Naomi Lucas is a young entrepreneur, and the founder of GraduatePro; a platform established with the sole purpose of bridging the gap between graduates and today’s workplace. Her work as the brain behind both Eclat and GraduatePro makes her one of today’s leading voices in education, youth development and advancement causes.
Today’s Women We Love series shines the celebratory spotlight on Naomi Lucas. In this interview, she shares about her work, passion and inspirations.
TW: Share a little about yourself?
NL: My name is Naomi Lucas and I’m passionate about using creativity to drive personal, organizational and social change. I wear multiple hats and find that I’m as enthusiastic about impactful projects as I am about working with young people or developing concepts or writing. I’m a creative entrepreneur and currently Chief Executive Officer of Eclat, a boutique firm offering end-to-end bespoke project management services to clients primarily within Africa’s creative industries. You will find me more often than not, straddling the intersection between media, edutainment and technology.
TW: Your inspirations, hopes and dreams?
NL: I’m inspired by pace setters; people who clear a path for others to follow. People who DO when there’s no guarantee of success. People who persevere until they get the results that match their expectations of a particular course of action.
I’m a Nigerian. As exasperating as this country is, I love it all the same. It is my sincere hope that Nigeria will reciprocate this love one day by overwhelming me with reasons to be proud of her.
My dream is an Africa where young people are productively engaged. An Africa where young people have a seat at the table and actively contribute to the policies and plans that shape their future.
TW: What products and brands do you represent?
NL: Yes, I run a firm that offers services to a wide range of clients but we’ve also decided, going into the future, to create and grow our own brands. This will reduce our susceptibility to negative macro-economic indicators, give us the opportunity to choose the kind of clients we work with and the kinds of projects we take on. To this end, we’ve unveiled I’m A Graduate, Now What? our flagship initiative aimed at bridging the gap between school and work for young people in Africa.
A first-of-its-kind initiative, I’m A Graduate, Now What?’ is a transmedia franchise with a bouquet of content and narratives to be rolled out over the next couple of years. The first in this series is an audiobook – a fusion of original music, drama, storytelling and narration that features 56 influential Nigerians selected from over 30 sectors. Over the next couple of years, we will replicate this model in other African countries using influencers from the region. It is our hope that by doing this, we will increase access to economic opportunities for young people and reduce unemployment as a result. We also hope that I’m A Graduate Now What? sets the pace for how edu-tainment is designed and packaged for young audiences.
TW: How does your work impact the lives of the average Nigerian woman?
NL: We live in a society replete with rules geared towards defining what a woman can or cannot be or do. This is even more so in Northern Nigeria where I come from. I’m however grateful for a father that brought me up as a human being and not a woman. So the usual restrictions that would have defined the scope of my aspirations were non-existent. This orientation has been instrumental to my personal and professional growth. While I’m aware of the rules, I pay little attention to them. I’d be the first to admit that this has made me an outlier of some sort (By upbringing) but the peace of mind and fulfillment I get from living life on my terms outweighs whatever reward my conforming would have gotten me. I’ve said all this to say that, I hope through my work, some young girl out there looks at me and believes in herself just a little bit more than before she did.
TW: Tell about some of your challenges as a woman in either business, management or the advocacy world?
NL: Having been brought up as a human being and not a woman, this will be a tad knotty to describe but I’ll try.
The most interesting for me is the expectation that you’ll be naturally agreeable or easy to ‘beat into shape.’ Due to the nature of my work, I tend to work with key decision makers and I find this expectation most evident at that level. When they realize you’re one heck of a tough cookie, it becomes a problem because you’re not supposed to be as opinionated, or as vocal, or as resolute… or as masculine.
There was a time in my life when I used to be mighty irritated by the seeming assumption by some of my potential male clients that looking good and intelligence in a woman are kind of mutually exclusive. I mean, you spend a week putting that knockout presentation together, rehearse and show up ready to close the deal. Only, the guy isn’t listening to a thing you’re saying, he wants to have dinner with you, lol. These days, I find a middle ground and ensure I achieve my objectives without compromising my values.
TW: Share what you love most about being a Today’s woman in the 21st century?
NL: That would have to be the audacity to be whatever it is I want to be without fear or prejudice. The world is more aware. Parents, the society and even men have become more understanding of the desires and aspirations of women. The trajectory is no longer grow up – settle down – have kids – knit socks – die; you get my drift?
TW: What would you want to be remembered for?
NL: That I gave it 101%, whatever the deconstruction of ‘it’ is to the person doing the remembering. That I made my life count in ways that can be seen and measured and that the world is a better place because I was here.