Bolanle Austen-Peters is a Nigerian lawyer and businesswoman. She attended the International School in Ibadan, and received her bachelor’s degree in Law at the University of Lagos. She proceeded to the London School of Economics for an LLM in International Human Rights Law. Following her educational pursuits, Bolanle worked with her father’s law firm; Afe Babalola & Co., before the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in Geveva, Switzerland, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Switzerland and Ethiopia. Subsequently, Bolanle Austen-Peters worked at the United Nations Development Program office in Namibia where she assisted in building Namibia’s Poverty Alleviation Plan and Human Rights Project.
Between the years 2000 and 2003, she returned to Nigeria as a Consultant to the United Nations Development Programme in Lagos, and was charged with the responsibilities of monitoring and evaluation for UNDP activities in Nigeria. As an experienced legal practitioner, she has also worked with the renowned law firm of Ajumogobia and Okeke, as well as an indigenous Petroleum Trading Company.
In 2003, she founded Terra Kulture, an educational and recreational organisation set up to promote the richness and diversity of Nigerian Languages, Arts and Culture. In its 13 years of existence, Terra Kulture has organized over two hundred exhibitions, ninety plays, sixty book readings and over ten thousand adult and children have attended it’s Language classes and excursions. Terra Kulture in 2009, established the Terra Kulture Auction House, the auction house which has organised seven very successful auctions is one of only two art auction houses in Nigeria.
With the creation of Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions, she raised the bar in the theater industry with the production of SARO the Musical in 2013 and has since produced five additional plays. In December 2014 and April 2015, BAP productions produced SARO THE MUSICAL 2 at the MUSON Center. Her most recent work WAKA the musical sold out in London for 6 days straight.
4 Practical Lessons We Can Learn From Bolanle Austin-Peters
You Are Your Brand
Bolanle Austin-Peters once said “You are your company and your company is you. You are the face of your brand and clients invest in you as a person as well as your portfolio. Network as much as possible, show your face at social / business events. Hand out business cards and make sure people remember you as first impressions count for everything.”
Don’t stay in a little corner of the world expecting something magical to happen to bring you out. Step out and stand out. The best brands in the world communicate their message via multiple channels and not just their office building, they use social media, print, everything usable… Take a cue.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Bended Knees
Speaking about how it is getting funding for her first musical “Saro the musical” Ms. Bolanle said “It’s difficult getting funding, but every day I just kneel down and say, God make this possible. “
Is there anything too hard for God to do? Perhaps the reason you’re struggling with that project or raising investment is because you haven’t brought God into the picture. He’s waiting for you to ask. Don’t dull.
Expose Yourself To Other Cultures
During an interview, Ms. Bolanle was asked what her advice to young women in Nigeria and Africa who see a lot of obstacles on their way to achieving their dreams is. She said “The first thing is that, people have to work on themselves. Another thing is that a lot of us don’t read or expose ourselves to other cultures and other people. When you live in a cage, you can’t see anything else other than that cage. You are moulded by your circumstance and your environment.
But it is also very important that you open up to the world and see people who have different views from your stand point. Honestly speaking, if I was raised in Nigeria and never had the privileges and opportunities to mix with other people, like I have done, I probably won’t be where I am today, because that has allowed me to fly.”
Go on and explore! How can you impact a world you don’t understand? How can you aid the development of Africa and Nigeria when you don’t have the faintest idea how things work in developed environments? Sometimes all you need to succeed is to go out and see the possibilities. If you can’t afford to tour the world physically, take a tour via books and documentaries #ExpandYourVision
Open Up Your Mind
Bolanle once said “It is absolutely important that a woman develops herself. You shouldn’t wait for society or for family, you have to invest in yourself and I think the greatest platform for doing that is reading a lot. You have to read and get into people’s minds through books if you do not have the opportunity to travel. It is so critical because everything starts from the mind. Once your mind is small, there is nothing anybody can do to help you. You have to free your mind of cobwebs and fear if you want to achieve something.”
By all means, open up your mind. Social media makes this even easier. Follow the right people to ensure you’re feeding your mind with the right things. That’s the cheapest way to alter you mindset.
Ms. Bolanle worked as a Consultant to the Ford Foundation Lagos and helped raise millions of dollars for the Museum through Arts and Business Council which she co-founded. She is married with children.
Interesting to note as well is that she used to be a Sunday school teacher. Clearly, Jesus is the way don’t you think? 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.