MORENIKE OLAOSEBIKAN - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
Lecturer / Co-Owner of a Shoppers Drug Mart / Owns AREWA clothing line.
Officially Inducted into the “National Wall of Role Models” on June 7, 2014 ( See full list www.BlackCanadianAwards.com )
Brief Bio: - Morenike is a Pharmacist, Associate Owner of a Shoppers Drug Mart in Edmonton, Teacher / Lecturer of Pharmacy at the Bredin Institute. She also has her own clothing line - AREWA as she runs her fashion company.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I arrived in Canada on the 24th of December 2003 from Nigeria, with the intention of becoming a physician. At the time, international students were not accepted into the Faculty of Medicine, so I decided based on my interests in patient care and skills to pursue a degree in Pharmacy. I am happy I made that choice, because I thoroughly enjoy being a pharmacist. Over the years, I was fortunate to have surrounded myself with good friends and smart people. I was able to organize an annual event - Ribbon Rouge even whilst still being a student. Over the past 7 years, Ribbon Rouge has raised over $11,000 in support of HIV relief. Ribbon Rouge successfully showcases local artists for this very worthwhile global cause. I have, since graduating as a pharmacist, been able to acquire a Shoppers Drug Mart in Edmonton as an Associate owner. I enjoy teaching pharmacy at Bredin Institute to help foreign trained Pharmacists to get integrated into the Canadian workforce. My pharmacy also supports numerous students from the University of Alberta and is a preceptor site for these students. It is important for me to give back to my profession in this way, to ensure ongoing training of future pharmacists. I concurrently run my fashion and art company- Arewa as well. Arewa is an expression of my artistic side and was a spin-off (so to speak) of Ribbon Rouge. After Ribbon Rouge events, I received several clothing orders each year. So, I decided to launch my clothing label.
Tell us what many people may not know about you?
I wanted to be an actress for the longest time, and was part of various Drama Clubs growing up.... smiles.... I remember having a starring role in my Primary 5 (Grade 5) play of Ola Rotimi’s “ The Gods are not to blame”. The play was an adaptation of the Greek classic Oedipus Rex; I was Ojuola in that play (Laughing- good times!). I am not sure why I stopped wanting to be an actress, but I remember being in every drama club I could join right up until I was 15 years old.
What's your inspiration and how do you get motivated?
By nature, I am a very driven person, who works diligently to achieve goals that I consider important. I simply dust negativity off my shoulders and keep moving. In my relatively young life, I have come across a few major disruptive moments. Some of them have shaped my world view and a compulsion to help others struggling with similar issues. I contracted Tuberculosis from 2002-2003, and my monthly visits to the treatment centre in Nigeria stirred up a strong desire to help patients like the ones I saw dying of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis co-infections. When I moved to Canada, I studied as an international student; it made me more understanding of the difficulties of immigrating here as a professional and I was determined to contribute to the integration of foreign trained pharmacists into Canada as gainfully employed members of our society. I keep my eyes on my goals and that keeps me motivated.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect?
I believe in God, Setting goals, Focus on my end goals, Planning, Stick to my plans, Journaling, Capitalizing on my strengths, Continued self directed learning, keeping my friends and family close.
I plan to continue to grow in knowledge, entrepreneurial acumen, community involvement. I plan for Ribbon Rouge to become an Institute for researching the cure for HIV in the future. I plan for Arewa to become a name to reckon with in fashion design. I plan to continue to impact on pharmaceutical care in developing countries.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Touching lives of as many people as I come in contact with for the better.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure?
I plan; I stick to my plans; I say “no” to requests that don’t fit into the plan.
What's your favorite food, book, music and movie?
Favorite food: Dodo (fried plantain) and Efo elegusi (Vegetable and melon soup). I love my malt drinks too!
Favorite Book: That’s a tough one - I think either “The Secret Seven” or “The Famous Five” by Enid Blyton, because those were an introduction into the amazing world of reading and imagination for me, and they still evoke such nostalgia just thinking of them.
Favourite music: Neo-Soul, R&B
Favourite Movie: another tough question - either “Gone With the Wind” because I am a hopeless romantic or “The Blues Brothers” because I can not get enough of good music or maybe “Wizard of Oz” because you can never get enough of an imaginative fantasy world riddled with symbolism and good morals.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada?
I love Canada; it has provided me with numerous opportunities, friends and avenues for continued growth. As a black person, I have had to educate people about my culture often, as I have had to learn about Canada too.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada that can produce role models and institutions like TD Jakes, Beyonce, Tyler Perry, Obama, BET, etc.
I do believe there are tonnes of networking opportunities in Canada within and outside black communities. The opportunities for self improvement are limitless and simply require us reaching out beyond our comfort zone and self inflicted boundaries.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models?
Michaëlle Jean, Deborah Cox