TITILOLA ADEDEJI: Pushing Ahead with Passion, Patience and Possibilities
She is smart, intelligent, and beautiful. Her sharp and robust outlook to everything and anything attests to a young lady imbued with confidence and intelligence. Titilola Adedeji, General Manager of Amber Energy Drink, is a dynamic business growth expert with over 10 years’ experience, but her approach to business as an entrepreneur is remarkable and exceptional as she constantly works with the mindset of a shrewd businesswoman. Young
and forward-looking, Funke Olaode unveils the corporate Amazon who wields a ‘magic wand.’
Her office looks simple and there is nothing extraordinary about the occupant. Looking smart but unassuming in a cream jumpsuit with matching jewellery, it was her birthday. Her numerous staff arranged a surprise birthday moment for a boss in whom they are well-pleased. Speechless, she managed to say: “I was actually surprised, very surprised because I didn’t expect it. In fact, I was going to sneak into my office. And then all of them did so many nice things. So, I am very thankful.”
Titilola, as she is fondly called, is a dynamic business growth expert with over 10 years’ experience in negotiations, building successful business models, manufacturing, international procurement, and providing exceptional customer experiences. In addition, she loves to build businesses, build people and experience beautiful places.
Visionary, daring, and focused, prior to her foray into the corporate world, Titilola had experimented with her intellectual ability in different dimensions or better put had demonstrated her leadership qualities. At 16, she became the headteacher of a school. As shocking as it may sound, Titilola always exudes an enduring sense of modesty.
“It’s nice to hear people say it but for me, I don’t take the praises or let it get to me. I was headteacher. I had to be the headteacher. So, I couldn’t afford to be a 16-year-old. I had to be Miss Lola and I just dealt with it.”
Today, the Amazon has since quit the classroom to conquer new terrains. She wears many caps as founder and CEO, Tielle Global Limited, Curllla Enterprise Limited, and general manager, Amber Energy Drinks, but that was after acquiring various degrees and certificates from universities that cut across continents. Her flame of intellectualism was first ignited at Canterbury Christ Church University, the United Kingdom where she read Events Management, University of Cape Coast, Ghana where she earned another degree in Business Management Studies, Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, for her secondary education. She believed in self-development which is her watchword as she continues to follow her passion and heart.
For her professional education, she studied Leadership Essentials from IMD, Switzerland, and Disruptive Strategy from Harvard Business School. Outside academics, she also earned two certificates in vocational education in make-up application from Elite Pro, Spain, and Introduction to Cosmetology from Beauty Base, London, United Kingdom. But in all of this, the Adedejis wanted their daughter to be a lawyer.
“My parents wanted me to be a maritime lawyer. But today, I am a corporate woman doing my own thing. I remember when my parents drummed it into my head that I was going to be a maritime lawyer. And that was when I rebelled. That’s was how I studied event management and cosmetology in England. My late father, Dr. Michael Abiodun Adedeji, was a man that understood individuality. So, he would look at his kids and advised what he liked them to study. But because I rebelled in England, he decided to send me to Ghana to do a second degree.”
Titilola added, “I’m thankful for those experiences because I was able to meet different types of people. It helps you understand how people think, away from what you think you know. As you go along, and you’re able to mix in different walks of life, or with different people from different backgrounds, you’re able to understand there’s life beyond your bubble. Going to Ghana just made me sit up because I didn’t want to do a second degree in the first place, I already had a first degree.
“But then I decided, okay, just focus. I was able to focus and get through that degree as well. It also helped me understand that there is a wide gap in every country. For instance, the school in England is different from the way school was in Ghana. Because I went to one of the best schools in Ghana, and so the quality of education, I feel like I was blessed to be able to experience all of that.”
With her comfortable life, Titilola is not ready to lay back as she keeps pushing herself, the drive she says she got from her late dad.
“I think I got that drive from my dad: even if he might say, you know, you got it on your own. But I remember when I was 16, I said to my dad, I don’t want any of your money and my mom was livid. But I figured he had a good background as well but he was unfortunate because his dad passed on earlier. So, he was pushed to make something of himself and that fascinated me. I decided, okay, I want to do something for myself away from dad’s money. So yes, that’s what keeps pushing me.”
Last June, Titilola entered the Nigerian market with a bang with the introduction of Amber Energy Drink. Her vision is simple: to become a household name in Nigeria’s energy drink market and Africa while her mission statement is to build a brilliant Pan-African brand that inspires greatness, energises, and creates every happy moment.
“Amber is like, my baby,” she enthused. “I would say it’s a passion project and also a child I am nurturing.”
Did she conceive the idea?
“The idea was jointly conceived by me and the CEO. It was also his idea but l loved the idea. It became almost like a passion project. It’s one that helps us harness the beauty in Nigeria. We don’t believe so much in ourselves. But we believe in imported things. Whatever it is, even if it is rubbish, as long as it is imported, it is fine. The idea was to let you see the potential of Nigeria in the quality of what we produce strictly for Nigerians by Nigerians. Amber is special. It is packed with vitamins and minerals that help nourishes your body as it vitalizes your body and it is non-alcoholic. That’s the base of Amber and that’s what gives us the confidence that Amber is here to stay.”
Hard work, honesty, profitability, and accountability are some of the impetus Titilola brings to the table as the general manager of the newly established energy drink. With the establishment of Amber in an already saturated market, Titilola and her team dared the established products.
“Some of the key things I say to myself is that impossible is nothing. Nothing is impossible and I am very fearless. I feel like if you focus on your focus, you will drive out the noise. Most times, everything is noise. If you don’t know your focus, you fall into the noise. We just decided to focus on what it is we wanted to do. It’s paying off. We are doing very well. Amber is a legacy drink so it’s here for a long time, it is a lifetime.”
Within the spate of seven months, Amber is already making a mark, touching lives through various corporate social responsibility by establishing Amber Empowerment Scheme with a view to improving the standard of living of Nigerians, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. What informed the decision and how far has she gone?
“One thing I will say, again and again, is, a rich man is not rich unless everyone around him is rich.
The idea is to ensure that as many Nigerians as you can help, to get to their potential, we will. How? I mean, getting the business is a very lucrative business, and you will make a lot of profit. But also, at the beginning of the programme, we spend time with you, talking to you about how you can make this work and that kind of open your mind. So far, we’ve reached out to over 4,000 people, and we’ve been empowering them as we go along. We empower them in batches. But note that this is going to be a long-term project. It is going to be here for a long time,” she explained.
The target audience are people who lost their jobs; people who are upwardly mobile but cannot afford to start a business. They can be graduates and non-graduates but they must have a passion and a drive. Speaking further on another exciting programme tagged, Ride with Amber, she stated, “That was so exciting. When we launched, we realized that there is a lot of hardship, especially because the pandemic has stopped a lot of people from working. And the basic need, like getting on a bus to work was a challenge for a lot of people.
“What Amber did was that we tell you to buy a can of Amber, and then we’ll pay for your ride home. What we were able to do was get people to nourish their body after work. This is a passion for me. I have a passion for people. Away from what I do, I love people and I love empowering people. That’s basically my passion. So whatever businesses I have or setup is always geared towards empowering people and providing a need for people.”
Titilola believes as a woman one can break the glass ceiling if one can discover herself. She gives some tips.
“I feel women need to first understand who they are and in whatever position you find yourself you must always be humble. The thing with a lot of people is that they let the praises get to them, and they become what they are not. If you are able to just adjust and make sure that you don’t let the praises or the abuses or whatever it is get to you, you’ll be level headed. Then, make sure you don’t short-change yourself.
“There’s no need for it. God created you because he wanted you to shine. Make sure you find your feet where they ought to be and be very prayerful. I am very prayerful and I love God. Then, do what you’re supposed to do and be focused. Yes, I am a woman who can realise her potential. Women are making waves globally. Only recently, history was made in the United States of America when a woman was sworn in as vice president. It has never happened before in that country. A few key things I’ll always say is that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Right? As long as you are fearless, you can achieve everything. Also be prepared by equipping yourself, by developing yourself. Again, the God factor. He’s very important. So, for me, I feel like I can do everything and anything because I have my confidence in God. So that has helped me my career trajectory,” she stated.