Emem Opashi, in summary can be described as the Queen of Education networks! She is the CEO of SRC an educational solution-oriented organization with the aim to revolutionize education through our regular, diverse training programs, consulting and development projects. Through her work with educators she assists them run better, more efficient schools and education-related businesses to gain visibility. She is passionate about developing solutions to the diverse education concerns in Africa.
A certified education professional, she has several education qualifications most recently completing a Postgraduate certificate in Educational assessments from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Education (Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment) from Walden University, US. She holds a first degree in psychology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Lets learn more about this interesting lady.
Emem please tell us about yourself
My name is Emem Opashi, a wife, mum of 3, an advocate for better education and a woman who’s faith in Christ inspires all I do. I was born in New York city, I have visited over 15 countries and still enjoy opportunities to travel anywhere- abroad, villages, cities as I believe it is one of most powerful ways of learning!
Growing up, we traveled quite a bit with my dad being a senior diplomat, so we had the privilege to learn first hand about new cultures, languages, schools and even taboos.
Now did anything you experienced growing up prepare you for life in the education sector
Maybe the experience of schooling in different countries while growing up- I’ve always seemed to have great interest in teaching, exploring schools and listening to parents concerns about what they really want for their children. I believe education can truly transform a nation- Imagine what a country like Nigeria can achieve if education is made a top priority; it would mean our National values well ingrained, higher employability, more relevant curriculum, fighting the poverty mindset from an early age and so much more.
You have transited from teaching to consulting and now have your own school tell us about your journey
All my work life has been in education. After teaching formally in schools for 5 years, one of my first projects was to provide a solution for parents seeking schools for their children by developing the premier Directory of schools in Abuja in 2003 and we are now planning for our 7th edition.
I thoroughly enjoy the experience of having trained over 3,000 educators over the years in both private and public sectors; also helping several school start-ups. I find myself working a lot more with growing schools all over the nation helping them build better, more efficient structures and systems. I am the co-founder of an early childhood center in Maitama, Abuja which is also our model center to export some the excellent service aspects to other schools. I’m also the Convener of ASNE (the Annual School Needs Exhibition) our largest annual even connecting over 130 businesses with our education network over 2,500+ annual visitors for the past 9 years.
Great! you are obviously a very busy woman. Now, many wives and mums to find themselves while trying to also fulfill their own desires and aspirations. What is one thing you think has helped you and what advice do you have for that woman struggling to find her own path and fulfillment.
Very true. For me, over the years I’ve really learnt to be more self-aware and look at myself a bit more objectively. As mother’s it’s very important that we prioritize the things that count in our lives and these areas would change as seasons evolve. When your children are younger for example, give yourself time to project a bit into the future on what you would like to see yourself doing in the next few years when they are older and out of the house.
I have some really strong mentors, coaches and role models around me; that make a huge impact on keeping me in check, challenging me and motivating me too.
I am also truly blessed to have a husband who is like my mega-supporter of my dreams and aspirations; also a very realistic person who helps me see things from a less cloudy, less sentimental perspective!
Now still connected to how busy you are, is work-life balance achievable?
I think it is. There will always be seasons when work, family, ministry or life will supersede the other- the balance comes in when we are aware of this and how we bring things back to focus. For example for me, when I realize I might have a really busy schedule ahead I usually make sure my husband and the kids if needed are carried along, then we plan when we can make up for date nights or family time. Don’t let things get too over busy – be in tune with your family needs and household too. Very important mums need to create time for themselves too.
As a lover of education tell us why reading is an important aspect of educating a child
‘Books take you places that you’ve never been, opening up a world of opportunities to spur you on to do more! The truth is that being able to read is liberating on its own, then to be able to relieve experiences or dream some more through stories… it really makes a world of difference.
An example, I continue to see the benefits first hand even with my middle son who is 16 . He has always been an avid reader and part of the result is he can converse on any level on topics ranging from entertainment to politics!
You are also very passionate about Education reform tell us about that.
We see the rot in the public education sector is quite real first hand especially on some of the projects we have had the privilege to work on. Education in Nigeria needs to be seen in the context of bettering the life of the Nigerian child/youth and beyond private or public disparity.
I also enjoy working with schools on consultancy projects, diagnostic assessments and developing solutions to improve what they do. Another of my passions is staying healthy and this is something I try to encourage everyone around me to take seriously as we need our bodies to work the way they were designed, so we can fulfill our God given purpose.
Your children are grown yet you still look amazing any fitness secrets ?
*Blushing* I’ve always been a fitness person trying to incorporate it into my weekly routines, however recently I can say I began to see better results by being more deliberate about food portions and not eating too late into the night. Trying to keep track of my weight or exercise routines helps me to be in tune with when things might be slipping out of control, especially with getting older and busier these days!
I encourage mums out there to find what works for them, but to be intentional about their diet, fitness and health, keep track as best as you can. Of course my husband does own a chain of gyms which is also motivating as we’re both passionate about fitness.
How are you able to refresh and rejuvenate… what helps you relax?
‘Allocating time when I can to just shut things off- meditating on God’s word, listening to the kids chatter when they’re all back from school, light music in the background, occasional massages at the gym , cuddling with husband dearest as often as I can strangely too….doodling(coloring) helps me relax.