Happy New Year SEGEI Fam!
We are excited to kick off 2017 by highlighting a remarkably talented young woman who is helping girls and women celebrate and embrace diversity and girl power, globally. Our #StrongEnoughGirl of the Month is Oladoyin Oladapo, a 24-year old Nigerian-American writer who moved from Nigeria to the United States as a child and presently resides in New York. Doyin is the Creator of Girl to the World books, a series of multicultural books that showcase the world of possibilities for girls and their dreams.
This is Doyin’s #StrongEnough story:
- Tell us about (describe) yourself.
My family is from Nigeria. I moved to the United States when I was a child. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and went to Wesleyan University where I studied political science and sociology. There, I developed a love for entrepreneurship and all things creative. I started my first company when I was in my 3rd year of university and I’ve been an entrepreneur ever since.
- What are your hobbies (things you enjoy doing)?
I enjoy singing and reading. If I’m not working or doing those two things, I am watching a Nigerian, Indian or Korean film.
- What activities are you involved with in your community?
I grew up being an active participant in my church. Even now, I teach the teens class during Sunday school. I also sing in NYC-based christian youth group as well as volunteer once in a while.
- Who or what inspires you?
A lot of people. From big names like Elon Musk to my parents to taught me the essence of hard work, I take inspiration from the good I see in every person I know.
- Is there something you are passionate about? If yes, what is it?
I am most passionate about making an impact. There are so many things I want to do with my life, ideas and visions that I want to bring to life. Most of them have nothing to do with each other. They fall under different industries or branches of my life but they one thing they have in common is the potential for impact. I want everything I do to positively affect the world in a little or a big way.
- What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced? How did you get through it?
Girl to the World Books is probably the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced and as cliche as it may sound, I just pushed through. Sometimes, I didn’t have money to pay my designers anymore so I had to teach myself a software and design the books by myself. Sometimes, I spent weeks on a chapter only to pivot to entire plot of a book and then fall way behind schedule as a result. The hurdles and setbacks were countless. A project that was supposed take a year and a half took 4. I was tired of telling people “next month”, “soon” when they asked in anticipation about the project release, and I’m sure they were tired of hearing, it. In the end, I finished and I am proud of what those challenges produced. Now, I feel like I can release another series in my sleep!
- What is the biggest challenge that you see facing girls/young women in your community?
The challenges against us are countless and I don’t know which one is bigger or worse but the one I choose to address is the challenges in our mind. We (and I am definitely included in this) don’t always believe or know that we can accomplish greatness. We doubt ourselves because we consume what society tells us about our place as women and we live by that instead of by the purpose in our hearts.
- What advice would you like to share with girls/young women in your community?
Make sure your friends inspire you. Make sure they push you. Make sure they call you out in love and call you to action. Mentors are great, but the people you spend the most time with are your friends and it’s because my friends do all the aforementioned things that I stay on my A-game. They wouldn’t have it any other way.
- Who is your favorite female leader/role model, and why?
I have so many. Sheryl Sandberg, Leymah Gbowee, Linda Sarsour, Chimamanda Adichie, Michelle Obama. It just depends on what day of the week it is! Today, I’ll pick Michelle: she is fearless, brilliant, eloquent, accomplished, humble and so fashionable! I could go on!
- What do the words “Strong Enough” mean to you?
To me, it means I have all I need to push through. It reminds me that I don’t have to have it all, I don’t have to be the smartest, the bravest, the most well spoken, I just have to be enough for me and my dreams.
- Do you have a favorite quote/verse/song lyric?
I have plenty, but I’ll choose one: “Ain’t no stoppin’ sunshine.” It can mean whatever you want it to mean. To me, it means, someone can block themselves from seeing the sun if they like, but they can’t stop the sun from shining. The sun is going to do what it came to do. I am the sun. I’m going to shine and nobody can stop me.
Oladoyin, you make us proud. We are delighted to celebrate you as our first #SEGoftheMonth in 2017! We look forward to working together to IGNITE, INSPIRE, ENGAGE, and EXCITE girls to believe in the power that lies within them and in the diversity we share.
You can learn more about Girl to the World at: girltotheworld.com and/or follow them on Twitter @girltotheworld
LET’S HEAR FROM YOU!!!
Do you have a question for Oladoyin? How has her story inspired you? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.