Talking to us today on Nikkyosblog is the founder of BusyMinds School.
Okeyinfu Ajayi is a published author, an educator, parenting coach and the Lead Consultant of Kavabe Hub. Please hop on the ride and get ready to be inspired 😊
1. What inspired you to start BusyMinds School?
The simple answer is that I wanted to make a difference in the childcare and learning space. In 2005, I struggled with going back to work when, because I had just started having children and I could not find a school I was comfortable with. I just could not find a place for young children. I eventually didn’t go back to work but stayed home with my daughter. I started looking for a school when I got pregnant with my second child and quite by accident, I found a place that worked perfectly. When I stopped working in the school I had been to for about four years, I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. I sensed God wanted me to go back into childcare, but it was tough and I wanted something easy. It was at this point of confusion, that my husband reminded me that I had written down some plans when I was searching for a school in 2005. I wanted a place where parents were comfortable leaving their children and going off to work. I wanted to build a community of trust and love.
2. How would you describe the evolvement of media in our society, and do you think schools need to change their curriculum to suit this new world?
By Media, I am going to speak on the assumption you mean social and digital media. Media has evolved dramatically, and it keeps changing every single day. Education is a response to the needs of society and if we go by that definition, the only way to get our children ready for tomorrow is to prepare them today. To speak directly to your question, we need to educate our students on the safe usage of media. We are unable to control their age of entry, but safe usage and knowing what to share and who to share with are important. Curriculum interventions need to be included and dare I say are already being included not just for ICT. We also need to help students understand media predators and red flags that need to be reported. The world is changing, the sooner we adapt to these changes and find our feet in schools, the better for everyone.
3. As an educator and a parenting coach, what is your approach to providing discipline?
Discipline is a logical consequence based on an action or actions, that have been labeled as socially, culturally, emotionally (etc) incorrect. It is important that a person who is to be disciplined understands why. It is also important that we do not forget it is about the action and not the person. People do wrong things, this does not make them bad people. They just need education and redirection and if done properly, the change will start from inside and not just be another behaviour modification scenario. Lasting change comes from within.
4. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
The cultural mindset that women are meant to be behind men and silent is the major reason for the imposter syndrome that keeps women from stepping into leadership roles. It is important that other women see role models like them, so they can also break the barrier and step into their power. Seeing is believing after all.
5. As the Founder of BusyMinds School, a Published Author, Lead Consultant of Kavabe Hub, Teacher, and Parenting coach, what have been the challenges in your journey as an entrepreneur?
This is such a good question. Before I started Busy Minds in 2013 April, I had another business that I started in 2008. I was not ready for it and it died despite trying to resurrect it. Now I realize, I was not quite ready for the commitment entrepreneurship required. I was basically playing office.
The most significant is easy access to affordable finance so I had to bootstrap. Another challenge is qualified team members. We are doing something new and a little more difficult than the norm which meant we had to do tons and tons of training. It was not such an easy thing to do. Finally, I would say parental acceptance the education was more than cognitive abilities and they needed to shift with the paradigm. I am thankful we made headway and we are where we are today.
Success is not defined by others; we need to define it for ourselves and by ourselves. My unique experiences count, and I do not need applause to validate me or call me successful.
6. What motivates you and keeps you going?
Discipline. Some days I have zero motivation, but I have committed to this, and I have to keep at it. So, commitment and discipline are what keep me going.
7. What’s a typical day like for you?
This is a tough question because I do not really have a typical day. My school is in two locations and though we have capable teams, I like to check in both locations.
I like to plan my day as this helps me stay productive.
When I get up in the morning, typically about 5:20am, I like to engage in about 30 minutes of exercise and I read if I am on the treadmill. I like to visualise my day as I find it helps me focus as I can create a workflow in my head. I meet with my management team when necessary because we typically keep in touch. Depending on the day of the week, we have senior management meetings otherwise, I go right into work and this usually involves work for my clients.
I have mini planning and catch up sessions with my assistant depending on our project portfolio. Otherwise, I focus on my todo list which can be interesting.
When I get home, I chill a little, eat, work if I am in the mood or need to (deadlines) otherwise, I grab me E-book reader and chill with a cookery, fashion or mindless show on Netflix.
When I can, I like to go to bed at 10.30pm. One last thing I like to do if I do not fall asleep too quickly is to reflect on my day and think about the next day. I find that shifting things mentally, helps me execute better.
8. Do you have mentors and what role have they played in shaping you into the phenomenal woman that you’re today?
Mentors are so critically important in my journey because they have gone through some of the curves I am approaching. My main mentor is Richard Branson. I have never met him, but his principles have really helped me in terms of building my team and creating an inclusive and empowering culture.
Another mentor is Mrs. Bola Kalajaiye. She is the founder of the first school I worked. I learnt a lot from her about the beauty of education.
One other mentor, I would love to mention is Mrs. Adegoke, my primary school principal. She was amazing and had so much energy. She was constantly moving around and visible to all the students. She knew our names and was more than involved in our schooling.
9. How have you been able to manage and balance your busy schedules with other life responsibilities?
I can thank my support system for this. From early on, my mom showed us the importance of support and how to build and use it. I have fashioned my life and business with this principle. I have an amazing husband and from very early on, we agreed we were going to do the parenting together. When I started my business, it became more difficult because I didn’t have closing time in the strict sense of the word. I have to lean on family, drop the ball a few times and build a team that could run the business. That was hard because I am a new company and though I am almost 10 years, I have organizations in my industry that pay better and sometimes poach my team.
In all, I had to learn to let go of some jobs as a coach and consultant because family came first. Other opportunities will come this was what I used to console myself and it has proved to be true.
Some things can be outsourced, being a parent is not one of those things.
10. What woman inspires you?
My Mom, Comfort Oludairo Dimowo. She showed me how to be empathetic and yet strict. She showed me that not all battles need to be fought as some are a distraction from the real practice. She taught the importance of family, values, accountability, and resilience.
Secondly Oprah Winfrey. She is a strong woman who powered on and made the impossible possible. I am in awe of these two women. They wrote their stories and gave many other women the push to go on.
11. Is there such a thing as ‘a complete woman’ and how would you describe her?
This is such an introspective question. I like it.
A complete woman is one who knows she is complete. She does not need to prove herself; she knows what she brings to the table and she is comfortable with sharing the spotlight. She understands her value and she is empathetic and compassionate. She knows what she cannot do but does not let it define her because she knows she is complete per time.
Being complete is about you and not what someone else thinks.
12. What advice do you have for young girls, women, and our readers?
Know your why. When you understand why you are starting this thing you wish to start or you have already started, if this is the case.
These tips below have helped me immensely:
- Trust God with everything.
- Start where you are but have a self-development plan
- Communicate clearly; never assume people know what you are about.
- Make your thinking visible
- Have a strong support system
- Know your why/ your core, and build on that
- Think long-term and short-term and include an execution path with clear next steps and what connections you need to make.
- Leverage the network when possible but rely on what you can control
- Be customer-centric with a good feedback loop
- I always ask myself – what needs to change or be improved.
- How can I leverage technology?
Nikkyosblog specially appreciates Okeyinfu Ajayi for her time and for sharing a lot with us in this session.
You can follow her on @okeyinfuajayi 💕
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