Molped Feature on Odunayo Eweniyi: Co-Founder, PiggyVest

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Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections. 

About Odunayo Eweniyi

Odunayo Eweniyi is the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of PiggyVest. She previously co-founded pushcv.com, one of the largest job sites in Africa with the largest database of pre-screened candidates. She has 5 years’ experience in Business Analysis and Operations and is a First-Class graduate of Computer Engineering, Covenant University, Nigeria.

She was named one of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 Technology in 2019 and one of 30 QuartzAfrica Innovators 2019. She sits on the advisory board of TrainFuture, an education technology company based in Switzerland, as well as the Gender Lens Acceleration Best Practices Initiative, a collaborative effort of Village Capital, US and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi). 

In 2019, she was named SME Entrepreneur of the Year West Africa by The Asian Banker’s Wealth and Society and she is the youngest Nigerian on Forbes Africa list of 20 New Wealth Creators in Africa 2019.

Odunayo was also one of the featured speakers at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meeting in 2019. She is one of Business Day’s Spark 2019 Women to Watch and made the World Women in Fintech Power List for 2017; the YNaija Most Influential People in Technology 2017 and 2018. She is a 2018 Westerwelle Young Entrepreneurs fellow; and she is a recipient of The Future Africa Awards Prize in Technology 2018.

In honour of her work, she was named one of 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria 2019 by Leading Ladies Africa, one of 50 most visible women in Tech by Tech Cabal in 2019. She is also included on the #YTech100 2019 list of the brightest Nigerian technocrats. She is the Her Network Technology Woman of The Year 2019. She was also voted The Most Influential Young Nigerian in Science and Technology 2019.

She works to support the inclusion of women in technology by working with hubs and female-focused networks like For Creative Girls, GreenHouse Labs, She Leads Africa, Itanna etc. She is also the cofounder of the women’s community, Wine and Whine Nigeria.

You can connect with Odunayo on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

What does friendship mean to you?

Well to me, friendship means mutual understanding and reciprocity. I like to think of all my friendships as safe spaces that are characterized by genuineness, shared values and free of ignorance and discrimination.

Can you tell us of a time when any of your girlfriends connected you with a career or business opportunity?

Yes actually, in a previous life I was a part-time tech journalist and my friend, Dami, connected me with a well-paying, writing gig at an international magazine. I even ended up working there for well over a year.

Is there a time when your friend(s) helped you through a difficult situation in your career?

I have a  young career, so no difficult situations have stood out there, but my friends are constantly helping me out of sticky situations, and outside of work, they always come through for me.

How many women do you have in your power circle, and why did you choose them?

I have five women in my power circle and the thing is, I wouldn’t say I chose them, as much as they accepted me for who I am. As a person with Asperger’s syndrome, I am definitely an acquired taste.

So these five women, who are actually angels really, have moved through life with me with an understanding of who I am and I, them. But in addition to that, we share values, and despite having varied and many different goals, we work towards it together by supporting each other.

How do you think young women can network with other women to achieve career success?

To be honest, I think that would be much the same as they network with anyone else. There’s really no special way to relate with women. I think if you just treat people in general with empathy and respect, then you’re well on your way.

What is your fondest memory of you and your girlfriends, from when you first began your careers?

I actually started having girlfriends, or friends at all, after I started my career. So the memories we built, were built after we all started working and were at many different points in our lives.

Finally, what advice/tips do you have for young career women, to help them build and maintain valuable relationships with other women?

I think this is really general advice to maintain valuable relationships with everyone. It’s this simple, have empathy, have respect and always pay it forward. 

To add a caveat though, I 100% believe that female friendships save lives, so I definitely encourage young women to have specifically female support systems. But just overall, move through the world treating people fairly, whether you want from them or you’re giving to them.

#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


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How To Position Yourself For The Job Market

Entering the job market can be an exciting and daunting experience. It’s a different stage in one’s life.

You realize the same rules and orders you abide by during your school days are different after school. To become part of the workforce, you’ve got to be tactical and intentional, especially with your network.

Use these tips to position yourself for the job market and kick off your career.

Have A Professional Online Presence

In case you haven’t gotten the memo yet, adulting means social media is not just for fun anymore.

Prospective employers are constantly looking to find out about the best candidate for a job. That means yes, employers will Google search on you.

Share posts that highlight your skills and talents. The more people are aware of your capabilities, the better positioned you are. Employers need to know that you could be their best hire. Give them all the evidence to believe so.

Build Work Experience

It’s the age-old dilemma – how can you enter the workforce for the first time and be expected to have some experience already?

Before you can get your first official job, your resume does not have to be empty. You can build work experience by interning, volunteering, joining school clubs, and having applicable hobbies. For example, if you want to write for a magazine, list that personal blog you’ve spent 3 years on.

Attend Networking Events

Networking is essential especially if you want to get employed. By attending networking events, you put yourself right in the position to meet people who could be the contacts needed for the dream job.

JOIN THE MOTHERLAND MOGUL INSIDER PROGRAM TO NETWORK WITH OTHER WOMEN

Who you know matters. Having the best grade is not enough to get you the job. Having someone who can vouch for you is an invaluable asset to your job search.

Be Able To Tell Your Story

To best prepare yourself for the workforce, you have to get ready to talk about yourself.

Get comfortable with discussing your strengths before you get to the interview. Write down your accomplishments, challenges you have been able to manage, and failures you’ve overcome.

When you have your points, put them together like an elevator pitch and test it out at networking events.

Remember that for all the NOs you’ll get, you only need one YES. Stay intentional and find a job that will help you get to the next stage of your career.


Need help with your career? Join the Motherland Mogul Insider program for courses to get you started. Sign up here.

Top 5 technical and practical skills you need to land a job in the Communications Industry

Because I know how to write convincingly, speak in a clear, concise and catchy manner and make pretty lifestyle aesthetics— I made £800.00 one week in one of Africa’s poorest capital cities — Freetown, Sierra Leone.

As long as capitalism reigns free— the comms industry will always be hiring! The word “communications”, is a broad umbrella term for many specific roles and jobs that all revolve around conveying information.

If you like to talk a lot, love pretty looking things, and a fast-paced lifestyle— this sector is for you!

It’s the digital golden era, and many African millennial women are turning to this sector. This is an industry that underpins the side hustle of many resourceful sisters with a side hustle.

From selling home-blended essential oils on ‘the gram’ to vlogging about sexual and reproductive health.

According to Biz Community Africa, trends in advertising across the continent show an increase in market competition across African markets. Nigeria, Kenya and Ivory Coast have joined South Africa as large regional advertising hubs.

And though the rise of middle classes across the continent remains contested, the market strategy has been heavily sought after in the telecommunications, financial, FMCG and transportation industries.

Despite literacy and digital literacy rates varying greatly across the continent— the comms industry is on the rise!

The communications industry spans a wide range of sectors including television, film, radio, media and digital design, marketing, advertising, branding, public relations, and promotions, publishing, journalism, consulting and more recently social media.

There are broad communications skills that every communications professional should have to be successful in each of these sectors.

And, there are also specific technical and practical skills that will set you apart from others when applying for jobs in specialized departments at corporations, consultancy firms, creative agencies, government ministries, NGOs and all other organizations that have a communications department.

Here are five skills, I’ve found essential for a comms professional in Africa— specifically if looking to focus on marketing, branding, and advertising.

Market analysis and strategy

If you can evidence this on your LinkedIn and CV then you’ll get an interview. Companies want to know that you understand that the main reason they even have a communications unit— is to sell things!

You are essentially the new fancy term for a marketer! Since door-to-door sales do not work anymore, you need to find out what does!

Market analysis means knowing your target market, analyzing their consumer behavior and their psyches, and then developing strategies to make them believe they need to buy into the lifestyle and ethos (the brand) of the company.

If you can throw around the term ‘customer psychographics’ and actually know what you’re talking about, then your interviewer will hire you! To develop this skill you can take an introduction to marketing class on Coursera. No funds? No problem! I once took a class for free on Coursera by applying for their course scholarships.

All you have to do is fill out a form that states you’re “kinda broke right now, that’s why you need courses and a job”, and through this form, you’ll be applying to take a course on Coursera for free. Good luck.

The ultimate wordsmith

A comms professional is ultimately someone who can convince men to buy tampons, using three words. If it’s in marketing, publishing or PR— you’ve got to be able to create and/or spot powerful work that will have your desired impact on audiences.

Basic rules for writing include: know your medium (are you writing for TV, radio, social media, an advertisement, a sales pitch, a newspaper?), know your audience, and lastly— be clear, concise and striking.

There are a million ways to write a million things, that fit into the right boxes for the right type of comms. When you decide what your niche of comms is— take the correct writing class for it!

Whether you are pitching, writing or selling— your job is to tell a story. So tell the best damn story there is!

Basic media design skills

Today everything is digital. Everything is visual and everything is about aesthetic. Design is key, especially with the rise of social media.

When starting off as a comms officer, assistant or freelance consultant, you will not have the budget nor the authority to outsource to a creative agency.

This is not relevant for working in PR, nor radio— but in the world of advertising and branding, you will first have to make various media content yourself. Basic free online software like Canva and Mavis should be good enough to start with.

Of course, you will need a decent enough camera, but luckily these days everyone has a smartphone! Most smartphones today have cameras that can substitute for a DSLR and can download multiple media editing apps.

Wipe your camera lenses, download a bunch of apps, gather a wealth of media content of the specific things needed for your industry (e.g. a bunch of foodie pics, or the hottest tourist spots in your city, or natural landscapes)— and develop a website (use Wix) or some social media platforms— may be even a podcast!

You can submit this with your CV to work in the following roles: the communications officer for the ministry of tourism in your country, the contributor of an online art and culture journal, or the strategic communications assistant at a company/creative agency.

For those looking to go into something highly specialized like graphic design, you might want to take an online or university course on Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Premiere Pro. Companies and creative agencies are always looking to hire graphic designers (freelance or in the house) and this is usually a fun and exciting job.

Creativity and originality

Know your country, know your industry, know your market— then do and be different within context!

Remember you can be a comms professional within any other industry from agriculture to mining, financial/banking, government, or retail. The industry you’re in will most likely have an institutionalized way of reaching its target demographic.

When you enter the comms industry, you have to know everything that's already be done and use this to your advantage. Learn more… Click To Tweet

You can build on existing successful methods, but it is always worth it to people who go the extra mile.

Make sure your company is doing something new. It can be something as simple as using focus groups for market research (not a lot of African markets do this), or something like tapping into a new market that your competitors don’t traditionally consider.

This will give you a total market share of a whole new (and seek large) consumer base. But make sure that you know why your company can target this market, despite others in the industry have strayed from it.

To be creative and original, try to see an opportunity to communicate via everything in your daily life— use poetry, use construction workers, use sign language—  the street hawkers, the schoolboys always playing football, and the grandmothers always dressed in grand booboos and Prada sunglasses (but play Jay-Z in the background).

Sometimes, those who don’t usually get airtime, are the ones who attract the most attention on the screen, when communicating corporate messages.

Indulge your quirky thoughts!

Self-confidence and discipline

Comms professionals tend to be bubbly, extroverted, naturally talented multitaskers who crave exciting work filled with high salaries, travel, and adventure.

All this can be yours, but you have to understand office politics and competition— and protect your magic!

This is a cut-throat industry wherein you can be here today and gone tomorrow. But it’s also one of the most fun and rewarding industries to be a part of.

If you’re going to climb your way to the top and live your best life when you get there— you have to be bold and believe in your light!

You have to keep tight schedules and make multiple lists of tasks to achieve. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals— and hold yourself to each task.

In the world of comms, where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? Do you want to be the next Bozoma Saint-John?

Well then, you’ve got to believe in yourself and work even harder than she does!


Need some more FREE downloadable guides from SLA? Click here.

WANT TO BE A BETTER MANAGER? KEEP THESE 3 THINGS IN MIND

Being a boss babe leader and managing others is not easy.  I remember when I was first starting off as a manager, and I had to make my first hires.

I overthought everything.  

I did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but at the same time, I wanted to get the most out of the people I hired. 

Here are three basic statements I kept in mind when reflecting on my ability to engage and mobilize anyone working with me.  

They are useful to think about whether you manage one intern or twenty individuals.


1. Understand the goals and aspirations of each member of your team.

I used to think that I had to approach each member of my team the same.  I would provide them the same information and respond to them in similar ways, expecting the same output from each. It did not get me very far.  

Each person needs to be treated as an individual. Understanding how each member of your team ticks will help you get the most out of them.

If you know how to acknowledge and recognize each member, you will know how best to motivate and communicate with them.  

With just a bit of work and understanding, you can get a lot more out of a team member, because you will be speaking their language. No two people are motivated the same way, so you cannot always expect the same result from different individuals.

If you are an employee…

  • Tell your manager what motivates you.
  • Tell them what you want to get out of your experience working with them and how you prefer to be approached.
  • If you are confused about your role or objectives, ask or show them what you think they should be.

They might not always listen, but you can at least demonstrate how self-aware you are. Some managers will appreciate it.

Those who don’t probably shouldn’t be managers.

2. Each member of your team knows what you expect, and where they are in terms of performance

I was notorious and continued to have issues with communicating what I want from others.  Even when we think we have done an excellent job, we usually have not.

Making sure each member of your team understands their place (even if it changes monthly) is key to making sure you are getting the most out of them.  

They should be getting feedback from you regularly, and you should periodically inquire about making sure they are on the right track.

If they are not, its either you haven’t done an excellent job being explicit or the role does not suit them.

If you are an employee and your company has a formal performance review process, nothing your manager says during the performance review process should come as a surprise.

  • Ask for regular feedback and make sure you get clarity if you are confused.
  • Send your manager an email with what you discussed, even if its feedback, to make sure you both are on the same page.

3. You actively act on advice and feedback on how you come across to your team, and how you can be a more motivating leader

No one is perfect but spending a few hours a week on seeking and receiving feedback can make you a more effective leader.  

You can ask for input in various ways: informally at group meetings or formally through surveys. Take some time to read about different approaches to leadership and reflect on who you admire as a manager.

Write down the traits and feedback you want to embody and try them out. Want to check how you are doing? Continue to ask for feedback over time.

If you are an employee…

  • Ask your manager if you can give them constructive feedback.  
  • Think about what you can learn from your manager and make the best of the situation.
  • If there is something that doesn’t sit well with you, keep it in mind for when you have a chance to manage others.

How can you use these statements to make a change or move forward?

With each element, try to rate yourself.  I would suggest on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 meaning disagree strongly and 10, strongly agree.

Ask your teammates for feedback to help you decide where you stand.

For the statements you rate less than 5, you might want to spend some time thinking through how to bridge the gap.  You can start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Where do you want to be?
  • What is the first thing you can do to make progress in that particular element?

That one small step you take can help you get closer to the leader you want to be and get even more out of your team.


This month of July, we’re telling stories about boss ladies breaking boundaries, and how you also can hit your #BossLadyGoals. Got a boss lady story to share with us? Click here.

2 ways to prepare yourself for the real world – while in the University

There are endless opportunities out there! Don’t just think that after graduating, the next thing is to get a job.

A few years to complete Uni. You feel the excitement.

Someone once told me “the real world begins after Uni”.

I was too busy attending classes and meeting new friends that I didn’t stop to ponder over the words. I always thought Uni was hard.

From initial registration at the beginning to semester registrations, departmental registration, to hall registration and all that. It’s stressful.

Then you have to attend classes, write exams and do all those presentations and assignments. God help you if you have a project to defend.

You have to worry about the trips you’ll make to your supervisor’s office before it’s accepted.

I wish someone told me how well to prepare before graduation. I wish someone touched on the salient skills you have to learn before facing the real world.

Here are two things to focus on while you’re still in uni to prepare yourself for the real world:

1. Gain some useful work experience

I bet you saw this coming. You had to! I mean this a no-brainer.

How do you spend your semester holidays? Binge watching? Going on a shopping spree? Visiting old friends and relatives who don’t even ask about you? Traveling?

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against treating yourself right or spoiling yourself once in a while. And I value time spent with family.

However, your University days (and particularly the holidays in between semesters) is a perfect time to gain some work experience in your chosen field.

Whether it be assisting in an office or a short internship, it will always make your CV stand out among other, experience-less graduates.

My first internship was at level 300. It was a one-month thing at a Radio station.

As part of their anniversary, they were having a health month so my job was to look for health snippets to be aired. Anything from eating, exercising, dieting, stress.

I wish I had gotten more experience while in Uni to prepare me for the real world.

I remember a lady telling me in our final year that she never interned before. I’m like well, I’m grateful for my one month.

But here’s the thing, some people focus on the money that they rather wait till after uni and get a paying job than spend 1-3 months of their holidays working somewhere where they might never get paid.

See it as an opportunity because that’s what it is. Most interns don’t get paid but if you do find a place that pays,  hallelujah!

If not, seize the opportunity, work on yourself, build yourself, network, improve your skills and who knows they just might be a position waiting for you after graduation.

2. Take some time to carefully consider your options

There are endless opportunities out there! Don’t just think that after graduating, the next thing is to get a job.

For most graduates, that’s the very obvious path. But for others, they’re looking to start their own business, head back to the University to bag a Masters and doctorate degree or go into freelancing.

Weighing up these options can take some of the pressure off, and make sure you’re making the right choice in these crucial first post-uni steps.


Have you thought of what’s next for you after Uni?

POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR THE JOB MARKET

For any job posted out there, there are several candidates interested in it. Some of these candidates will be as qualified as you are, others are less qualified than you are, while several others are even more so.

So how do you stand out from the crowd?

With such a myriad of challenges, you need to sell yourself by indicating why the company should consider you than your competitors.

Most people feel uncomfortable with the notion of selling themselves, but it is very essential. If you don’t fight for yourself, who will?

Here are a few pointers on how to place yourself at the top of the ladder when searching for a job.

Set your USP

What is that unique thing that you promise to bring to the organization that other candidates don’t have?

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is part of your brand name.

As such, you need to be careful when picking what exactly makes you tick and stand out in a pool of competitors.

Develop your brand

There is no better way to emphasize the need to develop your brand.

While you could go all out with witty tweets and posts, you do not have to feel pressured to do this. A few tricks, such as having a career statement/ objective could work.

Your statement might be as follows: “A highly motivated and technically competent communication expert with strong interpersonal skills and proven record in writing, and editing seeking to empower individuals and communities through storytelling”.

In an effort to build your network, be clear about your goals and what you are searching for.

Depending on your background, you can create your career statement to complement your brand. You could use this statement on your CV or on your LinkedIn profile.

Create an online presence

Ensure that you create an online presence that supports your brand.

One good example is LinkedIn – where you not only have an opportunity to sell your skills and talent but also expose yourself to those who are hiring.

If you are a writer, photographer, or a person who needs a portfolio create shareable samples and post on your social media.

You have the option to create a blog or a website that details your experiences and credentials. Alternatively, you could utilize free-to-use platforms such as LinkedIn’s Medium among others.

Get yourself referred

With the world becoming interconnected (a global village), more and more people are relying on recommendations to get what they are seeking.

Recommendations can come from family, friends, colleagues, classmates, or acquaintances.

If you are interested in a particular job within a particular industry, find out among those that you associate with who could recommend you.

In an effort to build your network, be clear about your goals and what you are searching for.

Attend job fairs, alumni events, or workshops that could expose you to even more people.

Be Flexible

We all want things to go according to our plan. Unfortunately, this always isn’t the case.

Don’t give up though. Accommodate flexibility in your plans to avoid disappointments.

Initially, you might not get your desired salary, but instead of rejecting the job offer try negotiating it.

If you are sure the value you are bringing to the company can fetch you a good package, then stick to the salary package.

As you seek a job either as a graduate or just changing jobs, apply these to convince your employer that you are the right candidate for the job.

"Instead of rejecting the job offer try negotiating it". Click To Tweet

How to rock these 5 Corporate Styles effortlessly

At the concluded MET Gala, head swooped and ears buzzed, we saw fashion statement from the future, from Queen mother Serena Williams’ magnificent dress, to Tracy Ellis Ross’ – Mirror in the wall black emblem.

We are trying to not mention Cardi’s overflowing regalia and Lupita Nyong’o statement headgear. Nonetheless, Zendaya was the star of the ball or MET rather.

She came dressed in an outfit that lit up from a wave of a magic wand. With her very own fairy Godmother or father.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all had fairy godmothers that would wave a wand at our swarthy wardrobes and Gbam, we are all glammed up.

While we are still waiting for a fairy godmother/Wakanda father, we put together a number of ideas and ways you can switch up.

Let’s take a more practical approach to our wardrobe.  These makeover and outfit ideas are for that goal-getter who knows she can slay and deliver at the same time and is doing just that, while she might be able to stretch her budget.

This boss lady wants to be in the know of fashion trend, she wants to be creative and classic, turning both eyes and heads at the meeting, for her we’ve set up an array of methods to switch that glam up

We don’t leave the entrepreneur out, she’s making boss moves, she’s running from an event venue to meeting with her clients.

She wants to make sure everything works well for her small business, and she wants to look like she means business to clients. She can’t bust a thousand box on clothes.

What ways can she creatively switch up the narrative off her wardrobe from “please-help-this-newbie-entrepreneur” to “here’s -why-you-should-invest-in-my-business entrepreneur”.

The Statement Stiletto

A stiletto can transform your look from plain to classic. First, it elevates your status, gives you more moral to look people in the eye, and a statement stiletto draws eyes from your heels all the way up to your face.

A statement stiletto can be stylish while remaining formal. They usually stand out in just one color. A bright red is an all-time favorite, a neon green will go too.

Whatever you choose, make sure to pair them off with soft brown colors and power glasses. Make a statement without saying a word

The Formal Ankara

What better way to stand out than in an all in one Ankara print pants or skirts. While you rep the Wakanda nation. you bring with you that extra sauce and excitement that is otherwise drab in a suit and tie setting.

Note: Ankara prints can get busy so it’s best to pair them off with single color, mainly white or black and minimal accessories.

The Stylish Joggers

Whoever told you pants can’t be stylish lied to you. There are days when a Motherland Mogul has to be on her feet, moving around to keep things in check, trying to meet up and staying all late to make orders move in the next morning.

This is certainly no time to do a catwalk.  When you really need that flexibility jump in from one car to another, a jogger’s gat you baby girl.

It’s light, free and flexible, allowing you to be comfortable all day long. Paired with a jacket you can quickly make the switch from entrepreneur to the boss lady

The Classic Pants

Pastel pants come in all shapes and colors. Single-colored pastel pants bearing softer shades like woody brown or pastel pink are great together.

Layering a turtle neck tee shirt or a tank top underneath the statement jackets makes your outfit pop.

It’s easy, soft and comfortable and you can always switch from feeling classic in a jacket to party style in a tee-shirt styled into a crop top to fit at a party.

However you choose to wear it, this outfit works for different occasions.

The Multipurpose Jacket

A bright colored jacket Is a must for any wardrobe. There’s barely anything you can’t rock with it. A bright colored jacket can be worn on a little black dress, a dinner gown, or even with a corporate dress.

You can pair it up with a tee-shirt and you make a unique fashion statement. And if you dare, mix it up with sneakers or all stars.

Now you have it, survey your wardrobe to find combinations that work.

Here are 3 tips to help you recreate a new wardrobe in a week.

  • Ransack your wardrobe, you would probably find a statement piece you didn’t know what to do with or a jacket you forgot from a long time ago, now is the time to bring out the slayer in you.
  • Pair each outfit by color and accessories them.
  • Next, you’d want to take photos of each outfit you think cuts the mark, scan through your Mirror, Mirror on the wall, and select the dopest of them all.

Here are a few online thrift stores you can get clothing from, all of which can be found in Mall of Africa.

  • Zara
  • Boho
  • Pretty Little things
  • Budget shopping Fashionaova

All outfits and dresses in this article can be found at StyleAmira’s fashion and lifestyle page. You can also find them on the gram.

Till next time, let us slay together.

Kenim Obaigbena: on becoming a Media Mogul – woman in film

“I wanted to tell stories that matter”.

Kenim Obaigbena is a Nigerian-British-American filmmaker and entrepreneur.

With a background in fine art painting, creative writing, photography and photoshop editing, Kenim began her film career in 2007, now she’s focused on her production vehicle OVG Media where she produces and directs films, documentaries, drama series and other scripted content for broadcast TV and digital media.

She was raised in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Togo, and the USA. She has lived in many cities around the world, making her both a true global citizen and a versatile filmmaker. At the age of 15, Kenim founded Scoop Magazine with her two sisters, the teen publication was distributed across Lagos, Nigeria. While she formed a lucrative business in three years, she decided to focus on her studies and attended Tufts University. At Tufts she discovered her love for filmmaking and spent her summers interning for music video directing legends Chris Robinson and Benny Boom as well as the production company Anonymous Content. By her junior year at Tufts, she was producing and directing music videos for her fellow schoolmates and billboard artists like Timeflies and All Out. In school, she also covered high fashion events like Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and global music festivals, including ThisDay Music Festival, which brought in pop stars like Beyonce and Rihanna. Graduating from Tufts in 2011, soon after the versatile filmmaker worked on big budget film sets, some including ‘Selfless’, and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. For several years, she produced live news coverage and documentaries for the 24-hour news network, Arise News, and worked on various projects with high profile global leaders, from former US Presidents Obama and Clinton to Nigerian President Buhari. Kenim has dabbled in other business ventures from real estate investing, to tech and her pop-up bus service, Rainbow Shuttle. Now she is focused on her production vehicle OVG Media where she produces and directs films, documentaries, drama series and other scripted content for broadcast TV and digital media.

Making a film is like starting a new business - Kenim Obaigbena: @ovgmedia Click To Tweet

Tell us a little about your background. Did you study filmmaking?

I studied communications and media studies. But I did start making videos in college.

I’ve been in film for 12 years and 14ish years in media. I’ve done every type of filmmaking under the sun, from News to music videos, commercials, Promos, docs, dramas, and even artsy film, you name it. Right now my focus is on docs, tv dramas, and features.

A few years ago, I came to the realization that I wanted to tell stories that matter. Stories that inspire a progression of nature in people. That could be a documentary, a sci-fi, a drama, whatever it is, it hopes to inspire people to be better in their lives.

Has filmmaking and storytelling always been your passion? How long have you been in the industry for?

I’ve always loved telling stories. I started young. My sisters and I started a magazine when I was 15.

I’ve also always done creative writing as a child. It runs in the family. When I was in high school I started taking painting seriously, it then evolved into photography and photoshop editing. But I wanted more so I moved into film. I’ve been in film for 12 years.

As a filmmaker, do you always have a full picture of what the story is going to be at the start, or does it reveal itself to you along the way?

It always starts out as a clear vision, but as I develop the story the vision can change, or become a more tangible version of its original state.

With documentaries, it’s a bit different. Yes, the story reveals itself along the way. But with a doc its important to be focused. Have a hypothesis and stick to it as much as possible.

Otherwise, you can easily fall into the trap of making a film for 10 plus years/.

Your recent documentary – This is Nigeria, highlighted Nigeria’s culture of corruption and election rigging. Why did you decide to investigate such a sensitive socioeconomic topic?

 In Nigeria the poor are invisible. They are neglected, underpaid and mistreated. I wanted to give them a voice. I also feel we live in a demokery, and more people in the media need to speak out. People should be encouraged to vote for who they believe in and not who they think everyone is going to vote for. It’s the only way to make real change in this country.

What motivates you? How do you come up with ideas and stories to tell?

 Purpose.

My best ideas come in intense and vivid dreams. I give God all the credit for that.

In Nigeria the poor are invisible. They are neglected, underpaid and mistreated. I wanted to give them a voice - Kenim Obaigbena: @ovgmedia Click To Tweet

Besides -This is Nigeria, what other documentaries have you created?

At this stage, I’ve created so many for broadcast tv and youtube. I’m always creating digital content as well which you can find on my YouTube channel.

 How do you go about funding your films/ documentaries? And what advice do you have for others wanting to fund their projects?

 Keep making DIY content until you either create enough wealth to self-fund or get someone to believe in your talent and business structure (because every film is a business)  to invest in you. If you are creative and lack business acumen, partner with a solid producer that can bring in financiers.

I’m designing an online course that goes into the practicalities of independent filmmaking. How to get funding, how to make films on a budget etc.

I will announce it soon, but for now, I have a series on my youtube channel called ‘The DIY Filmmaker’, which also gives practical filmmaking advice.

With a lot of Nigerian women in film coming out to create and show their talent, do you think the filmmaking industry is still male dominated?

Yes and no.

When I started out in Hollywood in Los Angeles, my experience was quite sexist. It was a boys club, and even the few black men and women allowed in were walking on ice.

I’ve never been one to think because I’m a woman I can’t do this or that. I generally don’t see gender or race. That’s just how I was raised. So I didn’t really understand why they wouldn’t allow me in the “clique” until recently.

It took me understanding the nature of the film industry to overcome this.

Make sure you hire the right people for the job they occupy and ensure they are all equipped, efficient and positive - Kenim: @ovgmedia Click To Tweet

Firstly…

Film is generally a very cliquey industry. It’s not easy to get into people’s crews. Over time I have learned there are a lot of reasons for this.

At the end of the day making a film is like starting a new business. Literally, people often register a new LLC or LTD for their film.

As with any business you want to make sure you hire the right people for the job they occupy, and they are all equipped, efficient and positive. Aspiring filmmakers aren’t often experienced enough and you can really only take on so many interns.

So it wasn’t necessarily because I was a woman, that I was often not allowed into the boys club, but because I wasn’t part of their clique. And being a woman, especially being a black woman in America, it made initiation harder.

Secondly…

Regardless of one’s gender and race, as a producer/director you are an entrepreneur and you have to build your own team. So really I was wasting my time trying to fill in other jobs on those sets.

Ultimately you should not be looking for a seat at their table, you should build your own table and hand out your own seats.

Sure, not everyone wants to be a producer/director, and even to you, I would say find a way to build your own table. Find some up and coming directors and producers and attach yourself to them. So they call you for every shoot.

Honestly, if you offer your services to an aspiring director/producer pro bono, they will look at you as a co-founder of their career, and they will likely make you a part of their team in the long-run.

People are more loyal to their day ones.  But don’t just do this with one director/producer. Do this with as many as you can.

To conclude, yes the industry is male-dominated, but if you build your own pathway, it does not have to be.

Nigerian women in Nollywood have done this, and their movies are more financially successful than that of their male counterparts. It’s inspiring. 

What advice do you have for women filmmakers in general when starting their own projects?

 Focus on craftsmanship and expertise. Put in your 10,000 hours to become an expert. These days you can learn how to do anything on youtube. Purchase gear, so that you can go out and shoot any day you wish. I go into more details about this on my online course. The more you learn the more you realize you don’t know everything - Kenim Obaigbena: @ovgmedia Click To Tweet

 What are the top 5 skills every aspiring filmmaker needs to have? And what tools will they need?

    • Attention to detail
    • Willingness to learn. The more you learn the more you realize you don’t know everything. Be an open book and consume information and practical experiences.
    • Be honest and recognize your flaws and weaknesses. So you can hire or partner with someone else with strengths in areas you are weak in.
    • Have patience, but at the same time put your destiny in your own hands
  • Only seek advice from experts in a specific craft. Don’t ask your Uncle or aunt that’s a random businessperson what business practices you should use in film. Go on youtube or find a mentor with adequate experience.

 What’s next for Kenim? How do you plan to further grow your career and business?

 I’ll be creating more documentaries, more tv dramas, feature films, you name it!
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Meet The Motherland Moguls Shattering Glass Ceilings at Filmhouse cinemas

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform”.

Although each woman has the power inside her to be able to achieve all these things, they can also be dependent on her environment.

Filmhouse cinemas creates the environment to allow women to easily create, be able to nurture and to transform into the best we can be, and not see our gender as an impediment…but rather as an advantage.

At Filmhouse cinemas, women are equally positioned for opportunities, growth, all-round progress and each of them plays crucial parts in driving the success of the business. Therefore, celebrating women goes beyond just a day earmarked to celebrate women.

However, International Women’s Day is the day to crown all our women who are visionaries, dogged, ambitious and would not settle for less.

With phenomenal women maintaining the helms of leadership at various levels of the business, to working countless times with female movie executives, it is impossible to overlook how impactful the women are in spearheading groundbreaking movie marketing campaigns, to co-producing box office hits, human resource management and guest services to match international standards, the Filmhouse woman is able to manage personal life and work is able to “Balance for Better”.

In celebration of International Women’s day, the ladies of Filmhouse share their experiences and advice for women looking to dive into the movie marketing industry.


 Lolu Desalu – Head of Marketing

“I serve a team of 17 people within 6 spheres of the marketing department of Filmhouse Cinemas. The design, sales, digital marketing, brand marketing, media marketing, and events management teams.

The most interesting part of my work is…

Working closely in partnership with some of the biggest and best companies in the world and brainstorming with my amazing team members.

If you’ve seen marketing teams in films/sitcoms during their brainstorm sessions, that is just a tip of an iceberg in comparison to ours. It’s seriously one of the best parts of my week.

Ladun Awobokun – Co-Head, Theatrical Distribution

“We’re shifting a mindset, and that, no matter how you think about it, is revolutionary. However, that is our superpower – the fact that we as women, can actually work ten times harder, twenty times smarter, and multi-task through it all, in sky-high heels.

It doesn’t matter what industry you want to work in or how many caps you want to wear. You can do it all”.

How I promote the brand with my role…

One of the key focus areas in my role is empowerment and mentorship. The Filmhouse Group is known for its people.

Without people, there is no brand. In addition, critical to my role is managing and growing our existing relationship with industry stakeholders; in particular, our licensors Warner Bros & Fox.

The opportunity of partnering with these parties on such a broad scale provides much value exposure to the brand, and in turn, strengthens our offering and ensures a service that is based on trust, reliability, and excellence.

Mimi Bartels – Head of Accounts, Nollywood & Independent Films

“My job is really not about the glam. Do I meet amazing celebrities? Yes. Do I go to premieres? Double Yes! But the amount of work that goes behind the business of film is NOT glamorous at all”.

One interesting fact about me, and my job role…

Most people see me and don’t know I handle a One Billion Naira generating account or handled 70-90% of Nollywood’s most successful films of 2016-2018 and such films like – Wedding Party 1/2, Chief Daddy, Merry Men, King of Boys. 

All these films were under my account and my job was to make sure we hit those targets”.

This job has taught me to be humble, to be diplomatic, to be fierce, to be honest, and most importantly to be me. I have the best and most supportive line managers and the best team.

Ozioma Sammie-Okposo – HR Manager

“We cannot talk about strategy at Filmhouse without delving into our values which are – Trust, Passion, Ownership, and Innovation.

These are the guiding principle that has helped my department in shaping the Filmhouse limited and pushing the brand”.

How my work impacts society at large…

My work does have a rippling effect because we help create jobs and reduce unemployment in the society as we have sites in Lagos, Akure, Dugbe, Samonda, Benin, Port-Harcourt and Kano.

Also, our team across the site helps with guests and giving guests good services. We are also driven by the need to continue discovering new and innovative ways of creating inspiring experiences, delivering world-class service and bringing the magic of cinema to life.

Tolu Senbore  – Branch Manager at Filmhouse Cinemas, Lekki

“I don’t think the reason I need to work harder in the industry is based on my gender. It’s not even a criteria for me. I only want to work harder because there is relevance that my person and role as a business manager requires and must communicate and it is one of the ways I appraise myself”.

My one advice to females who hope to start a career in the cinema industry

Behind the lights, cameras, glitz, and glam lies HARD WORK! Be open to all the opportunities and do not be afraid to ask for help.

Tomilola Bukola Ayeni – Legal Officer

“There is pressure coming from all sides to be the best you can be, both at home and in the corporate world, this is why women should celebrate themselves and society should also celebrate them as well.

“Pop that champagne girl, you deserve it”.

The most interesting part of my work…

Every day I am faced with a new set of challenges I think I cannot overcome. But when members of my team push me to act on those things, and I eventually overcome them it gives me an abundant sense of accomplishment which is so fantastic.

The free tickets to shows and movies do not hurt either LOL.

Osho Vivian Olajumoke – Branch Manager

“Build up yourself in every way to prepare for achieving great things and while at this try not to think about being a woman too much but rather try to be the best person you can be and being the best at your job”.

Key strategies my role plays in pushing the Filmhouse brand…

I’m into core operations in one of our biggest sites, and basically the first line of contact with the customers.

The key strategies include upholding our company’s values, delivery high standard of customer service, creating “Filmhouse memorable experiences” In the minds of our customers thereby garnering customer loyalty and influencing repeated visits.

Itohan Izugbokwe – Sales Lead and Accounts Manager 

“Some journeys are incredible. You start out in one place, believing you have a complete sense of where you’re headed, then you end up in another place”.

How my background prepared me for my current role…

It’s been 9 years of acceleration and sharp bends. From starting out in customer service in a mid-size establishment in New York to coming back to Nigeria and starting off in Oil & Gas, to ICT, to Digital Media.

And now, to Filmhouse Cinemas. While paths change, the vehicle that has stayed with me in all this time is client relationship skills. Nothing as propelled me throughout my career than the obsessive need to fulfill one purpose. Always providing value.

Odezi Onyeke – Business Manager Filmhouse, Surulere

“One of the most interesting parts of this job is meeting new people daily, it is both exciting and challenging and the movies too. I have now become the encyclopedia of movies to families and friends. Need an update about movies? I’m your girl”.

On how to become successful in this line of work…

The only way you can be successful in this line of work is through dedication and passion. I’m very passionate about what I do and this drives me to want to succeed more.

Also having a very supportive and understanding partner who is tuned with your goals plays a huge role in your success.

Stephanie Dan-Okafor – Guest Services & Branch Manager 

“If I could say anything to my younger self, I would tell her to stop tracking the A’s. She should focus on finding ways to improve herself so as to gain a competitive advantage”.

On how my career at Filmhouse began…

I began my career at Filmhouse cinemas as a Guest Services Executive. Over time, I was promoted to the Guest Services Manager position for Filmhouse cinemas Lekki.

Starting off at Filmhouse cinemas, I had the best support system; in all my years of experience, I’d never seen people genuinely go out of their way to make sure you succeed.

Senior management regularly called to ensure I was transitioning into my new role properly, I was asked whether I was satisfied with my job so many times that I almost panicked thinking I was giving the wrong answers.

I am now the Branch Manager at the newly opened Filmhouse cinemas Oniru-Twin Waters, in addition to my role as the Guest Services Manager for Filmhouse Cinemas Lekki.


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Tips to a winning introduction during your next interview

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’ve realized that a lot of people find it difficult to introduce themselves during an interview. That ‘Tell me about yourself’ question is the ice breaker and most candidates are scared to break it because they are not too sure of themselves.

Before I go into tips to a winning introduction, I would like to address a foundational problem that hinders us from selling ourselves properly and the “Lack of CONFIDENCE”.

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it.

On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.” Mahatma Gandhi

Are you a fresh graduate or a prospective intern and not sure what to say when asked to Introduce yourself? Here are some things that would guide you:

Think through what you want to say before opening your mouth to talk

Mental preparation and a mirror exercise would do.  You don’t need to cram a speech or start reciting it verbatim, rather it should provide a guideline on what how each point should be said.

Avoid distracting words

Words like ‘urm’ ‘erm’ ‘izz like’ ‘you know’ etc could be distracting for your interviewer and may imply you’re not prepared for the interview. If those interjections are too much, it can be a huge turn-off.

Keep it concise and simple

I remember one of the interviews I sat in a few months ago, this guy legit talked about himself for a whole 30minutes.

Do you know that’s where the interview started and ended? At a point, he was just blabbing and we didn’t understand what he was saying but didn’t want to be rude and interject him.

Besides, we already knew he was a NO and allowed him to land before saying we had no questions and dismissed him.

Self-awareness is important

If you are self-aware, it is easier for you to understand other people and detect how they perceive you in return.

How well do you know yourself and the kind of direct or indirect message you are passing? Here are some things you need to build on to prepare for the next interview:

1. Your Bio

Start with your name, your school and course of study, the aspect in your course that interests you and why (this is not compulsory if it’s not related to your course of study).

2. Your Strengths

This could include something like being very organized, being able to manage your time and setting priorities, being able to communicate in a clear manner, being able to manage people regardless of their temperament, being able to work in a team.

Take note that while talking about this strengths, you should include one or two examples of how you have demonstrated them while in school as a leader in your school project, school activism, Student union or department association and finally through religious bodies you have belonged to.

3. Your Value Proposition

Talk about the value you would be adding to the team or organization. I would advise that you do extensive research about them and ensure what you are saying is relevant and relatable. If you have done your homework properly, they will fall in love with you!!!!

Finally, this is a piece of golden advice that is like the icing on the cake for people who want to give a winning introduction.

4. Humility won’t help you

I have met superb people who have great skills which companies are looking for but because they haven’t worked in a formal organization, they think those skills acquired through volunteering, internship, and personal development aren’t relevant.

Sister, if you don’t sell yourself, who will ??

Be proud of your little achievements and don’t be too humble about them. In the end, the best salesman gets the contract!

I hope you digest this information and deliberately work on your confidence. It may not happen overnight but with time, you can grow and become better.


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