It’s been over a week since the Wimbiz Annual conference Unstoppable You- Reinvent and Reinvigorate.
As someone who has attended this conference for four years running, I’ll say without reserve that this has been my best yet.
Perhaps it was the combination of real women with real stories.
My most memorable portion of the conference was the keynote address given by Her Excellency Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo. This was the first time I heard her speak and to say she captivated me would not be at all dramatic.
Her energy was quiet, she didn’t move her hands or her body and she spoke in almost a soft whisper yet we all hung on her every word. Her lecture was drenched with vulnerability and a deep sense of truth that tugged right at your heart, so much so that I found myself fighting back tears until I finally gave in and let them run freely across my face.
But hers was not the only emotional session at the conference, Mrs Betty Irabor’s no filter story about her journey with depression, Ibudun Ighodalo and her struggle with infertility and judgment, Adenike Oyetunde’s journey on surviving cancer….all these women showed me what I have always known to be true. There is not only purpose to pain but also strength in vulnerability.
But before I wax lyrical for you guys…here are a few lessons I learnt and re-learnt from the 2018- WIMBIZ Annual Conference- Unstoppable You- Reinvent and Reinvigorate
- For women to REALLY succeed in the workplace Nigerian companies need to do more to support us.
It is no secret that women face tougher choices between professional success and personal family needs. Speaker after speaker and question after question, the underlying tone was there. The more the speakers touched on this, the deeper the audience probed, wanting more than just the surface information but real life experiences on how these star women had made the home front work while also succeeding in the corporate world. The answers were different but all boiled down to support. Support at home, from family and even from colleagues. But not much support from workplace-based policies.
Given the strong cultural demands women face, corporate Nigeria perhaps should pay a higher level of attention on how to ensure productivity and equitable work place participation of women. This becomes even more important when viewed against the business case for an inclusive workplace
- To become Unstoppable- knowledge of self is key
“To be unstoppable you must find out who you are and be yourself. You must be only you- the only you that there is”
– Her Excellency Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo
This sentence encapsulates the thrust of Mrs. Osinbajo’s speech.
“All my life I have fought to be me and I am still fighting to be me.”
“The oppression is because they don’t know who you are- they don’t know your vision and your dreams. Fight every opposition to being you.”
“The dream in your heart is what will make you unstoppable”
“You are unstoppable when you save others.”
As someone who has taken a complete departure from the path that was initially set before me, I could relate with these statements. The temptation to conform is strong, to become what others define as acceptable, to blend in. But in my experience, it is when you become a little defiant to societies need to be like everyone else that real purpose and joy is birthed. I live daily by these sentences, and it was amazing to hear someone as accomplished as Mrs. Osinbajo echo these sentiments.
- Your dreams are valid- but you must do more than just dream. Add resilience
As we all know, it’s not enough to have a dream, we must all work towards it and that’s where the problems usually begin. Fear, failure, challenges, mistakes….all of these can easily hinder us from achieving our goals. So what do we do?
According to one of the speakers at the conference- “you must increase your awareness on how to build resilience” and another remarked…”You cannot be a snowflake, when it drops on the floor it disappears. Be a diamond that can withstand the heat and pressure”
As if reading my mind, an audience member asked, but how do you deal with fear?…the response was clear.
“What we feed is what will grow”
“Water the seeds in your life, not the weeds”
“Embrace mistakes, they are part of your journey”
“Learn to dance with what life gives you”
But perhaps the most practical advice on dream execution and resilience came from Austin Okere, Founder CWG PlC, who was also a Keynote Speaker. To be unstoppable you need three things
- Will power- learn everything about what you are doing
- Way power- go the extra mile even when people say it’s time to give up
- Wait power-be patient
- Networking IS Important-
The Conference kicked off with the Networking Breakfast, hosted by myself and the amazing Molade Adeniyi. Even with the early start of 7:30am, the hall was full of energy and it was a thoroughly-enjoyed event. In addition to the networking breakfast and the positive direct feedback received, I was super excited to hear a few of the speakers mention the importance of networking in their career success.
“My Network Saved Me”- Rosie Ebe-Arthur Group
For example Rosie Ebe-Arthur Group Head, Human Capital Management and Development for First Bank Nigeria PLC shared how building strong networks has been vital to her career growth. She recounted how just when she needed it, a previous colleague called her and offered her an opportunity she didn’t even know was available. She went on to share how she continues to deliver value in subsequent roles because of the “huge network of people” she brings to the table and encouraged all to “form solid relationships, get to know people and strategically choose people in your network, especially your circle of advisors”.
Did you attend the WIMBIZ Conference? Have a few lessons to share? Send me an email or leave a comment.
Also don’t forget to register for the Career Women Networking Course. The registration portal closes at noon tomorrow! Click here to find out more about the course