’s horns and faced it headlong. After featuring as the newsreader for that day, Nifesi received a lot of commendation and that is how she became a newsreader while still carrying out her duty as a cleaner who sweeps our offices and washes the toilet.

Keep pushing until you get a YES!!

I looked at Nifesi in admiration as she shared her story. I was curious and wanted to know more about her. My inquiry revealed that Nifesi while still working on her job as a cleaner had struggled to get a National Diploma(OND) at a Polytechnic as a part-time student. It was tough paying for her school fees. Nifesi would go cap in hand begging the school authority to allow her to pay in installments. Finally, she finished a course in Business Management. When I asked if she had collected her certificate Nifesi said she is yet to because she still owed the school a balance of her school fees. I hope she is able to raise the money because I sense that she may soon be ending her time as a cleaner.

You have what it takes to make that dream happen.

I raise my hands to salute a woman like Nifesi; a woman whom her husband abandoned because they had trouble with bearing children. A strong woman determined to move on with her life and pursue her dreams and goals in spite of her many trials and challenges.

YOU WILL MAKE IT, NEVER BELIEVE LESS OF YOURSELF.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)