Bidemi Zakariyau is a public relations professional and founder of LSF|PR, a full-service public relations consultancy with core competencies in corporate communications, consumer and lifestyle brands.
She recently founded and is the head of business development at The Luxe Digest, pan-African luxury content platform. Bidemi handles the day–to-day management of LSF|PR and currently leads her team in creating the communications strategy for the consultancy’s clients.
Bidemi attended Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Lagos and then proceeded to study Business at the Brooke House College, Leicester. You’d assume that Bidemi continued in the line of business, but surprisingly, she studied Law at the University of Sheffield, England and was called to the Nigeria Bar in 2013. She wasn’t really interested in law as it was one of the courses she took in college but after emerging as the best student in her set, she decided to study law in the university.
When she moved back to Nigeria, Bidemi interned at two law firms, Consolex Legal practitioners, for two months and then she worked with UdoUdoma and Belo-Osagie for about six months before she went to Law School. While she loved the experience and learned so much about the Nigerian business environment, law is not really what she’s passionate about. This led Bidemi to look within and figure out what she was passionate about.
She followed her passion for media and tried to settle on what exactly in the media space she was interested in. She decided to start her company, LSF|PR in 2012. She was still in law school and was 23 at the time.
She ran her business on the side, working with small businesses and start ups and once she was done with law school, Bidemi expanded her business.
This was a huge risk for Bidemi as she had recently just moved back to Nigeria. She knew few people and had barely established any connections. Bidemi also had no capital, but all of this pushed her to work harder at making her dreams come true. Bidemi had to decide early what she wanted to do, how she wanted to do it and focused on working towards that. Utilising her determination and creativity, Bidemi set her dreams in motion.
She didn’t have an office space at the time, so she would set up meetings at her clients’ office while saving money until she was able to afford her office space. Now, after four years, her business has been able to fund itself all through. The business has been profitable and is still growing. Bidemi’s business isn’t halfway where she wants to be as a business, but the journey is rewarding regardless.
A lot of people did not believe in Bidemi’s vision. Most people kept seeing impossibilities and limitations, but for Bidemi, her possibilities were endless. Bidemi kept believing in herself and her vision, trusting in her work and remained dedicated to bringing her dreams and desires to fruition.
Currently, Bidemi is actively involved in advising clients on critical communications strategies and issues. Her work reflects the international scope and breadth of the consultancy’s offering and has included advising clients on entry strategies into the Nigerian Market and ongoing corporate reputation building efforts.
One of the best things Bidemi has done for our generation is her effort to reduce women inequality in the work place. Bidemi works with an all female team, empowering women and providing them with opportunities they’d ordinarily not have access to.
Her reason for this is very clear –
There are less women in the work place in Nigeria and Africa as a whole and fewer opportunities available to women than men. I’m doing my part to change the numbers. Women for so long have been marginalized in the work field – women who, in all likelihood, had what it took, who were diligent and competent.
There is also evidence that shows that promoting women’s access to employment can unleash a strong force for innovation, productivity, and economic growth. And I believe this is my own little way of writing a new narrative, of saying that women who are competent and hard-working must be given a chance.
It is something everyone should be conscious about. An all female team is amazing: we understand each other, have similar problems and issues in our personal lives so it’s easy for us to open up to each other and talk about these issues amongst ourselves without feeling judged.
LSF|PR is more than a brand. Bidemi is impacting lives of people as she grows, inspiring and teaching people while establishing a brand that will outlive her name. She is living out her purpose and excelling at it.
In 2015, she was recognised as one of the leading female entrepreneurs under 25 in Nigeria by SME100 and in 2016, she was awarded The Future Awards Africa Prize for media enterprise. She was recently recognised as one of the 100 most influential women in Nigeria by Leading Ladies Africa. Bidemi is also sits on the board of Réle Art Gallery.
Bidemi’s journey shows that it is important to believe in your vision even when no one else does. You must always believe in yourself and start with whatever you have. We must push ourselves to break boundaries and overcome the limitations in our path.
© 2017, Ona Akinde. All rights reserved.