Ever heard of someone who just fills up a room with her presence and exudes grace in her voice? This is an apt description of Mrs. Olajumoke Adenowo. This woman’s energy is electrifying and contagious even from a laptop screen.
She exudes passion, grace and elegance effortlessly.
Architect (Mrs.) Olajumoke Olufunmilola Adenowo had an early start in Christ becoming born again at the tender age of 11, through her teenage years; she would gather children around her to teach them about Christ. They say you can never miss out on destiny when you follow Jesus, little wonder why she has grown to become a woman of influence. Today, she is the Founder and Principal Partner at AD Consulting; an Architecture and Interior Design firm based in Nigeria.
She mentors and develops young architectural talent through AD’s “Discover Design” and internship schemes. Her NGO, Awesome Treasures Foundation (ATF), has raised hundreds of entrepreneurs with notable successes. The foundation runs an education camp to address the education gap for kids, awesome princesses for young girls in the inner city at risk for sexual abuse and provides mentoring on entrepreneurship and career. Awesome Treasures also runs synergy groups to closely mentor and groom women for Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
She is widely known as an inspirational and motivational speaker and has spoken at hundreds of conferences and summits within and outside Nigeria including the London Business School and at the Harvard Business School (Africa Business Conference).
She hosts a weekly radio show on Leadership – Voice of Change. In 2013, she published “Designed for Marriage” a book on advice for marriage from a Christian perspective.
5 Practical Lessons we can learn from Ms. Olajumoke Adenowo
Architect Adenowo attended Federal Government Girls College, Oyo State from 1978 to 1983 receiving several awards for academic excellence. She then proceeded to Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where she graduated with a BSc (Hons) in architecture (1988), and a record-breaking distinction in Masters of Science (MSc) in Architecture, a first in several decades in the history of the university. During her time in Obafemi Awolowo University she won several faculty awards for her academic work and design skills. Upon completion of her postgraduate Masters degree, she was included in the “Who Will Be Who” in the 21st Century (young achievers section) by the international biography centre Cambridge, England (1991). She is an Alumni member of a number of prestigious institutions including the Lagos Business School Chief Executives Programme (2002) and The Developing Leadership Competencies Programme – IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Barcelona, Spain (2005).
Can you notice the pattern of excellence in the paragraph above? Do you believe you have the capacity for that level of excellence? Always strive to be the best in everything you lay your hands to do, You can. Mrs. Olajumoke does not have two heads. The same capacity God put in her, he put in you. Start practicing excellence today.
Mentorship is vital.
Ms. Adenowo upon graduating at an early age, quickly found work at Femi Majekodunmi Associates architectural firm where she impressed her boss — then the President of the International Union of Architectects — with her passion and enthusiasm. The work ethic she displayed opened up great opportunities for the rising designer who was soon asked to create the Federal Ministry of Lands in Abuja. “I was always ready. I would be at the office at 11pm on Sunday when other girls are dancing or something. I think my boss saw my passion and he gave me a chance,” she says. “If we had more mentors like that in Africa, I believe the younger generation would blossom faster.”
I’m of the strong opinion that mentors are God sent however, it’s not enough to desire a mentor, you must be desirable to a mentor as well. Why will someone want to invest in your life? Remember a mentor is not God, only God has the capacity for global widespread love. Ms. Adenowo displayed responsibility and excellence so much that her boss took interest in her. If you haven’t been blessed with a mentor yet, examine your work ethics. That might just be the missing link.
It’s OK to work things out as you go.
At 25, Adenowo decided to go it alone and start her own company, AD Consulting. It was a big risk to undertake but her reputation as one of Nigeria’s most prominent architects proves that sometimes you have jump into the unknown. “The office was a little bigger than three chairs. It was I and a young boy who sat in the corridor but I started anyway because I believe that you do what you can with what you have, where you are.”
Most of us, me included are guilty of waiting till everything is perfect to start. This doesn’t always work. Start and give yourself room to grow. Stop using the unavailability of things as an excuse for procrastination. Like she has said do what you can with what you have, where you are.
Take ownership and inspire.
Despite juggling a prosperous career and a family at home, Ms. Adenowo still finds time to mentor women through her weekly radio show. She also founded the Awesome Treasures Foundation in 1999, which helps mentor women and young girls. “We believe the greatest need of Africa is leadership, vision. Strong people who are ready to give their all to say, ‘this is the way’, and Awesome Treasures is here to address that need, to raise transformational leaders.”
Of what use is your success and achievements if you are not inspiring someone to greatness and transforming the lives of people around you. As a Christian you are blessed to be a blessing, never forget. Let’s inculcate the habit of paying it forward. You might say to yourself, when I get to the point Ms. Adenowo is i’ll start. That’s not true. What you can’t do small you will not do big. Learn it now.
Love your Nation
According to Ms. Adenowo, from a very tender age, she had been passionate about Nigeria. “I would watch military drills and soldiers shout ‘apes obey’ on TV. So, I really started loving Nigeria, very passionately early,” she says.
As a little girl, she wondered why such a great and blessed nation just couldn’t seem to fulfill its potential. “I remember when I was about eight, my parents went for a conference in Accra, Ghana, and every evening, I would place a seat at the entrance of either Akuafo or Mensah Sabah Hall (I can’t remember which one) in University of Legon and the students would gather and discuss with me till night,” she says.
Psalm 122:6 says “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee” Ms. Adenowo is prospering in the same Nation some of us show no restraint in pulling down with our words. Can this have something to do with her love for Nigeria? Scriptures can’t be broken; you can’t prosper in a land you hate and abuse. Except you want to run away to another land that will never be your Jerusalem, please ask God to teach you how to love your Nation or get ready to live a mediocre life.
Awards and Recognition
- In 2007, Architect Adenowo received the Rare Gems Award, which was given by the Women’s Optimum Development Foundation (WODEF) and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIFEM), for her work with women empowerment.
- In June 2013 she was featured in Today’s Woman magazine, also appearing prominently on the front cover.
- She has been featured on CNN African Voices, a weekly show that highlights Africa’s most engaging personalities, exploring the lives and passions of people.
Armed with an enviable portfolio, Architect Adenowo has held positions and appointments in various capacities including:
- Vice President of The Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme (2002)
- Member of the Ekiti State Transitional Committee (2007)
- Chairperson of the National Tank Youth Development Committee (2008).
- She is a trustee and board member to a number of bodies including the National Reformation Centre, Grace Orphanage, Indian Ayuba Foundation and Governors board at Emanuel Etuh’s Foundation.
Ms. Olajumoke Adenowo is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators- 2015 ACIArb (UK) and a Member African Leadership Network. She is married to Mr. Olukorede Adenowo and they are blessed with two sons. Remember at the root of her success Christianity. Indeed a life with God as the root is guaranteed to be well spent.
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.