- What three words describe Elizabeth Adeniran?
Ambitious, Determined and Calm
- As the winner of the ‘Young Leader of the Year’ how did you feel on winning that category and tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I have to be to very honest, I was shocked to have won. I came to the awards with my mum and the category I was in came up, we saw all the other nominees in the category and I whispered to my mum “Oh I don’t think I will win, look at everyone else in the category. Then when my name was called, I was shell shocked. It is such an honour to be the holder of this award. I have followed Women4Africa for years and the previous winners and nominees all in their own right are amazing women changing the world. I hold this award dearly.
I find it very difficult to talk about myself and I often like to let my actions talk about who I am. I have always been determined and this has been the driving force for everything I do from my education attainment to my career to date. I remember starting year 7 and seeing the top 20 GCSE holders for that year and I told myself “I will be top 10 on that board”, I was one of the top 6 highest GCSE holders in my year. My determination is to be a world changer, on a large scale and small scale (myself). Family is very important to me, they are my cheerleaders in all and everything I do. They are the voices that uplift me and encourage me to keep reaching. Adventure, this is definitely an important part of my life, whether it is in my career or social life. My most notable adventure to date was deciding after my graduation to live in China for a year. I had a Chinese Govt scholarship to learn Mandarin, I didn’t know anyone over there but I bought a one-way ticket and did it anyway. It turned out to be one of the best adventures of my life so far. My career hasn’t followed the 5-year plan I made when I was in my final year at university but it has been wonderful, I have learnt so much, met so many people and done so much. I am very grateful and to add an award to my unplanned life adventure is the icing on the cake.
I am the senior data manager for Inclusive Boards, an agency that supports the third and public sector to develop more diverse boards and stronger governance structures. I look after the data, publish reports and work with the organisations at governance level. This is to make sure diversity changes are embedded within the organisations for the long-term.
- If you could change one thing about what you do to make it have a greater impact, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything about what I do. I believe what we are doing is make changes at the highest level. We have many reports published annually about diversity challenges and we are providing the solution. Change is gradual not instant. So I wouldn’t change a thing. The best is yet to come.
- When life throws you challenges, how do you handle them?
I have to give thanks to God because I can’t say I have been put in a situation where I have been thrown a significant challenge. In all situations I always look to God and my family.
- How would you encourage more women to live out their dreams?
Easier said than done, but just do it. The only voice you have to overcome is the one telling you not to do it; which is often ‘yours’. I recently went to SE Asia myself and the recurring question I kept getting was “Why alone?” but why not, I wanted to see those countries and I did. I didn’t want to wait for to take a survey of the people around me who may or may not have the same enthusiasm for those countries as I did. Although I must admit I take calculated risks but I did it because for me it was something I have always wanted to do. It wasn’t going to harm anyone or me. So why not. To summarise, for women out there, the answer is ‘why not’.
- Who would you say has been your inspiration and why?
My mum! She is my wonder woman. I am inspired by how she lives her life, her work ethic and how she treats the people around her. It’s her and who she is that inspires me, it’s her actions. She is not just my mother, she is my best friend. She came to the award with me, not just to support but because we have such a laugh together. I genuinely could go on about her.
- What is the one thing you love most about Africa?
The potential! Africa has a huge potential across all sectors not yet explored on the continent. The determination of the people to remain positive. The most special thing about Africa has to be it’s people.
- Do you have website? Are you on Social Media?
I am on social media but not particularly active as it’s inconsistent. However, you will find the majority of my posts on Instagram.