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Friday, July 1, 2022

Life + Arts

Eno Oduok defines what it means to be game changer


Screenshot of posts from Eno Oduok Naija Comm

Eno Oduok sits with The Cougar to discuss being on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. | Courtesy of Naija Comm

When UH alumna Eno Oduok woke up one morning, she was not expecting to see herself front and center on the Forbes website with the rest of the world. 

Known for documenting past, future and present entrepreneurs, the reputable publication featured Oduok along with three other UH alumni as individuals to watch in the 30 Under 30 list.

This list shows off individuals making strides in their respective industries. For Oduok, her strides were influenced by her roots, creative prowess and untamable curiosity.

Identifying as a first-generation Nigerian American, she pursued creating a space combining her identity and embracing the unconventional. 

Given the name of Naija Comm, what started as a small idea in 2020 soon blossomed with followers on and off the grid. Whether it’s through her brand’s Instagram, Twitter or website, Oduok works to shed light on the underrepresented in her community by featuring game changers and innovators

In light of her honor from Forbes, The Cougar spoke with Oduok about the feature:

The Cougar: Congratulations on making it on the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list! How does it feel to be on a highly esteemed list with other innovators and creatives like you? 

Oduok: It is crazy, in the best way. I did not see it coming. But I believe everything happens for a reason, and what is meant to be will be. Overall, I feel like there’s more to come, and the sky’s the limit.

How did you find out that you would be on it? Did you get a phone call one day that you got on this list? 

I woke up one morning and saw myself online, on the list, along with the rest of the world. Then I checked my email, and I saw a congratulatory message from the Forbes team.

Describe your platform, Naija Comm. What sparked the idea, and why did you start it? 

Naija Comm is a global space and the first-ever online community to connect and empower Nigerian creatives and professionals in overlooked fields by emphasizing representation while providing resources and opportunities. 

I created NC after noticing minimal representation of Nigerians in nontraditional career fields in my inner circle. I started searching social media for a community or social page that had that type of community, but I didn’t see it at the time. So I did the least expected thing I thought I would ever do and created that space.

Are you the main one who runs it, or do you have a team? 

I created NC from scratch, and I run it. Once NC started to expand more, two amazing women joined the team. Llewella Odigie is the director of community outreach, and Joann Njeri is the director of brand partnerships and comms strategy. Shoutout to them. They mean a lot to me.

What are some of the goals you have in mind for it? What do you hope to accomplish? 

We want to continue to expand the community. Hopefully, we will provide more resources and opportunities to the NC fam and collaborate with other communities and brands. I hope the space inspires others as it inspires me every day.

As a creative, what is your favorite thing about building a rapidly growing online community? Why?

My favorite thing is seeing all the love we pour in be reciprocated back from our community. Seeing how people gain opportunities from it, connect with other people through it and share their testimonials about the space with us.

That is truly unmatched. Overall, the support we receive from people within and even outside the Nigerian diaspora is such a blessing

What advice do you have for other people pursuing a nontraditional or creative path? How did you discover your path?

Don’t allow people to tell you what you can or can’t do and who you can or can’t be. Do what you’re passionate about regardless if no one else is doing it. Regardless if you’re the first person to do it. That’s how I discovered my path.

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