Unveiling The Matriarch with Talk with TOLA host- Omotola Okodugha
Unveiling the Matriarch is a biannual expression of enthusiastic, vibrant young women in different paths of their lives and society, that already carved a niche for themselves, built a solid opinion on a topic that they stand for or have expressed a form of matriarchy in their own way.
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Who is TOLA OKODUGHA? IG@tolla_okodugha
An Enthusiastic, Savvy Entrepreneur with a very creative Mindset.
A media enthusiast, Motivator and Moderator of the popular Talk Show, “Talk with Tola”
Hello TOLA, Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Tola Okodugha. Basically, I’d describe myself as a Media enthusiast because sometimes I find it hard to describe to people what I do. I find myself involved in a lot of things and I’m open to learning and knowing much more about the media sector. So, I find myself dabbling into many things. So yeah I’m just, I’m a Media enthusiast!
ACHIEVEMENTS (Let’s know more about Talk with Tola)
So, Talk with Tola … the tag line of Talk with Tola is wrapped into three things: Believe, Inspire, and Suceed.
Generally, I wanted to do something that could help me put two things I love to do the most (talking and inspiring people) in the same place. So, I tried to look for a niche! I tried to find a home. That was how Talk with Tola started. I have always loved to interview people. The basic thing is to interview people, other people see these people and get inspired. Let them hear their stories and get inspired! That was how Talk with Tola started. Funny enough, it started out in year one. I was with my friend; I shared the tips with him and I interviewed him and I just found out that I was so happy that day. After that time, I didn’t take any step on it until another two years because I needed to do some homework. I didn’t just want to come out outright!
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START A SHOW OF YOUR OWN, AND, TELL US HOW YOU STARTED?
I don’t really share this, but what really inspired me was this: Growing up I was privileged to be brought up in a family that loves knowledge and exposure. And, I remember the environment in which I grew up (I’m talking about the street and the area). We had girls that were so young! I mean when I was in J.S.S.1, girls that were about my age were already having their first child. By the time I was in J.S.S. 3, they were already having their second and third children. It just made me think: “Okay, why are these people like this? Maybe they don’t have the right information?” Because of the way my parents were, I was living in this place but my school was so far away! So, my parents legit moved us out of this place.
Basically, those things were things that urged me to want to do more and make youths understand that they are more than they think they are; and help them understand that there is more to them (using the story of someone like them). That was how it all started. In the course of 2 years, we won the leader of the year award, 2018. We also won a recognition award! Out of fifty people that shaped O.A.U in 2017, my people won 16 on that list (just to mention a few). I have been opportune and privileged to interview some A-list celebrities. I’m talking about the likes of Mai Atafo, Arole, Asiri comedy (to mention a few).
HOW DID YOU GET CONTACTS FOR INTERVIEWS AND ESTABLISH RELATIONSHIP OR NETWORK?
A lot of times the thing I do is to go for events. So, when I go for events, I usually meet people, tell them about what I do and ask them out rightly: “would you like to be a part of it?” “Oh, yea I would…” “Oh no, I’m not sure”. And then I’m just led whether I should ask or not. If I feel like asking the person, yes, fine. There is this thing I heard one day – I think it was Pastor Poju Oyemade that said it, It says that “you are just six people away from the person you need”. So, even when I don’t have a relationship or contact with the person I want to get on my show; I know that if I ask someone that knows someone that knows someone, I will get it!
HOW DID YOU EVOLVE INTO A FIT BRAND LIKE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW? CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH YOUR JOURNEY?
It wasn’t just me. I had a lot of friends that were into P.R who help me put together the whole branding, strategy and everything together. And I’d like to say that Talk with Tola is coming from Tola Okodugha. It’s just one person, doing what I love the most.
Generally, I just stayed in that career frame. I work in a media firm; I’m a talk show host. So, basically, I’m in the same circle, which is helping as well.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU HAD TO DEAL WITH IN YOUR CAREER AND WHAT YOU WISH COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BETTER?
The number one thing I have had to deal with is video editors. Trust me; they would make you go crazy! Imagine giving a video editor a video today and you don’t get the video until next year. Yes, that happened to me! That was one of the things I had to deal with. Basically, life has its pieces and seasons. When you are at a down low, you have to get back up! These are some of the things I’ve had to deal with in my career. One thing I wish I could have done better is that I wish I started Talk with Tola earlier. The first time I interviewed someone was in year one. I didn’t start Talk with Tola until year three. That was because I had a lot of fear in me and I had the excellent first nature in me. I won’t say I’m a perfectionist, but I like things to be in order! So, I wanted it to come out at a particular time.
There was a time I saw something online; it was like a signage where people would hold up when they get done with my show. I remember that after ordering for those placards, they wouldn’t call me until after two months. I waited! In the first year I started my show, we had three awards and nominations. Imagine if I had started earlier? So, that was one thing I really wished I had started earlier. And some things I’ve had to deal with in my career? I think I’m still on the journey. So, that’s on the journey.
WHAT KEEPS YOU GOING DESPITE THE CHALLENGE OF MANAGING TIME, FAITH AND WORK SCHEDULE?
Trust me it hasn’t been easy because in a city like Lagos there is a lot of rowdiness. When you come back from work, you just want to sleep! Sometimes, I try to make use of my free time. Like the periods when I’m on my way to the house, in transit, lunch hours…I just try to make use of those free times. To keep me going, I tell myself: “Tola, it’s just one life! You either pour everything into this one life and leave empty (Dr. Myles Munroe says die empty) or you do nothing and you are gone and nobody remembers you. I think I would choose the former.
HOW DOES YOUR FAITH FIT INTO YOUR CAREER, KNOWING THAT YOU MEET WITH A LOT OF CELEBRITIES WHO MAY OR MAY NOT SHARE YOUR FAITH?
I like this question! You know what? I feel there is a way we Christians should share the light, not putting it in people’s faces. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. If I meet a celebrity that says “A is A” and I feel like “A is B”, I could as much do anything I want to do to convince him that A is B. But if he or she decides that A is A, that’s fine!
My Pastor has a usual saying that “every career or sector you’ve been called is a mountain”. There are several mountains; family, education, media entertainment, economy, government etc. Any mountain you find yourself on, shine the light there! By so doing, you will be preaching the gospel in your unique way. So, as much as possible I try to shine my light! I shine my light and God gives me the passion to. God put things in me and I show them forth as light. By so doing, I get attracted to more people. But if you are trying to dim someone’s light, you are not doing the right thing. You should be more interested in how you can improve and shine your own light.
WHAT’S THE PROSPECT OF JOURNALISM IN NIGERIA AND HOW DO YOU THINK WE CAN IMPROVE AS A NATION?
It is oil! When I say oil, I mean we are still tapping into it! And, you know the thing about journalism and media is that it controls a narrative. So, I think we are doing really well! To improve, we basically need to tell better stories which will in turn help us outside and make people see us as better people.
WHO ARE THOSE WHO INSPIRE YOU AS A JOURNALIST AND A WOMAN, AND WHY? (IN NIGERIA AND IN THE WORLD)
I like and I love Oprah Winfrey. I love Ellen DeGeneres and I love Letterman (David). Yes, these are some people that inspire me. In Nigeria, I get inspired by Ebuka, Kemi Adetiba, Bolanle… Everyone is unique in their own way. I learn different things from each of them. Yeah!
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON SUICIDE? IT SEEMS TO BE GAINING POPULARITY!
Basically two things: suicide is not the way! You can’t end your life over something that is currently going on because you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow! Suicide is a no for me! There is so much that is attached to life. Life is full of so much potential! The bad thing about suicide is the damage and the pain it leaves with the loved ones left behind.
DO YOU IMAGINE YOURSELF TRYING TO GET ANOTHER CERTIFICATION RELATED TO YOUR FIELD OF EXPERTISE?
Of course yes. I’m getting another certification in media and entertainment or journalism (media journalism). Yes, I am!
WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS THAT CAN PUSH US TO DO MORE?
I think you guys are doing a great job! I’m really proud of you Victoria!
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FINAL WORD?
There is no stopping you! You can do anything you set your mind to do! Just keep pushing on. You will be fine with hard work and smart work.
Did you enjoy the Interview session? Do you have more questions for TOLA? Do you feel the need to collaborate? Do you think she should have answered some questions a different way?
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