She Leads Africa is just one of those organizations you can’t help but notice. Be it their eye-catching brand colour – blue – or their witty, youthful captions on their social media handles, they’re an organization you want to get involved with.
I’d been a spectator for a while, simply hearing about their event, SLAY Festivalthrough Instagram and reading blogger recaps. Lagos people always get the good stuff, so I was more than excited when I got a DM informing me they were holding the Lafiya Lifestyle Expo! Days later, I’d bought my ticket for N2500. I had a goal or two – to network, and to take nice photos.
I looked forward to potentially meeting new clients for my product photography business, but did She Leads Africa deliver?
The morning of the event, I quickly made a decision as to what sessions I would be attending. It was meant to be a bit of everything so I could have an all round experience, but some things fell apart. Due to my overpacking tendencies, I packed in my tote bag: my camera, spare batteries, a raincoat, spare converse shoes, a clear file, a notebook, some pens, candy, a scarf – I actually need deliverance. But that’s not what made things fall apart!
First of all, I got there late thanks to Madam Bunie Arah (She Fancys That), but I still made it in time to hear a decent amount of the class ‘Staying Financially Healthy: Investments for the Motherland Mogul’. Lord knows wherever money is mentioned, my ears open real quick.
The knowledge imparted was good – some of it I’ve heard times before – the thing with knowledge is that you have to do something with it. I did like the point the speaker made about real estate though – we shouldn’t view real estate as building a house from scratch. Real estate can be something like buying an apartment and selling it.
She Leads Africa Speed Networking
I’d heard about this phenomenon through reading the experiences of others, as well as in the Smart Money Woman book. I loved it because it made me have a structure for introducing myself. I shared with 4 people that I was a blogger, product photographer and law student. This sparked interesting conversation.
The downside was that there was quite some confusion as to the switching patterns, but in the end I guess we could say it was resolved. I tried going for phase 2 but was told I couldn’t as I should give others opportunity to try speed networking. I enjoyed speaking to those I spoke to, but I wish I could have talked to more people.
This was the saddest part of my day because from the timetable I obtained from the website, there were meant to be two photography sessions:
- Photography: Taking quality images that reflect your brand and business
- Photography as therapy
Torn between the two, I of course preferred the first because it fits more into what I do on a weekly basis. Yet, the first class did not hold. I’d expected an announcement of some sort, and was disappointed. Either way, I attended the second class which was taken by @thatthroneguy. It was short but decent – we learnt about depth, focus, exposure and composition. He also shared on how photography motivated him to work hard, as he wanted to save up his tuition for film school.
I really wish the first class had held, but I’ll use the chance to declare this: by the end of 2019, I’ll be invited to speak on product photography, or possibly lead a class with that same name or similar, at a similar conference or She Leads Africa itself. I’m a shy person, but seeing Akinwumi kind of inspired me. I just need to work hard!
While there was speed networking, I also attended 2 additional sessions focused on the art of networking. One was ‘The Art of Mingling’ by Bella, and ‘Relationship Building: How to Get the Most Out of Meet-ups and Networking Events’.
The class by Bella was alright, I picked on the fact that first contact after the initial meeting should be done on the same day – perhaps sending an email to the person you collected contact details from. This was to allow you to be fresh in their memory. She also mentioned reaching out to those who are sort of hiding in the corner of the room – I usually do that though I’m very shy.
I liked the lady who took the Relationship Building wellness circle, though I didn’t get her name. she first told us to introduce ourselves then got to speaking on the need to interact and how to behave with people. You don’t ask people for money the first chance you get, and when meeting people, you should think more about what you can offer them, than what you can get from them. I’m quite guilty of this, but I hope I can improve!
Unfortunately, we were rushed to close because the keynote speaker, Mrs El-Rufai, had arrived and was about to go up on stage. It was quite sad, but what could we do? I really wished we could have finished the session fully! The timetable said the Relationship Building circle was for 5-6pm, and the keynote panel session was 5.15 – 6pm, why couldn’t both hold?
Anyway, I saw the cutest business card ever! It was from a baker, and I’ll definitely check her out. To think that I went to so many networking based sessions without a business card of my own hurts, but I’m definitely working on that, pronto!
As expected, MAGGI were very much present. I thought there’d be 3 cooking demos but after the jollof rice got served, they packed up and left. Either way, the rice was interesting – jollof coconut rice with fish bits, jollof with beef, and jollof with carrot. I disliked the one with carrot as it was not done and I had the occasional ‘crunchy’ grain amongst the soft ones. Still, considering I didn’t eat breakfast, I appreciated the free plate.
Vendors & Location
The vendor aspect was underwhelming because I felt things were a bit scanty when it came to vendors. It was basically 2 food stalls, 1 clothes stall, 1 working space stall, then one skincare brand (Adelola Organic). This was no fault of SLA though, I guess not many people wanted to own a stall. Still, I’d have liked more variety, even if I didn’t buy anything.
I did get a freebie though! I got a cooling cucumber soap sample from Adelola Organics, and I can’t wait to try it out!
The Sarius Palmetum, the location of the Lafiya Lifestyle Expo, was awesome. I was a bit shocked at how small everything was though – when I thought of SLA, I imaged a vast space where every session is spaced out in canopies scattered around. All in all, I’d say the event took up about the same amount of space as 1.5 school fields.
This was nice, for us lazy folk who don’t want to walk around too much (especially the ladies in heels) but at the same times, things got a bit crowded especially during the sessions. Some had to stand. With that being said the Sarius Palmetum is such a chill place, it was an awesome spot.
Overall Lafiya Lifestyle Experience
Even with the little issues here and there, I really enjoyed my day out at the Lafiya Lifestyle Expo. I wish I’d interacted with more people because #networking but I guess that’s for another time. I did spend some time chilling with my fellow bloggers!
Of course, bomb photos were taken! I liked my outfit too and got compliments for the first time, especially from Princess Audu who nearly made me melt. I need some classes in posing though! I’m putting out a most wanted list for the individuals who took terrible photos of me while the ones I took of them were fire. Help me beat all of them!
I hope to definitely go out more this year, and have even more enriching experiences! Until then, I remain a hermit. Ciao.