Kemi Olawoye is passionate about improving health outcomes in Nigeria. She founded Genuine Health Africa – a health communications company that provides public relations services to health and wellness organisations in form of strategic communication solutions which includes health campaign execution, project communication strategy design and implementation, digital media visibility including social media management & engagement alongside content management.
As well as run Genuine Health Africa, Kemi also co-hosts and produces Health Vibes, a radio health show on on Rhythm 93.7fm Lagos. She recently won the 2018 Women In Management and Business (WIMBIZ) Impact Investment competition and has been recognised by Benola Cerebral Palsy Young Physiotherapists group for her contribution to healthcare practices in Nigeria.
On this week’s #LLAInterview, Kemi shares on decisions, choices, corporate tips, books she will most likely be caught re-reading, mentoring and then more. Dive in!
Hello Kemi. It’s great to have you on LLA. Who is Kemi Olawoye? (you can tell us the goofy stuff too lol)
I am the CEO/Founder of Genuine Health Africa, a health communications company focused on providing public relations services to health and wellness organisations. Our vision is to be the leading health communications company at the forefront of improving health outcomes in West Africa. I am also the co-host of Health Vibes, a 45minutes health show on Silverbird’s radio, Rhythm 93.7fm that addresses local and trending health issues in a fun and educative way. I am a very persistent person, definitely not one to give up easily.
What was growing up like and how did your childhood experiences, impact on the woman you have become today?
I grew up as an only child with the most loving and supportive parents (and they still are!). My childhood memories are filled with images of a happy home with lots of laughter and love. My parents are also teachers a.k.a disciplinarians and they taught me to be disciplined, hardworking and persistent. Over time, I have realised that these traits have helped shape me to the woman I am today.
20’s is unarguably the formative part of one’s life. Can you share some decisions you made and the choices you took in your 20’s that you are most grateful for?
I finished school at the age of 19 and way before then I made a decision to be the best version of myself always. I am currently in my early 20s and I am very grateful for that decision.
What’s the thinking behind Genuine Health Africa and how has the reception been?
According to statistics, Nigeria’s illiteracy rate is about 45% of the total population but worse still is our health literacy rate. Health literacy means the ability to understand information on health-related issues and apply that knowledge in making decisions about your health needs. Take for example during the Ebola outbreak when people were bathing with salt and water (That’s one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard…Lol).
GHA was borne out of the need to solve the problem of poor health literacy and health-seeking behaviours among Nigerians. We currently work with health, wellness, non-governmental and other organisations to execute health campaigns and communicate health information in an easy to understand and interesting way using diverse communication channels for maximum outcome.
The reception has been nothing short of amazing.
Your line of work has given you great exposure to diverse women from different ethnicities and background. What in your own opinion would you say is the greatest issue women face and how would you advise them to deal with it?
Believing in ourselves. As women, we are often quick to think ‘this other person is better than me’ ‘I can’t do it’ ‘who will listen to me if I speak up’ ‘what significant contribution can I really make’. There are so many issues women are faced with in the workplace, culturally and in the society and for us to address these issues, we must first believe in ourselves and that we deserve better.
As a compelling force in your industry, criticisms come with the territory, how do you deal with critics?
I believe in constructive criticism and every time I am criticised, I ask myself, Is this a constructive or destructive criticism? As soon as I am sure which it is, I act accordingly. There is certainly a lot more of destructive criticism, unfortunately, coming from fellow women but I just ignore. It’s not every situation that requires my attention.
Share with us some corporate tips that have made your career journey significantly easier?
Give your best in any organisation, role or position you find yourself. Whether it’s an internship, informal or formal position, give it your 100%. I have acquired more skills, gotten opportunities, nurtured relationships by giving my best at previous roles.
Build relationships. As they say, no man is an island. Network, connect with people and build genuine relationships.
Has mentoring been a part of your journey? If yes, How so?
Yes, it has. I am fortunate to be surrounded and mentored by older women who are genuinely interested in my progress and success. From connecting me to opportunities and people to just listening to me and providing feedback on my projects, mentors have been a significant part of my journey.
Can you list some women you call mentors and why?
I have a number of mentors for different areas of life but my overall mentor is Mrs Onyeche Tifase, Managing Director/CEO Siemens Limited Nigeria.
Can you share two things most people do not know about you?
1. My favorite color is green, sometimes red.
2. I can’t seem to sit through an entire length of a movie. Actually, I haven’t watched any this year.
3 books on your ‘re-read’ list?
How to win friends and influence people- Dale Carnegie
What the best CEOs know- Jeffrey Krames
The secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives- Titilola Shoneyin
Pizza or Chocolates?
I am team #fitfam, so I will pick chocolates. Dark chocolates preferably…lol
What is your greatest pet peeve?
Someone who is always looking for sympathy
One thing that instantly changes your mood on a bad day?
Listening to interviews of great women (Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey etc) on youtube.
What is your advice to that young woman who has dreams but is crippled with self-limiting beliefs and doubts?
The world needs you to show up. The world needs you to fulfil your purpose. The world needs you to make those dreams come true. Because the world will be a better place if you do. Step out and go for it.
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, a non-profit that promotes women empowerment and gender inclusion for women of African descent.
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.