Former beauty queen (Miss Nigeria in America 2010), Angel Adelaja is a Nigerian innovator and community and change developer who formulates inclusive growth strategies for governments and organizations. Her major focus is women and youth empowerment, utilizing grass roots campaigns, technology, and innovation to assist these groups in solving global issues. Specifically developing good governance strategies to reduce health disparity, poverty, unemployment and boost agricultural and economic development.
Angel is the co-founder and owner of Zahara Empresa which owns Zahara Spa and Salon in Abuja, a one of its kind high end mega spa and salon for both men and women. She is the co-founder of We Farm Africa, an agricultural NGO that focuses on collectively ensuring a better future for Africa through sustainable agriculture and is the founder and Executive Director of Fresh Direct Produce and Agro-Allied Services an indigenous agricultural production and processing company that bring together communities and advanced technology to provide exquisitely grown organic fruits, vegetables and meats and processed end products.
She has served as Technical Assistant and Research Consultant to the Director General of the Office of Economic Development and Partnership in the Office of the Governor of the State of Osun, Special Assistant to the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Poverty Alleviation and National Coordinator of the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Wealth Creation. Under these roles, one of her major pushes was for programs that funnel youth into emerging sectors, especially agriculture.
Angel Adelaja has a PhD. In Epidemiology from the Michigan State University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Temple University. In 2015, Out of 216 entries submitted, she emerged the winner at the first edition of The Venture Search organized by Chivas Regal in Nigeria.
3 Practical Lessons We Can Learn From Angel Adelaja
Success Is Today
Angel moved to America with her parents at the age of 3. From a tender age, she was heavily involved in science competitions and volunteering at health clinics. For high school, she went to a math and Science charter school where she excelled and spent her summers volunteering and doing health research with prominently NIH-funded researchers. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Temple University, and was the founding member of the French Speaking Professional Organization, and was the first community service chairperson for the Organization of African Students. Her role as community service chairperson was to set up events that would serve as an outreach to the surrounding Philadelphia community in addition to teaching about the various African cultures.
Recently I was having a chat with my best friend (shout out to Temi.. lol) and I told her that I couldn’t wait for my life to get more stable so I can invest more in strengthening my relationships. I explained to her that I believe at the time I would be in a better position to do more but she corrected that notion stating that at every stage there will be one curveball or the other.
At that point it dawned on me that my destination addiction was creeping up into my life again. From Angel’s track record we see that she was successful long before the world called her that. She succeeded at each stage of her life exceling everywhere she found herself. Don’t wait till you land that dream job or acquire whatever dream you are before becoming relevant. Commit to succeed every day at every stage of your life. Be a star!
According to Angel; “I’ve had to fearlessly make life decisions and jump of not leap into them. I remember the day I decided to move to Nigeria, the country of my origin, though I had never lived there and only visited less than 5 times. It was a bold move but one of the best decisions of my life and has set the tone for my life today and my future. I left America, selling or shipping everything I had to a country that I knew nothing about. But I was sold the Nigerian Dream; the excitement of an emerging middle class, a rapidly growing economy, and a gold mine for young tenacious youth who can spot opportunities or create solutions to everyday problems just by looking from a different perspective. Now here I am living in Nigeria for 4 and a half years and the entire better for it.”
The bible says in Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Commit To Learning New Things
In an interview recently, Angel said “I tend to get so excited by my work and I love the rush it brings, but I know how involved I can get, and when that happens, I try other things. I workout, I practice Tae Kwon Do, I love gardening and going to the farm, I cook, travel, and no matter where I go, I read. I have the Kindle App on my tablets and phone, so I’m always reading. I also love learning new things so you’ll catch me Googling and searching Youtube.
The most important word I’ve chosen is LEARNING. I’m always growing because I’m always learning. My education didn’t stop at a PhD. I’m always researching things online. Google is my number one friend. I read heavily. It’s helped me be able to pivot so rapidly from career to career and from sector to sector. The learning spirit has helped me build Fresh Direct NG and Zahara Spa and Salon without relevant degrees in the agricultural sector and beauty industry. Additionally I don’t only self-learn I make it a point to learn from others. I learn from my staff and colleagues. I also designate mentors to learn from. I actively engage them and task them on teaching me. My motto is… “If you keep learning, you keep living”.”
Let’s zoom into this “I’m always growing because I’m learning”. Some of us have self-inflicted stunted growth. Don’t you know you can’t give what you don’t have? Don’t leave your mind empty, constantly pursue and consume information that will fuel your growth.
Cultivating a learning spirit will help you set and crush massive targets! There’s so much information out there waiting to be devoured.
According to Angel, Success for an African woman is not just found through getting married and having children but through acceptance of one’s God-given talents, fulfillment of one’s destiny, the value they add in their community, the legacy they leave behind and the lives touched along the way. No doubt Angel has taken her counsel and is leaving an indelible legacy with all her accomplishments and investments in the lives of others.
I would love to hear from you, what was your most striking lesson? And lesson learnt outside this? Please share it in the comment box below. As usual don’t forget to pay it forward by sharing with someone else.
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.