One organisation that does not tolerate lateness is LEAP Africa. If they say 8am, it’s 8am! I learnt from them how to keep and manage the time you have. LEAP Africa groomed me personally and professionally. I was timid but LEAP made me smart. I became a strong woman. I learnt how to communicate excellently well and learnt that the foundation of any business or relationship is very important.
My name is Oluwatoyin Gloria Omange, a LEAP Africa alumni, a member of Junior Chambers International, member of Initiative of change, volunteer for Slum2skul Africa, associate member of Institute of strategic management, student member of chattered institute of personnel management, a woman green Fellow of SME funds, a YMCA member,member of the Lagos Chamber of commerce and industry and a graduate of Industrial relations and human resources management from the Lagos state University.
I am a business-oriented person. I started hosting corporate and social events from the university and that was when I fell in love with events planning. I always had a sense of fulfilment catering for a client’s needs and it made me happy. I decided to learn event management and decoration because I already had a passion for it and wanted to learn more. After getting my diploma in event management, I started my event planning company.
In my final year in school I attended one of our youths camps of YMCA in Taqwa bay and we had a training day where we were taught how to make liquid wash. Immediately after camp, I did my research. Ojota became my next home because that’s where you get the chemicals from. I decided to create a brand and sell from there on. It generated more income for me but I had a lot of challenges. So I went to NAFDAC. But when I was given the list of requirements needed to validate my product, I was discouraged; I was only 19. I didn’t know how to go about the major parts of it as I had no basic support really. At that time, I only had one major buyer that had a structure set in VGC, she bought in bulk from me but puts in her own brand. The beginning was really stressful. Not only was I not mobile, I had to transport 200 litres from Ikeja to VGC using the public transport. I knew I needed a structure in place but I didn’t have the resources to pull it through at that time.
In between all of this I was accepted to go work as a summer camp counsellor and specialist in the United States; Clearpool and Hillside summer camp respectively in upstate New York, Brewster. It was an amazing experience in 2010. It was a paid job and I enjoyed working with the kids. I came back couple of days after summer in September 2010 and began managing a water company.
In 2012 was when I finally visited CAC to register my events company named Te’Amo Events. I began to put a proper structure in place by validating myself more in the events industry. Phillips Consulting put up an advert I think last year to bid as an event planner but all I had was a business name. It was then I realized I hadn’t considered all the other requirements, but still I sent in my documents as a business name.
With the Phillips Consulting experience and the Federal government tender experience, I buckled up and registered as a Limited Liability Company early this year; Te’Amo Business Network Limited.
I became obsessed with climate change recently and in one of my travels I got to learn about Hydroponics Farming, using renewable energy. The more I researched, the more interested I was in this new development. I currently run a women green Fellowship program in Nigeria at EDC and we are supposed to start a project solving the SDG’s. The hydroponics farming is for me an ideal project and through this project, we will be solving food, security, job creation and hunger using renewable energy. This is a project I am trying to kick start as a pilot here in because it’s still in its early stage in Nigeria.
I got involved in LEAP Africa in 2006 in school through a friend Jumoke Barika of Olabelle designs and it changed me completely. I attended the Youth Leadership Programme in 2006 — ‘the Actualizers’. I think I came up with that name at the end of the programme. It was a one-week programme and we had pet projects to run and manage at the end of the in class training.
I can remember the first activity was to introduce ourselves and we were not to forget each others name. I was not the talking type at all, I am more of an observer. But we were taught how to relate with each other. I still have memories of Ngozi; a strong woman and very confident. Mosun; a very pleasant lady. Oje-Obiora-Asuquo … they were all amazing gentle men, very professional and disciplined in their fields. We also had a session with Ndidi and it was a fantastic one. One organisation that does not tolerate lateness is LEAP Africa. If they say 8am, it’s 8am! I learnt from them how to keep and manage the time you have.
The other programme I attended was the the Business Leadership Program in 2012. It was another professional experience into the business world with entrepreneurs and how to build a sustainable business. I have had the opportunity to volunteer at LEAP Africa and I always enjoyed the experience.
Honestly, LEAP Africa groomed me personally and professionally. I was timid but LEAP made me smart. I became a strong woman. I learnt how to communicate excellently well. I learnt that the foundation of any business or relationship is very important. I learnt how to utilize my resources effectively. I became more outspoken and bold. I imbibed the culture of leadership and volunteerism; it’s something I do effortlessly. Honesty and integrity became a watchword in my professional and personal development. It just felt like I woke up and I could conquer all my fears and limitations in life and actualize my dreams.
One of the major part of my participation and engagement in LEAP Africa was being able to write my mission statement at an early stage in life. I discovered what I wanted to be remembered for, who I wanted to become, the type of life I wanted to live, my kind of friends and associates and the timing I needed to achieve a particular goal. Anytime I go back to the mission statement, it shapes me and I have tried to live in alignment with it.
There’s been a lot of participation and engagement over 10 years of being an alumni member of LEAP Africa. Being a part of this community helped me to make good choices and made me who I am today. I am forever grateful for the bright minds that initiated the YLP and the support it got.
I’d recommend the YLP for younger youths. Personally, I made sure my younger sister attended the YLP as well.
Have you attended our programmes, volunteered or worked at LEAP Africa? Do you have an inspiring story to share? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll love to hear from you.