Adesola Ade-Unuigbe is the Head of Content at BellaNaija. She started off as an Editorial Assistant at BellaNaija and in less than five years became the Head of Content at 28. Through strategic leadership and innovation, she grew its social media presence with 1.5 million followers on Twitter and over one million on Instagram. On the LLA career series, she tells us about the importance of taking risks, personal branding and more. Be inspired!
Can you briefly describe yourself and what you do?
I am Adesola Ade-Unuigbe. I am currently the Head of Content and Digital Ventures for leading online media platform, BellaNaija.com. I have over 7 years of experience creating content for digital media channels. I have experience managing and growing internal teams and increasing online followership across channels, as well as developing and implementing content strategies to meet business goals. An example of me increasing online followership is with BellaNaija’s flagship Instagram page. In less than two years, I grew the page organically from 250k to over 1 million followers.
More than anything, I’ll describe myself as a multi-talented content creator. I’m versed in several things from creating graphics to video editing and more.
How did you start out in your career, and how long have you been in the ‘corporate world?’
I graduated from Covenant University in 2012 with a degree in Mass Communication. Since then, I’ve worked with some amazing platforms including OnoBello.com in 2012 and 2013, FABMagazine in 2014 and BellaNaija since 2014. Effectively, I’ve been in the corporate world for 7 years and it has been an exciting journey so far. It’s especially cool for me because I basically had to uproot my life in a rural city and move to Lagos for work in 2012. I haven’t regretted it.
What is your number one hack for dealing with difficult colleagues/bosses?
My number one hack for a difficult boss would be to stand your ground with confidence and calm. Don’t shrink who you are. You should own your part in any clash and do what you can to make the situation better, but don’t let them shrink you or your value to the company. And always ask yourself, is it just a demanding boss or a bully?
For dealing with colleagues, it’s a bit easier. I will say, number one is to set boundaries and also, kill them with kindness.
2 things you do when you are having a bad day?
I listen to music and podcasts
I look at photos and videos of my nieces and nephews
When you are creatively stuck, you…?
I give myself time for a break to recharge. I’m very big on taking care of my digital health and so all the things that I need to push myself creatively, are the things that I expose myself to.
2 tips for navigating office politics?
I would say – Develop your “people skills” and Be brave, but not naive”. You can’t escape office politics so it’s important to always look for how best to manage situations. You can help to make a workplace become more positive by not “fueling the fire” and joining in negative politics.
What’s your take on cliques or “you can’t sit with us groups” at work? How does one navigate such?
I think it is important to be confident and comfortable in your skin. Is it even a clique that you will benefit from? Is it a good clique or a bad clique? Ultimately, it’s better to just focus on your work. It is a little tricky because you may need to work closely with members of the office clique. If this is the case, it’s important that you fully participate in the assignment and maintain the highest level of professionalism possible. Do your best not to be intimidated by a clique.
Of course, we’re going to talk about mentorship – what’s your view on it? Important or nah?
Mentorship is super important. It’s not only because of what you can learn from seasoned professionals who have more experience, but also because of the network opportunities. You can’t know everybody, and so it’s important for you to surround yourself with the people that can help push you up. People that are actively invested in your growth. And as you grow in your career, it’s important to pay that mentorship forward too by mentoring others.
Two things – what have been your best and worst career decision – and what did you learn from each respectively?
My best career decision was definitely moving to Lagos to start my career. I was just a young 20-year-old young woman with no one in Lagos, and I decided to just go for it. For me, I learned that it’s important to just put yourself out there and take risks for yourself.
My worst career decision has not happened yet. One of the ways I’ve been able to do this is by surrounding myself with an amazing support system of people that are always available to guide me through.
Do you have a “side-hustle” and what’s your view on having other interests outside of work?
I think side-hustles are very very important. Everyone needs that extra income. I think it’s important not to confuse your loyalties though and to get your priorities straight. What you don’t want, is to do things in a sub par way. Whether it’s a 9-to-5 or your side hustle, you’ve got to be excellent and diligent. Give it your 100%.
How do you advise girls facing harassment in any form, from their superiors at work to handle it?
It’s sad that so many people face harassment in one form or the other from superiors at work. It’s important to report it. It’s important to speak up about it and document it. It’s important for organisations to also create a safe space and avenue for their workers to be able to speak out about harassment and assaults.
3 greatest career lessons you have learnt on your journey?
Keep learning. You should constantly stretch yourself to learn new skills and information. Don’t get left behind.
Collaborate. You may think you can go faster if you move on your own, but the truth is we all need assistance and help from other people. Learn to share and multiply success.
Worry Less. You cannot worry your way to success. If you’re anxious, the antidote is simple: action. Hustle your way out of the stress spiral. Push through the fear to find the proactive things that you can do to make a difference in the state of your career (or the world).