•Today’s Woman Magazine Publisher
Adesuwa Onyenokwe is a thorough-bred media professional. She has worked in the broadcast and print media for 35 years. Let’s tell you more. Born August 8th, 1963, in Ibadan, Oyo State, this mother of 6, studied Drama at the Obafemi Awolowo University and went further to obtain a Master’s degree in Languages Arts at the University of Ibadan. She worked for 15 years at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and retired to independently produce “Today’s Woman With Adesuwa” on NTA. The programme ran for 10 years before it ended. In 2007, Adesuwa launched Today’s Woman magazine as the Publisher and Editor-In-Chief.
Now, she is in another phase of life as she coaches people on Life and Relationships. In this interview with City People’s Contributing Editor, IYABO OYAWALE, Adesuwa talks about her newfound passion and career trajectory.
You are now a relationship and life coach. I can see that from your website and Instagram page. At what point did you make this pivot in your career?
I will start by saying I am glad that you noticed a few changes in my career trajectory by looking at all the platforms where I present myself. So that is one plus for you a reporter. So, the idea is, I need to talk to this person, let me read up on him or her. My story is that of how change can come to your life and you have to embrace it because quite frankly, life is about a journey where even if your purpose is the same, it can have seasons. My business has always been to produce a TV show, produce a magazine but my focus remains to help women become and be the best that they are.
But beyond women, helping people generally to understand that life is about being understanding and being understood. When we are understanding and we are understood, we kind of have happier lives. And what does that stand for? It implies that we are all relational beings. I have spent most of my life, professional life talking to people as a communicator but I realised that I advise the people I meet along the way. I counsel. However, two years ago, I realised that I could actually go train because I met Lanre Olusola who invited me to take training at the Olusola Lanre Coaching Academy, he thought it was time for me to formalise some of the things I’d always done but not knowing how to move from.
So, I thought well, will I be able to afford to take training? Maybe not at the point in time but I realised that I needed it, first of all, as a new source of income, where I am earning money and still giving impact. Value and impact. It sounded like a great idea. Then, Covid-19 happened, then the training was available virtually.
And I took that training and it was like a boom where everything I knew and everything I have learnt, which is not all there is to learn, had put me in a position to do what I do naturally. Yes, I advise, yes, I teach, yes, I train but as a coach, I am trained to help people discover not only themselves but discover purpose and work out strategic roles and processes to achieve goals they set.
Relationship and life because life is about relationships. Life is about relationships, so when I am talking about relationships today, I have experienced 33 years of marriage and 35 years of communicating as a trained communicator and I have seen that in all relationships, communication is key. So, now as a life coach, I am able to use my life experience, what I have learnt, plus what I have practised, I bring it to the fore to help people truly be the best that they are.
And you rebranded because I noticed you have a new hairstyle and hair colour. Is that part of your rebranding efforts?
I think it’s also a lesson for people to know that they should embrace change when it comes and when you are going into a new season, you have got to do things that will make you stand out. I decided turning grey a long time ago and I have had a low-cut for a long time but I have used different colours for my hair. I have used red, I have used brown, I have used different colours but I have always had a low-cut. The difference now is that I used to wear a wig sometimes depending on how I wanted to look but in the past couple of years, and again, Covid-19 happened and I wasn’t really going anywhere, I discovered that I could just move around with my hair and enjoy it. And I love it. The essence is to strategically position myself as the Adesuwa Onyenokwe that teaches, that trains, that speaks, I coach people on life, setting goals and targets in their relationship and in their career.
Now, I teach, which is training. I train people to be better communicators, either through the spoken word, elocution or whatever, I train. And then I speak. I am a motivational speaker because my life experiences put me in a position to do this. As a coach, everything that I hear is sacrosanct. I don’t share with another person. However, what I learn from each circumstance becomes more arrows in my quiver, more guns in my arsenal. So, my life being total has become something I can teach people about even as I keep learning.
So, how do you coach people? Through seminars, conferences, or what?
There are different ways, but the ultimate goal is to have an academy where women can come and learn. One area. To have an academy where journalists can come and train. In my years as a reporter, I realised that a lot of tricks that I have learnt that made me as good as I am and this is not pride, based upon feedback, I know I am one of the best reporters out of Africa. I have seen many things that a lot of reporters get wrong and I want to help them overcome them. So my goal is to have different trainings, one for reporters, one for relationship and one for communication.
Does that mean you have abandoned your TV presentations? Because I know you used to do a programme called Seriously Speaking?
That is a story for another day. I created the programme but the only interview I did was with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu when he just assumed office. The idea is, where are people congregating now? It is in the digital space. So, that is where I am going to be now. I did a certain production for a UN Agency in March this year to draw attention to the challenges of violence against girls and women. It is a 13-part series. It is there on Youtube and it stays there forever. The thing is, you don’t have to own a television station to do all these things, communication has been democratized. So, I still have shows in the pipeline, I have 3 documentaries next year, so, these are things we are working on that will still come out.
Do you feel fulfilled coaching people?
Two things. What is my fulfilment? My fulfilment is to have spoken and worked with somebody and the person says “wow, now I get it!” And I was telling my own coach because I have a coach, I was telling my own coach the other day when I am able to help someone. The same feeling I get if I attend an interview and somebody says “I enjoyed what you did” and I am like what did you take away and they tell me and I find that we are in alignment, I feel like, let me describe it for you in the material. It is like velvet, you know how velvet is, it is purple and purple is royalty. Like my heart. I feel life. It is a feeling that takes me to a higher level, so much so that I won’t feel it when you prick me.
Thank you. I just described my own cloud nine to you.
Your dad wanted you to be a Lawyer but you chose the big screen.
(Laughs). Did I really choose the big screen? I just chose communication, I chose producing things that give people clarity. I wanted to produce audio-visuals that when you see it, you will understand. So, it is the clarity I saw which I thought audiovisuals and television will do, which I did all these years as a reporter, which I have done as a publisher, now I am doing it as a coach, still giving clarity, knowing it is about communication, it is about putting words and action into the thoughts that are in your head. As a coach, I help you do that.
What is the state of the traditional publishing industry in this age of digital publishing?
Now, it is personalized. If I produce the magazine Today’s Woman now, I will just print a few copies of it and put a record somewhere to keep it. But the truth is, we don’t need paper. When you put good work out there, it stays in the digital space forever for people who want to see it and it is more futuristic. If I use paper, water touches it and it is gone.