Chief Executive Officer, Bustline Media an event and media organisation which specialises in empowerment and award projects, Yetunde Oduwole, is a woman of many parts. She speaks with OLUREMI ADEOYE on her life, career and philanthropy.
I’m from Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria, though British born. I’ve done all a well brought up child could do as regards education. I schooled both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. I’m presently back in school for my Masters in Management of Business Information Technology. At some point, I plan to take on my PhD. Earlier in my life, I was a writer/columnist. I penned one of the most popular columns in those days called ‘Bustline’. I actually created the column when I was 19 and it became popular when it got published in the rested romance journal, Hearts Magazine. The column travelled through many publications. Today, the name ‘Bustline’ has become a brand. I’ve done almost everything in the Print Media. From being a proof reader, to being a columnist, a woman editor, an associate editor, a contributing editor and a co-publisher. It has been some journey. I thank God for where I am today.’
How did you come about the name Bustline, and what does the media organisation do?
While I was a student in Jos, Nigeria, I had a stint with Plateau Publishing Company, the publishers of Standard Newspapers. My editor gave me the opportunity to create a column. While I was struggling with a name for the column, I brainstormed with one of my friends, Tajuddeen Adepetu, now the CEO of SoundCity, and we arrived at that name. It has nothing to do with my cleavage or my chest. I doubt if I had any chest when I created it (laughs) Today, my media and events company is called Bustline Media. We are the organisers of the global charity, empowerment and achievements award project, Diamond Special Recognition Awards Worldwide. We organise events, promote, market, and publicise them. We also have a ticketing hub where we sell events tickets.
You are a well-known U.K-based events and media consultant; can you brief us on some of your events over the years?
Like I said earlier, my media outfit organises a global award project where we travel to different countries of the world to honour notable people. This year marks our eighth year of traversing the globe. Aside that, we have been part of many events’ successes in the area of promotions, marketing and selling tickets. They range from major African concerts, events, seminars, book signings, town hall meetings, movie premieres, and so on.
How much of philanthropy are you involved in and why?
I am naturally a giver. I am not rich, but giving means everything to me. I am equally emotional towards the less privileged. This made me set up a registered charity called Friends of Bustline Media ( FOBMED). It consists of my friends from all over the world who are givers as well. We try to make our own little difference in the world. Currently, we have adopted a few families and sending their children to school. I’m particularly drawn to poor single mothers because I am a single mum myself and I know the struggle of having to bring up children single-handedly. To the glory of God, we have made life better for some single mothers in Africa with the little we have, let me talk about a crucial problem we face in this field. Sourcing for real people who really need help is challenging. We don’t want to render help to those who don’t really need it. We have seen cases of fraud which abound in this field. To conquer that, we take up cases of recommendation from people that are known to us, and we go on to verify them on our own. I’ve had to travel to Nigeria to verify some myself. Back to your question, we are fairly new, we are going into our third year, and so far, no assistance has been challenging yet. I love challenges though, so I hope as we progress, we would be able to tackle tough situations. So help us God.
What are the challenges being a philanthropist has made you face and how did you overcome such?
I see myself as a servant than a philanthropist. I’m here to serve and make some people’s lives better through that. Like I said, I am not rich, I am only a struggling single mum. The major challenge I face is funds. There are many problems to solve, but the funds are never enough, but God always sends us helpers to solve tough challenges. I give Him the glory.
What would you say has been your contribution to nation building?
I try my best in my own little way in the area of charity and empowerment. I do a lot of skills transfer as well. I pass on the knowledge that I have to the younger generation and I support many projects of young people, for them to do even better. My award project is centred on encouraging those who have taken time out to build the nation by empowering others to be better people. I honour and celebrate them to encourage them to do even more in their various communities. Anytime the opportunity to serve my nation arises, I jump on my feet. Nigeria groomed me, I owe her my sweat.
What’s your advice to career women who are also wives and mothers?
It’s a pity that in this century, there are still men who stop their wives from pursuing a career. My body crawls when I hear different stories of such hindrances. I give it to women who are standing up on their feet and pursuing their dreams no matter the obstacles, especially wives and mothers. My advice is, do not allow anyone to stop you from becoming great. You have equal right and opportunities. Though it’s tough to be a career woman, a wife and mother in Africa, thank God things are getting better.
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