Linda Olagunju is the Managing Director at DLO Energy Resources & Founder of the Renewable Energy Forum South Africa. She holds an LLB from the University of Cape Town and an LLM in International Commercial Law with a specialisation in Oil and Gas Law from the University of Aberdeen. Linda was part of the team that negotiated Eskom’s $250m USD World Bank loan for their renewable energy projects, she has worked for leading international companies including Subsea7 in Paris & and AREG in Aberdeen. In December 2012 she was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper in recognition for her work in the energy sector.
My Definition Of Success | Doing your best at what you love and being content in your journey. My definition has definitely changed over the years. Before I used to see success as something that is reflected externally through accolades and material items, now I view it much more as an internal process of overcoming fear self-doubt in the quest of doing something you believe in, no one needs to tell you, you are a success you need to fill that within yourself.
I Am Driven By | Africa. I want to fix things, my entire business model is modeled around the continent and I will not rest until I try everything I can to contribute to the continent moving a step further. What also drives me is changing the economic landscape in so far as it relates to participation by Africans. I want to see Africans owning the means of production as opposed to working for those that do. I want young African girls to know that their end game is not just being someone’s wife but that their dreams have validity. If we can change mindsets we can change a lot on the continent.
My Highlights | Being awarded the scholarship to study oil and gas law in Aberdeen University was the catalyst of changes in both my professional and personal life. I met my husband in Aberdeen and I got introduced to renewable energy in Aberdeen. The result of this one journey has been the courage to start my own business, to start a new life and I also made lifelong friends.
The Difference Between good And Great | I think it is about self-belief. Good work means staying within the boundaries…the tried and tested…great work means relinquishing fear and testing waters.
My Key Talent | I think my ability to engage authentically with people has been crucial to my success. Often we hear people go on about networking but seldom do we hear about how to go about doing it. I learnt earlier in in my career that contacts would be vital to any business however I could not engage with people artificially, meaning that we would need to have a common interest in order to engage authentically. I have found that people relate more to people that they have a connection with. So my advice is find the common element and engage authentically. Once you have made the connection keep in touch do not just call people when you need assistance try and maintain the relationship and take an interest in them. You can only do this successfully if you are genuine in your intent.
How I Use My Mind | I commit my ideas to paper, once I have an idea I write it down and I plan and I read and research.
Dealing With Doubt | I certainly have fear and doubt especially when trying something new. The fear often comes from a lack of preparedness. So the best way to overcome fear is to prepare adequately and having a personal support system helps. My husband is great at talking me out of self-doubt; rather than a pep talk, he offers concrete advice. At some point, however, It is important to harness a sense of confidence from within. Over the years I have built this, but this does not mean I do not get scared or doubtful from time to time.
Resources I Use | I read a lot. I love reading business publication such as Ventures Africa, Forbes ect these keep me inspired. I also read industry publications such as Engineering news. It is important to read widely. General knowledge is key; I learnt this from my dad. Another good read I would recommend is the Four Agreements, this helped a lot in my personal journey.
On Building Wealth | Focus on the work the money will follow. The work itself must be the reward, if your only goal in what you do is money then you won’t ever truly be satisfied. Entrepreneurs are people who are trying to solve problems in society. Yes we all want to make a profit but I would also hope that we are trying to make an even greater social impact.
I Am Inspired By | The ordinary Africans that wake up every day in the face of adversity and decide to give life a second chance and pursue their dreams. Those are the people that inspire me. The continent is a constant source of inspiration to me I see who we are and I see how even greater we could be.