Whenever the name of Adesunmbo Adeoye crops up, what readily comes to mind is the “Inspiring Change” conference. Sunmbo is the convener and host of this annual conference, which she uses as a platform to impact knowledge, inspire change and transform the lives of hundreds of men and women. The 7th edition, with the theme, “There is More” is around the corner. This motivational speaker is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and the author of self-help guide titled, “Parenting A Creative Child”, and the soon to be released “Refurbished Book”, a memoir that inspires hope for a fresh start. Sunmbo is also the Chief Creative Director at Esob Events and founder of Esob Heroes. She shares her dreams, fears and aspirations with Azuka Ogujiuba, as she sets out for her 2020 conference
The Inspiring Change Conference’s journey
The “Inspiring Change with Sunmbo Adeoye” initiative was born in 2013, out of my ceaseless desires to support entrepreneurial ideas, through mentorship, advisory services, free training, and capacity building. This initiative, which establishes its vision in two folds, was given the mandate to reach out to the women folks in my community. This, we achieve through the “Esob Heroes Annual Inspiring Change Conference”, a platform where women can interact with leading female entrepreneurs, learn from, and network with those taking the lead in their respective industries. It also helps position for growth, and those striving to take the lead in their respective businesses and careers can be well-informed and empowered.
While the second part is through the “Inspiring Change Deliberately” movement, that seeks to educate the less privileged women in business, and girl child deliberately, with a focus on nation building, through entrepreneurial advancement training, free skill acquisition programmes, mentor meets mentee programmes and Undergraduate Blue Print Boot Camp.
My motivations over the years
Initially, the need to spread the knowledge and privilege of being a “Goldman Sachs Scholar” was my driving force. The many amazing feedback and success stories of our attendees over the years motivate my team and I to keep the event going. Many times, we have empowered women with cash grants and work tools that gave them hope to scale up and succeed. We also do follow-ups to ensure these women thrive regardless of the threats surrounding their unique businesses and gender inequality. Furthermore, the many success stories and being so strongly affirmed by the ones we selflessly serve, is indeed the highest honour that brings me great joy and hopes for a better future for the Nigerian women and girl child. Annually, we try as much as possible to bring on board women who have been able to bridge the gender gaps in their respective professions dominated by male counterparts. This year, we have put together a diverse panel of leading businesswomen, entrepreneurs from different industries such as entertainment, politics, media, manufacturing, social entrepreneurship, IT and so much more. We aim to inspire and reach out to a more global audience of men and women via our active online engagements during the tweet conference scheduled to hold on Friday, March 6th, 2020 in commemoration of the “International Women’s Day”.
Every year has its very unique vision and this year’s theme being “There Is More”, is specifically focusing on the development of innate skills and talent. That’s why we have a “Girl Talk” session with notable talented female panelists such as Toyin Abraham, who will be sharing from their life’s’ journey, on how they evolved in their gift of being a talent to building a thriving empire that is of global recognition.
Challenges while Inspiring Change
One of our major challenges is expanding the reach of the initiative. Over the years, we have had attendees from neighbouring states coming in, to be empowered. Women come from Ilorin, Ibadan, Abeokuta, to name a few, and sometimes from outside the shores of Nigeria. We have only been able to achieve this much due to funds from personal savings and the financial commitments of our families, friends, volunteers, and dedicated media partners. However, we understand that there are so many women who need to have access to some of the information and tools shared, and technically, we can only achieve this by taking it to them. Sometimes, this requires some grass-roots effort to pass on the information, many times, there are stumbling blocks in form of human regulatory bodies that try to restrain these empowerment tools from getting to the right hands. They are grouped as association heads or committees and they pose a huge peril to our goal if we don’t settle their outrageous demands or go by their rules. We are looking to attract the support of corporate bodies and brands with like passion and vision, to enable us to reach out to far more less privileged women in and outside of our current community and beyond.
About ESOB Events and ESOB Heroes
Esob Events is an event management and planning company that I founded in 2011, after over a decade of active service in the banking Industry. We plan, style and coordinate all kinds of corporate and social events. Be it an intimate gathering of hundreds or an elaborate celebration with thousands of guests, my team and I deliver a “wow+1” event experience to both our clients and their guests. Esob Heroes, on the other hand, is the training arm of the company that coordinates all our corporate training and social responsibility programmes.
Juggling all of these with being a wife and a mother Firstly, I need to acknowledge the place of God in my life, who empowers and gives me the strength and capacity to sit comfortably in these roles. I also enjoy the total support of my family, headed by my understanding and ever-supportive husband, whom I fondly call my own divine compensation. However, I ensure I prioritise and delegate as much as possible to competent hands so I don’t break down. I also exercise and take enough time to rest for mental stability.
My formative years
I am the last of seven children and born to a Christian family where the love and fear of God is the bedrock of our family values. Love, education, and salvation were the best gifts I remember receiving as a child. Being the baby of the house, I was loved in excess, not only by my parents, but also by my siblings. I attended the Command Day Secondary School Ikeja, where I am privileged to be the current Alumna Vice President of the class of 1996/1997 set. I also studied Accounting and Finance at the great Yaba College of Technology, after which I further applied for a scholarship at the Lagos Business School, under the EDC/Pan Atlantic University Programme, and was awarded a scholarship by the “Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative in Africa”. I also worked at the then Intercontinental Bank and resigned from active service in banking from FCMB in 2011.
My upbringing shaped my life
I am most privileged to be born into a family that upholds, God, takes pride in education, respect, and love for oneself and others. We weren’t super-rich but we were very comfortable. My upbringing shaped my life in so many ways as I saw my parents live a life of contentment and gracefulness. We were a family driven by the passion for God and people. Today, as the wife of the Senior Pastor of Royalty Christian Centre, Lagos, where I’m privileged to serve as the First lady, alongside my Husband, David Adeoye, I find it easy to function in the place of my office.
Life comes with its curveballs and detours
Life comes with its curveballs and detours and I appreciate them all as lessons and not mistakes because they have shaped the resilient woman I have grown to become today. Personally, all that the Lord has promised to me, He has surpassed. I can only pray that I finish the race and obtain the price in Glory. My uttermost desire is that the future for every girl child is equally safe and rewarding.
In life’s journey, the race is not for the swift
In my life’s journey, I have come to accept that the race is not for the swift, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives, but time and chance happen to them all.
Future projections for Inspiring Change
I have a future projection for when the Inspiring Change Initiative will have an entrepreneurial training hub in all the four geopolitical areas of Nigeria, where female undergraduates can always walk in and register for tenured mentorship, and acquire new skills while awaiting results or job placement. I also look forward to a future with gender parity, where the female gender will no longer be a limiting factor to the heights that can be attained both physically and financially. It is a moral duty and an operational necessity.
My biggest fear in life
Before now, it would have been the fear of failing but now I know better and see it as a powerful tool for learning and one of the major keys to success. Because without the consciousness to the pain of failing, you may become too complacent in old Glory, especially records from past successes.