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Giving To The Needy Is My Strength – Soyebi

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She is the CEO of Shokesta Enterprises Limited. She is also the Vice President of the Pan African Institute of Information Management Africa(IIM), a position she contested for as the only woman and won.  A lover of justice, peace and fairness which is probably why she has been a recipient of numerous peace awards as well as membership of numerous peace related organizations.  Soyebi Oluwakemi Abiodun is our woman of substance

Background

I was born in Ibadan, Oyo State. I had my primary education at the Ebenezer Primary School at Ekotedo Ibadan, the same primary school that Chief Raymond Dokpesi attended. Thereafter, I moved on to St Louis Secondary School in Akure, but completed my secondary education at Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Ibadan where I wrote my school certificate examinations and came out in flying colours. During my secondary school days, I was known for my brilliance, which was why I frequently represented my school in Literary and debating competitions including a national essay competition organized by Lever Brothers tagged ‘National CloseUp Essay Competition in 1990, where I finished in the second position. While in school I was also active in sports, so it wasn’t a surprise when I was appointed the sports prefect at Our Lady of Apostles.

I gained admission into Federal Polytechnic Ilaro in Ogun State to study marketing, after which I attended the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta where I studied Home science and Management.

I also did my Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) at the International Institute of Chartered Project Managers (IICPM) UK.

Early career

I was posted to Akwa-Ibom State for my National Youth Service, however after the orientation programme, I was redeployed to Ogun State for my primary assignment. I served as a supervisor at the defunct Ogun State Hotels in Abeokuta.

After marriage I became a full time house wife devoting all my time to my children in their formative stage. At this point I would like to express my appreciation to my husband. In fact, I have been looking for an opportunity to do so. He sponsored my university education all alone. He never allowed me to work. He encouraged me to stay with my kids during their growing up years so that I could build a strong relationship with them. I’m reaping the benefits now.

I thank God that I listened to him then. When my colleagues were busy looking for money, leaving their home and kids at the mercy of maids, I was totally at home taking care of my kids, babysitting for 11 years until they all entered high school.

We put them in a full boarding schools so they could practice being independent and self-reliant. It was at this point that I had time for myself. Instead of using my time on frivolous past times, I engaged myself with capacity building activities. I was always online searching for beneficial capacity building programs on the internet.

I got engaged on so many international women’s groups on the internet. I wrote so many inspiring notes, articles and motivational papers that got many international women of repute to connect with me. Some of which are Vicki Gotsis Ceraso, Nella Chikwe, the founder of the group, Unstoppable Women of Purpose Global Movement; Lindsey Morales Andrews, Alfreds Jones-Roby, Michelle Clarke, Zan Usher, Amanda Carr and Lauren King, just to mention a few.

Business

I started my business officially in the year 2014 immediately after, my husband registered it for me at CAC as a limited liability company. But I had been in business since 1993 during my days as a college student. I used to travel to Benin Republic, Cotonou to be precise, to buy goods such as jewelries to sell on campus.

I am now into full events management. Today I am an experienced project manager with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management and development industry.

Shokesta Enterprises Limited of which I am the CEO is a policy advocacy firm especially as it relates to children and youths. I am a strong advocate of the sustainable development goals (SDG), especially the SDG16 which is on peace.

Challenges

When it comes to catching up with their male counterparts, women have made great strides in the business world over the years. There is no doubt about it. However, today’s female entrepreneurs are still up against a few major obstacles, some of which are not understanding how important it is to have networks and trusted advisers, utilizing connections, being decisive and having access to funding. My biggest challenge as a business owner had been letting fear of success keep me from taking the next step. As my experience and business grew, I had to learn that there are new devils that come with every level of success. Instead of waiting to get over my fears, I have figured out how to recognize, manage and grow from those experiences.

Responsibilities

Due to my proactive responsiveness and credibility over the past few years, I have held some positions. I was the Program Officer for the Commonwealth Women’s organization between 2012 and 2015. I am the Secretary, Civil Liberties Organization, Ondo State branch, I have held that position from 2014 till date. I was the Diamond Business Woman in 2014 by Diamond Bank.  For the World Peace Crusaders Movement (WOPECM), I was their program officer in 2016. Till date I am the Group Leader Goodwill and Reliance Foundation Abeokuta, a foundation owned by Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, former speaker of the House of Representatives.

Motivation

Being an only child of my mother, I grew up a lonely child. I love to have people around me and can give anything to achieve that. All round development motivates me. Anywhere I see there is a need, I get motivated to act. I was trained in anti-human trafficking. I was also trained on conflict prevention at the Koffi Anna International Peace-keeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana. It was a self-sponsored program. I saved money to do the program. I decided to go for this training so as to add value to myself. The training cost $1000 but I applied for a scholarship and to the glory of god I was given part scholarship so I ended up paying half tuition. I got the money from my savings from upkeep allowances, in fact my husband didn’t believe it until when I called him from Ghana.

Inspiration

I love to give and show love to the less privileged and special children. That is where my strength lies. It makes me happy anytime I put smiles on the faces of others. I pay so much attention to motherless babies, especially those who lost their mothers at birth. It’s unfortunate that we have the mindset here in Africa, that any baby whose mother dies at birth is evil, and that they are responsible for the death of their mothers, therefore these babies are abandoned.

   





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