Friday, March 10, 2017

Tara Fela-Durotoye (TFD) Conference 2017


TFD Conference was refreshing! 😌 It was great hanging out with power women (me inclusive 😉) and celebrating not only the celebrant, Tara Fela-Durotoye (TFD) who just tuned 40, but every woman. TFD emphasized that the day was not about her but about every woman in that room at the conference.

The venue, which was at Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, was very classy. It looked like a royal ball with vases of pink and white roses on each table which sat about ten (10) ladies. Crystal chandeliers hanging on the ceiling. Oh! And not to forget the side mirrors at the end of the two corners of the room 😍  Funke Buknor-Obruthe and her Zapphaire Events team did a fantastic job 👏

A lot of wise-sayings were 'preached' at the conference. Let me break them down based on TFD's live conversations on three (3) principles that have shaped her life with three (3) people who are dear to her. It's a long one so brace ya self! 😜

The 1st session was on Spirituality and Friendship with her long time friend of over 20 years, TY Bello . TY Bello is one of my female crushes 😍 So I was very glad their session was first.
Lessons I learnt from their relationship:
(1) Building a worthy and lasting friendship is deeper than what we think. TY explained that her relationship with Tara is that of STRENGTH. They both strengthen each other.
(2) Their relationship also stems from their spiritual background. Tara talked about how TY literally wakes up praying. It used to scare her...Lol! But she has learned how to pray first thing in the morning because of that 😊 TY said when they were young, Tara would listen and sing along to 'old-time' Christian worship songs. And she would ask her why she was listening to such boring songs instead of the likes of CeCe Winas and Kirk Franklin. Now, TY literally sings mostly worship songs and she points that to Tara  😊 That's DEEP!
(3) TY thought she would become a professional hair-dresser and make-up artist. But looking at Tara's works, she had to think deep about what she really wanted to do. That's how she found her love for photography. Her first photography business was through Tara. One of Tara's clients from the US needed a photographer for her wedding. So Tara asked TY, who was at first reluctant, to do it. Today she credits the fact that she did not have to contend with Tara but that they compliment one another with their talents. Beautiful! TY also pointed out something funny but true. She said, when you have a friend that has something you don't have and that you wish you had, USE IT WELL!!! That's what friends are for now!!!😁
(4) Lastly, both Tara and TY agreed that sometimes, one may feel left behind when their friends are moving forward in life and they are not. They advised that if you are moving forward, pull your lagging friend along. If you are lagging, celebrate your moving friend and don't get jealous. Don't leave a positive relationship because of your different stages of life. In stead celebrate and love one another.
I can go on and on about their session even 😀 It was great hearing stories about two different people (I mean Tara is classy while TY is spontaneous...you can see it in how both of them dressed...lol!) who compliment each other.

The 2nd session was on Mentorship with her mentor, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank.
Lessons I learnt from their mentorship:
(1) I recently read a devotional that talked about mentorship and how Jesus is the perfect mentor. And the following points were highlighted as the credo of a true mentor: 
i. I am willing to spend the time it takes to build a close relationship with the learner 
ii. I commit myself to believing in the potential of the learner, to telling them the exciting future I see ahead for him or her; to visualizing and verbalizing the possibilities for their life 
iii. I am willing to be vulnerable and transparent before the learner. I am willing to share not only my strengths and successes, but also my weaknesses, failures, brokenness, and sins 
iv. I am willing to be honest yet affirming in confronting the learner’s errors, faults, and areas of immaturity 
v. I am committed to standing by the learner through trials - even trials that are self-inflicted as a result of ignorance or error 
vi. I am committed to helping the learner set goals for his or her spiritual life, career, or ministry, and to helping the learner dream his or her dream; 
vii. I am willing to objectively evaluate the learner’s progress toward his or her goal 
viii. Above all, I am committed to faithfully living out everything I teach.
Listening to their session, I can truly say Mrs. Awosika has been a positive influence in Tara's life based on the above points.
(2) One thing that Mrs. Awosika pointed out about Tara that hit me was that she LISTENS and EXECUTES. She always comes back with results based on the advises given by Mrs. Awosika. And this is what makes her a special mentee. 
(3) Both of them also pointed out that Mentors are NOT gods because they are humans who can also make mistakes. They are more of 'guardian angels' who teach you how to avoid the mistakes they have made and help you make right decisions that would change you for a life time. 
(4) Mrs Awosika explained that one doesn't have to have a mentor that they must communicate with. That some people have mentors who they admire afar and follow based on their life style.
(5) Tara is very 'protective' of her mentor 😃 And who would blame her 😊 She advised that when you have someone who is willing to invest in you no matter what, STICK with that person and do all you can to make them proud 😊
(6) Mrs. Awosika pointed something very profound about mentoring Tara. She said that it is Tara's husband, Fela Durotoye, that has made mentoring her a success. She explained that before she gives any advise to Tara she directs her to ask her husband's opinion first.  And based on his response, she knows how to guide and advise her. She advised women to ensure they always carry their husbands along, even if they don't understand, put them in the picture of your dreams. 
(7) Both advised that when seeking for someone you admire to mentor you, don't be too forward by asking them to be your mentor. First build a relationship with the person and slowing before you know it the person would warm up to you and start mentoring you without knowing it 😊 
Their session was very heart-warming. Mrs. Awosika fondly calls Tara her 'aburo' (Younger sisbling or sister in Yoruba language). That she has moved from being her 'mentee' to being her 'sister' 😊

The last and final session was Love and Partnership with her husband and best friend, Fela Durotoye (FD), a match made in heaven I will say 😍
 
Sadly I missed this session 😞 Mother-duty-called 😀 Lol! But my dear friend, Folakemi Odesola, gave me a summary of what she learnt:
(1) FD talked about how Tara manages and balances, work and life and does a perfect job doing so
(2) He talked about how she is a lioness at work and a pussy cat once she gets to his corner 😀
(3) I like this one...He said she doesn't seek to over power him with her strength but rather she shows vulnerability which makes him feel the immediate need to be the man and be strong for her...Beautiful!!!
(4) Generally, they both shared their secrets to balancing work, success, their home and their marriage
In fact, when she told me all this I prayed one prayer, 'Dear Father, let my children arise and call me blessed and my husband praise me and say "Many daughters have done virteously, but thou execellest them all"' AMEN!!! That's a Proverbs 31 Woman prayer!!!

Though I didn't get to stay till the end, I will gladly say the conference was inspiring. It was also beautiful hanging out with women who are celebrating one another. Cheers to women around the world doing great things!!! We are all inspirations for the present and future generations! 😚

 Evening Chic at TFD Conference

 With our female crush, TY Bello 😍

 With my Travel-Lover Buddy-babe, Chiamaka of Social Prefect Tours 😉
 With my Visionaire Sister, Folakemi Odesola

With the phenomenal Stephanie Obi and Visionaire Folakemi Odesola

 Someone at the event asked if I was A'rese Emokpae. 😁  That I look like her twin sister 😀 Abeg if anyone knows her tell her that her long-lost-twinny dey hail am,o!!!😀👐 

Feeling Chicy with my self 😌 #selflove 😍 #purplepink

#TFDConference
#CelebratingOneAnother 
#CelebratingWomen

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day 2017: #BeBoldForChange


Happy International Women's Day to all my ladies in  the whole wide world!!! 😘😙😗

IWD aims at celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world and it emphasizes a more gender inclusive world. The campaign first kicked off in March 19, 1911 in Germany, which has become a highly celebrated global phenomenon in other countries. It is now held March 8 every year. 

This year's theme is #BeBoldForChange. As individuals in our immediate society and beyond, through our actions and words we can create a more gender inclusive world. 

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 9th, 2017, Tara Fela-Durotoye, who just turned 40th a few days ago, would be celebrating women through her Tara Fela-Durotoye (TDF) Series by hosting a TDF conference. There will be live conversations with her and three (3) people on three (3) principles that have shaped her life:

(1) Spirituality and Friendship with her long time friend of over 20 years, TY Bello

(2) Love and Partnership with her husband and best friend, Fela Durotoye

(3) Mentorship with her dear mentor, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank

What a great way to celebrate women! Looking forward to hanging out with #PowerWomen while we are #CelebratingOneAnother 😊

#IWD2017 #TFDConference #CelebratingOneAnother #CelebratingWomen #BeBoldForChange

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Naija Tour Operator - N.X. Tours Limited



I met N.X. Tours at the just concluded Social Media Lagos Week during one of the #TravelAfricaDay sessions. It was great meeting and chatting with the founder, Nneka Agbim 😊

Kindly read our interview with her. And don't forget to book one of your Naija Wanderlust Tours with them 😉


Q1. Please kindly introduce yourself.
A1. Hi! My name is Nneka Agbim, and I run the company N.X. Tours Limited (“NXTours”)

Q2. Describe yourself in three words.
A2. Simple, interesting and complex

Q3. Tell us more about your tour operating company. When did you start it? What inspired you to start one?
A3. I started the company towards the later part of 2016. I was inspired to start the company based on the simple premise that people do not need to travel far and wide to be able to appreciate natural beauty, engage in adventurous activities or learn a bit of history.

Currently the company offers two services – travel / vacation consultations and curating tours. NXTours curates personalised and group tours for people to experience what Nigeria (and soon Africa) has to offer - from natural sites, to active expeditions and historical explorations. It also consults on a range of local and international travel services that include destinations / activities recommendations, creating specialised travel itineraries and managing entire vacations and tours.

Q4. What were/are your challenges in managing your tour operating company?
A4. Most of my challenges are logistical and operational in nature - dealing with vendors and hedging against the risk of them disappointing or delivering products late.

Another big challenge is the local tourist attractions themselves. Because of (what I call) a lack of interest in the tourism industry, a lot of these sites are badly maintained and simply haven’t made improvements that you would expect of a tourist attraction. From bad access roads and no road signs to aid travellers to these destinations, to terrible customer service – these factors make it very challenging to curate tours which in turn makes managing NXTours difficult.

Q5. How many states in Nigeria have you, personally travelled to?
A5. 8 states only – Lagos, Ogun, Anambra, Imo, Delta, Jos, Abuja, and Niger states.

Q6. How many domestic tours in Nigeria have you organized so far?
A6. We are a fairly new company, but we’ve organised 4 domestic tours to date.

Q7. Where are your “Must-Travel” destinations for individuals, couples, family and groups in Nigeria?
A7. In terms of natural scenery, I would say the Gurara Waterfalls in Niger state and the Obudu Cattle Ranch.

For resorts, I would say the Abraka Turf and Country Club in Delta state and the Inagbe resort in Lagos state.

Q8. Where do you see your tour operating company in the next 5 years?

A8. I see NXTours being a full service travel and tours company - offering a wider range of travel services and curating both local and international tours.

Q9. What is your advice to those who want to start their own tour operating company in Nigeria?
A9. Do your research, and make a start. Starting is often the hardest part, but just do it.

Q10. Where do you see the Nigerian tourism industry in the next 5 to 10 years?
A10. Honestly, I wish I were optimistic, but I’m not. The economy and government are overly dependent on petroleum and despite tourism being a golden alternative, decade after decade, they’ve not done a good job boosting the tourism sector.

What I am optimistic about is an increased level of private sector participation in the tourism industry. In the next 5 to 10 years, I see (and hope) that there would be a lot more private funds and investments pouring into the tourism industry, giving it the boost it needs to lead economic growth.  T

Q11. Please give us your personal experience of how your tour operating company has changed your life.
A11. Well, it’s challenged me in many ways! There is so much that goes into running a company – from having to deal with current operational issues to strategizing on futuristic plans and direction for the company.

It is also extremely satisfying when after a tour, I get call backs filled with gratitude from the locals who helped and supported our tour group. It genuinely gives me that warm feeling of “Go Nex! You’re really making a difference in people’s lives!

Q12.  A word or two to our readers.
A12. Follow us @nxtours_ng to keep up to date with and to join us on our tours! And don’t forget to get in touch if you need help planning a vacation or your next tour! Thanks for reading!