In college, you encounter a myriad of motivations as you commit to the pursuit of the best college experience possible. Motivating me as a freshman in 2011 and motivating me in adulthood, Ibùkún Jaiyeola is a phenomenal woman of excellence and a friend pushing me to excellence with her commitment to excellence.
More easily known as “IBK”, Jaiyeola prioritizes the importance of character, integrity, and excellence–transcending the stress of any situation or the gravity of whatever she’s going through. With about 5 minutes of your time, my good friend IBK opens up about her life, her journey, her [graytness], and some words of wisdom for any millennial acclimating to their universal purpose.
We open up reminiscing on what initially brought us together in our friendship.
- We bonded over our love for crisp, clean, contemporary branding. Professionally, what fuels your passion about branding & communication?
IBK: We did, and such good work too. I am a storyteller and I love to make connections between people and ideas, or what have you. Storytelling is perhaps the most powerful tool to bring forth ideas into the world and to show how connected we all are to each other. So professionally, I get to do that working in communications. The fact that I can tell a thing or person’s story, through words and/or images, and that I can give it relevance is powerful and fulfilling. That’s what fuels my passion.
- Your first time in America was your first time coming to Malibu to embark on your Pepperdine journey? In your attempts at acclimating to American culture, how were you able to surpass any of your own doubts or the doubts of others to embark on chasing your goals?
IBK: Genesis 28:15! “Know that I am with you always, and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” My aunt (God rest her soul) wrote that in a letter to me that I read on the plane moving to America and I held on to it. It became the verse of my life, and I built my life around it. It didn’t matter what I faced, that verse kept me together.
The other important thing I’ve come to appreciate is self-knowledge. Know thyself. I was very fortunate to know early on what I want to do with my life. So even through the loops of life, I keep a mental picture of where I’m headed. I don’t remember my adjustment into America conflicting with my goals, if anything it just showed me that I had a broader stage to work on, and I embraced it. Honestly, I’m more critical of myself than others, so whatever doubts others may have, I probably already went one step ahead. My values and my faith keep me grounded and in check. I have friends and family that speak life and truth over me, and I just soak that up and push through. So I guess faith and good people helped me surpass whatever doubts.
- You are a woman of class and dignity. What are three (3) values have you brought with you from your upbringing that are significant in shaping your perseverance towards fulfilling your purpose today?
IBK: Faith in God and His word, authenticity and kindness
- What do you identify as your differentiating factor among other brand specialists/brand architects?
IBK: Honesty, I don’t know if I’d call myself a brand specialist, or at least I’d prefer not to. Maybe a communications specialist. And as a communicator, I’m very curious about people. I think all good communicators should be.
- Considering your return to Nigeria after obtaining your Masters degree from American University, what advice can you give on the value of returning to your roots as a way of pursuing one’s personal [graytness]?
IBK: Personally, I’d always known that I’d return to Nigeria, it was only really a matter of when. I think that as human beings we have a responsibility to give back to the world around us. I also believe that the things we don’t get to choose per say, like our gender, place or family of birth, play significant roles in our purpose. I didn’t have a say in being born Nigerian, or what not, but I identify with the Nigerian story.
- What are three (3) routine practices you implement to ensure your purpose in life consistently aligns with the manifestation of your dreams?
- I pray. There’s my vision for my life, and then there’s God’s purpose for my life. Prayer is my way of keeping these aligned.
- I read or listen to sound teachings
- I retreat and hibernate
- What encourages you to keep reaching for more, challenging the status quo in brand representation in Nigeria and/or internationally?
IBK: The knowledge that I’ve merely scratched the surface in my professional career. I know what can be done that I haven’t yet done. I mean, I have so much to do that I have not yet done. Then of course things are constantly evolving in the industry. It’s all still so fresh, and we’re just starting to get more creative.
- What are three (3) impacting scriptures/quotes/mantras that you use to guide your life?
- Know Thyself
- Genesis 28:15
- AND, God is good (even when I’m not)
- Pepperdine was the foundation of our friendship, rooted deeply in leading the Pepperdine Black Student Association. For fun, during your 2012 graduation I remember our parting hand rise with Nduka. If you were to select a song to score that moment, what song would you choose?
IBK: LOL. “We Made It” – Busta feat Linkin Park. I think that sums the friendship, and us working together to birth our vision for the BSA.
- What was one moment of personal failure or personal success that would motivate someone else to continuously press towards fulfilling their dream?
IBK: One time I got a brief to develop a board game, and I was given a deadline to work with. By my calculations, I had done everything right – concept, market research – all of it. I thought I was doing pretty good. But by the demo presentation it fell apart and I felt so defeated because of how hard I had worked on it. My boss was really pissed and I was pulled off the project. What I learned from that experience is that you might have all the ducks lined up and things still don’t pan out the way you expect. The redeeming part of this story is that I went on to work on many other projects and I still do. It didn’t end there, it never really does.
The thing about your dream is that it’s yours, so of course you have to go on to fulfill it. Who else would, if not you?
[GRAYT PEOPLE] Profile Series curates an informational collective of inspirational individuals who have shown what it means to mobilize confidence to challenge [GOOD] and mobilize courage to champion [GRAYT]—highlighting their past, their journey to their [graytness], their efforts and ethics, their motivation, and their aspirations.