Yemisi Adeogun is the current and first female President of the Lagos Anglican Diocesan Guild of Stewards, (LADGOS), since inception of the guild more than 30 years. She is now serving her second term.
Adeogun had a 22-year career in the banking industry before retiring to set up Defuntoks Travels and is now Director at a Mental Rehabilitation Centre in Lagos. In this interview with Sunday Sun, she shares her experience as president of LADGOS, the girl-child and lots more.
For the second term, did you have to contest election again?
Yes I did. There was another person, who contested with me but I won with landslide. I guess I must have done something good because it is not easy for a woman to contest the second time and win landslide.
What are the pre-requisites for a person to become President of the guild?
First of all, you must be a communicant in the Anglican Diocese; you must have good leadership ability. If you really want to be a guild member, attendance and punctuality are very important. In all my programmes I make sure I’m punctual. One must be dedicated and committed to the work of God. If you are committed to the work of God you will get to the top.
In this second term, what should the people expect?
Everything. I’m praying to God to be able to lead them in the next three years. I’m trying to do all the things to make people feel that having a female president is the best thing in life.
Some people do not feel comfortable with having a woman in leadership position. How would characterize your person and as a leader?
I’m a soft-spoken person. I listen to people and that is the most important thing. We have different characters in the Guild. I’m somebody that cares about people. Being a female president is not easy. I won election twice with landslide. Before you could get to the top, you must be able to listen to people. Of course I have males that support me. You must be cool-headed, kind-hearted; willing and ever ready need to listen to people’s complaints. You must be a problem solver to your members.
What gave you the push to seek to become President of the Guild?
I just felt that I could do it better than the three men who jostled for the position. It’s interesting that a woman had never contested for this position before in the whole of Lagos diocese. I think I’m better than the guys that came out. Actually, I was the first female secretary too, and that gave me the conviction that could get to the top.
Is this a full time job?
I’m an accountant and a director with Tranquil Quest, which is a mental rehabilitation centre located at Igbo Efon in Lekki, Lagos. We take care of patients with mental cases and drug addicts. It is not easy combining the two but God has given me the strength.
What have you achieved as President?
I have been able to move the guild forward. We have been involved in many activities in the past 100 years in Lagos diocese. As the president, I go round different dioceses. If there is any programme in any diocese that involves the Diocesan Bishop I have to be there. When Mama HID Awolowo died, I was among those that officiated at her funeral. As the foremost steward of the diocese, I have a permanent seat in any church whenever I attend the worship service.
How do you start your day?
Personally, I do my prayers and I get to work early. I like to look round the environment before I start my day, to make sure everything is ready and make sure the clients are in happy mood. When you get to work in time you find out that your staff come to work on time too. They know I come early and so they do early too.
Who influenced your lifestyle while growing up?
My mum influenced it. When we were growing up, we found out that she was the secretary of the Parish of Bishop Adelakun Howell’s Memorial Church in Surulere. She was the secretary for 10 years. I found out she was always busy. When I became 16, after my secondary school education at Holy Child College, Obalende, I discovered that I needed to do something in the house of God. I thought of being an usher, and ushering people to their seats, giving them the bulletin for the day. I had this flair that I should serve the Lord too, that was when I joined the Guild of Stewards immediately after my school certificate examination. As a steward, you have to wait behind to count money and mostly, you have to do it here three times a day – morning, after and evening services. My mum inspired me to serve.
What lessons have you learnt about life?
I grew up in the midst of boys. That made me stronger. Growing with guys made me become stronger and learnt how to take up any challenge. You have to work hard, if you give your life to God things would be simpler for you. I know it is the glory of God.
You are fashionable, how do you cope with your office?
I have to be in uniform every Sunday. I have to be in black suit precisely every Sunday. But on occasion when I’m not officiating, I find time to really dress up. I like wearing jeans and other outfits. I like heavy makeup too, but with the uniform I like mild make-up.
As a mum, what is your advice to the girl-child?
They should listen to their parents because your mum would be your best friend as a girl child. You should listen to your mum and be patient with your mum. The teenagers we have now would tell you, ‘Mummy this old school.’ The sky is your limit. You can always achieve whatever you want to achieve as long as you read and you don’t allow any male to distract you. I never thought I would become the president. I felt it was a male stuff. I rose from the post of secretary for six years down to Public Relations work before I became the president. It is hard work. I became a member of the Guild at 16 and at 55 I became the president and the second term in office.
What’s your dream destination?
I would have loved to travel to Australia. I want to go and enjoy myself. My old girls alumni, Holy Child Girls Old Girls (1980 set), are celebrating 40 years next year. I told them we should go to Australia and they said that we should go to North America.
What are your favorite travel tools?
I like traveling with my makeup. I do buy makeup over there too. I like to look good all the time.