Monday Morning Motivation with Amb. Temitope ‘Elevate’ Omotayo

Check out the inspiring story of Dr. Adeola Olubamiji who is currently the
Snr. Additive Manufacturing Engineer @ Cummins Inc in USA. She is also the founder of STEMHub Foundation.

She did not get there by luck, this is her story.

“I was born in Mokola, Ibadan, Nigeria in 1985 to a mother who was a farmer and a father who had little. As the fifth child of five, life wasn’t easy growing up. I helped my mom make money to support us as early as age 10 by hawking pepper on the streets of Mokola. No one imagined this future for me growing up, and in fact, it was impossible to think of it. I attended Nigerian public primary and secondary schools, and there was little to no resources; therefore, several girls got pregnant and dropped out. My family made me realize that it was either “I Go Hard or I Go Home” and there will be no in-betweens. My parents and siblings were disciplined yet loving, and they continually encouraged me, prayed with me, and celebrated my little victories.
I kept striving and proceeded to Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria, for a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics (with Electronics). Being a minority in a predominantly male class was extremely tasking and intimidating. Since I had no choice but to “go hard,” I focused, studied hard, and eventually graduated with approximately 3.8 of 5 CGPA in 2008. Although I wasn’t the overall best student when I graduated, my grades were good enough to enable me to secure a job or obtain a scholarship for a Master’s Degree.

proceeded to Finland, where I obtained a Master’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Tampere University of Technology in 2011. Despite the language barrier that I experienced while in Finland, I still worked. I worked part-time as a cleaner to support myself through my degree, and for another year while I was searching for PhD admission and scholarships. Out of determination, I applied to over 100 schools seeking PhD admission and scholarships. Then, in early 2012, I finally got a scholarship to attend the University of Saskatchewan, to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. While in that program, I engaged in several part-time jobs. This time, I worked as a sales representative/make-up artist at Sephora Saskatoon, a teaching assistant at the University and a hair dresser (braided hair and fixed weaves) in Saskatoon.
Nothing in life came to me easy; therefore, I learned to put in a good fight at every step of the way. In the fourth year of my PhD, I started the job hunt for a company that could offer me my long-awaited career. I graduated at time when engineering jobs were scarce and recent engineering graduates found it hard to secure appropriate jobs. Most of the advertised jobs required minimum of five years related work experience, and I was often told that I was overqualified because I have a PhD. As a result, I decided to “go hard”, and at least 3,000 employment applications went out from my desk and the agents (whom I paid to help me with the search) before I secured my current employment.

Although I had to go to school for several years and strive through life at every step of the way (and still striving), I am indeed grateful for the little victories and I can humbly call myself the female/the black female ambassador on my team, as I am the only female and only black engineer on this team.

As a kid, we lived in a face-me-I-face-you 3-bedroom slot in Mokola. My immediate elder brother took one of three rooms and turned it into a business Centre for graphics design and the last room was dedicated to my brothers who had several friends sleeping there. So, we were left with the middle room called “yara” to share by 5 people (my parents, my sister and I, and the money machine brother of mine who also need to sleep after working in the living room).

The room was small and so tight and ofcourse I had to share a bed with my sister. We had a black and white TV with no video 😂, so we would go watch movies in our neighbor’s living room. They are family and so kind to us but whenever they had visitors, we had to bounce and watch from the window. Sometimes, up to 5 of us will fight for a small hole through the curtains to watch Aladdin, Pokahontas and so on. Ha, this life!

The same girl who was called jara child (extra), the same one who lived in a tiny room by a toilet in Ogba and the same one who went to Europe with 700 Euros is the one who built a house in America. And bought a house in Canada in addition to having a rewarding career in my own field.”

Lessons:

1.It is okay to be born and raised in humble background but your story can change over time.

2. Limitation exists only in the mind, if you can think it then it can become a reality .

3. Do not allow your background to keep putting your back on the ground so you do not have to end the way you started.

4. It’s not about what happen to you in life, it’s about how you react to it. You may choose to be a victim or a victor. The choice is yours.

We will celebrate with you soon. I wish you a prosperous new year 2020 in advance.

Amb. Temitope Omotayo.

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