Emem Ime Okwoche: Seeking To Break New Grounds
Emem Ime Okwoche is a woman of many parts. A known name in broadcast journalism, TV production and presentation, media/PR consultancy and strategy, event and project management, acting, fashion and advocacy; she is the co-founder and deputy CEO, Rewired Africa media network. She is also the creative director of renowned fashion brand RTW BY EMEM, co-host of the ‘Wake Up Nigeria’ and convener of the #SanitizeTheGirlChild campaign initiative and the RTW BY EMEM exhibition supported by the United States Alumni Exchange Association.
A member of several bodies, she also has a network of women entrepreneurs whom she supports and encourages using her platform to promote and give their businesses more visibility. Currently working on an entrepreneurship workshop to train and educate women-led-businesses, she holds a degree in Biochemistry from Madonna University.
You have experience across different sectors, is this deliberate for you?
Yes, it is
How was it setting up a media-related business, what challenges did you encounter?
My husband and I started Rewired Africa Media Network. We first started out with the PR and content production side of it before we expanded to other areas. And talking about challenges, I don’t see them. I always have an open mind when I start off a business idea or task, even before conception, because I understand that they will come. However, being positive is one key factor that helps me navigate through those challenges. I don’t see problems. I see an opportunity to learn and move on.
You also have a fashion brand, is fashion something you are passionate about too?
Yes, I have always been passionate about fashion. It is my first love. My mom made me fall in love with it. She would always ensure we looked good and stylish as a child, and that endeared me to it.
As co-host of a huge show on TV, how has this changed your life?
Being a co-host on one of the biggest TV shows in Africa, Wake Up Nigeria, has been life-changing. I learn every day. Half of the projects I do today were inspired by being on the show. I am also grateful for the impact we make in people’s lives every day just by watching the show and providing a platform where they can be well-informed and educated.
You founded #SanitizeTheGirlChild campaign initiative, what does this initiative do for young girls?
The initiative came as a result of my passion to see young girls make better life decisions and choices. From personal hygiene and menstrual health to self-confidence, we focused on every area of their well-being. It was also to hold their hands and tell them we care and we understand the challenges of being a young girl in today’s society. It was a beautiful and life-changing experience. Not just for me but for the girls
As someone passionate about women, how are you using your platform to promote and grow women?
Contrary to the narrative that ‘women do not support women’, I believe that we are our biggest assets. I currently have a network of women entrepreneurs whom I support by promoting them on platforms that will give their businesses more visibility. Every year, I organise exhibitions where these women not only sell their products but also meet and network with professionals from all walks of life.
Tell us about your entrepreneurship workshop, what can attendees expect to benefit?
I am currently organising a workshop where these women can learn about building a structure for their business, pitching to a potential investor and how to apply for grants to scale their businesses.
Many women struggle to get to the top in the media industry, how can we change this?
We can change this by stopping to think that it is a competition because it is not. We all need each other to grow. We need to blow our own trumpet. Amplify our voices and our work. Put ourselves out there more, encourage and support one another. The sky is big enough for everyone.
Has there been any challenge that almost made you give up?
(Laughing) I actually thought long and hard about this and no, I have never been so discouraged or considered giving up. There will be challenges and events throughout our lives that will test our resolve. It is important to remember that giving up is not always the best option, even when it feels like it might be. Perseverance and resilience are critical, and pushing through difficult situations is what will help us to grow and become stronger. However, there are also those rare times when giving up is the best thing we can do. Knowing when to hold on and when to let go is a skill that we must learn in order to live our best lives.
What does your typical day look like?
My typical day can be busy sometimes. However, I still try to find time to rest. I wake up by 4:30 am to get ready for the office, then get my makeup done in time for my show, which starts live from 7:am to 8:45 am. After my show, I meet with my team online to discuss plans for the day. From PR strategy meetings with clients to working on a new collection for the fashion brand. Oftentimes, I could be on a movie set or a production shoot. Amidst all of this, I have a support system that helps to balance them all. Life, marriage, children, career, business and family.
Tell us a bit about your personal style and beauty routine?
To be honest, I pay more attention to my personal style than having a consistent beauty routine. I will describe my personal style as ‘out of the box’. I am very creative and innovative with my style. I am a trendsetter and I am even more grateful that I have a fashion brand in which I can express my true uniqueness as a person. I am often inspired by everything around me.
If you were speaking with a young woman looking to walk this path, what would you tell her?
Generally, to all women, I will say, be authentic, be original, do not follow the bandwagon mentality, believe in yourself, wear your brand confidently and always blow your own trumpet. For a woman considering a career in broadcasting, there are a few things you should know. It’s a very competitive field. There are far more people who want to be broadcasters than there are actual broadcasting jobs. So, you need to be sure that this is something you’re really passionate about and willing to work hard for. It’s important to have a unique voice. Broadcasting is all about communicating with an audience, so you need to be able to capture their attention and hold it. This means having something interesting and valuable to say and being able to say it in a way that’s engaging and entertaining. Also, in broadcasting, people often run away from the modalities, the operations and content. My advice is to learn everything on the job, that is, production, research, editing, scriptwriting and so on. Do not stop at being a pretty face on TV. What more can you offer? Be indispensable. Also, be teachable. Be constantly open to broadening your knowledge. Look out for training and fellowships that can polish your experience and earn you more credibility. So if you’re considering a career in broadcasting, my best advice is to go for it. Work hard, find your unique voice, and be prepared for some long hours. It’ll be worth it at the end when you’re doing something you love every day.