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Fearless Fridays x Proud to be: Meet Kemi Oduniyi, Talent Development Partner

Fearless Fridays spotlights the incredible talent we have here at Wavemaker. Our attitude is Positive Provocation. It empowers our people as much it does our clients. This week’s edition is brought to you by Wavemaker Roots as part of their #ProudToBe series in celebration of Black History Month.

We caught up with Kemi Oduniyi, Talent Development Partner, Wavemaker UK to hear her thoughts on diversity in the advertising industry and what makes Kemi #ProudToBe.

What does Positive Provocation mean to you?

It means to be bold but purposeful. To poke holes into norms. Personally, it means to use your voice. Even if it’s the smallest in the room.

What’s one change that you would like to see in our industry?

I’ve worked in a few industries, and advertising is by far the most thrilling. Being on the cusp of change, witnessing the power of influence and collaborating with brilliant minds is very rewarding. But sometimes what seems like new focuses are often old concepts in disguise. So if I could change one thing in our industry it would be the stance on accountability. Especially on matters such as inclusion.

Inclusivity is not a fad that comes in waves, it’s a foundation and should be embedded as such.”

What out of your qualities or achievements are you most proud of?

Earlier in my career, I struggled with assimilation. I felt I needed to be a chameleon to achieve any kind of success as a black woman but unsurprisingly it was unsustainable, and I often felt lost. Then over time I learned of the richness of authenticity and became determined to be unapologetically an individual. I feel most proud of myself when I offer perspectives that are different from the people in the room I’m in.

It reminds me that my uniqueness is important and adds value. Embracing my individualism is not always easy. I often find that the affinity in a room can be too loud for a small but different voice. In those cases, I adopt the role of an observer and like a sports coach, try to learn the patterns and players and use it to my advantage for the next game.

What is Wavemaker Roots?

Wavemaker Roots was created in 2018 to champion ethnic diversity, with the aim to increase representation both within the agency and in the work we do for our clients and become an industry thought leader on ethnic and cultural diversity.

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