July Go Girl!- Adesola Ade-Unuigbe
Go, Girl! is a monthly event that empowers women with diverse backgrounds and stories by bringing them together in a relaxed environment to sit, listen and learn from each others experiences, challenges, mistakes and victories. Created and put together by Workstation in partnership with GuardianWoman, Dalberg, The 9-To-5 Chick and Zuri Westbrook, this event holds monthly at Workstation Bar Beach.
In July we featured the vibrant Adesola Ade-Unuigbe, the Head of Content at BellaNaija. She started off as an editorial assistant at BellaNaija and in less than five years became the Head of Content at 28. She helped give a youthful new vibe to the BellaNaija website and grew its social media presence with 1.5 million followers on Twitter and over one million on Instagram. It was a delight to hear her success story and gain some knowledge from her.
Tell us briefly about your career journey I graduated from Covenant University in 2012 and, since then, I’ve had the opportunity to work with three amazing online media platforms. The first, OnoBello.com was for a little over a year and it gave me my first insight into the Lagos lifestyle and entertainment scene. I worked as a writer but I was also lucky to witness the backstage energy of fashion shows and concerts.
My second, FabMagazineOnline.com was for a little under a year and it was a great opportunity that opened me up to the diversity of media. We had the online magazine as well as FAB Radio, FAB Retail Store, FAB Magazine and the FAB Lounge. It also gave me my first taste of social media management.
In 2014, I joined the BellaNaija team after being head-hunted by Uche Pedro and I immediately fell in love with the brand. Five years after joining BellaNaija, I have had the opportunity to grow immensely. I have been exposed to the media on a larger scale, while also learning leadership skills that have no doubt helped my career in the past five years of being with the brand. BellaNaija also gave me a lot of international exposure with trips to France, Italy, United States, South Africa to mention a few. At BellaNaija, I learned to dream big – for myself and for the brand. So it’s no surprise to me that at the age of 28, I became BellaNaija’s Head of Content and Digital Ventures. To me, it’s just proof of the BellaNaija culture of pushing you to be (and see) the best you can.
Looking back at my seven-year journey, I’m happy with where I’ve gotten to and I can’t wait to see what the future has for me.
How would you describe the culture at your office and how it has helped shape your growth career-wise?
So like I said, at BellaNaija you learn to dream big. It’s something that is instantly evident when you enter the system. The BN culture is one that encourages ownership and innovation. Over the years, I’ve been handed opportunities to spearhead initiatives and run with them. Of course from time to time, I have to check in and make sure everything is in line with the brand’s values but largely, I’m allowed to come up with ideas and implement. I am respected as a professional and trusted with responsibility. There’s also the culture of community. The BN team is a family – as well as our readers. We are constantly looking for ways to nurture and inspire that community and then, by extension, inspire the world. We are deliberate about changing narratives and choosing the stories that get told about us as Africans. Working at BellaNaija, you can immediately see that as a core part of our culture. Everyone of us is a storyteller, so let’s celebrate our stories. In shaping my growth career-wise, the culture of the online platform is so ingrained in me that it translates in all that I do. I’m more empathetic than I’ve ever been, more opened to learning and unlearning. It trickles down to how I am as a voice in a leading media organisation in Africa.
How do you strike the perfect work-life balance?
I am very deliberate about my digital health. That means recognising that even though I spend virtually all my time on the Internet working or absorbing information about life, I intentionally allow myself to strip away the noise and focus on things that can help me be a better person or make better decisions. That’s a major part for me, being able to ensure that the work part, which naturally takes up almost all my time, is in itself a safe space. I love scented candles so, even at the office, on my table I occasionally light them to put me in a better mood.
I also deliberately include my friends and family in my to-do list. I include things like “have lunch now” and “girl, drink water” or even “call Mum today”. Just because, in my work, things move so fast and so do I. I forget a lot of things so I’m very intentional about setting visible reminders. I set out an hour in the morning for my to-do list, responding to personal messages, all of that. It’s a special no-work hour for me and it helps set the tone for my day.
Most importantly, I have surrounded myself with some of the most amazing people who genuinely care for me and are happy to give me a break anytime. From my husband to my nieces – their love is calmness for me. My work is also very understanding of the fact that life happens to us all. The BellaNaija system already makes it such that, the work-life balance is a much easier one to navigate.
What did you like most about the Go, Girl! Event?
The event was so much fun and I’m stoked that I was a part of it. Being the July Go, Girl! was so exciting and the event itself was a great experience for me. I loved being able to share my story to millennials and I especially loved some of the next-level questions they had that I was able to learn from as well. It was super-interactive and engaging. Can I be a Go, Girl twice? (laughs).
What would you say has been the most challenging moment in your career?
Hmm, I’m not sure I’ve hit that yet. I think the worst thing I’ve experienced yet, though blessed, is having a difficult boss, but I took each day as it came so it wasn’t really a peculiar issue, I think everyone goes through this at some point. You just need to grow up and learn how to manage people.
What do you do to unwind in Lagos?
Hmm.. Lagos of life! I’m very conscious about being in a relaxed space so I constantly surround myself with humour – TV shows, friends etc – as well as good food. There are so many lovely places to eat in Lagos so I’m constantly looking for new spots. I also love intimate music events, because I love music but I’m not big on crowd.
Are there any quotes you live by?
“Be positive. Be true. Be kind,” – Roy Bennett