Tosin Odunfa Is Getting Paper For His Talk
The media scene in Nigeria is a progressing sector which continues to flourish over time. While the industry is saturated, young personalities such like Tosin Odunfa have taken it upon themselves to make a name in the industry.
Many recognise Odunfa as a presenter on EbonyLife TV who has interviewed the likes of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tiwa Savage, Tuface and met several notable people including the president of Ghana, Germany and Nigeria.
His journey started after he obtained a post-graduate degree in Business Administration from Northampton Business School and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Howard University in Washington DC. Subsequently, he moved back to Nigeria in 2009, where he has worked in media for many years as an MC, presenter and a businessman.
Guardian life had a short chat with Odunfa on his journey and reveals some tips on building his brand.
How did you initially become interested in media, was this the career path you planned?
I spent a lot of my earlier years watching and admiring various TV presenters in entertainment as well as in the news and when I was 19 I decided that I have what it takes and would give it a shot. I bagged my first TV show with an independent producer and had my initial taste of the limelight.
How did going to Howard University impact your career choice or outlook on life?
Howard University’s Engineering program taught me the importance of discipline and a strong work ethic in attaining lofty goals. In addition, the school’s motto of providing leadership for the US and the global community further enabled by confidence in my leadership ability. It made me believe that my input in any organization or community could make a significant difference in its success profile.
What’s most exciting about your line of work?
One of the most exciting things about my line of work as a presenter and when I’m called to be MC is the calibre of people that I get to meet and interact with in close quarters. I’ve met and in many cases interviewed Presidents and Past Presidents of about four countries so far.
How did you start building your brand and identity in the industry?
When I first started out in the industry I paid a lot of attention to personal branding and appearance. I was never found without a business card and always looked spiffy on outings. My business cards said that I was a presenter. I envisioned my goal to be a presenter, I was not really looking for a job; rather I was looking to sell my service as a media personality. I created various logos, websites and a social media presence. I ensured that I learned the details of digital media and strategy and built a pretty strong following over time.
Do your life experiences or background have anything to do with your work?
My late aunt Lara once told me of how I would as a toddler stand up to entertain everyone. While I have no memory of this, the story does not surprise me. As a teenager, I was once told that I talk too much by a school counsellor. No hard feelings but I wish I could see her now to say “look at me now” I’m getting paper for that talk!
Who are your inspirations at the moment?
Mo Abudu, Strive Masiyiwa, Gary Vaynerchuk and Titi and Bolaji Adeoye are some easy choices of people who inspire me at the moment. Nigerian music industry has a few examples of achievers who inspire me such as Adekunle Gold, Mr Eazi and Davido.
What are some interesting facts about yourself, especially relating to your work?
While I always compose my scripts for the opening of shows, I hardly ever write them down. Instead, I compose the script in my head and so you may sometimes catch me talking to myself in a bid to internalise the script.