I started following @sheleadsafrica on instagram towards the end of last year and I wondered why it took me so long to find them. She Leads Africa is a community that helps young African women achieve their professional dreams. I’m all for women supporting women so a platform that promotes and encourages women leading is definitely my thing.
SLAY festival is a yearly festival organized by She Leads Africa. I decided to attend this year’s event for an opportunity to network(shyness get behind me), promote my brand and learn. The ticket for SLAY festival cost N5,000 and I didn’t drive because of the location(Tafawa Balewa Square). I planned to use uber or taxify to and fro so I was hoping not to have spent my money in vein. I’m glad I went because I had a fun and learning experience through and through.
It was a really hot day and upon arrival there were props to take photos with. Of course, my friend and I waited here to take a couple of photos and my favorite were the SLAY alphabets.
We went in and decided to have a look around at the stalls before attending any of the classes. We saw pretty amazing things as many Nigerians are going through the entrepreneurial path these days. Then we went to the Bellanaijastyle and @iamdodos booth where I got my face painted inspired by Black Panther and then the TRACEnaija booth for freebies. We both got free TRACE tees. I love freebies!!! Who doesn’t???
The Maggi Naija Pot corner was a major attraction at the festival and we went to see why there were a lot of people there. We later found out it was because of free food and an opportunity to cook. Free food is always a good idea!!!! I also took some photos with their props. Find one below.
After this, I ran into a former unimate who encouraged us to go to a session or class as she had attended two and they were really good. We had signed up for a Masterclass before the day but our time slot had passed before we got there. We went ahead to the Money & Success Stage to join the discussion on building a business in Africa and we ended up staying for the remaining sessions in the category. Everyone wants to make money and be successful right? The speakers were really awesome n bared it all and that’s the kind of impact I like. We took a quick trip to the Arts & Culture stage to watch Bonang Matheba speak. She’s all shades of gorgeous if I might add. Another session we attended briefly was on Bossing up in A Male Dominated Industry which Waje and Ty Bello were panelists. There were a lot of other sessions that I’m certain would have been interesting but the time slots were clashing.
Here are a few of the things I learnt from two of the sessions I attended;
Building A Business in Africa: Real Talk
The panelist was Funke Opeke CEO MainOne( yay to female bosses). The moderator Sophia Ike-Onu Ceo 5k shop(which is one of the biggest online shopping brands in Nigeria) shared how she started her business from her bedroom and the challenges she faced along the way. Some of the tips she offered for upcoming entrepreneurs include;
•Identify your market; gender, age bracket,etc.
•Embody your brand; the bulk starts with you, you have to be your billboard and don’t hide from your business.
•Utilize your network- your family/ friends should be your first customers or clients.
•Market Research: It’s important to find out what others are doing, their clientele, can you go after their clientele?
•Be willing to put a lot of time and effort into it.
•Starting small is okay.
Developing Your Personal Leadership Style
The moderator of this session was Oluwasola Obagbemi, Communications Manager, Andela. Okay, I’m not ashamed to say I didn’t know Andela before the festival but now I know. From the way she spoke, I could tell she loved her job and her position and growth in the media industry. The panelist in the session was Mr Tonye Cole, MD Sahara Group. I know a couple of people who work in Sahara and they have always said he is a very approachable and humble fellow. I believe they are right. He talked about his leadership style and also offered a few tips on successful leading;
•Every leader is a follower: even a leader is learning all the time.
•Be willing to learn from younger people also.
•Surround yourself with people you can learn from.
•Impact a life with your knowledge everyday.
•You must be able to flow with any situation and create value out of it.
•The best people in a company to get information from is the locals- security/lowest paid person
•Do to others what you’ll love them to do to you- commend people, respect people; their time and space.
•As a leader you must build leaders.
•Find a way to make your idea look like another’s idea if you are unable to get it across and don’t worry if you don’t get credit for it.
In the middle of all this, I had stir fry noodles and a simply green juice. The highlight of my day was that I got to wear my brand, market my brand and shot my shot.
Top – @mariamshittu_
Sunnies – @allthingschic
Shoes – Gucci
Purse – Moschino
Thanks for reading.