YOUNG JEFE  

noun || yəNG ˈhefā

This Lagos native does it all. Aside from working as a Program Manager at Microsoft, she also dabbles in lifestyle blogging, photography— there's more — developing, designing and helps entrepreneurs prefect their start ups. At the start of her twenties, Dara has begun to utilize her 24 hours p/day the smart way. 

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Dara Oke

TA: What’s your current hustle?

DO: Ultimately, I get to create for a living, and that takes different forms. I find that I’m my best self when I’m able to consistently create and express myself through various mediums. My daytime hustle is working as a Program Manager at Microsoft. As a technologist, this was the job I’d always dreamed of because it gives me the ability to build products and empower individuals at an enormous scale —  millions and billions of users across the world. Additionally, I’m a lifestyle blogger, photographer, developer, sometimes designer, and I help entrepreneurs and startups tell their brand’s story to the world.

TA: Who gave you the most memorable career advice? 

DO: Throughout my life, I’ve had various people remind me of the age-old line: "You are the master of your own destiny.” Despite hearing it for so long, these words became integral as I graduated college and embarked on my career where I found myself constantly at crossroads. Whether it was between pleasing others versus myself, deciding which job opportunity to take, or finding myself losing motivation, remembering that I controlled my path served as a constant catalyst.

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TA: Has what you’re doing now been a life-long interest? 

DO: Definitely, and it’s amazing how all the pieces now fit together. I started graphic designing and programming at a very young age, not knowing it would translate into what I currently do for a living. As I evolve, I’m beginning to see how the things that I’m passionate about can fit together to help me achieve my mission. 

TA: Has there ever been a time you didn’t think you’d make it to this point in your career? What kept you going?

DO: College was the pinnacle of this. I was studying Computer Science and found myself often feeling isolated because I didn’t see many people who looked like me within my major/the tech industry. As a freshman, I definitely did not anticipate I would be where I am now. Sure, I may have hoped for it, but couldn’t clearly see what the steps looked like along the way. I doubted whether I had the capacity to realize my dreams. Yet I kept going, because I couldn’t bear to disappoint myself. Growing up in a Nigerian household, I was constantly reminded that “no-one has two heads,” meaning that we are all given one brain, “ no-one gets two", and I could achieve anything I put my mind to.

TA: If you could tell your younger self one thing about work ethic and what you’ve learned, what would it be?

DO: Always remember, it takes years of work to become an “overnight success”. Enjoy the ride and give it your all. 

TA: What has been your favorite “project,” so far?  

DO: I immigrated to the United States from Nigeria when I was seven years old and until 2016, I hadn’t been back. Yet, I’d always known that I wanted my life's work to have a direct impact back home. Last year, I got the opportunity to help kickstart an initiative to empower 25 entrepreneurs in Nigeria that were building companies dedicated to social progress. Then, we headed to Nairobi, Kenya to do the same. Undoubtedly, this has been the most impactful work of my career thus far and I look forward to continuing on this journey and helping the next generation of African entrepreneurs, innovators, and creatives realize their dreams.

A: Who are your 3 “must-follows” on Instagram? 

DO: @elainewelteroth@everystylishgirl@theeverygirl_

TA: In a few words, Describe your friends (inner circle)?

DO: I have the most genuine, kind-hearted, and thoughtful friends. Of course, they’re all ambitious and accomplished in their own right, but it’s the substance of their hearts that makes me proud to know them. My friends have made me a better human, a better citizen of the world. 

TA: Closing statements...

DO: Boxes are boring, never let anyone place you in one. 

For more of Dara, follow her here or go to lovedarbie.com.