Fun Fact: I am an only child and I haven’t visited Nigeria since I came to Canada. Long story but I’m really hoping to change that this year.
Badé Obasa: Tell us a bit about yourself
Mary Asekome: My name is Mary Anesi Asekome and I’m originally from Edo State, Nigeria. I came to Canada as an international student about 10 years ago and the experiences I have had so far have braved me for what is to come. I am a Communications graduate from York University and currently work in the student movement. I have been heavily involved in the Nigerian community over the past few years from serving two terms as the President of the Nigerian Student’s Association at York U (NSA York U), supporting NSA executives across the country, working with Nigerian Canadian organizations (NCA’s) and now through my platform as The Diasporic Nigerian (TDN). The Diasporic Nigerian is a multimedia platform dedicated to highlighting the experiences of Nigerians in the diaspora. It is also a hub with carefully curated nostalgic memories for runaway Nigerians, like myself. We offer services such as event hosting and promotion, community group consultations, spotlight interviews and event highlights.
BO: Oshey #PresidoGeng lol. In today’s world, we hear things like “live your best life” but what does that actually mean? I believe it is subjective to each individual. What does it mean to “become your best self and live an authentic life”?
MA: Becoming my best self and living my authentic life means remembering my core values in everything I set my mind to. My top core values are faith and integrity. Hard work is a value I want to re-learn. I used to pride myself on being so hardworking but for a few years, I dabbled into the “work smart not hard” phase and I believe that might have distracted me from achieving my full purpose. Hard work has to be backed up by faith because without faith you cannot deliver. Integrity for me means having the ability to discern right from wrong and making sure I stay clear off the wrong. If something doesn’t feel good or agree with my spirit, it is not right and I do not want any part of it. Having integrity also means treating the people I encounter in the best way possible while equally maintaining my boundaries.
BO: That’s key. This journey of life is filled with ups and downs and I know that as the creative lead of The Diasporic Nigerian, you have experienced both to get to where you are right now. Share one of the toughest challenges you (are overcoming) overcame in your journey as a communications professional. What practical steps did you take (are you taking) to overcome it?
MA: Although I have been able to use my Communications skills in my present career, the biggest challenge for me has been deciding whether or not, if it is worth it to start working full-time in the Communications field or to continue in other fields that pay better. My major career goal is to end up working in TV or radio as a news anchor and show host but I still have a long way to go. This is another reason why I created the diasporic Nigerian and I am committed to building my media portfolio as I continue to work in other fields.
BO: It’s important to invest in, care for and stay in touch with our minds, emotions and bodies; as we fulfil our goals. How do you identify when you are stressed, overwhelmed or anxious? What activities do you engage in to maintain holistic (mental, physical, emotional and spiritual) harmony?
MA: There’s a popular Nigerian saying which reads: “body no be firewood” and that’s straight facts. To deal with burnout, dancing and listening to podcasts have always helped. At some point, hair dyeing seemed to do the trick for me but that’s not so healthy and its beginning to stress me out. In the past few months however, cooking and listening to sermons have been my solace.
BO: In this generation, there’s so much pressure to “overproduce“. What advice would you give to millennials to help them stay content with what they have, use the skills/resources within their reach to grow and maintain their lane of grace.
MA: Being an artsy creative seems to be the new trend but not everyone needs to be that. Do what you need to do and can do but prioritize your happiness because your journey is different from everyone around you.
Core Values: Faith and Integrity