Meet The Lord’s Achievers Award Honorees
Lord’s Dry Gin has enjoyed leadership in the spirit market and is positioned for discerning ladies and gentlemen.
As part of its mission to celebrate distinct leadership, Lord’s Dry Gin will be marking Sunday, March 24 2019 – International Day of Achievers – by honouring the exceptional performance and accomplishments of 8 under-40 achievers in different professional landscapes in Nigeria: health, tech, creative industry, arts, and business.
The eight honorees were selected based on their achievements in their fields and how they have been able to inspire people around them for positive growth and change.
They include Abiola Adekoya (CEO, RMB Stockbrokers Nig Ltd), Dr. Chioma Nwakanma (Founder, Smile With Me Foundation) , Dotun Popoola (Artist), Funfere Koroye (Co-Founder, Nupe Project), Nkemdilim Begho (Founder, Future Software Resources Ltd),Seun and Seyi Abolaji (Founder, Wilsons Lemonade), Tosin Oshinowo (Founder, CmDesign Atelier and Ilé-Ilà ).
Seyi And Seun Abolaji
Seun and Seyi Abolaji’s early years were spent in New-Bussa, Nigeria before they migrated to the USA, where they completed their education.
Seyi, a graduate of Stanford University and an experienced entrepreneur focused primarily on agribusiness sector for nearly a decade, moved back to Nigeria after a couple of years to start off Wilsons Lemonade.
On the other hand, Seun graduated from Emory University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in pre-med. He earned his Doctorate of Pharmacy at the University of Colorado Health Sciences, lived and worked in New York before moving back to Nigeria to take a lead role as the Brand and Sales Director of Wilsons Lemonade.
Seun is inspired by the possibility of things that can be created and brought to life, as well as an admiration of people who have done similar things in the past successfully.
Today, Wilsons is the premier not-from-concentrate beverage brand in Nigeria. The company employs over 50 young, bright and driven Nigerians with over 70% female workforce thereby creating jobs, providing value-added products and improving the production chain in Nigeria.
Seun and Seyi’s “Create Better” philosophy, combined with their action-oriented approach to life and business has created an innovative, proactive and adventurous culture and drive that is focused and rapidly propelling Wilson’s into a globally relevant beverage brand.
When asked about their company’s goals, Seyi responded, “We want to be Africa’s number one beverage company within the next 10 years.”
Wilsons commitment to sourcing locally and processing real-fruit based products provides numerous employment opportunities for youths and women in rural communities across the nation. Hundreds of families are directly benefiting from the growth and expansion of Wilson’s.
Seyi throws in some advice for startups saying, “First of all, be honest with yourself on why you are doing what you’re doing. Having no answer to the ‘why’ when challenges come up will make it easy for you to give up or divert your attention.
“One thing that has allowed us grow since we launched in 2009 with the very young and dynamic team is our culture that is committed to creating better.
“Everything we do is not about copying or mimicking anybody, it is always about creating; having the courage to be different and continuously getting better.
“So know what and why you’re doing it and building a strong culture; those things will allow you overcome the challenges that are sure to come up while you try to build anything not only in this environment Nigeria but anywhere in the world.”
Dotun Popoola is a synergetic metal sculptor who has carved a niche for himself with his hyper-realistic monumental metal sculptures.
He has first and second degrees from Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. He graduated as the best student in painting and general arts in 2004 from Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo state.
His passion for touching lives through his artistic and leadership skills is evidently seen in his works as he turns trash to treasures, rubbish to rubies and brings the dead to life.
In a bid to promote his art, he also facilitates art workshops for students, professionals, NGOs, healthcare institutions, hospices, orphanage homes, rehabilitation centres and schools locally and internationally.
On why he chose his line of business, he explains that he loves making himself happy and giving hope to lives and that nature and the state of Nigeria inspires him most. This perhaps explains why his slogan is, “I create wealth from waste, I create sculptures that portray life while in death.”
On if his sculptures could talk, he says, “If my sculptures could speak it will definitely speak about life; I was dead but now I’m alive.”
Dr Chioma Nwakanma
Dr Onyedikachi Chioma Nwakanma is a medical doctor and graduate of Abia State University, Nigeria. A woman of many parts, she is also a writer and a storyteller. Her journey and passion for preventive health started as a medical student when she realised that most death cases are preventable if the patients and their relatives weren’t ignorant of the diseases. She also linked the rising morbidity and mortality rates in Africa to health ignorance and abundance of ill medical practices. Closely following it was the decaying health system in Nigeria which made health services inaccessible and unaffordable, she opined. Hence her health advocacy to relevant bodies to provoke change through her social media platforms and even her immediate community.
She started out her health advocacy company Medically Speaking in 2016 and is currently one of the top and highly respected health advocates and health influencers in Nigeria, well known in that space as @DrZobo. Twists and turns led her to found her NGO @Smilewithme_foundation which is a platform she uses to reach communities through health education and health aids. The NGO has personally given free screening on cervical cancer to 1002 women across four communities in Nigeria.
Her SMILE WITH ME FOUNDATION was founded in 2017 with a dream to spread to every state in Nigeria. The foundation addresses the curative aspect of health and has been able to go into communities and give basic health education. The foundation has a program for students called the S.H.E.E.T – School Health Education and Empowerment Tour. With an online and local audience, the foundation continues to make strides to provide qualitative health care to communities.
“What a man can do, a woman can do better”
Tosin Oshinowo is one of the very few leading millennial female architects in Nigeria. She is a registered architect in Nigeria and is also a member of the Royal Institute of the British Architects. She has been the lead architect at cmDesign Atelier (cmD+A) since 2012.
Breaking grounds in a male-dominated industry takes a lot of courage and comes with challenges. She reveals one of her biggest challenges has been learning how to compose oneself on a site dealing with a lot of men, from the contractors to the other consultants.
When asked about how best she’s been able to overcome this challenge, she says,
“Usually what I’ve realised is that women tend to deal with problems more emotionally than men, which is why it is advised that we learn to compose oneself in a manner that doesn’t expose emotion or sentiment.
“With that in mind, I’ve had to learn in particular how to speak with a more monotone voice. While trying to push a point across, I try my best to be more articulate but also quite direct and clear.”
As an architect, Oshinowo has a natural afﬁnity towards product design. She is particularly interested in the functionality of chairs, but also placing them in a Nigerian-African context. Unlike her minimalist approach to architecture, which often uses a muted palette, her furniture design aesthetic is a bright explosion of colour. In 2017, she created Ilé-Ilà, a lifestyle furniture line designed and handmade in Lagos, Nigeria. The brand focuses on period-conscious furniture in a contemporary African content.
Funfere Koroye is an industrial designer and product developer based in Lagos, Nigeria. With over five years of experience under his belt, he is eager to improve his knowledge on the inner workings of hardware- innovation, branding, manufacturing, advertising, and development.
Inspired by Steve Jobs and Dieter Rams, Funfere Koroye discovered his passion for creating and designing. This informed his decision to study industrial and product design at the Savannah College of Art and Design and Domus Academy. After graduation, he started off designing footwear, then mobile phones, and then packaging for the food and beverage industry.
“Being a product designer is something that has followed me from childhood; I have always tinkered with objects and I’ve always been curious with how things were made. So, product design as a discipline is something that isn’t still popular in Nigeria but inside of me, I just had a passion for it,” he reveals.
When asked about some of the challenges he has faced and how best he tackled it, Koroye says, “Challenges in my field are more than successes. It is never easy pioneering anything in Nigeria and in Africa as a whole. My major challenge so far has been the fact that something like this has never been done before and there was no one before me that did it on any level or scale”.
Today, Koroye is a co-founder of a tech and design startup, the Nupe Project, an initiative focused on solving the many challenges affecting many third world countries.
Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey kicked off for Nkemdillim Uwaje Begho in 2008. Her first venture, Future Software Resources Ltd, through her expertise has become one of Nigeria’s leading IT Service companies in almost a decade.
Future Soft is focused on providing digital marketing and technology solutions for the scaling African Enterprise, as well as offers e-learning and IT consultancy services.
Sharing her most memorable moment from the birth of Future Soft, she smiles and says, “My memorable moment from when I was just starting out has to be when I got my very first client. He said, ‘I’m going to give you a chance to build my company website’. He was just starting out as well. Now he runs a big property development company and we [Future Soft] still work with him 10 years after”.
As one of a few Nigerian women in the industry, Mrs Begho’s successes are founded on a passion for driving innovative thinking, building a globally recognised technology brand and setting trends in the Nigerian technology space.
Respected and recognised as a leader in her industry, Mrs Begho is frequently invited to speak about the future of ICT in Africa, the challenges of African entrepreneurs as well as the role of Information Technology for development and change.
More recently, she has stretched her wings beyond core technology and co-founded three thriving tech-driven startups – Anne Li Unique Ideas (in the Manufacturing & Fashion sector), Compare Insurance Nigeria (An Insurance company) and Fucaire Lifestyle Ltd, publishers of ASPIRE Luxury Magazine.
Abiola Adekoya is a true definition of an achiever. A stockbroker par excellence, Adekoya is on her way to positioning RMB Nigeria Stockbrokers, where she is currently the MD/CEO, as a “leading equities brokerage house in Nigeria.”
Before now, she was the managing director of FBNQuest Securities, a subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc. Unsurprisingly; she repositioned FBNQuest as one of the top five stockbroking firms. To be able to achieve this, Adekoya says that the secret lies in believing in yourself.
“The one skill that has served me best is really believing in myself. I was brought up by an amazing close-knit family who taught me to trust in my skills and that has left a positive mark on my life. That belief has made me think of myself not only as a woman but as a person that desires to thrive successfully in this industry.”
It is one thing to assume the position of a leader, it is another to unleash the potentials that lie within. For Adekoya, she prides herself as one born with leadership qualities and whose course of leadership was shaped by her profession. “I started off as a sales trader and by birth, I’m naturally a leader; the industry allows me to be a leader, as well as develop, shape and mentor people. It’s been such a wonderful part of my life; who I am today cannot be complete without my stockbroking experience.”
But this is not all there is to her. Adekoya is a food enthusiast. For someone with her background and achievements, not many would think that she would have the time for her cooking experiences. Not Adekoya! She runs a food page @foodiewaka.