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Communicating For Change In Today’s World – The Adesuwa Onyenokwe Story

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This week on LR platform, we feature someone whose vision overlaps with ours. Someone who understands that success comes at a price and that sometimes one could take the wrong turn and get demoralised during the one journey that has no satellite navigation system – travelling the highway of life. Someone, who along with her team, has over the years, managed to use their platform to educate people especially women.  She continues to generate commendable positive intercultural dialogue across communities all over the world. Meet Adesuwa Onyenokwe, a motivational media iconic force; many who meet her, have remarked they cannot help but reckon with this force.

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Adesuwa Onyenokwe – the face of change

The brand today’s woman (TW), started off as a response in the wake of my desire to give women a window to exhale and be inspired on television. In 1998 after 13 years in the broadcasting industry, where I was first a television news anchor on local TV and next a reporter with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), I retired. This was to enable a more flexible working schedule for better family management and also to fulfil my dream of starting a platform on which female role models could feel comfortable enough to share their stories to inspire others. I discovered after many years of Television on-screen experience, that finding female respondents to topical issues was a tall order. They were either too shy, or pretty scared of misrepresentation and so would hardly ever contribute to any of my reportorial requests on the street. It was always a battle and I thought getting to see many of their type on TV would help break this barrier. So it was, that today’s woman on television was born. Hosting “inspiring women” and sharing their key personal life lessons as well as their success indicators to enable the motivation of many more people. By 2007, we decided to migrate to print in order extend our audience outreach. To further maximise dissemination,  we went digital recently to reach an even wider audience.

Television wise, I now produce and anchor a more general chat show called Seriously Speaking. This currently airs on Channels TV across Africa and Europe on cable network.

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Soft poise all the way – Adesuwa Onyenokwe

My team and I have encountered challenges doing what we do. However, we continue to see them as the ‘push factors’ that make us think outside the box, causing us to always seek innovative solutions while creating new ideas that enable our continued excellent performance.

One basic challenge most entrepreneurs face is convincing others to buy into their dreams, and it wasn’t any different for me. Initially, I had wanted to go the print way with my idea of a woman’s story platform via a magazine. However, I was challenged by limited capital, network and experience in that field. So I started with a television show because that was familiar territory.

I countered those initial challenges, by selling the idea to my former bosses that they could give my new team and I some credit line to enable a smooth start off. Going forward, by the time we had done 10 years on air, remaining on the television platform was no longer viable since advertising was plummeting. This was a fall out of the drop in ratings for the national television, due to increased competition from the growing number of private broadcasting stations. Once again, faced with a challenge, my team and I revisited the issue of putting the magazine show in print. This is how TW, the magazine for today’s woman was born.

 

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The many editions of our beloved TW magazine

We are in our tenth year now, having gone digital to break the most recent challenge, which is distribution. Currently, without moving physically, we have full magazine content available on our website, to readers worldwide. http://twmagazine.net/tag/adesuwa-onyenokwe/

My life would not be what it is today without my grounded family support. Starting with my dad who taught me the value of hope, faith and selflessness to my mum who raised me to understand the uniqueness of being a woman without resenting it. Alongside these two great anchors of my mum and dad, have been my loving siblings, a supportive husband and my inspiring children. My family members have all impacted on me greatly and for this, I am eternally grateful!

So I have 7 children – did I just hear you scream who does that? I did – I really have 7 lovely kids.

Five of my children are adults now. Four of them are girls and there are three boys. The last 2 are teenagers.

I believe in large families. In my opinion, it presents an opportunity for parents to cooperate with God to bring joy to the world, through the lives of the children they give life to!

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My family; my rock

It may be challenging financially, but the best lessons are learnt in such an environment. For example, out of necessity, older siblings learn to care for younger ones, and because everyone learns to share literally everything, they cannot grow up as selfish individuals. They also learn to chip in, and interestingly this is what made it relatively easy to cope since big brother and sister will help with the care of their younger ones. However, when they were younger I always had two domestic helps in the house to make for backup considering the sudden disappearing acts such domestic helps are known to pull. Learning not to be guilty if I couldn’t attend all the parents teachers association meetings and other such school related activities, helped me stand my ground. Furthermore, you can never overrule the importance of a supportive and re-assuring spouse. My husband does not fuss unnecessarily and he was pretty hands-on in raising the children morally and socially, so that helped too.

To those young ones out there who wish to start things even bigger than the “todayzwoman” concept, you often get told that having the passion for something is a necessary ingredient for success, and that is true. However, building my brand with my esteemed team has taught me a major lesson, which is that passion without business sense and purpose will amount to nothing. Purpose defines your passion, and good business sense ensures that the right structures are there to further the dream and make it financially secure and sustainable. If you don’t have those, then partner with someone who does.

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Doing what she does best – presidential media chat with President G E Jonathan in 2015

The sky may be a wide space, (meaning there could be many more, and indeed there are many more concepts like today’s woman), but then, only birds with strong wings can fly in it. So I’d say to them, know what you want to do, acquire the needed skills and prepare a business plan. Then, remember there are two services you can’t afford to ignore, they are those of an accountant and a lawyer. You find many small businesses cutting corners in these areas because of high costs, by settling for neophytes, but I would say engage experienced hands on a contract basis. A lawyer will help ensure you are on the straight and narrow, and protect copyright issues where necessary; while the accountant ensures your books are kept. That helps you track the financial health of your business.

Whether in social, religious, political or business life, let us all live in love. Genuine love neither wishes anyone ill nor does it seek perfection in all that it becomes involved in. Genuine love operates only with one purpose, which is to glorify the one who has given the life and talents… GOD.

Team LR can identify with this humble yet vivacious lady of Benin origin who has dedicated her life to serving humanity. She completed her secondary education at the prestigious Idia College in Benin City before moving on to study Drama at the  Obafemi Awolowo University.  She obtained her Master’s degree in Language Art from the University of Ibadan and has worked hard to become a multi-award winning media phenomenon. Adesuwa has spent the better part of her life working with her team, communicating for change to motivate people across the world.

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Beauty and Brains for Change – Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Editor in Chief, Today’s Woman

You can not but hit the comment button to tell us what you think of this lady who is a vlogger, blogger, film producer, publisher, event compere, media consultant, entrepreneur, daughter, sister, wife, mother, mentor, – the list is endless. If she can do all these with a family of seven children, why can we not do same?  You sure must have learnt something from her thus far on how to strike life-balancing act and still look out for other people. Rest assured she and her team are not resting on their oars. We can tell there is a project brewing in the Today’s Woman think tank – watch their space.

 

 

For those who wish to know more about this enigma of our time, the above interview with Kemi Adetiba is all you need.

 

*All pictures and video media used with the exclusive permission of  Today’s Woman Team and Adesuwa Onyenokwe*

This week’s article prepared by  our editors Loretta Ogboro-Okor and Winifred Osakwe-Kokroko

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