Tosin’s life story has been chapters of being lost in the right direction and the beautiful discoveries she has made along the way, from being an innovation strategist to the founder of The Bloom Africa. Her mission is to support young women and girls. Let’s read her story.
EM- PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND BRAND
I’m an innovation strategist for a global airline, a gender equity advocate, a mentor and certified coach and a social impact leader who founded The Bloom Africa – a registered NGO with the mission of supporting young women and girls in all areas of their lives
EM- HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS FIELD?
I’ve worked in tech and innovation for over a decade and in the social impact space for over 20 years. My work in both spaces overlapped once I made the beautiful discovery that tech could be leveraged to drive social change and impact.
EM- WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO THIS FIELD?
I discovered social impact was at the core of my purpose when I was a teenager and started working for the Red Cross. This experience led me to seek out more opportunities to work for impact-led organizations and I soon found myself volunteering for several organizations. Eventually, I was accepted into New York University’s (NYU) Wagner School of Public Service where I received a master’s degree in City Planning with a focus on housing, community, and economic development. I’ve since worked in this space – in some capacity – for over 20 years.
EM- TIPS ON HOW YOU STARTED?
I believe it’s so important to work intentionally to discover your purpose. The question that leads to this discovery is “What is my why?” Discovering your “why” will require you to follow your curiosities – meaning you’ll have to explore those things that you’re curious and passionate about. I believe this is the path to self-discovery and how you find that “thing” you love and are good at and can turn into a career or business.
EM- YOU ARE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH IN THE SOCIETY, HOW DID YOU GROW TO THIS LEVEL?
I think anyone can be a force in their own way by doing what you can with what you have. I never set out to be recognized for my work – I simply started doing what I loved, with the little I had and with excellence in mind. I’ve always done everything with excellence – even the small things. I believe this is the secret to achieving anything you and others can be proud of.
EM: HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
One of my favourite quotes by Dr Maya Angelou states that “success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it”. I wholeheartedly agree with this statement.
EM: IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO START YOUR CAREER OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
Honestly, I wouldn’t change anything about my career journey. Every step I’ve taken has been a learning opportunity and every opportunity has led me to a better one. It’s been a wonderful growth experience thus far.
EM- EVERY BUSINESS-MINDED SUCCESSFUL PERSON HAS A STORY, WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE?
Like many people, I’ve battled the pesky imposter syndrome. I never feel like I’m doing enough and hardly feel like I deserve recognition when there’s so much more left to do. This mindset has sometimes led me to play small when I should’ve taken up more space to drive my work forward. I’m aware of this and I’m in a continuous improvement process to change my mindset as it relates to this. The good news is I’ve gotten better over the years. I now celebrate my small and big wins; believe I belong in every room I find myself in and speak about the importance of my social impact work whenever I have the opportunity – especially if it means finding allies and supporters and other like-minded people.
EM- WHAT SETS YOU APART?
My connection to my purpose is deep. Social impact drives everything I touch. It keeps me up at night. The question I always ask myself is “Am I making an impact?”
EM- YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO MANY, WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’m inspired by women and girls. We often face a lot of challenges across the world based on our gender alone. This is a proven fact. I’m inspired by every girl who is finding her voice and learning to spread her wings. I’m inspired by every woman who has found her voice and is using it to fight for others, breaking ceilings and pulling others up.
EM- WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
I’m motivated by all the work I have left to do. There’s no end in sight for inequity and I will always find ways to roll up my sleeves and keep doing the work.
EM- IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT YOURSELF WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
“To get lost is to find the way”. My life story has been chapters of being lost in the right direction and the beautiful discoveries I’ve made along the way.
EM- PLEASE KINDLY SHARE SOME OF YOUR SECRETS TO BECOMING SUCCESSFUL WITH EM.
- Follow your curiosities to discover your purpose
- Believe in your purpose and use it to strengthen your voice and spread your wings
- Trust your journey even when you feel lost
- Keep going. Moving forward is a beautiful dance.
EM- WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO YOUTHS WITH THE ZEAL TO GROW?
My advice to the youths is the same as my secrets to success:
- Follow your curiosities with courage
- Find your “why” no matter how long it takes
- Trust your journey and remember that feeling lost doesn’t mean you’re lost – it’s just part of the discovery process
- Lastly, learn to pivot but never ever give up. Learn to bend but never break.
EM- PLEASE SHARE CONTACT DETAILS YOU WISH TO BE MADE PUBLIC
Tosin Durotoye (on Linkedin)