Joy Egolum is a compere with a difference. Her dexterity at handling all sorts of events makes her stand out. Her composure and impeccable diction make her a perfect choice for all sorts of events from corporate and glam, boardroom to ball room and everything in between! Let’s listen to how this lovely wife and Mum makes compering look easy!
Joy girl! please tell us a little about yourself|?
Lol. Joy girl! Follows me everywhere. My name is Joy Egolum. I grew up in Lagos where I had my primary school education at St. Mary’s Private School, Lagos. I attended Federal Government Girls College Abuloma, Port – Harcourt and then got a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
I started my working career in the beverage sector and have also worked in the Oil and Gas downstream sector as well as the diary sector. I am married with 3 children. I cohost a radio show on Metro 97.7FM and compere events as Naija Smooth Talker.
Chemical Engineer wow! What made you study that course and how has that helped you today?
I chose Chemical Engineering because I have always been science and technology inclined and I wanted a cross between Organic Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering. It was the best fit for me. It has helped me immensely in my career and my personal life because it basically trains you to think in terms of processes. And as you know, everything in life has a process.
How did it feel being in a class full of boys? Did that prepare for what you do today as compering is still very much male dominated.
To be honest, I have always had more male friends than female even till this day, so I was right at home with the boys. With regard to the business of compering, I would say that it helps because I do not feel different or self-conscious at all.
So from being a chemical engineer next thing we see is you holding the Mic. Has this always been a life long dream? Tell us how you started compering events.
Quite frankly, I have always been a bit of a polyglot. Apart from having the gift of the garb, I can sing, I dance well and act too. I didn’t think much of it for a while but in primary school, I was in every programme both in school and in church (I went to a Catholic Primary School) so I suppose you could say I got in front of the microphone pretty early; I also used to be part of a radio show for primary school children at FRCN. I compered events in University as well as part of Hall or Department week activities.
Funny story; ten years ago I tried to convince a friend of mine to hire a compere for her husband’s 40th birthday. She didn’t think she needed one so she told her event planner as much. When we got to the party, there was no order and guests seemed a little lost and then she panicked. She had spent quite a chunk on the party and it would be absolutely dreadful if it were to flop. Next thing I knew, she panicked, shoved the microphone into my hand and said, “Joy, say something!” And that was how I compered an event I was totally unprepared for to the delight of the celebrant and guests apparently.
When the party was over, a few people asked me for my business card and I was taken aback because they actually thought I was there in a professional capacity.
I enjoyed myself so much that I started thinking about it seriously and came up with the moniker “Naija Smooth Talker” as my stage name for events.
I believe as the cliché goes, “the rest is history”.
You found this career as a wife and mum, what did your husband and children think when you started compering?
My husband is my biggest cheerleader so it was not a problem seeing as I enjoyed it and he was present at a few events in the beginning. He is very proud of me.
There was a time my 9 to 5 required a lot of travelling outside the country and sometimes for long periods – that was a hurdle I worked with my husband to scale with regards to the children. So you can imagine that they wondered why I had to be away on weekends when I was in the country, which was when I had events but I usually found a way to compensate them. Now, they are older so they are a bit more understanding or should I say appreciative; they can listen to me on the radio or watch clips of some events to know what Mummy’s doing.
And you can sing! were you always a singer or is this a gift you just discovered?
I have always sang. Always. It’s a family gift, my sisters and I. I didn’t get to sing as much in Church as I would have liked though because I was a Lector. I was reading more on the altar than I sang.
I was offered a record deal while as a student but I turned it down because I did not think the timing was right. I also could not take the chance of flunking in school, I’m the first daughter so I had to set a good example. After all, my fees were paid in US Dollars!
I just discovered that apart from your job as a compere you still have a 9 to 5, how are you able to do that with motherhood and all?
It’s all about having a support system and using it. My husband, sisters, Dad are all part of the support system. For instance when I’m out of the country, I use Skype sometimes to help my children with their homework. My husband holds his own with the children when I have to be away. And if all else falls through, our family helps with the children when my husband and my schedules clash.
I ensure that I make time for the children. I call it making memories, so when I’m not there they have something to reminisce about and look forward to. I like to think of myself as a fun Mum. My husband and I are a team so we also make plans that do not always include the children.
What advice do you have for young women who have unrealised dreams?
To the young women I would say that if you have a dream, the time is now. Start small, be consistent and patient. For instance, if you have a bank job and you want to act – join the drama department in church or a drama class that you can go to once a week if that’s all the time you have for now. Your bank job will not always be as demanding time wise because as you grow, the younger ones will come in and give you more time to develop yourself. You should also be ready to sacrifice or make tough choices sometimes.
Life is too short to be unhappy or have regrets. Be the best you can be. You will be happier for it. Trust God to help you harness the gifts he gave you and always, always smile!
With your jobs you pretty much have a Monday to Sunday work week, how do you find a way to relax and unwind?
I love to treat myself anytime I get the opportunity. It could be anything from a Spa day, a weekend away from home or seeing a play/musical to exploring a new restaurant! Life is always brighter when I have a glass of bubbly to go with it. Haha!
Well done Joy and all the best!