This week, we spoke with connectivity expert and CEO/Founder of The Power of Nine Dr. Yewande Okuleye, we asked her a few questions about her journey and her perspective on what it means to SHINE.
As we count down to the Shine Legacy Award, we continue our Interview Series featuring the amazing global influencers who are speaking and sharing their brilliance at the LEAP AND SHINE CONFERENCE 2020 coming up in London, UK on February 21-22.
1. When you think of the word SHINE what first comes to your mind? And what does "Shining" look like from your Point Of View (POV)?
Two things come to mind simultaneously when I think of shine. I hear the lyrics from Rhianna’s hit song Diamonds, and I see the bioluminescent plants in the imaginary world of Pandora envisioned in the film Avatar. Rhianna’s lyrics evoke the different facets of shine; “Shine bright like a diamond” “Find light in a beautiful sea”, “I choose to be happy” “You’re a shooting star” “We are beautiful like diamonds in the sky” “So shine bright tonight”. These are all reminders of our unique ability to radiate and transform ourselves, the people around us, and our environment. The shimmering, luminosity of the plants in Pandora, suggests the materiality of the shine is intrinsic at a molecular level.
Here, the luminosity and spectral quality come from within. The Avatar narrative about plants communicating with each other reminds me about the purpose of shinning.
"We shine, so we can co-create and share positive energy with each other." - Dr. Yewande Okuleye
Shining for me is somebody that embodies a spirit of aliveness and warmth. They have a certain honesty and charisma which transcends language.
2. What would you say is your Shine Factor?
I would say my shine factor state is when I intentionally radiate openness, warmth, and positivity.
3. What are your thoughts about Mentorship and Influence, do you think there is a connection?
Mentorship and influence are interrelated because the idea of mentorship is to share knowledge, and insights that expand the awareness of the mentee. The beauty of mentorship is that it operates in a more subtle way than other forms of hierarchical relationships, which might be bound by notions of power and authority.
4. Mentorship is a two-way relationship between the Mentor and the Mentee. Can you share two qualities you think mentees should exhibit in other to get the best out of their mentors?
Firstly, the most important thing is to be open to new ideas. If the mentee is defensive, then they will not hear ideas, suggestions and new ways of thinking, which could potentially transform their thinking. Conversations with mentors can provide that aha moment. Secondly, giving feedback is also beneficial as this is a way to reflect on progress for both mentor and mentee. Both practices help to cultivate a shared commitment towards expansion, growth, and confidence.
5. Can you think of one specific moment in which you dulled your shine and how you got your luster/sparkle back?
I dulled my shine when I had to apply for jobs that did not require my level of expertise. I ended up distorting my professional identity and forgetting my brilliance. I got my luster back when applying for a post which demanded a full chronological CV. This act felt like I was psychically polishing my CV to remove the distortions and self-imposed tarnish. Now, I stand in the truth of my intellectual and professional non-conformity and describe myself as a renaissance woman or transdisciplinary scholar.
6. If you could BRAG about one particular Shine Moment in your career or business what would it be?
My shine moment was in June 2018, when I attended No 10 Downing Street. The stars were aligned that day, as I got to speak to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid about my Ph.D. research in medical cannabis. I also spent some quality time with the critically acclaimed Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I will be dining out on that for a while.
7. You are one of the Global Speakers at the February 2020 Leap And SHINE Conference in London, What should attendees expect from you at the Conference?
My workshop will create a space for participants to re-imagine what it feels like to connect to self and others. We will learn how the power of words, intention, and listening sincerely can transform “networking” into a “conductivity pathway”. I simply guide you through the process of sparking and sharing your shine.
About Dr. Yewande Okuleye
Dr. Yewande Okuleye is a transdisciplinary scholar and trained Adizes facilitator. Yewande guides leaders and teams to develop collaborative thinking, consensus building, and compassionate leadership. Creating intention-based connectivity, allows us to cultivate honest and engaging dialogues, an intrinsic building block for quality interrelatedness. Yewande sees her role as a connectivity guide, as an important catalyst for change. Yewande is the CEO/Founder, of The Power of Nine: Creating Connectivity and Purpose. The Power of Nine experiential workshops creates a space for participants to question, feel, and re-imagine what it means, to connect to self and others and how this shapes our perceptions and values. The idea of the power of the collective also informs Yewande's academic research, which highlights issues of social justice, social corporate responsibility, and cannabis drug reform.
About The Event
The Leap and Shine Conference which started in 2016 as a Virtual Summit is an initiative founded by Clara Rufai, The Shine Strategist offering Creative, Interactive and Transformational opportunities by bringing together global Thought-leaders and Influencers for paradigm-shifting, life-defining discussions with the aim to inspire, equip and empower individuals to break free from their prisons of limitation and take a ‘LEAP’ into their ‘SHINE ZONE’.
The two-day event promises enlightenment, education, entertainment, and networking with a line-up of successful global achievers. The theme for the conference is “Ready to Shine” and targeted at individuals and business leaders seeking to grow momentum and build a network of fruitful collaborations.