Image credit: Future Leaders 2020-21
We are delighted to share the news that final-year Liberal Arts student, Matilda Oduntan, and Sociology and GSD graduate, Seiwaa Osei Afriyie, have been named among the UK’s most outstanding African and African Caribbean future leaders.
Future Leaders is an annual publication, showcasing 100 of the most outstanding black university students in the UK. It's aimed at secondary school sixth-form, college, and university students and is used as a role model guide to inspire and raise attainment.
The Future Leaders are selected via a nomination process. Shortlisted students are invited for an interview and then the final 100 are selected, appearing in the annual publication released every September. Students featured in the magazine become visible role models to younger students, as the magazine is sent to over 100 London schools (with high concentration black students) for free each year.
“As Impact Consultant and Summer Programmes Lead for the Black Women's Project (BWP), Matilda devised a bespoke curriculum for upcoming black female leaders.
For this, she liaised with corporate sponsors to improve the quality of the programme and meet the skills gap participants faced. She also facilitated a four-day training programme for 16 black women that prepared them for all things academia, leadership and activism through interactive and informative sessions.
She was also the Welfare Officer and Branding and Marketing Officer for the Black Women’s Project between March 2019 and May 2020, where she created and led six events that addressed the society's aim of supporting the mental, physical and academic wellbeing of black women on campus. Her work led to the society welcoming an increase of 10 per cent in membership and achieving the Bright Network Women's Society of the Year and Society of the Year Awards in just ten weeks.
A natural leader, the previous summer, Matilda was a Team Mentor for the National Citizen Service (NCS) where she inspired and led a team of 11 to 16-year-olds for four weeks on outdoor residential activities, skills development, and team challenges."
(Future Leaders 2020-21)
“It’s exciting for my work to be recognised amongst other black leaders in the UK. It evidences my generation’s dedication to empowering others and creating change.”
Seiwaa Osei Afriyie
Seiwaa features in the top 10 (placing 5th) in this year's publication.
"Seiwaa decided to launch her own greetings card business in Ghana, after noticing almost 90 per cent of the cards sold in shops out there were made by Hallmark, and not by independent local designers or brands.
Intent on changing this narrative, Doodles by Ini, an online personalised greetings card business that celebrates African, and specifically Ghanaian, culture, was born. The cards feature images of African men and women, including in native traditional wear and also culturally relevant slogans and messages, including ones laced with humour such as their line of anniversary cards that read: 'I love you more than I love Ghana Jellof'.
Seiwaa also specialises in unique life-sized cards that feature painted personalised portraits of the customer’s choice. The cards were originally designed by Seiwaa herself, but as her business has thrived she now has a bank of freelance digital designers who work off her rough sketches.
As CEO, Seiwaa manages everything from social media to updating the website, liaising with the supply chain and speaking to the customers. She also creates proposals and presentations to various stakeholders and even collaborated with the Ministry of Aviation in Ghana on 2019's 'Year of Return' with a series of themed postcards.
Having started with a simple website, her cards are now stocked in 20 card stores in Accra, and in other outlets in Nigeria, which has brought additional traffic to her website. She has been running the business part-time while doing her degree in the UK.
Her brand is also stocked on leading online card store Moonpig in the UK, US, and Australia. Now that she has left university, she has more time to develop the business and plans to properly launch the brand in America."
(Future Leaders 2020-21)
See what else Seiwaa got up to while she was a student at Warwick: