Diana Odero: Take your seat at the table , you deserve it!
It started from a direct message and we were hooked. I had come across Diana Odero's profile from her interesting post on the She Leads website. I decided to dig deeper and was amazed at my findings.
In a world where there is the 'belief' that women are their own worst enemies, Diana Odero loves to see her fellow women succeed. As journalist, her writings covers everything culture and lifestyle. She is also a travel enthusiast and avid reader.
Diana Odero holds a Master's degree in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Westminster.
Omote Ro Dhe has an interesting chat with this Kenyan damsel where she shared her career journey, life experiences, interests and others. Read excerpts below:
* Tell us about your journey into the communications industry
I got into communications quite randomly actually. I went to school and studied creative writing because I wanted to be an author. I wanted to write novels but life had a different path for me. I always landed jobs in media i.e newspapers, magazines and soon enough communication departments in various organizations and that's really how I got into that industry.
* How challenging was the experience?
It was challenging at the start because I did not have any communications experience, my history was more journalism based, but I used the opportunities I got to build on my experience and because of that the progression in this field has been a little less challenging.
* Why did you start your blog-Writers Haven?
It actually started from quite a dark place. I was suffering from depression and felt like I had no one to talk to and no one who would understand so I started the blog to just pour all my thoughts there, be it deep or just random, just somewhere I felt I was 'sharing' but really it was just a place to release whenever I felt low. It has since stopped being my online diary and now it's more of a creative safe space for myself and anyone looking to read and engage with a fellow bookworm and dromomaniac.
* How do juggle your roles as a freelance writer, editor, graphic designer and editor?
The beauty of freelancing is the freedom to be flexible. I choose my hours of work, I can work from anywhere and more often than not no one job is given at the same time. The few times I've had jobs with simultaneous deadlines, I start with the heaviest one first, I give that more time to be able to get it done before said deadline and then tackle the less intensive ones after that I know won't require much time. Juggling different jobs is all about time management.
* What is the most defining life experience you have had?
This question is so hard to answer because experiences are relative you know. I want to say my undergraduate experience - a lot of life changing moments happened during those four years and the fact that I managed to survive all that and still come out with a degree is something I still get amazed by to this day and thank God for giving me the strength to manage it all.
* What principles do you live by?
Be honest, show kindness and remain humble
*Asides reading books, you love travel. How has travel shaped you ?
Travel has exposed me to people from all over the world and with those connections I have learnt a lot in terms of relating to people, in terms of understanding how different systems work and all round admiration for God's creation. Travel has made me very independent and self reliant, something I think I would not be had I not started travelling alone at an early age. It has taught me to discriminate less and understand more, people are very different but they are still human, we all are.
* In the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, the travel industry has been hit hard. How do you think they can make the best of this period?
They need to be more lenient as things slowly start to get back to normal, they have suffered immense losses but trying to get their revenue back in a short time by hiking the prices on flights, accommodation or experiences will most likely end up in more losses. Everyone has been affected by the global lockdown and people will not be as easy with their wallets as they once were. We will all be trying to recover from the financial losses in our individual lives. They need to focus more on ensuring a traveler's safety in their planes, trains, hotels etc.
* Do you have female mentors? Who are the women you look up to and who has influenced you greatly?
I look up to a lot of people so I think I'll categorize these into three, family, peers, and prominent women. Family - I really admire and have learnt a lot from my own mother, my aunt (her sister) and my late grandmother, three women who are so strong and so prolific in their own unique ways. My end goal is to be just as great, if not greater than they are. Peers - my girlfriends - I have a strong small circle of successful women who range in age from my age-mates, those younger than me to even 10 yrs older than me. All of them are excelling in their fields and do their part in paying it forward to the community that has raised them, they inspire me to always do better and be better. Prominent/celebrity women - Oprah, Beyonce, Chimamanda Adichie and Issa Rae, these are just some out of a long list of women who have pushed through all odds to get to where they are now, their tenacity and unapologetic nature to keep going no matter what shows me that obstacles are temporary and can always be overcome. All these women together instill motivation in me and keep me striving for what I want - a fulfilling life.
* If you had an opportunity, would you change anything about your life?
There are some small parts I think I would change but overall nothing too major to mention, I like to live by the mantra live your life with no regrets and that every mistake made was a lesson in hiding.
* In a male dominated world, what advice do you have for young women on how they can find themselves and be successful?
Take your seat at the table, you deserve it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
* Describe your fashion style
Laid back and casual, with hints of glam every now and then.
* What is your favourite book of all time?
Only one?? I love so many books I can't just choose one as my all time favourite... What I'll do though is special mention some top ones that have stayed with me years after reading them - Harry Potter (potter-head here), Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, I will forever love these three I think more than anything else I've read, until I guess I come across any another book that may take their place, I doubt anything will though.