November news: Unilever, UN Women, and other unexpected things

Becoming the sort of young person that people believe can offer advice to other young people was, shall I say, not quite part of how I envisioned my life a few years ago, but here we are!

I got invited by Unilever (at somewhat short notice, as sometimes happens) to give a speech at the launch event of one of their social initiatives, Heroes for Change. I wasn’t quite sure what to speak about, and then my dad had a medical emergency during the weekend that kept me up the entire night before the Monday morning event and made it impossible for me to either fully flesh out or memorise my speech.

As it turns out, speaking from the heart involves a little rambling but can also be very powerful. I really enjoyed hearing back from the program participants about my off-the-cuff call to courage, and I was a bit surprised by some of the interpretations they came away with; people are deep! It was a wonderful day all in all, and I got to meet one of Africa’s most famous actresses, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde. Unexpected perks of the speaker life!

November was an eventful month; I also got invited to do jury duty by the EU in Nigeria and UN Women for their Gender Equality comic contest alongside Albert Ohams, a political cartoonist, and Moji Makanjuola, a gender advocate. Cartooning in Nigeria is a very male-dominated industry, so I was thrilled that one of the young women who entered the contest made it into the top 3. Her name is Awele Emili; you can see her work here.

Abuja is a great place to hobnob with the powerful; the awards ceremony ended with a very affirming conversation with Mrs Toyin Saraki, founder of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and wife of the Nigerian Senate President. She told me she thought I was very funny, asked for my barber’s number, and we had a delighted laugh over our shared love of Hermès accessories. Okay, okay, our conversation was more serious than that but it felt just as good as if she’d said those things! Haha.

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