‘I get irritated when I hear female presenters fake British, American accents’
Yemi Adenuga, often referred to as ‘Energy in Motion’ or ‘Shero Of Sheroes’ describes herself as a ‘people builder’. The feisty Entrepreneur, author, producer, presenter and member of several professional bodies wears many caps at different times and wears them well. Listed as one of Ireland’s Women of Influence by Irish Tatler magazine, Yemi is a multi-award winning TV personality, a dynamic and high impact speaker, a relationship/marriage mentor, a seasoned broadcaster of over two decades and result-oriented Project Manager. Yemi is the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of D-Dymensions Communications and is on a mission to empower and build women and youths to be self-reliant, think like entrepreneurs and become their own boss. She has through her signature brands, impacted the lives of thousands all over the world. In this interview with TOBI AWODIPE, she talks about her Sheroes Awards and Vision, her celebrity status in Ireland and her plans for Nigerian women
What is Sheroes Global all about?
Sheroes Global, is about inspiring women and youths to be more, influence them to support one another to be more, and celebrating those who dare to be more. The organisation started in Ireland in 2012, and is a not-for-profit women development and support organisation with a mission to build women and youths to become positive change agents through changing orientation, to build positive mind-set, recognizing their efforts, celebrating their successes, empowering them to build sustainable businesses in line with the UN sustainable development goal 2030, and encouraging them to be supportive of one another. Our Vision is to see a society where a woman can reach her highest potential, free of violence, and supported by, not just men, but other women, who desire the best for her and gladly recognise and celebrate her achievements. We are self- funded and get goodwill support from our sheroes ambassadors, SuperSheroes and friends who believe in what we do. We do so much with the little resources we have and have become experts at channeling the little resources we have to achieving big and highly impactful results. We are consistent, action oriented and focused on delivering our projects on a timeline each year. We are an action organisation that talks less and works more, thriving on the goodwill of those who believe in and support our work. You can imagine what level of impact we will have if the resources are more. Our motivation is the growing number of positively impacted women and youth whose lives are changed for good through our work.
Sheroes global launched recently. Why do you call the women Supersheroes and what can we expect from them?
Our SuperSheroes are our confirmed team members who run Sheroes Global. When you think of Super Heroes, you think of men who save the day. Our SuperSheroes are the women who save the day, making things happen, and are at the heart of the operations of Sheroes Global. They are awesome, action-oriented women who start off as volunteers and after an initial probation period of showing that they have become a part of the initiative for the right reasons, they become SuperSheroes. They go through leadership training at the Sheroes Entrepreneurship Academy where they build their leadership skills. Each one of them works in a project team and every SuperSheroes, as well as our ambassadors are passionate about the initiative and its goal, going above and beyond, volunteering their time and expertise to propel the goal of the initiative.
You are the first woman to present a programme on Ray Power 100FM. Would you say you paved the way for other women and are women doing better off today than they were 10-15 years ago?
I wouldn’t say I ‘paved the way’ for other women in broadcasting because there were women before me who did that, but where private radio and TV broadcasting are concerned, I made history as the first female presenter to go on air with Ray Power 100 Fm, and also as the producer of the first Programme ever to air in the history of private TV broadcasting in Nigeria with AIT. These are some of the things I am proud of and if they inspire and motivate a female presenter to do something new, that’s great. With regards to women doing better today than 10-15 years ago, while we now have many female presenters, which is a welcome development, I get irritated and disgusted when I hear some female presenters who sound so fake as they force a British or American accent. In my days, the Daniel Jones’ Pronunciation Dictionary was a presenter’s bible and if you didn’t attend the weekly presenters’ training, forget about going on air for that week. I don’t know what type of training is given now, but what I do know is that someone needs to tell some presenters to please just be themselves and stop trying to sound like someone else. I think presenters sounded better and real way back then, than now.
You wear so many caps as author, presenter, producer, entrepreneur and so on. How do you create a balance with all these?
I set my priorities. In that mix, I also wear the mum and wife caps, which are major parts of my life. I am strongly of the opinion that the measure of my success is not just in my MBA, Postgraduate Certificate or company growth, but are also determined by the direction my marriage is headed and how my children turn out. When I am in the country, my Friday evenings are sacrosanct, as it is our family pizza/movie night when we turn off all electronic devices except the TV, spend quality time together as a family, pick and watch a movie and catch up on things we might have missed during the week. And the children understand and respect when I have to travel and work away from home quite often. With the home-front intact, every other thing is easier. I am very organised and I set and work on a schedule each day. Everything I do is centered on what I love, so I have fun as I work and work as I have fun. They all balance themselves out.
Having lived in both Nigeria and Ireland, how would you say Nigerian women are faring in the global scheme of things?
All over the world, regardless of race, religion, nationality and even status in the society, one of the issues that bind women together is the need to be seen, and their voices heard, and not to be limited in the things they can do or achieve just because they are women. Nigerian women have stepped up so amazingly and can stand side by side with any woman from any part of the world at their level. If given half the chances most women abroad have, Nigerian women will do better because circumstances have conditioned them to be resilient and creative, making the best of what they have in the face of little or nothing. Thousands of Nigerian women are doing amazing things and shattering glass ceilings and I applaud that. The one thing they need to learn to do better and make a habit of is lifting other women up and celebrating the successes of other women more. Not just women we don’t feel threatened by, but women who are obviously as fantastic at what they do as we are, if not better. When we celebrate other successful women, we add value to ourselves, so there is no need to feel threatened. The ‘pull-her-down’ syndrome needs to go, to be replaced by the ‘lift-her-up’ syndrome. Men groom their protégé in readiness for that day when they will exit an organisation. Women need to begin to groom more women to take over from them too and stop complaining about not having enough places on boards.
You once produced a TV show. Any plans of going back to producing?
Yes I produced and presented Sharing with Yemi, my own talk show, which won several awards and was Nigeria’s number one talk show for the six years it aired. That’s actually in the pipeline and will be back on air soon. I still produce and direct radio and TV programs in Ireland and right now, I’m directing my daughter, Loretta’s talk show called ConvoTime, which currently airs at 4:00pm every Sunday on AIT International and is online on our TV channel, dMoTive TV.
There are several shows and awards targeted at women these days. How does your own plan to stand out?
Yes you are right. The SHEROES Global Awards, which became one of our Sheroes programs in Ireland in 2015, is designed to be an uplifting event, where women from every walk of life who inspire, influence and impact are celebrated equally in one big award ceremony. The annual Award ceremony encourages individuals to nominate any woman who has inspired or impacted their lives or the lives of others, to be recognised and celebrated as a shero. The uniqueness of Sheroes Global Awards is that it is a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ recognition Award (can only be received once in a lifetime) and every winner earns the title of Shero. What we aim to achieve every year is to identify, recognize and celebrate ordinary women who do extraordinary things that positively inspire, influence and impact the lives of others, motivate the sheroes by letting them know their selfless act of kindness is seen & appreciated, and encourage them to do more while inspiring others to start, or keep doing things to inspire, influence and impact lives.
Our shero is that woman who shows strength and courage in the midst of challenges, thrives under pressure, renders acts of kindness in spite of her own personal challenges, gives in the midst of little, triumphs over her circumstances and is an inspiration to people around her. It could be that pepper seller by the roadside who consistently helps little children cross the road on their way to and from school without even knowing who their parents are, or that little young girl who was abused, but rather than allow the horrible experience of that violation affect her negatively, courageously decides to use her story to create much needed awareness, waking the consciousness of parents to the reality of abuse in homes. Anyone nominating their shero is encouraged to send as much information as they can about their nominee, because an independent selection panel (not a panel of judges, as nominees are not judged) first draws a shortlists from the many nominations, and the final women to be celebrated are decided by the public through a pubic voting system. Another uniqueness of Sheroes Global Awards is that there are no finalists in different categories. All women to be celebrated as Sheroes know they are winners before the Awards and come to the Awards ceremony to be celebrated. Their stories inspire, motivating many to want to do good.
Has your reality show made you celebrities in Ireland where it airs presently?
It most certainly has. The show is called Gogglebox Ireland and our family The Adenugas, is one of the families featured in it. People recognize us everywhere we go and want to take selfies or get an autograph. One of my favourite ‘celebrity’ moments was when my daughter Loretta was pregnant with Asher, my grandson and she had taken ill and was rushed to the hospital on the way to work. When my husband and I arrived at the hospital to see her, the reception we got was unbelievable. The nurses kept saying “we have big celebrities in the hospital, make them comfortable”. They gave us an all access pass to areas we would normally not have been allowed into, offering us tea and coffee, and the doctors gave Loretta such great care and attention. In our town where we live, everyone knows us and wants to stop to have a chat about the show when we got into town. It gets us results quickly most times. It’s great fun really.