Connect with us


Yewande Oyebo: Stand Out & Be Exceptional



“What never grows old? The burning desire of youth to reinvent the world. That ambition and impatience is on full display in our 2018 edition of the Forbes 30 Under 30, our annual encyclopedia of creative disruption featuring 600 young stars in 20 different industries. Selecting these youthful visionaries is a year-round obsession: We vet thousands of nominations, leaning on the collective wisdom of our online community, ace reporters and a panel of A-list judges.”

This is the first part of the opening paragraph on the Forbes 30 under 30 website.

In a country where mediocrity seems to be amplified and even celebrated by a lot of people. It is very easy lose sight of important things – like our goals, innovation, and just making the world a better place.

Two things stood out to me in the opening paragraph: The people on this list are reinventing the world; they are ambitious, creative, disruptors and visionary.  I think we all know one or two people like this. You don’t necessarily need to be a genius to have these skills; you might not even need formal education.

They were also selected through nominations from: the online communities, reporters and A-list judges. Which just makes me understand that you can’t ignore the power of the media (online and offline) in sharing stories.

I used to stalk the nominees like a crazy person. I usually would go to their Instagram pages and look for the two heads that they had (Fun fact: all of them have one head), but this year I started to write down what I thought was unique about these people, the work they have done so far and how I can apply these learnings to my own life.

I discovered the Forbes 30 under 30 list in 2016 and have been obsessed with it ever since. I really want to my name to be on this particular list someday. This is just one of my bucket list goals. I’m putting it out to the universe now.

As superficial as lists like these might seem to some, I think they are quite important. Needless to say, with or without recognition, we all need to make a positive impact in our own way. Being over 30 doesn’t disqualify anyone. (There’s a 40 under 40 list by fortune and 50 under 50 by some other people… if lists are your thing too.. )

Here’s how the list works: There are 20 industries and 30 top people are selected from each of the industries. Invariably, Forbes is actually selecting 600 people on their list not just 30 as I initially thought. What does this mean? Simply that there’s space for a lot of people at the top – one for you and the other for me.

I actually went through almost everyone’s profile; while they all have amazing stories, I penned down the profiles of people that are similar to me, my work, my interests and goals. You can do the same when you have the time. It really does motivate you.

A lot of these people are ordinary and normal like you and me. Admittedly, some are straight out geniuses, and not on anyone’s level, but that’s their business abeg. There’s nothing anyone can do about that.

The mere mortals on the list were just going about their business differently, but also excellently. What did they do to make themselves standout?

  • They did their jobs but did it exceptionally well, that the world had no choice but to be noticed like Madina Nalwanga: for her excellent acting in the movie: Queen of Katwe, Yara Shaidi and Ebony Oshunrinde (who has made beats for Jay Z.)
  • They did their jobs excellently and celebrated themselves while at it. An example is Iyore Olaye who celebrated herself on Facebook about being the only black female in her graduating class.
  • They built useful digital and physical products.
  • They found a simple problem and went great lengths to solve it. Like Marley Dias who’s the youngest on the list and has collected over 10k books of Black protagonists, because most of the books she had access to were about white boys.
  • They made a difference in their immediate environment or home countries like Iyin Aboyeji and Tsion Gormu
  • A lot of them speak eloquently and passionately about what they do and causes they believe in. Others actively write like Kara Brown and Jazmine Hughes.
  • They’re thinking global not local by creating solutions that while only impacting their environment, can be scaled to help other communities.
  • Building online communities like Otegha Uwagba. Command a high income like Jordan Dunne who’s one of the highest paid black models in the world.
  • Teaching people: like Karlie Kloss who’s is a top earning model that teaches girls how to code.
  • Making a way for disadvantaged people like Ashley Edwards, Ebele Ifedigbo and Tsion Gormu who all champion causes that help LGBT or low income individuals.
  • Calling out people and institutions like Susan Fowler who called out the culture of sexual harassment at Uber
    doing regular things in a different way.
  • Help to build badass companies: either founded by them or already existing companies: like Ashley Yuki of Instagram and many others
  • Contributing to already existing causes and projects.
  • Just living their best lives: like Ayeesha Curry and Cardi B.

No one mentioned ticked all the boxes neither are is anyone there perfect or above mistakes, they just picked something and ran all the way with it. Notice how my list is full of Africans, women and Black Americans. Because even though we are in the minority and are sometimes overlooked, It is still possible to get recognized for your good work.

If you have a story, please tell the world. You don’t know the impact it might make and you might just be on the Forbes 30 under 30 list class of 2019 0r 2020. You could even just create your own renowned list too.

Yewande Oyebo is a Tech professional and Content Creator. She is passionate about creating functional digital products, Impactful Content, Good Books and Quality Education for all. She creates quality blog content at You can connect with her on Instagram and Twitter @Yevandy_