The Short Cut:
A quick fire chat about working life with Yemisi Mokuolu
At the heart of the Nurture Network is the power of sharing experiences. From breakthrough career moments, to best ever advice, how to deal with stress and the women that inspire them.
The Short Cut designed to bring you a snapshot of our members’ working lives. Today we’re speaking to Yemisi Mokuolu, Director at Hatch Ideas
Tell us about your breakthrough career moment
Early on in my career, when I was 27, I hosted one of the UK’s largest festivals of African arts & culture as an 8-day takeover of Carnaby Street. Around that time there was very, very limited support for people who wanted to do anything of African heritage. So it was just so great to know that, from scratch, from just an idea, I could create something mighty.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?
It is the same advice I give today – know your purpose. Stand behind your business purpose. It is your belief, it is part of you. And obviously you take people’s advice to make it a reality but I think you have to stand behind what you believe in.
Have you ever felt held back as a women? How do you respond?
I go through them all: Fight, flight, freeze or just ignore. A lot of the time it’s really confusing if you’re so blindsided that you don’t even know how you feel or how to react. I’ve had experiences where I’ve been able to just bounce it off, and then other times where it’s really just frozen me.
I’ve had some terrible things happen to me in my career all under the banner of racism and sexism, and I’m a person, I am human, so yes it hurts. I heal every time and sometimes I heal quickly, and in the moment, and other times it takes a little bit longer.
Implementing daily habits to disconnect from stimulus and engage in recovery helps me to refocus, check in with myself and protect my mental wellbeing.
How do you protect your mental health in moments of pressure?
Having a supportive network of friends is so important. Especially when I was in my thirties I would always be the youngest and the most female and the most person of color in the room. And so there was one time where I was feeling incredibly anxious.
And so I got my friends on the Whatsapp group to send me funny jokes. And then another time after a very difficult meeting with representatives of a council, I messaged all my friends saying you’ve got to tell me why I’m amazing- and they did! Sometimes I need to take time out to remind myself that I deserve to be here and to do what I’m doing. I’m doing it. And sometimes if I forget my purpose or need that extra support, I have a great network of friends to be there for me.
The woman who inspires me is…
My oldest sister has always been the one that empowers me when I feel like I need inspiration, I just think of her. And my amazing daughter. I’ve managed to create a fabulous human! If I’m going to make a decision, I think, would I choose that for her? Or I think, would I tolerate it if someone spoke like that to my daughter? I am learning a lot from her.
I feel empowered by…
Honestly, authenticity, straightforwardness, truth.
The world would be a better place when…
We all do some self-care and focus on healing ourselves.
The woman who everyone should know about it…
This is hard, there are so many! One amazing woman who is doing great work and has overcome a lot is Mabel Suglo, founder of Dignified Wear Company in Ghana. Dignified Wear is a social enterprise that trains and employs persons with disabilities and rural women as artisans to design and produce handcrafted shoes, clothing and jewelry.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
I love Italy and Sicily specifically.