Women excel when they shun sentiments, respond to criticisms – Adewuyi, SEF CEO

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Mrs. Olubukola Adewuyi is definitely a force to reckon with in the education sector. She has excelled in her career path, both in Nigeria and United Kingdom and also believes in the ability of women to excel above their weaknesses.

Adewuyi, who moved from the law profession to education for the sake of being the best mother, was the Head of the Lekki British School in Lagos. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of one of the leading schools in Nigeria, Supreme Education Foundation.

Supreme Education Foundation was founded in 1991 and currently runs a primary, junior, middle and high school, both day and
boarding.

WOMEN NEED TO FIGHT AND DO AWAY WITH PETTY EMOTIONS. WHEN THINGS GO WRONG, WE THINK IT’S PERSONAL, WE ALWAYS THINK IT’S A PERSONAL THING FOR PEOPLE TO GET AT US. WHEN YOU DETACH YOURSELF FROM EMOTIONS, YOU WILL SEE THE LIGHT IN THAT DARK TUNNEL AND YOU WILL GO 

FOR LIGHT

 “I was a lawyer. It is a skill transfer from Law to Education. I went to the United Kingdom after Law School. I studied Education in Middlesex University and worked there for over a decade. I was able to put all I read into practice right there,” she says.

Speaking on how she was able to integrate herself comfortably into the education sector in the UK, she explains that her passion for education made her challenge her teacher’s lecture.

“Luckily for me, while I was studying abroad, I went to the graduate teacher’s programme; this means that as much as I was a student, I always went back to check what we were taught. I always challenged my teachers about misconceptions in their teaching. Then, I was being guided. It was a very rich programme. My mentor used to work there, so, it was tougher for me as expectations were very high. Even though it was a one-year programme, it was like a five years programme because I learnt more than the others,” she
notes.

Why did she leave the law profession for education? The mother of three points out that she was always frustrated at how she was not satisfactorily carrying out her responsibility as a mother. This informed her decision to become an educator.

 She explains, “I have three children. Having children made me go into education. I was frustrated teaching them how to do some things. I just thought I wasn’t doing it well, and then, I started reading books.  That sparked my interest. I worked as a school administrator at some point. I discovered I had less on my hands so I would go into the class to help the class teachers. I found out, at the end of the day, that all I could talk about were the children. When I was studying to be an educator, my mentors knew me.

“I am always excited when I get to the class to teach, no matter how the day was.  If I have headache in the morning, once I get to the class, it’s gone, and after the class, I would remember I had headache and then laugh at myself.”

Adewuyi, who, no doubt, has made a name in the education sector, believes women should put aside petty emotions in order to make it to the top. She maintains that women should learn to respond to criticisms rather than being emotional, which, according to her, may lead to weakness.

“The first thing I learnt as a woman is to stop reacting to things emotionally. Also, I learnt to see the cup half full rather than half empty. I learnt to understand the need to be firm but very fair.  All of these things have helped me to grow.  I don’t take criticisms to heart; I take them as a step to get better. I work hard and stay focused,” she
adds.

Why the emphasis on women and emotions?

Adewuyi says, “Women are very emotional; I have learnt to put aside emotions and respond rather than react to things. There was a time the person I mentored was given a higher position than me. It felt very bad as I was demoralised but I had to see the cup half full than half empty.  So I braced myself since I mentored her. I learnt from her and later I was given a bigger position. We still talk, share knowledge till now.”

On how she has been able to combine family and work successfully, she observes that the education sector is centered around the family, saying “what you do not have, you don’t give.”

“Family is key in this sector. Education is not just about academics. I have learnt to prioritise my family. My children go with me together in the morning and back together in the afternoon.

“It’s a bit strenuous but after a while, it gets better. I won’t say the work reduces, but maybe, it gets better because you are used to it. Those around you get used to it; they begin to accommodate you. My family understands timing, when it is time to study, I go into the library for two to three hours, and nobody is disturbing the other,”
she adds.

Adewuyi, therefore, advises women not to be static in knowledge, saying they should keep learning.

“Life is all about learning. You learn, unlearn and relearn.  It is not about taking everything and just remaining there. We have to teach our children this too. We are in the 21st century; there were no jobs like bloggers as far back as 10 years ago. Jobs are changing; the world is fast changing, so you just have to keep learning, unlearning and relearning,” she states.

Advising women further on how to excel against all odds, this Woman of Substance notes, “Women need to fight and do away with petty emotions. When things go wrong, we think it’s personal, we always think it’s a personal thing for people to get at us. When you detach yourself from emotions, you will see the light in that dark tunnel and you will go for light. We should see criticism as a ladder for us to climb up.  Even when it is for a negative cause, we should see it as half full rather than half empty. I will pick criticisms and I am going to be better
for it.

“That’s what we should do. Be firm but fair; be positive as much as possible.  Have one goal; we set many goals at the same time.  We are very good at multi-tasking and it is a fantastic thing, but you should know your strength and weaknesses. Annex your strength and divide your weaknesses so that people can support you in those areas where you are not so
strong.”