A number of people have asked, who is Omolola Famuyiwa, project director of Cares Global Network. Who is Aunty Anne Muyiwa, producer, presenter and mentor to children? Who is Ms. Anne Famuyiwa, former Manager of The 6team and host of Divine Connection? Who is Ms. O, former cultural consultant Ohio Valley International Council (OVIC)? Who is Anne Muyiwa author of What is wrong with us: Nuggets about mature singles? Who is Abike Muyiwa, blogger and author of Uncut? Who is Mrs. Omolola Omoteso? Wife of Mr. Adebola Omoteso an IT Consultant. In this interview, we give insight into the awesome Lady O'.

Willows:          Why so many names?

Lady O’:           (Laughing). Let me start by saying that all the names you referred to are identities of one and the same person. As you very well know, Yorubas are given many names during naming ceremonies and it just so happens that I answer to them all; at least the ones folks know. I bet that if I grew up in the western part of the world I may have been labeled as having multiple personality disorder! I have 7 names in all but two - Omolola Abike, with my last name Famuyiwa, appear on my birth certificate. During my baptismal class, we were told to adopt a “Christian name”. I was drawn to the name “Anna”, the Hebrew name of the Prophetess in the Bible (Luke 2:36). But, I did not like that it was a common name and the spelling could be mixed with Hannah so I decided to adopt the French version - Anne. While I was taking tutorials to sit for WAEC as an external student in other to make up for failing Math, I didn’t like that people could trace the fact that I went to a Unity School, so I went with the name Olayinka, which is one of my 7 names. On getting to work at a media station, because I insisted on being called my full name, Omolola, folks just kind of elected to use my baptismal and newly adopted middle name - Anne. But contrary to the belief that having an English name negates my promotion of culture, Anne is actually not a meaningless oyinbo name, Anne means grace, graceful or gracious. Now, I simply go by Omolola Omoteso Famuyiwa or Lady O’.

Willows:          Who is Lady O’?

Lady O’:      Lady O’ wears many hats as you know. She is a seasoned media specialist, public relations consultant, child rights advocate, relationship coach, event coordinator, public speaker and writer. In addition to consulting for public relations, media and nongovernmental organizations including The Quadrant Company, I serve as Project Director of Cares Global Network (CGN), host, Divine Connection for mature singles and editor of Willows Magazine (WM) for young people. DC and WM are units under CGN. At CGN we pride ourselves in the tagline, impacting lives, one mind at a time. At DC we push the slogan together we can build joyful marriages. At WM, we live to write and write to live as we nurture young people to excel.

Willows:       Wow! Why have you chosen to combine the mentoring of young people with the counseling of mature singles?

Lady O’:         I was led to start both by God and honestly I am only just seeing the link. Teenagers and young adults are at a cross road in their lives where they need guidance and mentoring. Mature singles are also at a cross road where they feel the need for family life. Being able to connect the teens to mature singles that have time to devote to them creates a very purposeful symbiotic relationship. The added advantage is that the relationship serves to impact the young person and positively affects the esteem of the mature single whose need for family life is met by the commitment they have towards the young person.

My Mentee, Adeleke Aladekoba and his "shy" mentee

 Willows:          So what exactly do you do?

Lady O’:        I am a jack of many trades and master of most. To survive and financially support Cares Global Network, Willows Magazine and Divine Connection I have been involved with designing, sewing, teaching, mentoring, counseling, programme coordination, consultancy, petty trading, freelance writing, manuscript editing, publishing and catering. But what do I do really? I speak – ministering, counseling, coaching and advocacy, I write – magazine, newsletters, blogs etc and I plan – events, projects, programmes. On the side, I explore my passion for cooking and sewing by handing contracts for catering and branded shirts. On the spiritual side, I love to worship and that entails singing and dancing.

Willows:        So where else did you work and at what point did you step into entrepreneurship?

Lady O’:        Many places! The search for relevance drives you around when you have ideas burning in you, until you discover that the ideas are calling out for expression through something that is just you! I actually started while I was at the university with trading in lipsticks which I bought from wholesalers at Tom Jones in Lagos and resold in school (Ogun State). At some point I also worked at John 3V3, where I learned the art of millinery. Officially my first job was as a Corps Member with the 31 Field Artillery Brigade in Minna. There, I realised that I had to let go my mission of becoming a military officer; there I saw many things that just got me off that ambition one of which is that I would cringe when I hear the sound of gunshot at the shooting range. But while in Minna, I was moved to impact children by organising a counseling project which won a State Merit Award. After the one year mandatory national service (NYSC), I was employed at DBN TV as a programme officer. I later worked very briefly at Galaxy TV, then African Children Broadcasting Network where I served as programme officer. In between, I had on-air programmes at LTV 8 called Education TV and Metro FM where I used the name Night Angel as presenter for a late night programme titled In a sentimental mood, this was different from all the other programmes I have ever done. Later on, I worked briefly at World of Fun Children Entertainment Centre, then Heritage House Montessori School, where I actualised the vision of birthing a crèche which I set forth in my winning business plan at Fate Foundation. Then I was brought on board as Head of Programmes at Super Screen TV after which I said enough is enough. But to kick start my company, I had to do so many things including millinery and trading in various things; sobo drink, chin chin, noodles, minerals, sliced bread even ice blocks! These days young people do not want to work, they just want money, money and more money.

Willows:          Can you let us into your qualifications?

Lady O’:        After a friend learned that I had two masters degree from the US, she said to me, “You have to always sign your name with your degrees!” But, I have never been given to flashing my certificates because I’ve always believed that if it doesn’t show on you, or in the bank, then it is better hidden till you can back it up with achievements. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Philosophy (perhaps this is what drives me nuts or to insatiable search for wisdom) from the respectable Ogun State University (OSU). 10 years later, I obtained two masters degrees in International Affairs and Cultural Studies from the renowned Ohio University (OU) in the USA. I also have certificates in computer operations, entrepreneurship and curriculum planning. Presently, I am studying for a combined master and doctoral degree in Biblical Counseling under the renowned Rev. Jackie McCullough.

My friend and media colleague, Mrs. Funke Treasure (Akintoye) Durodola

Willows:          So you went full time into entrepreneurship after your study at OU?

Lady O’:           I actually went full time into entrepreneurship after I resigned from Super Screen TV, where I remained as a freelance presenter for a while; I anchored Hello Lagos with Segun Adebowale, now Managing Editor for Ovation East Africa. But, while in OU, I had to work while studying just to make ends meet. Though I received part scholarship and later full graduate scholarship, I still needed funds to keep up with my lifestyle especially my attitude of giving and keep CGN alive so I worked as a cultural consultant and as a teacher.  I returned to full time entrepreneurship when I returned to Nigeria but the challenge again was money so I took up employment with The Quadrant Company as a PR Consultant. All these while, we continued to run from our Ilupeju office and carried out our projects and published Willows Magazine and Divine Connection Newsletter.


Willows:          Is the company registered?

Lady O’:        Of course it is; as a limited liability company. The initial name “Cares Network” was messed up between the lawyers and the CAC so we ended up with a very long name but we do business as Cares Global Network. We are also registered as Cares Media Network; we plan to handle all our media consultancies under this name. Willows Magazine is registered as a publication. We recently registered CGN as a non-profit in the USA and we are awaiting our 501c status. CGN is jointly owned by me, my mum and my friend; they supported the initiative when I started.

Willows:           What is the vision?

Lady O’:           The vision is to be the major resource pool for children and mature singles. Our goal is to eventually own a Cares Ville which will house our television and radio station, leadership academy and an events centre. We are looking forward to making ‘DC’ a global brand. You can help us get there sooner!

Willows:         You are sold out to mentoring children, did you have mentors?

Lady O’:         Mentoring is great; it is the only way most children, especially those with parents who are more absent than present, can be guided to fulfil destiny. I had mentors while growing up and I still look up to mentors even in business. Those that guided me include my wonderful parents, my mentors, my teachers and my pastors – worthy of note are Mrs. Ireti Banjo-Ikechukwu, Ms. Avoseh, Mrs. Ebika Williams, Ms. Nkem Oselloka-Orakwue, Mrs. Taiwo Ajai-Lycett and Pastor Femi Atoyebi.

Mrs. Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, a very key media and business mentor

Willows:          How supportive has your family being?

Lady O’:         Awesome family! They have all been very supporting; it is unusual to attend any of my events and not find members of my family; I mean, my parents – Elder Olukunle & Deaconess Ibiyemi Odu-Famuyiwa, my siblings, my baby and many children and siblings I acquired along the way. Of course my husband, who is the reason for the newly acquired brand of Mrs. Omoteso, just joined the jolly band wagon and the ride has become quite interesting.

Me, My Mum and my sweet siblings
Willows:          On the occasion of DC’s 3rd Anniversary what message or expectations do you have?

Lady O’:      That someday all children will be free from all forms of abuse. That someday all children will have real models and mentors who will guide them to live right. That someday, all mature singles will find a loving mate with whom they would be joyfully married and be committed to nurturing children in God's way to build the change that we all desire to see in the world.


EsWords said...

Well done ma...so very proud of you.

Omolola Omoteso said...

Never would have guessed you'd have time to visit! Thanks dear. Prayerfully keeping watch as God leads you to the place of purpose and fulfilment.