The first time I came across Mrs. Dupe Olusola was in a picture of her stepping out of a private Jet looking all fancy. I thought who is this super star woman?
You can trust that I searched her out on Instagram and I must confess she was not what I expected. For starters, her username was “sexypuff” I thought, How does a CEO call herself “sexypuff” how did she even have time to conceive the name amidst her busy schedule? I guess I expected she would be more uptight “I don’t have time to waste” type CEO you know speaking big English on how you must work, work and work. LOL
Imagine if I and Mrs. Dupe were age mates and this was us fresh out of school. My own Instagram handle is “SinmisolaWonder” and hers “Sexypuff” who would you think will be CEO in years to come?
I’m guessing the one with the less controversial name; now as a typical Nigerian, this mindset time and time again stops us from learning from people because they don’t fit into our little box of standards. Well for me I was determined to shatter that limiting box of mine; I looked into her and oh what I found. She’s an amazing woman to say the least.
Dupe Kupoluyi Olusola is currently the managing director and chief executive officer of the Nigeria-based agricultural company, Teragro Commodities Limited, the agribusiness subsidiary of the Nigerian conglomerate, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp Plc). She studied Economics at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom and obtained her MSC in Development Economics from the University of Kent in 1997.
She has worked in various sectors of the economy both in the UK and Nigeria such as Power, Oil & Gas, Banking, Private Equity, SME Development, Business Consulting and Asset Management. She pioneered a charity group focused on training and funding causes for children, aged and widows. She is active in her community and is involved in Entrepreneurship and Leadership mentoring.
3 Practical Lessons We Can Learn from Dupe Olusola
In an interview Dupe said “After, I go home from work, I spend more time with the family, then I prepare for the following day. On the weekends, I like to hang out. I have family and friends that I like to do so with. For me, life is all about balance; you can never make one area all of what you are. Having a good life outside of work helps to develop that area as well so, I enjoy my family, I enjoy my friends, I love doing things like going out to eat, laughing, I love dancing. I generally just love being happy.”
I used to try to suppress the longing in me to have a very successful career because I feared that I would lose touch with other areas of my life. I’m starting to embrace the idea that I can and I will have it all. The Proverbs 31 woman did. What makes you think you won’t? It’s really all about balance. It’s working for Dupe, it will certainly work for me and you too.
Everything you do in life prepares you for the next step
In an interview Dupe said, “What I have found is everything you do in life prepares you for the next step. My degree was in Economics, from the University Of Leicester, UK, and my Masters was in Economics of Developing Countries, from the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. I started out doing SME development as well as private equity. Basically I studied understanding businesses in Nigeria, for example – principles, policies. I have a diverse skill set, which I developed from finding myself in different fields at different times, and thus took me beyond my own discipline.”
Learn something new daily, read wide and broad, take steps even if you don’t know what the big picture is. In the end, the dots will connect nicely. Remember Joseph’s seemingly horrific journey? Step after step elevated him to the next until eventually he got to the point of being ruler in Egypt. You don’t need a map. Just be faithful in each step.
Say Yes first
According to Dupe “I think the biggest challenge that women face is their fears. And this is based on our emotions. When a job of certain magnitude is presented to us, our first instinct is to say no, because we feel that we don’t have whatever it takes in various ways. Why not just say “yes”? That’s a big difference I’ve found between men and women. Men just say “yes, I’ll take it” first, then deal with any challenge that might come after. A starting point is for women to say “yes”, then go back and think of ways to accomplish what needs to be done. When this job was first offered to me I learnt that it was in Makurdi, Benue State. I have a husband; I have children here in Lagos. I could have said no, but I said I wasn’t going to think about it, I was just going to take it. You can’t get to Benue with a plane, and I hate road travelling. So, if I was saying “yes”, I was saying that to every part that came with it.”
Clearly there are heights that you can only get to through courage. Dare to stand up, Dare to chase your dreams fiercely, that’s clearly the only way you can get to where you want to fast enough.
Mrs. Dupe Olusola is married to popular life coach, Lanre Olusola (The Catalyst). She was recently listed by Ventures Africa as one of the most influential CEOs in 2015. She is an example that amidst all the tradeoffs, you and I can have a blossoming career/business and wholesome family and social life. So if that’s what is holding you back from chasing your dreams fiercely, relax. You can do this!
This post was culled from the Thresh woman WCW Column. The ThreshWoman WCW is a column I manage with the goal to celebrate and encourage the successes of women all around the world while inspiring other women to chase their dreams fiercely.
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