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Funbi Akinyosoye, CEO, Dunamis Events, is an accomplished event planner in Nigeria. She parades intimidating credentials among her peers and has, on many occasions, been named among the topmost event planners in Lagos.
Recently she won the prestigious ELOY Awards, for Event Company of the Year. She shares her relationship with her mum in this interview.
What has Dunamis been up to?
A lot has been going on actually; the year we just ended was quite eventful for us, so we are grateful to God for His mercies over us as awards came from various quarters, most recent and worthy of mention is the ELOY (Exquisite Lady of the Year) Awards for Event Company of the Year last November. To say I was surprised is to put it in the mildest way ever because we were nominated with admirable colleagues doing mightily well in their ways too. To me it’s an affirmation that we are doing something right and sure a welcoming pat-in-the-back for any entrepreneur to aspire to even do more; to up our game and create even more innovative unforgettable moments for our dear clients and their guests. We also collaborated with an NGO to execute the Ijora-Badiya feed the 5,000 project successfully at the last quarter of last year, looking forward to more as God grants us enablement.
Furthermore, I also need to mention new things happening at our training school and workshops. It’s our way of giving back to the society that has made us get here by helping to churn out well baked event professionals and since adequate quality knowledge dispels ignorance, thereby we become like midwives that help bridge the gap and dispel the fear of starting out in an unknown terrain. This helps in sanitizing our event industry thereby raising the bar with the quality of professionalism being exhibited by the crop of new entrants in the industry.
What was your growing up like?
In a way it now looks like it was a childhood that every child needed to have to grow up in to become the well-grounded woman that I am now. We had our fun times, the trips to the fancy restaurants. Though lived with a strict mum in the best of environment yet not lacking love and humour too with a lot of God-centred moral upbringing. At age 7 in primary 2, I became a boarder at the then Oxford International Children’s School so I was only home for the breaks.
When last did you see your mum?
Sunday 5th September, 2004, the day she went to be with the Lord after about two years of illness.
What did she do for a living?
Business woman; she was what I’d call a serial entrepreneur, sold everything legally imaginable, from owning the first bridal boutique called Christie Boutique back in the late 70s at Lebanon Street in Ibadan then, to importing Austrian laces too for fashion conscious high net worth individuals even before I was born. As a single parent she taught my sisters and I how dignifying hard work was for a woman. I also can’t forget there was this particular time during my teenage years that she bought over a whole supermarket plus all of its goods and fixed assets, somewhere off Toyin Street in Ikeja. She was quite an Amazon of a woman.
What was your relationship like with your mum?
Call it a myth, yet I believe because of the replica of her that I was, we were always at loggerheads. I was that child that enquired about the why behind all I am asked to do. I also gave my life to Christ quite early and was always like a loner back then. She was always interested in the stuffs I did, for instance she’d say ‘Funbi but why can’t you tell me the reason you’re fasting so we would pray about it together?’ Ahahaha! She was a total parent in every sense of the word. We were close in a weird sense though.
Your mum is late, share with us briefly her last days?
Wow! I don’t always want to remember those trying times. She became a shadow of herself, hospital visits, tests etc then suddenly barely few days to her passing away she became well, strong and able to do all sorts she couldn’t dare do before. We were so happy that we thought we had her back, only for her to pass away few days after.
What did you miss most about her?
Her winning smiles with the gap tooth, plus her love for her children and everyone around her, her wisdom and readiness to counsel.
What are the lessons you have heard from your mum that you still hold dearly to your heart?
Hold fast to your belief in and relationship with God, it is the one sure thing in life to be an anchor in life’s tosses and twists. Be hard working with no excuses at all for mediocrity. Your sex shouldn’t be an excuse for incompetence at anything. Even if you’re not wealthy, be sure to keep your dignity. Integrity is a master key in life; be reliable and let your moderation be known unto all.
What is her favourite meal that you enjoy most?
She was a fantastic cook so her soups were off the hook.
What did she enjoy doing?
Driving, she raced like a road lord, very good at it, we screamed as kids then when she sped past other drivers. It was always fun!
Was your mum very strict?
More like over-strict, if there’s anything like that! You simply had to align or face the wrath of double backhand slaps and the likes. The fear of those factory-resetting slaps was the beginning of wisdom!
What was your mum like back?
(Smiles) Well, she’s gone now, but I always do wonder what she would have been like at 48, 50 and even now at 61 were she to be here. Growing up she was a no-nonsense iron lady and mother hen, more like a Miss Prim & proper kinda person.
What’s the greatest sacrifice your mum has ever made for you?
At what point didn’t she sacrifice for us girls? I can’t forget one incident that stuck out in my memory. I was to return to school and needed a cupboard which my dear mom couldn’t afford to buy then so she instructed that the carpenter should cut a whole side of her shop wooden display shelves and make me a cupboard from its wood. Anytime I remember this incident, I get so emotional.
What are the things that made her happy?
She really was a God lover and chaser, so anything God-related made her happy. Also if she could help or give when anyone needed help, it made her happier. She was always excited about life and her birthdays a lot also ours was always a reason to celebrate her children and party hard.
What made her sad?
She didn’t like being treated badly by the people she held in high esteem, she also detested being cheated or seeing someone cheated.
What physical features did you pick from her?
Everything you can think about. Even more interestingly her principles! Facial features and expressions, down to her stature, her nails too.
Was your mum a very fashionable person?
Yes indeed, she sure was, it was from her I initially learnt that a lady could change her nail polish to match her dress colour, this she did as far back as the late 70s and early 80s, so fashion conscious.