This post was originally shared on my medium.
I went from studying Estate Management in uni to telling stories for brands I love on the internet.
I am Tamunotonye Levy-Braide, an industry jumper.
That sounded like an AA meeting intro (haha), but that is truly my story. I love to discover and follow new passions regardless of what industry it is.
Meet the dreamer..
Earlier in my life, I loved traditional medicine, so much that I wanted to be an herbalist. I was fascinated by how local doctors could heal people by mixing a few herbs here and there, but thanks to Nollywood, everyone associated it with jazz.
Who knows? Maybe I would have found the cure to cancer.
That dream was crushed early on. I realized, I only loved the idea of it.
I moved on to writing and artistry. I had a lot of time on my hands, so my mind wandered a lot. I spent my time writing poems, short stories, painting and hanging out at a photography studio down the street. I wanted to be a dancer too. I even enrolled in a dance school and thought I had found my dream career path.
That dream was cut short in high school because my brilliant self did so well in the sciences. I was advised to stay in science class since that’s where my ‘strength’ lied. I made up my mind deciding I was going to be an architect in the near future. I loved buildings, I realized that they carried so much life in them, they housed experiences etched on their walls and so much went into bringing them to life, I could not wait to design and build my own, this would be my way of taking the art I formed in my mind and making it valuable to people, building a career around the process.
More to it, my elder sister was an architect, so I followed her to building sites where I could smell concrete and see the heart and strength of the contractors, this sparked so much interest. I applied to Unilag and got Estate Management instead (Haq).
I gradually fell in love with it. I even went on to be the president of the student association. I was looking forward to practicing until my final year when I started losing interest. Everything about real estate felt like a chore, maybe it was because of the mental stress of just being in school.
The birth of the storyteller…
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
On the side, to boost my creative drive, I took on writing. This was like leaving a 2-hour long traffic at Apo roundabout and hitting the express. It was glorious, I could change lanes and vary my speed. I discovered blogging and telling stories made my heart warm, the feedback was so good, I wanted to tell even better stories so I picked up photography too.
Writing this now, I’m cracking up so hard. Damn! I was spontaneous. I chased my dreams with reckless abandon. I guess it had to do with my upbringing. My mum made me believe I could do anything. She was so supportive. I’m her Deborah, her star!
I’m grateful for my family and the platform they provided. I was always so sure that if things didn’t go well, I had people to fall back on. This sort of gave me the freedom to express my creativity.
Back to my tale,
After my Estate Management Bsc, the next obvious step was an MSc. That is that picture my folks wanted me to see. They wanted me to do it early while my head was still ‘fresh’. I stalled because I wasn’t about to waste so much money and then come back and start a business or go into a career unrelated to my masters. This is a huge mistake a lot of people make.
A baby storyteller in the big world…
Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash
While waiting for NYSC, my boyfriend at the time thought I would do well in the branding and social media industry. Honestly, I didn’t see myself in that niche but he was so sure and pushed me until I got an internship at Anakle. I started there as a content writer. The only experience I had was from moderating my blog. I remember them asking for my CV, but what they focused on was my blog. I guess as creatives, having a portfolio or blog or something that shows what you can do is important.
Anakle was one of the best things that happened to me. While writing for brands, working on content calendars, campaign strategies, etc, I was exposed to a whole new world, a digital world. I wasn’t sure how exactly I was going to fit in, but I knew I had found my world.
NYSC came and I was posted to Abuja. AH! I remember crying my eyes out when I got my posting letter. God knows I didn’t want to leave Anakle. I had found my home. I couldn’t imagine starting this new career without Editi always checking up on my progress or Ifeoma teaching me and Jetro just being a fan (LOL), even Solomon, my content guy who taught me a lot of things I know about writing.
I moved to Abuja, hopeful of the best. At the NYSC camp, a company came looking for content writers and a social media manager, I applied. I was posted to a real estate firm but I worked my way around it and eventually worked with Nkataa, an online food and grocery store in Abuja. I got to handle their blog, wrote copies, product descriptions, handled the social media and headed brand campaigns. When I started, it was a bit overwhelming because it was my first time doing a lot of things on my own. Yes, I was the only one in this department. Let’s take a minute to thank Google. I had to learn on the go. It was a bit tasking, but I loved what I was doing and it felt like I finally found my path.
A year after working there, I had mental breakdowns; I worked round the clock and didn’t pay enough attention to my mental health. I needed a break. I needed to take on a new project and give myself time to rest, so I quit.
I’m reckless, I know.
I registered for the GRE and enrolled in classes. For three months, I was attending classes, learning Maths and English. It was such an interesting time of my life. After the exams and classes, I was faced with the ‘what next?’ question. I didn’t know what was next so I spent my days freelancing, eating, sleeping and just taking a few online courses. I wasn’t ready to rush into a new job. I wanted to figure out what part of social media and branding I wanted to focus on.
Now things got serious…
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash
I found out about Fireworks, a brand storytelling, and tech company. It was new to me — the storytelling bit. I joined the team as a brand storyteller. I was responsible for building, curating and telling the story of the brand and the clients we had. This got me deeper into social media marketing, branding and so on. It finally hit me that this is what I wanted to do. I’ve always been interested in telling stories. With every career I’ve wanted, the major thing for me then was to tell a story with it. With my love for native medicine, I wanted to tell a story with my work. With the architecture, I wanted my buildings and creations to tell stories. With my dance, photography, and art, I wanted to tell stories. Even when I started my blog, that’s what I wanted to do, tell my life’s story.
Now I am Brand Storyteller and Content Creator. 15 year old me didn’t even know this was a career choice, but here we are.
While at Fireworks, I have picked up some new interests that I hope to pursue.
The tech girl…
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash
One arm of Fireworks is focused on tech. We build websites, mobile applications, etc. I’ve never been a tech girl or anything but I realized that I’ve been able to contribute to the tech projects we have. So I’m good at birthing ideas, project management, coming up with strategies for rollout and sort of just predicting user behaviour. Because of my work with social media. I’ve had to learn how to interpret social media statistics, study users and their behaviour. So whenever the tech team is building a website, a product or even a logo, I always have good input.
I’m horrible with numbers and codes but one thing I love is managing products. So it’s safe to say I’ve found a new interest that I will pursue.
Right now, I’ve identified the niches I want to focus on but that’s all I know for now. I honestly don’t know where I’m headed but I’m sort of excited. My creative journey has been an exciting one and I love how it’s all unfolding.
There’s this belief that we should have a plan or know where we are going but I guess I’m not normal or like everyone else. I’m enjoying my process, and with every chase, I’ve discovered something new.
I know I love social media, planning, building brands & products and writing about my life right now. I’m not going to rush this process, so yeah, enjoy my creative journey. I promise to share and go on it with you all.
The journey is the new destination.
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