Her Network Q&A: “Every obstacle has a BIG message.” – Dr. Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede

Dr. Yetunde A. Odugbesan-Omede, Ph.D., is a Professor of Global Affairs and Political Science. She teaches courses on Comparative Politics, Global Issues, American Foreign Policy and Women in Comparative Political Development. 

In addition to being a Professor, she is an author, entrepreneur, global speaker, and philanthropist. She is a first-generation Nigerian-American. Born and raised in the United States, Dr Yetunde has utilized her unique disposition to empower, encourage, and inspire young people to stand out, be bold and be proud of their unique backgrounds. 

Dr Odugbesan-Omede’s agenda is to equip people, governments, and institutions with skill sets and policies that will promote leadership, ethics, and innovation.

Read and be inspired by our Q&A Session with Her.

Who is Dr. Yetunde Odugbesan-Omede (Background, career, etc.)
I am Nigerian-American, born and raised in the United States to parents who immigrated to America more than 35 years ago. I am a wife and mother to two beautiful children, a boy (7) and a girl (4). I am a Professor of Global Affairs and Politics, policy advisor, CEO of a human capital management consulting firm, founder of Young Woman’s Guide, author, political commentator, and more. My purpose is to use every avenue afforded to me to create positive and transformational impact in individual lives and through institutions throughout the world.

What is your star sign?
I am a Leo born on August 9, 1987. That should explain some things…but not all!

What are the three words that best describe you?
Powerful, leader, and light.

What inspired your decision to write your new book – Balance. A Book that’s about Balancing life, love, family, career, and the pursuit of dreams. Share your inspiration behind writing this book and what you hope readers gain by reading it?
I get a lot of people from all walks of life, male and female, from different parts of the world who ask me how do I balance it all? They ask and wonder how is it possible to balance everything in their own lives too. For quite some time, the word Balance would appear to me over the years and prior to and during my writing of the book. I started to write the book on Balance about two years ago and felt in my spirit this was what I needed to talk about. We are all trying to balance ourselves but somewhere somehow we all fall short. Balance is a human issue and not a gendered one as we sometimes perceive it to be. Men struggle with balancing their lives too. The book delves into all the various areas of our lives and provides clarity, deep insight and also reflective questions that we should all be thinking about.

Can you tell us about the biggest obstacle you have faced so far in your life’s journey, and how you overcame it?
For me, from being a hardworking professional and entrepreneur to balancing family life…has presented a myriad of obstacles and challenges. No one is immune to it. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from the obstacles encountered and challenges that I had to overcome is being able to pick myself up, learn whatever the lesson is and move forward. Every obstacle has a BIG message.

In recent times of COVID 19 and the uncertainties involved, it’s easy to get demotivated, uninspired or afraid, what motivates you to keep going?
Leaning on my faith, anchoring myself in something bigger than my fears has always been a motivating factor for me. I also listen to sermons and motivational talks a lot so that helps as well. In addition, as I mentioned before every obstacle or uncertainty is accompanied by a message or lesson.

If you could go back in time, what is one piece of advice would you offer a younger Yetunde?
Don’t expect everyone to reason or understand how you see things and don’t expect others to also understand how you see things. Understanding that alone will save you a lot of headaches. Also, remember the purpose of a lighthouse…why and where they are positioned. Understanding lighthouses will give you a greater insight into purpose and position.

Who inspires you and why?
My mother, fierce and authentic women (because there are too many women to name from Benazir Bhutto to Beyoncé to Michelle Obama and more—women who are simply excellent leaders in their field) and I’m inspired by people who use their gifts and talents to serve a higher purpose. My Husband, he sees truly the good in people and isn’t jaded.

What are the top 3 impactful things you have done/achieved in the past year as concerns empowering women?
Continued to provide mentoring and leadership workshops through Young Woman’s Guide and various organization that I am a part of that focus on women and girl initiatives, released my new book Balance, being appointed the National Coalition of 100 Black Women United Nations Youth Representative where I work on the cross-sections of global and national issues affecting African American women and girls. In addition to raising scholarships for high school girls in New York as a member of the education committee and providing policy recommendations and initiatives for the upliftment of women and girls throughout New York.

What is your take on “women supporting women”?
Women can only fully support other women when they do not view each other as a threat. Women supporting women means to serve as a champion, ceiling breaker, and door opener for another woman. It also means holding each other accountable for bad and unbecoming behaviour and also applauding our noteworthy contributions. Women supporting women should not just be based on gender alone but on character, integrity, and principal.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you so far?
That life is filled with dualities. Life can be fair and unfair, beautiful and ugly, happy and sad…I talk about this in the last chapter of my book. So far it has taught me that it takes wisdom and heart to understand the dualities of life. Also, it has taught me to Live, take one day at a time and to focus on what really matters.

What is one bad habit you are committed to changing?
Learning to not overthink things and let go of what I cannot control.

Time Travel or Teleportation?
Teleportation because I could be in different places at the drop of a dime. Time travel can get messy and complicated, whatever you would go back to change in the past has a ripple effect that will impact your future or that of some else. In addition, I do not want to play God and tamper with destiny. I’m comfortable with God knowing my future and me not knowing and trusting his plans.

What would you like to be remembered for?
Being a woman of integrity, honour and substance who came into this world and gave her all, impacted lives and generations to come.

Connect with Dr. Yetunde Here and Purchase her new book ‘Balancehere.

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