PGC talk with Didi Akinyelure

On Friday, 7th October, I was able to attend a talk that was given by Mrs Doyin (Didi) Akinyelure, due to me being in the Juniors Debate Club. Mrs Akinyelure is a Guild member who was at CLC from 1999 to 2001 and she recently received the BBC World News: Komla Dumor Award, which was created in honour of Komla Dumor, a Ghanaian BBC World News presenter who, unfortunately died in 2014. It is given to people who live and work in Africa, who have strong journalism skills, a flair for being on air, ambition, and a talent for telling African stories.

With the audience gathered in the PGC Library, Mrs Akinyelure began tell us about her path to finding the career that was right for her. After leaving CLC, where she studied Maths and Chemistry, Didi moved on to the University of Nottingham and explored Chemical Engineering. All through this time, Didi never really thought much about studying English Literature or a career in Journalism, so it had seemed unlikely that she would end up where she is now.

Afterwards, Didi made another career move to become an investment banker at Barclays Bank, but she wasn’t sure if banking was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She decided, after seven or eight years of working at Barclays, to film a documentary. Because of Didi’s love of television and real estate, the documentary showcased Africa; its beauty and potential as a place to live.

She showed it to several news companies, but they refused to take on her documentary, since she didn’t have any professional experience. However, when she got to CNBC Africa, they noticed her talent and made her an anchor on their news programme. In 2015, Didi submitted an entry to the Komla Dumor Award. Although she didn’t manage to win it first time, she persevered and won the following year, in July 2016.

Some of the main concepts I learnt in this session were that it doesn’t hurt to try to explore and try new things in order to find something that you are really passionate about, and that change is just the start of a new beginning.

Sometimes it’s okay to turn down an opportunity if you don’t think it’s best for you. Finally, I also learnt that when you love your job, work should be fun.

Thank you to everyone who made this talk possible, I really was inspired.

Lhynne Larbie, LC1