Tosin Adeniji began her career in the heart of London, first as an intern for Vision PR and progressing to EMI/Universal Records, where she worked with the likes of Coldplay, Katy Perry, and more. Never one to rest on her laurels and following her life mantra of “thinking randomly big,” Tosin applied to study for an MBA at Cornell University in March 2016. In just two months, she was moving across the Atlantic to begin a brand new life in New York City. Now thriving as a product manager for Verizon in their dedicated innovation lab in New York, she’ll launch her “Thinking Randomly Big” podcast this year, to share her experience, and also encourage and empower others to defy the limits that have been set on them.
My first job ever was… Actually in Greggs bakery at 17 years old. I had the early morning shift at 7am every Saturday.
I chose my career path because… I loved creativity and technology growing up, but also I come from a family of entrepreneurs and business driven individuals, so it makes sense how I ended up in the media tech world.
My proudest accomplishment is… Graduating from Cornell with an MBA in one year and being the student speaker at my graduation. Speaking in front of thousands and on the same day as our other graduation speaker (former U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden) was such a big deal for this girl from East London!
My boldest move to date was… Definitely moving to New York in the span of three weeks. Within those three weeks, I had to not only hand over my job, figure out paperwork and visas, and pack my life in two suitcases, but I also had pre-MBA work starting online that had to be completed daily. It was a crazy, crazy time.
I surprise people when I tell them… I lived in Amsterdam for a year. I clearly have a travel bug and wanted to experience as much as possible in my 20s, despite what boundaries people may have tried to set on me.
My best advice to people starting their career is… Don’t worry too much about titles and what looks good. Go with where your heart is and where you are challenged. At 21, with my law degree, I went against the grain and very well paying jobs to intern at music companies until I eventually ended up at EMI. It wasn’t an easy road and I didn’t really look at what would look good or right to others, but I went where I was learning and left when I wasn’t. I treat every situation like that despite the circumstances, as life has a way of figuring out everything in the end.
My best advice from a mentor was… “If something doesn’t work, don’t dwell. Rejoice in trying and push again.” I will be honest, I haven’t had many mentors in my life, but my mum was a huge influence on my life. There were no boundaries to what I could achieve according to her. She just pushed me towards excellence. Do everything with excellence and your very best.
“Go with where your heart is and where you are challenged.”
I would tell my 20-year old self… Share the ups and downs with others. Often times, I wouldn’t share the good or bad and there is a lot that can be gained from both aspects. My peers could have not only helped me more, supported me more but also possibly learned from my peaks and valleys. And the quicker we learn, the quicker we get better.
My biggest setback was… Not being able to push forward within my early roles. I felt stunted when I couldn’t execute my ideas or share my opinion, especially when I had such a strong stance on innovative technologies and video content. I felt less challenged at work and lost a lot of morale.
I overcame it by… Taking up my ideas outside of work and using the full set of my skills to accomplish great work, that still stands today. That work was the reason I could progress even quicker in my career and why I believe if your role doesn’t serve you completely, challenge yourself with additional projects. You just never know where they could lead you.
Work/life balance is… Not checking your email on Friday night and leaving a little early to enjoy a relaxing weekend with family and friends.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I rode a horse when I was a child! Well, I guess now you would now know…
I stay inspired by… People. I love talking to everyone I come in contact with and hearing their unique story. I also learn something. Lives are so complex and interesting, no one has had a bland path.
The future excites me because… Technology is rising, quickly. The world I imagined as a child is coming to reality and people are accepting of it and more importantly, welcoming it.
My next step is… To represent women and women of colour in the technology world. Continue merging media and tech and living out my dreams whilst I’m in New York City or elsewhere… who knows where next?