Gusi Tobby Lordwilliams is a seasoned Global Influence strategist. In 2019, she founded a nonprofit organization, Girl Hub Africa (GHA) the largest all-female volunteering network in Africa, where she currently serves as a member of the Board of Trustees. She currently works at the GOTNI leadership centre as a digital media and communications consultant. In this interview, Gusi talks about how she started, her inspiration, and what to expect from her latest enterprise Business Brunch with Gusi Tobby.
Tell us about yourself and the backstory that brought you into your current role.
My name is Gusi Tobby Lordwilliams fondly called LORD T of Impact. I started out as a social impact strategist and volunteer’s management consultant with a background in Law. I did this for more than 5 years, volunteering for nonprofits, organisations, individuals and government agencies, most of which I worked in my professional capacity without receiving any official remuneration.
The beautiful thing about the experiences I had and the wealth of knowledge/ network I had built over time volunteering is that it gave me clarity on my strengths and my purpose. I can identify who I am, what I stand for the problem I am solving as a change maker.
Leading and managing over five thousand volunteers across various states of the country on different and diverse social development and corporate projects positioned me as a leader and taught me valuable skills like effective communication, Empathy, Integrity, Accountability, Team building, to mention but a few. These volunteering experiences and opportunities brought me into my new role as a Reputation management consultant where I help thought leaders maximize their influence with a focus on PR, media and communications.
What values are most important to you as a leader?
Topping my list will be Excellence, Self Awareness, Transparency, Accountability, Empathy, Service and Honour
You have an event Business Brunch with Gusi Tobby coming up October 29th, 2021, tell us about it?
It’s an informal approach to reshaping the mindset of young people to the concept of Wealth Creation.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with one of the largest populations of youth in the world, comprising 211,400,708 members. 70% of this group of people are directly and adversely affected and conditioned by the state of the economy and their environment to believe that flashing Money around, living lavishly, wearing fashionable items and making Visual content in expensive places equates to someone being wealthy but it’s not.
Money is but one component of wealth. A wealth mindset means spending less, making wise investments, and looking for ways to improve financial standing with minimal risk. The good news is that with a little dedication, anyone can develop this mindset. The business brunch is set to help participants understand the concept of Wealth Creation through strategic positioning, personal branding, networking and effective leadership.
What can people expect from it?
Participants should expect to be “depressed”, energized, refreshed and ready to learn, unlearn and relearn their approach to creating wealth.
I say “Depressed” because some young people are excellently solving the wrong problems and even if it creates wealth for them, it is detrimental to the mental, financial and physical lives of a wider group of people. Some people should stop what they are currently doing to enable them properly position to create wealth, others need to improve on what they are doing and optimize their potentials while the rest of us need to start doing.
How did you choose the speakers for the upcoming Business Brunch?
I did a thorough background check with my team members, Elizabeth Osho and Nkemjika Aniebue, we looked out for thought leaders with proven results in their various industries. We have, Dr May Ikeora, an independent research consultant of the United Nations as Keynote speaker. Chinwe Egwim, chief economist at Coronation Merchant bank. Ife Durosinmi Etti, Africa’s leading Relatable Entrepreneur and founder of Herconomy. Sola Adesakin, a financial literacy expert and founder of the Smart Stewards. Ifeoma Uddoh, a gender lens investor and founder of Shecluded. Dr Linus Okorie, Leadership expert and president of the GOTNI leadership center.
What is the importance of personal branding?
Just as a company’s brand helps to communicate its value to customers and stand out from the competition, a personal brand does the same for individuals, helping to communicate a unique identity and clear value to potential employers or clients.
To me, it is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are. It is how you present yourself to the world. Effective personal branding will differentiate you from the competition and allow you to build trust with prospective clients and employers. It’s all about “Why you?” This is because it helps individuals become conscious of their differences, ultimately allowing them to position themselves in a way that makes them stand out in the pack and take control of their careers.
Strong brands don’t take what comes to them; they pursue what makes sense for them. They have leverage in negotiations. They have a say in how work is done. They’re influential, and they’re the keepers of their careers.
Why are you so interested in youth empowerment?
Before I answer, I must mention that it is important to understand that empowerment is a nutshell of developing health, positivity, self-control, communication skills, intellectual skills, decision-making skills, a moral outlook, life coping skills, and pro-social connectedness.
I am particularly interested in youth empowerment because it can help reduce the rate of poverty and criminal activities to a significant level. One of the keys to empowering the youth is skill development. Today, the youths are claiming their right to a decent living by willing to take risks, which helps in the development of leadership skills. Another angle for me is poverty Eradication: not just poverty with regards to lack of finances but the poverty of the mind. When a youth is equipped with essential skills, he or she can utilize them to feed, assist others, and even invest for future use, aiding the nation economically.
Development and growth are not achieved independently. Who are the people that have supported your success thus far?
I have several mentors, both in the past and present and in different ways.
People who have groomed, trained and positioned me for growth, a few of these people are; Tinyan Otuomagie, Dr Idia Ize Iyamu, Dr May Ikeora, Mrs AEN Agusi, Dr Linus Okorie, Olive Emodi, Dr Abosede Lewu, Mrs Mercy Makinde, Mrs Esther Ijewere, Jimi Tewe and many more.
What is your opinion on “women supporting women”?
In my opinion, at the moment, it’s a phrase that is used loosely.
If women really support women, why are there few women in political and leadership spaces in Nigeria? Nigeria’s female population amounted to approximately 104.47 million, while the male population amounted to approximately 101.67million inhabitants, who are the people voting the men when there are competent women. Another angle is that women who are supported undermine the women who support them, for example, our mothers, if you put a mirror and look closely, you’ll see how you directly and passively disrespect her and that’s because at the back of your mind she will always be your mother. I believe Women Supporting women should be a phrase that is practically established and not just digitally celebrated as another caricature Wednesday ritual.
What inspires you?
My main inspiration comes from serving. I believe I am a servant leader as making a positive contribution for the sustainable good of the people and the community inspires and energizes me. It helps me learn, grow and gives me a sense of fulfillment that I have made a mark. This ultimately ignites my passion.
I also feel inspired by leading teams and helping each of the members grow. In previous volunteering and employment opportunities, I have been able to increase management plans and also create goals that we could accomplish together and that inspired me to do more.
If you could give your younger self a piece of valuable advice, what would it be?
“Problem no dey finish“. I would rewire my mind and thought process to know that I will always overcome whatever life brings to me, once I am firm with God and I do my homework. I would also ask her to filter what she takes in. Our subconscious can not differentiate between good and evil, it’s in our best interest to vet and filter the events and places we go to and live in, the visual and audio contents we expose ourselves to and most importantly the people we engage deeply with. “You are essentially who you create yourself to be and all that occurs in your life is the result of your own making.”