Meet Social Entrepreneur Caroline Odogwu, Paving the Way for Young Women
Caroline is what I like to call a “change agent” for our generation. She is the founder of a thriving social organization for young women called, “She is You,” the owner of a jewelry business, “I am Adored,” and a media and marketing executive in London, UK. British-born with Nigerian heritage, Caroline, at her core, is a young woman who is passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of others. She is living a life of purpose while making it a priority to simply “be nice” to herself and others along the way.
I had the great pleasure of asking Caroline some purposeful questions that I hope will provide you with practical tips and spiritual tools to continue along your path with courage.
Tell us about your social organization “She Is You.”
She Is You is built on necessities that are changing the world for young people. We are a sisterhood, a safe environment for women to meet, lead, discuss and learn from others. She Is You is about helping each other grow. It’s about understanding who we are as individuals, how we can better ourselves, and live our best lives to our fullest potential. We do this through monthly meetups, workshops, and events.
How did you get started?
I graduated in journalism and had a stint working in the media and for major broadcasters as a Junior Producer and Researcher following graduation. After producing a 20-part episode TV series called, “Young Achievers” for a small TV network, I realized how important it was for the youth to see people like themselves succeeding in life and their careers despite what they might have come up against. However, my introduction to production was cut short due to an abrupt end to the project. Soon after, I went through a period of unemployment but found solace in wanting to make something out of She Is You. During that chapter of my life, I started seeking guidance from youth organizations that could offer support for my idea. This is where I came across Business Launchpad, the charity that I was seeking support from. They also decided to employ me. I simply made mention of my unemployment situation; they saw that my skills aligned with their needs and after a short interview, they decided to take me on to do their marketing. That is where my marketing career started. I stayed with the organization for over five years.
The seed of She Is You was birthed during my time at University through a period of isolation. I could not access or see positive female role models to guide me through some challenging times (I studied in Liverpool, England). This was further fueled by a conversation I had with a close friend (she is now the co-founder of She Is You) who resonated with my story and also felt something similar. She also shared some insightful information about her younger sister who was 15 at the time and was experiencing bullying and low self-esteem issues at school. I then realized, we needed to create something for people like me and my friend’s sister. We needed a safe environment to learn, grow, and share together. Fast forward to 2012. Moving back to London, we launched She Is You at my local church and invited members of the community to hear about this new community project. The launch was received very well, and that is where it all started. We continue to grow from strength to strength.
What is the “Dear Future Self…” movement and why is it so important for young girls and women?
The “Dear Future Self” movement is a campaign and a series of interviews with leading women across the UK, which will form part of a book. I have spent just over two years interviewing women from across the country with a bunch of girls from London who identified these women as role models.
The campaign is all about making female role models more visible and enabling a generation of young women to make better-informed decisions for themselves by learning from incredible women who have gone before them. The campaign is about women taking what they have learned from their past and using that as a catalyst for a better future. I can’t wait to release this publication. It has been cooking for such a long time, and it makes me feel like a pregnant woman about to give birth! For young women, I believe it is a healthy form of personal development when we can learn from our mistakes and progress, but it is even better when we can learn from the mistakes of others.
What number one tip would you give to other women who feel called to start a community-based movement?
Believe that you have a voice, you are enough and your life is significant. Sometimes, the hardest part is starting a thing, however, in the starting, you may just find that you have everything you need to really make a success of a community-based movement. Think about the people around you, the peoples whose lives you want to impact, and the resources you already have and JUST DO IT!
How do you balance She Is You, your business I Am Adored UK, and your job as a Marketing and Media Executive?
I believe my faith plays a key part in helping me juggle everything and stay focused even in the hardest of seasons. Every morning I try to meditate, pray, and start each day afresh. It’s not always easy, but it does help A LOT. I keep a journal, “A Passion Planner,” and every Sunday afternoon or night, I write my to-do list for the week. This helps me prioritize, stay organized, and keep on top of things. Other than that, I have a great support network, a great family, and I do take on interns from time to time who help with my admin, marketing, and social media. I believe in asking for help because we can’t do it all. No man is an island.
In your words, what does it mean to be a “Dear Purposeful Woman?”
A “Dear Purposeful Woman” is a woman who tries to live each day of her life with intention and purpose. She is a woman who understands she is not on this earth by chance, but on purpose and to fulfill a purpose. She recognizes she is not perfect and doesn’t necessarily believe she has it all together. However, she strives to be a better version of herself every single day and to bring a whole bunch of people with her.
What has been your greatest challenge along your purposeful journey and how did you overcome it/how are you working to overcome it?
I think one of my hardest challenges has been trusting the timing and journey of my life. As women, we face so much external pressure to accomplish things by a certain age. But we can equally put pressure on ourselves to have the husband, the career, the children, the house, etc. Though I believe I have come a long way and achieved certain things, my life hasn’t necessarily gone according to what society deems acceptable. I have had to embrace my journey and understand that my story is being written by a Master Author and that even my mistakes are being shaped into the best story ever, one that is just right for ME! Some of the hardest times of my life have shaped me. The things that didn’t always go to plan taught me the most. So now, I’m learning to trust and understand that everybody’s story is different. I overcome this by trying to live a life of purpose, praying and believing the BEST always. I’m reminded of Romans 8:28. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Caroline has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign through ‘I Am Adored’ – Affirmational jewelry with a social purpose. She is raising money to launch a new jewelry range called ‘I AM’ and every donation or purchase of jewelry will go towards supporting an unemployed woman unto a jewelry making course. Every bit of support is much appreciated.
The crowdfunding page is here: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/iamadoreduk
Caroline is also offering a discount to your DPW readers! 20% off one of her signature necklaces on her online shop! Code: Purposeful!
Shandice Stallworth | DPW Founder
Dear Purposeful Woman is on a mission to transform how women see themselves, live their faith and walk with purpose daily. I hope my products, programs, and resources encourage you along your purposeful journey. You are here for a purpose, one that lives in the big and small moments of everyday life. Most importantly, it lives within you.
You can keep up with Shandice over on www.shandicestallworth.com