Name: Miracle Olatunji
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration & Information Science
Career Title: Entrepreneur, Author, Professional Speaker, Innovation Director
Miracle Olatunji is an entrepreneur, professional speaker, innovation director, and author of Purpose: How To Live and Lead With Impact. In high school, she founded OpportuniMe, an education startup that connects high school youth to summer experiential learning opportunities for passion, career, and self-discovery. Through OpportuniMe, hundreds of youth have been able to find and secure life-changing opportunities. Miracle shares with us some of her best tips for building a purposeful career and why age should never stop you from pursuing your dreams.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started your career journey?
Miracle: When I was in high school, I participated in an incredible youth entrepreneurship program called the Diamond Challenge. Through this program, I started to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. I was able to learn about the problems that were being solved in different parts of the world and meet the innovative people who were creating solutions. I was so inspired by these young entrepreneurs I had met. Through their ventures, they were committed to making an impact in their communities and society. Their energy and passion were contagious and I quickly caught it!
As a young career girl, entrepreneur and student, you have already achieved so much. In 2018, you won the grand prize for the World Series of Entrepreneurship for OpportuniMe, an education startup which you founded in High School. What was the inspiration behind OpportuniMe?
Miracle: While I was in high school, I decided to start OpportuniMe after I realised how time-consuming and stressful the process of searching for summer programs and opportunities was for me and thousands of other young students. Through OpportuniMe, I’ve been able to connect fellow youth to opportunities. These opportunities have enabled them to explore possible careers, build their network, and get a head start on developing their passions.
I’m a passionate advocate for access to opportunities because I have seen first-hand how even just one opportunity, connection, or resource can change the trajectory of someone’s life!
You also host the ‘Women EmpowHERed’ event which educates female students on building their net worth, self-worth, and network. In your opinion, what are some of the main challenges young women face particularly in these areas?
Miracle: My own awareness of these challenges began two years ago after I attended an event where I learned about the gender investing and financial literacy gap. I quickly discovered how far-reaching this problem was. Inspired and enlightened by this event, I knew I had to do something about it.
It’s critical that we lift each other up
During the event, attendees learned essential personal finance concepts and were provided with resources so they could take what they learned and put it into action. Attendees also developed strategies for enhancing their confidence and practising positive self-talk. Studies show that there’s not really a gender competence gap, there may be a confidence gap. For the network aspect of the event, attendees gained tactical advice on building strong personal and professional networks. This part is especially important for women and anyone in their career. It’s critical that we lift each other up as we climb up the corporate ladder.
I believe that financial literacy and education have the power to empower people – both personally and professionally.
Finance industry knowledge and financial literacy skills are continuously developed. It’s lifelong learning and anyone can learn, regardless of gender. I believe it takes a collective effort to make the financial industry and access to personal finance education and resources more accessible to all people.
While still a student, you are also successfully managing and building up your career. What is your number one piece of career advice for young women who are currently juggling their studies with their career pursuits?
Miracle: See yourself as a business. You are essentially the CEO of your life. Also, like a business, your life has many parts that need to be managed.
The choices you make are important to getting you closer to your goals. Invest in yourself by reading, taking courses to sharpen your people and technical skills, prioritising your health. You want your business (you) to grow, so one way to do that is to step out of your comfort zone.
Do something that might scare you but is important for your career. For many people, that might be public speaking, taking on a challenging and unfamiliar project. Or anything else that might feel uncomfortable initially. Over time, you not only become more comfortable, but you will also experience personal and professional growth.
Also, a strong business often has a strong board of directors. Build your own personal board of directors which consists of people who support and push you to be the best version of yourself possible. This may include family, friends, mentors, sponsors, coaches, and more.
For time management, Google Calendar is such a life-saver. It helps me manage my time and see where it is spent the most. It’s also really fun to use. You can get pretty creative with it. I colour-code based on what it is I’ll be doing at the time. Whether it’s time blocked out for writing, business, classes, work or social activities.
Who is your biggest inspiration at the moment? And why?
Miracle: One of my biggest role models is Oprah Winfrey. Though I have not met her (yet), I have learned so much from her life story, and the wisdom she shares with the world. Most importantly, she has been a major contributing factor to my ambitions as a businesswoman and changemaker. I want to follow her lead and uplift other women and girls too. Oprah’s ground-breaking, history-making successes have opened the doors for many who are coming behind her.
My other big role models are Robert Smith, Sallie Krawcheck, Tiffany Pham, and Carla Harris!
You are soon publishing your first (and new) book titled, Purpose: How To Live and Lead With Impact. Tell us a bit about why you wrote this book and how you believe it will help or impact young women in their careers?
Miracle: Purpose is a book for current and aspiring leaders and innovators who want to make a difference in not only their lives but in the lives of others. It’s full of inspiring stories and actionable insights for readers of all ages. My hope is that the book will impact young women especially to realize that, as Michelle Obama said, there is no limit to what we as women can accomplish.
You were recently honoured as one of The Root’s 2019 Young Futurists which celebrates twenty-five young leaders who have excelled in their fields. What excites you most about this recognition?
Miracle: It’s really exciting to be in the company of fellow leaders who are passionate about making a difference – in business, science, social justice, healthcare, media, fashion, education, technology, and other fields! We have always heard that young people today will be the leaders of the future, but this list reminds me that we don’t have to wait until ‘the future’ to make a difference. We can start now!