The strength of an idea basically lies on how you utilize it …… Okoro
Clara Chinwe Okoro is the Founder and Creative Lead at the fashion, travel and lifestyle company, ‘My Beautiful Africa’. The afrocentric company is driven by a vision to become a premiere afrocultural iconic brand. Clara is also the Chief Operating Officer of Brandworld Media, a media and brand consultancy company which solely uses branding as template for its operations. In this interview with ADA NWANAGUM she talks about her passion for art and struggle to make her career industry impact positively on people’s mind. Excerpts.
My name is Clara Chinwe Okoro. i am from Imo state and I live and work in Lagos, Nigeria. My primary education was at Onward Nursery and Primary school, Lagos. Secondary was at Methodist Girls High School, Lagos and university education was at the University of Lagos. I am a TV producer and we produce the programme called Brandworld TV Show. I also run a travel company called My Beautiful Africa.
Growing up was great. I had most of my needs provided for me by my parents. They sent me to school, trained me to the best of their ability, and provided the basic needs of clothing and shelter for me under their care. I am the oldest of six children and we all grew up together in one household.
I have always had a thing for the creative life. My childhood dreams revolved around music, drama, literature, television, cinema, so it was a natural progression to move on towards the career I settled for in the end
Fears and challenges
I really didn’t have any so I wouldn’t be able to elaborate on that. I was just a typical teenager who wanted to succeed with schoolwork and move on to build a career in my area of interest.
Greatest career or life threatening challenges
I have had a major surgery that was life-threatening and I also had an accident that was life-threatening.
Starting the first brand focused TV show in Africa and winning many awards with it; addressing a delegation of women at the Women Advancement Forum sessions in Gambia and Dubai in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
My passion is entrepreneurship. I derive a lot of joy from developing business ideas and transforming them into value chains for the benefit of consumers.
Choice of career
It’s very funny. I thought I was going to be a music artiste because I have always been very imaginative as a child and my father took note of that, that l loved music excessively. Even though I did not see it totally happen but with that display in childhood and my parents noticing it, I thought that was the way I was going to go, but I was a creative person. I love art and I love anything that has to do with creativity. It was not surprising that I ended up working in an agency when I left school because that was where my direction was leading, and TV production for independent producers was just emerging then and a cousin of mine, Ifeanyi Dike, was the first who called me to come and present a programme for him on TV. It was on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). I did it, took to the camera and it was just a natural inclination. The rest they say is history
Extremely fulfilling, I think I’m one of the few lucky people that did what they are extremely passionate about and succeeded with it and are gradually moving unto other things now, because, the industry has come to a level where it’s now designated as one of the strongest in the continent. Innovations are coming, ideas, and we are glad we initiated and created the awareness for people to create their own brands and people spending money on it thereby helping our economy rather than on foreign brands always, and their economy growing at the expense of ours. I am also fulfilled we have partnered with some of the biggest events in the world. Like I said, I am moving on to other things now but my main focus is still advertising.
Women in the industry
Well, I believe there are already a lot of women in the industry. A lot has changed over the years and so many women do not have restrictions in terms of their career choices. Most of the groundbreaking innovations in the industry are clearly attributed to women in the industry. I believe women are already taking their rightful position in the industry.
Impact on industry
The strength of an idea basically lies on how you are able to utilize it. It’s not about just mooting an idea and going ahead without knowing the consequential task of how you can deploy it. You need the staying power. When we started off with Brandworld Media, it was when branding wasn’t really popular in our environment. We had a lot of work to do, in terms of travelling, in terms of getting contents. I believed it would take me years to establish, considering the extensive research l had to do. I was able to keep going for such a long time because we had a library of contents that we needed in the long run to be able to have that staying power on television. The impact of our program has elevated the industry and driven value chains across board.
Well, I have really not faced such prejudices to any large degree. The family I came from offered me the pedestal to become anything I wanted to become in life. I also know that a lot of this came from my father’s personal outlook on life. So, I will say I was lucky to have been shielded from a lot of these prejudices.
Role model/source of inspiration
Late Professor Dora Akunyili, former NAFDAC DG and Dr. Stella Okoli of Emzor pharmaceuticals. These women are truly outstanding in their fields and I really love their styles.
No I have not. I never let anyone cross that line with me. There will always be predatory people, but you have to learn to fight back in your own way.
Curbing sexual harassment
It’s the moral code of the larger society that is evident. If laws are skewed and women are not fully represented in policy making bodies to change these laws then nothing changes. A lot also has to do with women and what they teach their children. If they keep teaching them the culture of silence then that is what you will see prevail in society. It’s just a case of you reap what you sow.
How would u wish to be remembered?
I will like to be remembered as someone who created a lot of value with my talents. I work in the TV creative industry and that’s how i will like to be remembered.
Advice to younger generation
You see, life is something you have to approach with a lot of decisive actions. There is always the option to be deliberate about the choices you make as you will never be free from the consequences of your choices.