Nwabunwanne Makanjuola is an IT expert, Event planner and a mum of four amazing children. She recently decided to add Author to her resume with her a book of short stories titled “The Pearls and other Stories”. She gives us a peek into her world in this interview.
Please give your brief bio, where you grew up, where you studied etc.
My name is Nwabunwanne Onyeanwuli Makanjuola. I was born in Benin City, January 8th in the mid-70s.I had my primary school education at the University of Benin Staff School, Ugbowo Benin City , Edo State. I had my secondary education at Federal Government Girls’ College, Benin City and then I attended the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile -Ife and bagged a degree in Computer Engineering. In 1998, I obtained a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science in Analysis, Design and Management of Information Systems (ADMIS). After that I started my career as a Test Analyst.
You have been an IT expert for 20 years tell us about that and why did you decide to incorporate other things into your career?
Yes I have been in IT Test Management for 20 years ; taking maternity leave for each of the four children. Testing applications is my vocation as well and I also illuminate software testing related issues and risks on a project and present those issues and risks in an impact assessment report, ranking those risks in order of importance. I also provide a grid ranking these risks, the likelihood of occurrence and the mitigating factors that impact on the listed risks. I decided to incorporate Malenas’ which is my bespoke party planning business as well as becoming an author to fulfil my creative side as well as providing multiple sources of income for my family.
You have four amazing children! tell our readers how you managed to raise them especially with all you do
My children are Mia, Elena, Alicia and Tiago – popularly known as TEAMMEAT , I also run Malenas’ my Bespoke Party Planner Company has a 50th destination cruise and another 45th birthday coming up. I have my Nubian Hair Food Growth Stimulator which I have used on my children and their healthy , full hair is evidence that it works. I also still have retained my day job as an IT Test assessment/assurance consultant and I am an author with my book of short stories out and other books in the pipeline. How do I do it all ? God is my helper! It has taken a lot of organisation, help and support from my Husband , Anthony Makanjuola and my Nanny. I also use the breakfast and afterschool club facilities’ at the school. Its important to take a step back when it all gets too much. As my kids got older, it has become easier. A lot of my staff and vendors are now well trained in the ways I like to work. So it makes execution of projects relatively smooth and straight forward.
I also ensure that I get me time by working out. I attend boot camp five times a week and swim once a week. I think it’s important to take out time to reflect, recharge and energise for the tasks ahead. I also take time out to attend facials and massages every week.
Now you are over 40 and have now become an author.What propelled you and how scary was it taking that step?
Life is short! You only get one chance to live your dreams. If not now, then when? I was tired of waiting for the perfect time. Incidentally you, (Chioma Momah) had sent me a message when I first wrote the stories 5 years when I was in Mumbai but I was not ready then. Now is the right time and the response has been so positive that I am elated with my decision to “go live” and publish “The Pearls and Other Stories” at this time.
I’m sure you received encouragement and discouragement from some regarding your journey as an Author… tell us about that.
I approached a popular Lagos radio personality – Osi Suave to review the book – he loved it and sent me a few lines stating he loved my creative efforts, the stories resonated with him and he enjoyed the book immensely. This made me happy as this was the first time , someone other than my inner circle had reviewed my work .
I also approached a well know social media influencer for editing services and she savaged my efforts – said no character was memorable and I didn’t have a project. I just had some unusual ideas and I wasn’t a storyteller or a writer. I was crushed for all of three seconds but I doubled down and pushed through with the publication of my book.
What I learnt from that particular experience: “I am not for everybody” – The Pearls will not appeal to all people – be grateful for everyone who purchases the book and be at peace with people who do not like the book or understand the concept.
Awesome lesson! You speak about your inner circle, how supportive was your family?
My sister Nkem was very supportive and promoted it on all her social media platforms. She was happy I was finally being published. My children were particularly excited about my new career and Alicia and Tiago helped in the initial marketing.
What was the toughest thing about starting any of your vocations and how did u overcome ?I overcome by just doing. Go through the motions. Get on with the task at hand…The joy is in the process of creating, The toughest thing is starting – commencing with the task at hand.
- Tell us what inspired your first book “The Pearls and other stories”
In my years of travelling all over the UK and abroad as a test consultant, I spent a lot of time waiting for trains and sitting in airports observing people. I tried to imagine what their back stories were and I scribbled down a few notes and viola – “The Pearls and other stories” was birthed !
Tell us something that will inspire other people wanting to try something new.
You are more than one thing: wife, mother, office worker, lawyer, doctor. If you are going to think, think big! If you find your passion and make it your vocation – you will never work a day in your life! Do not let people tell you who you are and make sure you dare to dream and follow your passion. Ensure you explore all your creative aspects to your personality. If you get an idea and you are tossing and turning for nights and feel no peace until you embark on this new adventure – that might just be your calling and you owe it to yourself to explore all avenues .
Thanks for sharing Nwanne and all the best!