Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017: A Bittersweet Year!

Bukola Oriola. Picture taken by Honorable Ronny Marty
At last, we have finally reached the last day of 2017 here in Minnesota and counting down to the last hours. Congratulations to those who have reached 2018. We are coming right behind you.

2017 was indeed a bittersweet year for me. I cannot count to every detail, however, I will share what I feel comfortable sharing to hopefully inspire you in the upcoming year.

This year recorded one of my greatest accomplishments - a Bachelor's degree! I remembered how someone had told me in 2012 when I had enrolled at the Community College how many people, including herself, started but never completed their Bachelor's degrees in the U.S. I had a reason for enrolling in college for a Bachelor's degree, so I focused on my reason. That 'reason' and 'focus' earned me my Bachelor's degree.

You will have people that will try to stop you. Sometimes, they have good intentions, but learn to put your attention and actions on your 'reason' and 'focus' to accomplish your dreams.

In the same year, I launched my first and succeeded in hosting a live conference where I flew in speakers and paid them for their time. Mind you, the amount I paid was not much because they were kind enough to work with me and my budget to make the conferences a reality.

Meanwhile, I had tried to host a live event twice without success before the first conference which held in February. In fact, I paid for conference room and bought marketing materials, all to no avail. I had only one registered attendee that agreed to use her payment as a one-on-one coaching session.

Yet, I did not give up. Rather, I learned some more, tried other options like expanding the conference
offerings, and finally, I was able to host the first and second live events called Empowerment & Hope Summit that had registered attendees within and outside of Minnesota. I recorded attendees from Florida, Illinois, Georgia, Canada, United Kingdom, and Nigeria.
In fact, by the second live event, I had an attendee travelled all the way from the United Kingdom to attend in person.

I was able to take care of some of the overhead cost with the help of sponsorships. So, look for who or where you can get the enabling support to help you bring your dream to life. In addition, take time to learn to sift out relevant information that will propel you in your quest. Learning to take out valuable information from all the noise available online, in books, and other sources is very important. There are many incomplete, as well as outrightly wrong information being dished out daily. Lack of information is not the problem, but lack of the accurate information. So, you must learn to gather the correct information. This process might take several attempts, including having to access the right information repeatedly to fully understand, in order to execute it.

2017 is also a remarkable year in that it ends the first term of the first ever U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking of which I am a member. It has been a two year growing period. It afforded me the opportunity to practice some of the knowledge that I have acquired both in college and outside of the classroom. It has further assured me that anyone can turn their tragic experiences into values that can be of tremendous help to any nation or community. It also showed resilience and ability to work together in a group despite known or unknown differences for a common good and the good of all.

As I write, we have just completed the second annual report and will be having a report launch in Washington D.C. in a few days - January 5, 2018, the day that marks the inauguration of the Council at the White House in 2016. You can watch the live broadcast of the launch on the Council's Facebook page here.

This year has been particularly challenging for me in many ways. One of my main challenge was my inability to reach my financial goal, while my expenses increased. However, I refused to stop believing. I prayed. I fasted. I read books. I asked for help from trusted friends and families, and did whatever I could legally to work towards my financial goal.

As if that was not enough, I was involved in a car accident on a Sunday morning on my way to church in the summer. Coupled with that was another accident where a truck threw a stone at my windshield while driving at 60 miles an hour on highway 94 that resulted in the replacement of my windshield.

I sit here today writing with a heart of gratitude. I am grateful to be alive. I can plan for the year ahead. I am also grateful for all the people God has used to bless me - my clients, mentors, coaches, colleagues, friends, families, The Enitan Story board members, and especially my son.

I am going into the new year with a lot of certainty. Some of the things that I have been hoping to accomplish are coming into place. I am not willing to share some now until later. So, come back, you might read them as they unfold or I share them.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in the new year - 2018: My New Dawn!

Stay blessed and remain fabulicious until next time.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Inspiring You! A Bukola Oriola's Story 4

A cross section of graduating students and guests
Welcome back. If this is your first time reading Inspiring You! A Bukola Oriola's Story, please, go back and read part one, two, and three. Check the right top sidebar for the Inspiring You! A Bukola Oriola's Story Series to read the other parts of the story.

With my brother, Bolaji, my son, Sam, grandpa, and Shakira's kids
I had promised to write about the commencement ceremony that took place two weeks ago when I graduated from Metropolitan State University with my Bachelors of Art.
It's such a feeling of accomplishment knowing that I am now a Bachelors degree holder. It was over due, and I am glad that I didn't think about how long, but was pressing on to complete my degree. 

I will like to use this opportunity to encourage you to keep pressing on regardless of whatever challenges or delays you may be experiencing to accomplish your goal. If you don't give up, you will achieve your goals. Mind you, there are times that you may experience delay or pause, don't think it's the end, rather see it as a stop sign on the road when driving or a red light by the traffic light that will always change to green afterwards.

Meanwhile, on the commencement ceremony night, I was in line with the president and some of the staff, when tears filled my eyes, as soon as the procession song began. I was selected to give the commencement speech on behalf of the graduating students. You can watch it here. I thought to myself, "This is it. I am finally getting my Bachelors degree." It was a moment that I would always remember.
Before then, I had be treated to a dinner with my Minnesota family and friends, thanks to grandma
At dinner with Becky and Shakira before the commencement
and grandpa. They asked where I would like to go to dinner and I chose a Mexican restaurant. We had the dinner and then left for the commencement ceremony which was scheduled for 6:30 PM. We took pictures and they went to take a seat in the auditorium. I wish that I could invite more people
but the tickets were limited to nine per graduating student. 

Luckily, my immediate brother was able to attend from Canada. Although it was a day of joy, it was also a day of sorrow for me because I couldn't get the rest of my siblings in Nigeria to attend. More so, my parents who didn't have the chance for college education were not there to share the glorious moment with me. They both passed away. My mother died in 1998 and my father joined her in 2008.
With Grandma and Grandpa
I sat on the platform with the president and her staff. Sitting with me on the platform was the Student Senate President who also delivered an inspiring speech to the graduating students.
In addition, I saw a lot of my classmates receive their medallions and degree conferment as they passed by me on the platform. It was a glorious night. Greeting several students that night helped me to focus on the joy of the night rather than the sadness.

I finished secondary school education in 1995, which was one year late because I repeated a class, but I didn't get my Bachelors degree until 22 years later, which was over two decades. I posted, "After over two decades, I will be getting my Bachelors. You can take a look at my Capstone eFolio" on my Facebook timeline when I received a pleasant message from a reader. I will share the message with you next time.
Thanks for reading and see you next time.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bukola Oriola Delivers 100th Commencement Speech at Metropolitan State University

Bukola Oriola, Outstanding Student, graduating with her Bachelors of Art in Individualized Studies with a focus on Community Leadership and Diversity.

She was the Student Representative Commencement Speaker at the 100th Commencement of Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota. The event took place on May 1, 2017 at the Roy
Wilkins Auditorium at Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Founded in 1971, Metropolitan State University has produced 41,473 graduates with immeasurable knowledge.

Congratulate Oriola by commenting below as she inspires you with her motivational speech.

Photo by Kehinde Adegbiyi
Video Footage by Metropolitan State University, St. Paul

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Inspiring You! A Bukola Oriola's Story 3

Sorry, I have not published an article for the past two weeks. I have been sick, and now, my son is not feeling well. But I hope to be able to continue from where I left off.

I had promised to share the good news that welcomed me home some 34 years ago. I remembered walking home on that sunny afternoon, when I met a familiar guy few blocks before I reached home. He was probably in his 20s, and he worked at a carpenter's shop on my street. He announced to me, that my mother had just delivered a baby. 

I was really excited and ran as fast as my legs could carry me to our apartment. As soon as I entered the house, the scent of baby products - lotion, oil, and powder- welcomed me into our one bedroom studio. I was surprised to see my father at home, because he was not usually at home around that time of the day. My mother was lying in bed beside her newborn, my brother. She smiled and welcomed me home to the fourth child, and the third male to the family.

Well, as the norm was in my family, few days after, we went to my paternal grand parents for the naming ceremony of the baby. My brother was named by Islamic clerics among families and friends. He is an adult now, and has finished his higher education in Mechanical Engineering.

A day after his naming ceremony, we went back home to our regular routine, and I continued with my elementary education. When I left Ajeromi Primary School to join my parents in our new neighborhood at Federal Low Cost Housing Estate, Ipaja, I was enrolled at African Church Primary School, where I completed my six years primary school education.

Shortly after, I spent a few weeks at a "Jakande" Secondary School (pardon me, I don't remember the name of the school) at Abesan Estate, but moved on to Command Secondary School, Ibadan for another five years. I left Command Secondary School, Ibadan for Government College, Ikorodu for two years, to complete my secondary education with my Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination.

Afterwards, educational challenges and delay became my real life struggles. Come back to learn
more about my academic challenges, and how I have been able to push through, despite the obstacles that caused my delay. The next story will be about the Commencement Ceremony that took place recently at Metropolitan State University, where I graduated as an Outstanding Student recipient with my Bachelor's of Arts.

Join me for a Virtual Book Reading with two other authors, Yvette Toko, founder of Weddings with Yvette and Deborah Sawyerr, founder of Sawyerrs' House and their books, "Marriage Journal: A 7 Week Plan and "Money: The Root 'Curse' of Domestic Violence" on Facebook on Saturday, May 13 at 11:00 AM CST. You might win a copy of my book if you add your name to the Insider's list.

Meanwhile, you can still enjoy your over 50% discount on A Living Label: An Inspirational Memoir and Guide book, when you purchase it in addition with Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim book. Click on the image below.

This article is part of a series. You can read part one and two.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Inspiring You! A Bukola Oriola's Story 2

President Ginny Arthur and I @ Award Ceremony
If you read Inspiring You! A Bukola Oriola's Story 1, you will be wanting to read about the good news that welcomed me home from school in 1983. Unfortunately, you will need to wait a little longer to read what the good news is about. The reason is because, I want to share an inspiring present situation with you, and I think that you will like it. Now that we have got this situated, let's dive right into it.

It's been over 30 years. In fact, it's been 34 years since I started formal education at Ajeromi Primary School in Ajegunle, Lagos, Nigeria. That is how long it has been for me before getting my Bachelors. But I am glad that I still got my Bachelors. Last weekend, I received an Outstanding Student Award at Metropolitan State University, where I will be graduating from in the next 11 days. It was such an honor. Whenever we count how long, we should also count the blessings along the way, no matter how small or big. Although, it took so long for me to get my Bachelors, yet it came at the right time. On top of that is the crowning of an award. I was one of 10 students who received this honorable award.

If everything had gone as planned academically, I should have received my Bachelor's Degree 16 years after starting my primary education. However, when I think back, I count my blessings rather than cry over the fact that it took more than double the time to finish. It wasn't an easy journey as you can tell from how long it took me to get here. Take a minute to visit my Capstone eFolio website to learn some of the challenges that have shaped both my academic and career journey.

President Ginny and I at her inauguration
Two weeks ago, I was privileged to give remarks on behalf of the student body during the inauguration of the president of Metropolitan State University. President Ginny Arthur is the seventh President installed at the university by the Minnesota State Board of Trustees. I was a humble member of the "Platform Party" during the inauguration, as I sat anxiously until my time to give my speech. You can read the speech here.

In addition, I will be delivering the Student's Remarks at the 100th Commencement of Metropolitan State University. You can also read my Commencement Speech.

You can see how far I have come. I encourage you not to give up on your dreams. Keep pushing. You will eventually hit your target.

Come back for the good news that welcomed me home 34 years ago, and what happened after I left Ajeromi Primary school. I will let you know when I return next week. Enjoy your over 50% discount on A Living Label: An Inspirational memoir and Guide book, when you purchase it in addition with Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim book here or click on the image below.

This article is a series, you can read part one here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Inspiring You! A Bukola Oriola's Story 1

When you encounter setbacks, don't give up. Giving up is the easiest thing to do, but it is not the solution to your setback. I have learned in my little life journey that setbacks are part of the process. They form the threads that sew our fabric of success together.

I was writing a reflective paper for my Capstone at the University few weeks ago, when I suddenly realized that over two decades had passed. The time flies quickly, and it's easy to moan over our unsuccessful ventures. However, when we can look at how far we have come, it sure can feel like a soothing aloe lotion on a dry skin.

I have encountered the good, the bad, and of course, the ugly in my few years on earth. I have cried. I have laughed. Sometimes, I have remained indifferent. I have always hoped for a better future - a better tomorrow through a positive outcome - no matter how long it will take. When we feel like we will not give up if it took us eternity to achieve our desired goal, things fall into place at the set time. Unfortunately, the set time, might not be our own logical time.

My memory carry me back to the brick wall classroom with no windows but a suspended aluminium roof at my elementary school in 1983. The space between the roof and brick walls at Ajeromi Primary School, Lagos, served as the imaginary window in which air was carried from outside into the classroom. I have a faint memory of my primary one teacher standing in from of the classroom with a chalk in her hands, reading from the blackboard.

I remembered the recess when we ran around the grassy and sandy compound of the school, and ran back into our classrooms as soon as the bell went off. I remembered going out through the iron gates of the school, walking home in the sunny or rainy afternoons. One of such afternoons brought me the arrival of a special gift to my family. Find out what the gift was, as I continue with Inspiring You! A Bukola Oriola Story next week. What would you like to learn about Bukola Oriola? Leave your comment below.

In the mean time, I am glad to inform you that I am graduating from college after over two decades. I count it a great privilege, and I will like to celebrate it with you by giving you my new memoir, A Living Label: An Inspirational Memoir and Guide for over 50% off at Inspiring You By Bukola. You only pay $15 for the $34 paperback book when you purchase it along with my first memoir, Imprisoned. I will also autograph both books. Click the image below to get both books for less than the price of the paperback of A Living Label: An Inspirational Memoir and Guide.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Welcome to Bukola Inspires!

It's a public secret that Bukola Oriola has endured and overcome such agony as human trafficking and domestic violence. 

Oriola did not allow her obstacle to keep her back from turning her life around to help others. 

As a result, she has become an inspiration for many in her daily life and business, as a public speaker, author, entrepreneur, mentor and advocate. 

On this website, you can learn more about Oriola's inspiring life and work, in addition to motivational speaking. You can book her for your next event to inspire your group, staff, or conference participants.