With each new year comes a new world of possibilities; new heights to climb, boundaries to stretch, challenges to beat, victories to win, obstacles to conquer and indeed opportunities to make unbeatable impacts.
Now what’s a determined mind to do? Stand up, stand tall, stand out and make the most of every opportunity; take charge of your space and be the best there can ever be.
Olajumoke Adenowo stands out as a fiercely ambitious achiever who has found her place, taken charge of her sphere and continues to make the most of every opportunity, especially in her career.
A serial award winning architect, Olajumoke has dedicated her renowned career to restructuring her homeland’s landscape; no wonder she was described by The Guardian (Nigeria) as “The face of Architecture in Nigeria.”
Admitted to the University of Ife to study Architecture at the age 14, she graduated at 19 with a BSc. (Hons) and subsequently with a record breaking distinction in Masters of Science (MSc) in Architecture. At 23, she designed her first building and few years later, she became one of Nigeria’s most accomplished architects.
Upon graduation from the university, Olajumoke immediately took a job at Femi Majekodunmi Associates architectural firm, where she made a huge impact and impressed her boss greatly. Soon her enthusiasm and doggedness made a way for her and she was given an opportunity to create the Federal Ministry of Lands in Abuja.
“I was always ready. I would be at the office at 11pm on Sunday when other girls are dancing or something. I think my boss saw my passion and he gave me a chance,” she tells CNN African Voices. “If we had more mentors like that in Africa, I believe the younger generation would blossom faster.”
At 25, the power lady felt the nudge to break away and embark on the lonely journey of self-discovery; at first her journey was tough, but like every determined entrepreneur, she remained, ever focused and determined, with her eyes fixed on her goal.
She started her own company, AD Consulting. This was clearly a huge risk, but she preferred to break her defense and take the leap into the unknown, rather than sit in regret over the things that could have been.
“The office was a little bigger than three chairs. It was myself and a young boy who sat in the corridor but I started anyway because I believe that you do what you can with what you have, where you are.”
Indeed, that single leap in determination launched her into an amazing future and opened giant doors to her.
Since the start of her career, Olajumoke has been involved in the design and construction of over 70 buildings for the Nigerian federal and state governments, and has brought institutional facilities, epic 2,500-seat auditoriums, residences, estates and cutting edge corporate offices to life. In 2012 and 2013, AD was the only Nigerian architectural firm recommended by the British Chamber of Commerce for architectural services in Nigeria.
Besides architecture, the power lady is also committed to youth mentorship and gender advocacy, for which she has received several commendations and awards from various organizations, like the Women’s Optimum Development Foundation (WODEF) and the United Nations Information Centre (UNIFEM).
In 1999, she founded Awesome Treasures Foundation (ATF), a faith based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) that discovers, develops and deploys transformational leaders to positively affect Nigeria.
ATF’s summits and other initiatives have attracted well over 50,000 attendees. The NGO has empowered over 5,000 women and the youth through the provision of entrepreneurial and skills acquisition; it has also provided intervention to children on basic primary education, provided primary health care intervention to over 1,500 people, and also rescued over 120 young girls at risk of sexual abuse in the cities amongst other initiatives.
About the vision, she tells CNN African Voices- “We believe the greatest need of Africa is leadership, vision. Strong people who are ready to give their all to say, ‘this is the way’, and Awesome Treasures is here to address that need, to raise transformational leaders.”
The change maker also hosts her own syndicated radio program, Voice of Change on Leadership. She is an author of several books including the much lauded “Lifespring the Mothers’ Prayer Manual”, “Designed for Marriage” and others. She maintains a popular column on relationships and another on interiors in Thisday Style and Essential Interiors Magazine. She is also a lyricist.
For her outstanding contribution to national development, she has received a plethora of commendations and awards like: the African Property Awards (Best Mixed-Use Architecture, Best Office Architecture and Best Public Service Architecture, 2013 and Regional Best in Africa for Public Service Architecture), IDEA Awards (Best Commercial Designer 2012, Best interior Architect 2013).
She was also honoured as an “Ambassador of Excellence” for her achievements in Architecture and Women development by her Alma matter. In 2013, she received the NAPS Iconic Excellent Leadership Award for National Association of Polytechnic Students Personality of the Year.
Having attained such great height, one may be tempted to imagine that the leading lady would now be resting confidently on her many laurels, but that would indeed be far from the truth. For Olajumoke, the journey has just begun; there are yet more grounds to break and dreams to accomplish……
“In the next five years, it would be a dream come true if I have the opportunity to design a building that would define Nigeria’s identity. The way you see the Tour d’Eiffel and you think Paris, the Empire State Building and you think New York.”
She is married to Olukorede and they are blessed with two lovely sons.
© 2015 – 2017, Lovelyn Okafor. All rights reserved.