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‘Success is living your life’s purpose’- Tosin Faniro- Dada

In this interview with BusinessDay Weekender, Tosin Faniro-Dada, Head, Startups(Lagos Innovates) at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund talks about her recent achievement, her notion of success and gives a sneak peek into what her day to day looks like.

In this interview with BusinessDay Weekender, Tosin Faniro-Dada, Head, Startups(Lagos Innovates) at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund talks about her recent achievement, her notion of success and gives a sneak peek into what her day to day looks like. Excerpts;

What was the last thing you did that required some courage?

I recently got accepted into INSEAD’s Advanced Management Program for senior executives. I didn’t think I was an ideal candidate as the program requires significant senior executive and general management experience. However, I learned that the impact of your work, leadership achievements, and commitment to learning and self- development is very valuable, and as important as the length of your working experience.

What have you done for the first time?

The current COVID19 pandemic has enabled me to spend more time at home and reset my holistic priorities. I have spent more time with my family in the past 5 months than I have in the last decade, and the entire experience has been revealing yet humbling. I reconnected with them and learned more about their passions and interests.

What makes the biggest difference in your life?

The motivation to always be a better version of myself, and ensuring the impact of anything I do make the biggest difference in my life. I love challenging and stretching myself. I also enjoy connecting with people and connecting them to resources that can help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Giving my time and expertise to very early stage founders and watching them thrive is very fulfilling.

What Apps do you use the most?

I use my social media Apps the most, probably WhatsApp and Instagram. They help me stay connected and up to date on general and industry news.

First thing in the morning?

I am usually up by 5 am. I say a thank you prayer, take a quick look at my WhatsApp messages and emails. I sleep early so; I usually have a little bit of catching up to do when I wake up. By 5:30 am, I am out of my house for a 5-mile power walk. I am back home by 6:50 am, take a quick shower, have a cup of coffee, and start my day reading highlights from my daily news subscriptions.

Who is your guru?

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – A seasoned economist and international development expert with experience in the Public and Private sector. I admire her for her transparency and commitment to economic development in Nigeria and on the Continent. She led the growth of the economy while she was Minister of Finance. She is also credited with developing reform programs that helped improve governmental transparency and stabilizing the economy.

What do you crave at the end of the day?

I enjoy putting my feet up, eating popcorn, and watching an old sitcom like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Friends.

Which song is currently in your head?

Whitney Houston – Exhale (always a classic!)

What’s something you wish you understood more about?

I have always wondered why some people are neophobic and afraid of trying new things. Heraclitus once said, “the only constant in life is change”. You will never know if you are good at something if you don’t try. Thus, I marvel at why people are so unwilling to take risks and try new things. A willingness to undertake this journey often leads to finding one’s purpose. I might do a PhD on this someday ☺

How do you define success?

Success is living your life’s purpose, becoming resilient and joyful in your journey, while impacting and empowering other people to achieve their own goals and dreams.

What’s an idea you can’t seem to shake off?

I can’t stop thinking about how to improve the lives of people at the grassroots, including the large informal sector. Prior to joining Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), I worked in the private sector and only dealt with institutional clients. Since then, I have interacted with people from the grassroots, informal sectors, startups, etc. heard and appreciate their challenges and frustrations.
I can’t stop thinking about a ‘revolutionary solution’ that will truly improve their lives and help them create wealth – an affordable solution that will be easy for them to access and adopt.

Last box set or Netflix binge?

Big Bang Theory, I love sitcoms. My days are always long and intense, I look forward to relaxing and laughing with sitcoms.

What’s worth paying for?

Education and self-development. They give you a catalytic power that aids you in achieving your goals.

To whom did you address your last handwritten letter or note?

I don’t write notes often, but I wrote a note to one of the founders I mentor and support, to encourage them to keep the faith regardless of present difficulties.

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