Leah Olorunfemi- 1000WIDesign Study Team Lead

Ingressive for Good partnered with Geneza School of Design to help 1000 women build skills and careers in design. During the training, we realized the need and benefits of study buddies to better help the women learn and complete their courses. So we created study groups. At the end of the program, we recorded over 70% completions. Leah Olorunfemi tells us about her experience leading a study group, the impact she made and the impact it had on her.

“My name is Leah and I am a graphic designer. I had been looking to transition into tech for sometime and so when the opportunity came, I didn’t fail to apply for the Ingressive For Good 1000WomenInDesign Scholarship.

I recall the day I received the call that I was being considered for the cohort. I was a bit stupefied because hitherto, for some reason, I thought I would get feedback within a week after applying and when that didn’t happen. It had somehow slipped my mind. So when the Ingressive for Good representative reached me, I was wondering what she was talking about. And then somewhere in my gray matter, a memory bulb lit up and I shouted like a drunk, ‘yes, oh yes, yes, yes yes, I applied’ She was already asking further questions to confirm my identity. I rambled on, pretty happy that I had been shortlisted and would probably make the final cut…Well long story short, we did! Hurray!

During the early days of the training, a call went out for forty trainees to volunteer to be team study leads. I knew it was going to involve time and sacrifice on my part because I also had my course modules to attend to but this was something I had done albeit in different capacities and I found joy doing it, so I applied and I had the privilege of working with amazing ladies.

Every aspect of human interaction has its own challenges and so this too was no exception. One challenge that surfaced early was not receiving responses from some team mates, when I needed them to send in needed info. But based on my  experiences with leading other teams within a similar virtual arrangement, I was not totally unprepared for the “silences”. 

Asides, I knew it was possible they were also dealing with other issues in their lives and my persistent calls and cries, to turn in their ‘current progress report’, could well be the least thing on their minds. So whenever I needed some information urgently and it wasn’t forthcoming what I did was to visit each team mate in their private chats; engaged each person and that always got me the information I needed. 

It also took some time for some to respond to my nosey check-ins to find out if they were having any challenges with their track modules. Since some people are naturally shy and are not inclined to discuss their problems in the open, I always threw in the option of sending me a direct message, to know what challenges they were having and that was one strategy that really worked well in the end. 

In retrospect, I am glad that with the exception of one person, we all finished our courses and received our certificates at the end of the program. It was a wonderful time working with the group members. Y’all rock and may the skies always be the stepping stone for us and never the limit! 

One thing that has been a key takeaway for me from this whole thing is that people come in different shades. We all don’t have the same level of intelligence, the same circumstances and most certainly not the same temperaments but we can still get along despite our obvious differences by not thinking too much of ourselves and knowing there’s always something to learn from someone else.

Sample of the work I did during the program

In addition, I found the experience edifying because it honed my people interaction skills, impacting on me that when it comes to workable human relations, it’s more about exercising insight and patience and less about making presumptions. 

With regards to what learning design has done for me, apart from making me more employable, it has also opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know existed and I’m glad  I’m part of it now. From not even knowing there was anything like design, not knowing how to design to being able to produce designs that catch the attention of seasoned designers, I remain indebted for this opportunity yet I know there’s still a better version of my design self still in the works.

I always get a special feeling of satisfaction for designing this cover of American Football magazine in design school; simple yet classy and professional but even with this, I know my best work is yet to come.

In all I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Bolanle Banwo, Blessing Abeng, the other founders, co-founders and the entire team of Ingressive For Good and Geneza School of Design for this opportunity which 1000 women benefited from. 

THANK YOU! For widening the footprint of African women in the tech ecosystem. You’ve given us a baton. What remains is for us to run with it and hopefully you’ll meet us at the winner’s stand!”

You can reach Leah here

LinkedIn-https://www.linkedin.com/in/leaholorunfemi2

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/leaholorunfemi/

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