#BreakingBarriers: “Strive for greatness and be ready to work hard for what you want” – Olamide Akinfolarin
Meet Olamide Oyindamola Akinfolarin
This Nigerian Lawyer turned Pilot shows us that all it takes to succeed is to want it bad enough, map out a clear strategy and execute like a Boss!!
After bagging Diploma in Law, Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) and Barrister at Laws degrees, Olamide Akinfolarin went on to pursue the one thing she had always dreamt of doing – Becoming a Pilot. She shares her passion, life lessons and advices millennial women to break barriers and live their very best lives.
Please tell us about Olamide Akinfolarin
My name is Olamide Oyindamola Akinfolarin, I’m 29 years old. Daughter of Mr. Collins Funsho and Mrs Gladys Nwabuaku Akinfolarin. I’m from Ondo town, Ondo West local government in Ondo State. My mother is originally from Arondizuogu, ide-ato North local government, Imo State. I have a Diploma in Law, LLB, BL, Private pilot license and a commercial pilot license in the works. I love driving, swimming, playing tennis and watching movies. I’m passionate about Aviation and Law.
What motivated or inspired you to take this path even after your law degrees?
To be succinct, passion for aviation.
Aviation has and will always be my first love. Before law was aviation, even my final year project from the University where I bagged my Diploma in Law and Bachelor of Law degrees was centered on the Fly Nigeria Bill.
Information is power, without it we are lost. I was unfortunately Ill-informed on the requirements for pursuing aviation and it slowly took the back burner while I pursued my law degree, which I do not regret for one second. I however always felt a vacuum which my law degree could not fill.
Everyone thought, well after law school, she’ll probably get a job and let it go. That was however not the case, I drew up a plan with set goals and time lines, did proper research on all that was required and started saving up for the execution of my plan.
When I informed my mother, she was initially against it. I can’t say that I blame her though, I’m her only child. That’s why I’ll be eternally grateful to Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) who succeeded in getting her on board.
When the time for executing my plan came, I did and the rest is history.
What barriers did you encounter and how did you break them?
First barrier: Aviation is a very expensive dream, so funding posed and still poses a threat to my passion but I didn’t and won’t let that stop me. I’m however lucky to have the most supportive mother who puts my needs before hers. After I saved up to sort out things like the initial deposit required by the school, visa application processing fees and air ticket, my sweet mother parted with her valuables in order to raise funds for my private pilot training. I also got some financial help and support from well wishers like Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), His Excellency Otunba Christopher Alao Akala, Her Excellency Dame Bimbo Fashola, Uncle Adeleke Adefala, my sweet Aunty Magdalene Lasode, Aunty Fanni Aisien Osana and my surest Uncle Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome aka Alibaba.
Second barrier: Discouragement from people I thought could help with funding. Someone actually told me not to think of aviation but rather live a simple life and become a secondary school teacher, which I thought was hilarious by the way. For the record, I have absolutely nothing against teachers in general but it’s just not my passion. Notwithstanding, I persevered and didn’t lose hope or faith in God. God’s favour has been endless and I cannot Praise Him enough.
What skills, character, mindset, network or personal development activities have helped you so far?
Firstly, and most importantly “charity begins at home” I truly believe that the way in which I was raised and trained formed the solid foundation I needed to enable me develop and build the skills, character, mindset etc that has helped me so far.
Secondly, no knowledge is wasted; studying law equipped me with communication skills both oral and written, analytical and logical reasoning skills, time management and organisational skills which have proven invaluable to me as a training pilot.
If you had one wish to change anything in Africa, what would you wish for?
I would wish for Unity, because as a continent we are blessed and filled with so much potential. If we are united, we will be UNSTOPPABLE!
What advice would you give to your younger self? Trust in God, keep pushing, it gets better.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt so far?
With God, hard work and perseverance, the word ‘impossible’ doesn’t exist.
What is your advice for the Millennial African Woman? Most importantly, put God first, set goals for yourself, make a plan and work hard towards its execution. Education is very important and never wasted, it’ll help you enhance your dreams and passion. Strive for greatness and be ready to work hard for what you want.
Always remember that your dreams and passion matter, never let yourself or anyone else hold you back. Believe in yourself and never let fear of failure stop you from trying. Never ever give up, no matter what. Lastly, it’s never too late to achieve great things.
What is your favourite quote? “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough” – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
What’s your favourite food? I honestly do not have a favourite food. I’m a foodie, so anything good goes.
Connect with her on Instagram: @oollaa007