Kanayo Dike-Oduah is a multi-award winning, senior leader in education whose experience ranges from being a Deputy Head of Sixth Form, Head of Psychology and Lead Practitioner.
She holds a degree in Psychology (BSc) from the University of Surrey; two teaching qualifications, PTTLS (Preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector) and PGCE Post Compulsory gained at the world’s number one university for education, UCL’s Institute of Education.
Kanayo has a Masters in Educational Assessment also from UCL and is a doctoral candidate at UCL. Kanayo has international experience in consumer psychology and marketing and has worked in Beijing, China.
She runs her own blog, doctorkanayo.com with the tagline, ‘where psychology meets scripture’ and shares her love for God and all things psychology. Kanayo has won the Women for Africa Awards in the Young Achieve category. She has also won the Surrey Alumni Young Achiever Award.
In this conversation with Leading Ladies Africa, Kanayo shares interesting insights on life- growing up, challenges and then some.
I grew up in what society would call a single parent home. The statistical consensus is that those from single parent homes will struggle to achieve. Some go as far as saying that they were prone to delinquency and anti-social behaviour. While these statistics are harsh, they are true for some. I decided to choose God’s word about my life over man’s statistics and pushed to excel with the support of my family and great teachers. And achieve I did!
Coping With the Status Quo
I must say that even though my background is not pleasant, it stirred up such compassion for those from similar backgrounds. I had to grow up quite quickly, supporting my mum with my siblings as the eldest. All of this built a resilience within me, strengthened my heart and reminds me daily that ‘I can’! I can do anything I set my mind to. I can be the best version of Kanayo that there will ever be. I can achieve. I can inspire. Regardless of my background. We know that seeds grow best in the dirt. My background may have been messy, dirty, whatever we want to call it, but it provided the best environment for the seed within me to grow and produce more seeds to encourage others!Never ever allow your circumstances to inhibit your growth as a person at all! If you have a goal, dream, whatever go for it!
A great challenge is being consistent with my posts as life can get really busy. In addition, being measured in terms of what I share concerning my personal life. In addition, I have had to learn how to strike a balance between inspiring and being appropriately transparent. A fun challenge is expressing my two passions; Psychology and Christianity simultaneously via this platform.
The hardest challenge is being put on a pedestal and constantly having to remind people that I am not the standard, I am human, I am not immune to trials etc. If you allow men to put you on a pedestal, they’ll be the same ones to bring you down. But when God elevates you, He will keep you there, not by your own strength, but by His sufficient grace. Finally, learning how to deal with the critics has been a major challenge that I learnt to overcome using God’s word.
Being satisfied with where I am is also a challenge. One way I deal with this is by seeing the beauty in being unsatisfied. I believe there is beauty in dissatisfaction and pushing myself to go further without setting any limits for what I can do.
On Ava Duvernay’s When They See Us
As stated on my blog, my thoughts on the documentary stems from psychology and the rising violence in the world. People internalize what they watch. Watching shows like this gets people riled up and because there is no debrief, they do not know what to do with those emotions. Eventually, these emotions are expressed through violence.
Even though documentaries of this kind are true and is needed to keep us informed, there should be a debriefing process afterwards to ensure emotions are properly put in check and the psychological well being of the audience are put at the forefront.
What counts as fun for Doctor Kanayo?
I enjoy travelling, shopping, doing my nails and reading.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I would love to be remembered as a woman who showed a lot of love and shared edifying knowledge.
N:B Some parts of this interview were culled from the Guardian Nigeria Website with authorization from Doctor Kanayo Dike-Oduah
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature her.