Calm, with a smile that comes easily: That’s the first thing you think of when you meet her. Inimfon Etuk is a versatile and resilient person driven by purpose and a plan. A 2015 alumnai of the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) of the United States Government, gifted communicator and facilitator, Ms Etuk’s trademark skill is in helping others nurture good ideas into real opportunities. Her portfolio includes hands-on technical expertise and a unique range of experience in public relations/public communication, journalism, generational diplomacy, gender development, youth leadership and mentorship, enabling her to design effective stakeholder engagement and management strategies across board.
Inimfon met/discussed with HRH Prince Charles of Wales on youth development issues (Nov 2006) through the British Council Connecting Futures Programme in partnership with Youngstars Foundation. She is the author of Communication – a development handbook published by the British Council/DFID (2006). Her passion for constructive cross-generational engagement earned her a coveted youth leadership award in 2003 from the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) for “Synergy of Thought and Action”
She is the Founding CEO/Lead Strategist at Premium Logic International – a PR, Training & Strategy Consulting Firm. She is the Founder of Friendraiser Community Initiative – a registered Social Enterprise & Networking Initiative that engages, inspires and motivates Women. Passionate and constantly on the hunt for credible and challenging platforms, She also founded and hosts SHE FORUM AFRICA, a pan-africa Women Development, Leadership & Lifestyle Organisation aimed at amplifying personal development opportunities for African women through strategic mentoring and life-long learning. She is a member of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA), and Toastmasters International. Inimfon is a recent recipient of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Rare Gem Award for “Exemplary Leadership and Dedication to Mentoring of Girls and Women”. She works with her team to facilitate positive change by improving individual and corporate images as well as social intelligence skills.
- As the Chairperson of the She Forum Africa and Friendraiser Initiative, what kind of projects do you get involved in?
For She Forum Africa which is a pan-africa Women Development, Leadership & Lifestyle Organisation, our core activities are grouped under 3 broad streams. (i) Personal Development, Entrepreneurship & Investment Financing; (ii) Health & Lifestyle (iii) Democracy, Leadership & Governance. We lay a lot of emphasis on Training and Mentorship so we are continuously creating platforms of engagement under these 3 Streams. We have realised that, whereas poverty is a central problem, there is actually a category of women, who have little savings for entrepreneurship but have no clue about where to start, or how best to apply their existing resources. We capture their needs in our learning programs too. We are also very focused on improving the participation of women in democratic and governance processes. We are in the process of rolling out our DLG Advocacy Programme. We have a lot of content over the years from our focused group sessions, and we are also in discussions on how to re-apply this content as sustainable advocacy tools so more people can benefit from the helpful resource at our disposal.
For Friendraiser Community Initiative, the focus is more in-country and grassroots oriented. The core activities are two-pronged: (i) Ending Gender-based Violence (ii) Entrepreneurship and Personal Development. We take our advocacy programmes to the grassroot, we create Violence Against Women (VAW) Clubs in the village and have the Village Chief conferred as our VAW Club Champion. That way, using his statutory role as Chief, he is able to serve as the overseer in ensuring there are reduced cases of violence and abuse in families and the village. While this is going on, the women in the VAW Club receive trainings on M-SME and personal development. It is a model we have developed, nurtured and watched it blossom tremendously. Now we are eager to scale it up for impact, so we are looking for partners.
Our core tool is Advocacy. Continuous engagement on issues is very important if we are to reduce major ills in our local communities and larger life in general.
2. Why do you think you have such a positive response to your brand?
I believe that both She Forum Africa and Friendraiser Community Initiative are brands that are evolving at a time of factual relevance. Our target audience is Women and Girls. Within this catchment group, you will find a growing realization of the need to evolve with the times, step into their space and live the lives of their dreams. This is accompanied, if not driven, by the need to self-develop. It is this need we are responding to. That is why there is an appreciable level of positive response towards our activities. Secondly, for both organisations, we are consciously expanding the conversation to cover the men and boys in everything we do. We cannot keep talking to and with ourselves alone if we are to achieve greater and impactful results. In the case of She Forum Africa, we are by and large, the first organisation to have a dedicated HeForShe All-Male Panel in a Women’s Conference. We started this right from when we first convened the Forum in 2014 and we’ve kept it up till date. That way, we are able to bring the men’s perspective, on the issues in focus, to the table from the start and deal with whatever perceptions, misconceptions or stereotypes exist. Thirdly, our engagement approach is quite different from what most people are used to. We are respectfully conversational in our engagement. We allow and encourage the ownership of the discussion space to be audience/need driven not theoretical and prescriptive. Everyone brings something to the table at all levels and we ensure that our learning and advocacy spaces remain a platform for sharing in a way that creates impact and inspires towards greater personal productivity.
3. What’s the best thing about your job?
My job puts me in a position to deal with diverse interests and issues. As a Strategy Consultant within my Public Relations and Training Consultancy, Premium Logic International, my team and I are constantly faced with the need to profer solutions to varying situations, each of which equally require different thought patterns and levels of creative engagement. I love nurturing dreams into reality. That is my personal signature. It is what drives me. It is what sparks my interest in whatever I set my mind to do. In my mind, I am an artist who begins a work of art from a blank canvas. I am intrigued and challenged by the twists and turns, the moments of uncertainty, the bold decisions amidst little fears; These fuel the passion to get it right and add that little extra ‘oomph’ in the expected outcomes. The reward is that sense of fulfilment that comes when things we build from a state of nothingness blossoms into something people see, feel, experience and appreciate. At the end of the day, it is all about making impact that is authentic. That’s what I find most soothing about my job. The little “Thank you Ini” that comes from a place of true appreciation for the extra value one brings to the table wherever and whenever it is required. These are attributes I have brought to bear in driving my two Non-Profits, She Forum Africa and Friendraiser Community Initiative.
4. When I’m stressed I….
I sing, I sleep, I read, I play a game. I love the serenity that music brings to the soul. I’m not crazy about today’s music where it’s all bump and grind and not up to twenty words to the entire album, I’m kind of old fashioned because for me, music is all about the lyrics. The lyrics need to speak to me. Sleep is simply healthy. Whenever I feel the least bit cranky, I drink a cup of tea and go to sleep. I find Sleep equally very soothing. For reading, that’s a way of life for me. I don’t understand how people who don’t read anything, even a newspaper, get by. As a student of Literature, my teacher used to begin his class with “Literature is Life, and Life is Literature”. This has followed me on to adulthood. Everyone should be a reader, quite frankly.
5. What’s the most unexpected thing about you?
Hmmmmm……. It’s weird but I secretly like the fact that I can turn a blind eye to something at a time when people expect me to sort of explode and it won’t bother me at all. That capacity to just switch off is something I know doesn’t sit quite well with most people, but I love it, especially because I tend to go into that default mode when whoever is affected least expects it. It’s a bit mischievous but a little mischief doesn’t hurt. Call it self-preservation. In my line of work, it comes in very handy in high-crisis situations.
6. When hiring people, the qualities I look out for are…
Communication Skills, Self-Confidence, People Skills, Passion, Drive, Initiative, Attention to Detail. Everything else, I can find it in me to teach them or they can pick-up as we progress; but without a little bit of the above, I would simply not know where to start delegating to them.
7. The item of clothing I’m currently wearing the most is…
Ankara…I love ethnic wears. It is elegant and rich. It inspires my creativity and sense of style.
8. My biggest ‘Pinch-Me ‘ Moment was….
…Being selected as one of 24 females from 24 African Countries to be part of the US Government’s International Visitors’ Leadership Programme (IVLP) in 2015. It was a learning-by-immersion experience which value is bound to drive my accomplishments for many years to come.
9. What are you most excited about at the moment?
She Forum Africa…I love where we are coming from and where we are taking the She Forum Africa brand to.
10. What’s next for you?
Higher Ground! My engines are revving and there’s no stopping me with God on my side.
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy. – Rabindranath Tagore
Learn more about the SHE Forum Africa Initiative and upcoming events on www.sheforumafrica.com