Few things have made me as proud as the work we put into making Founders Connect: Live in Lagos a reality.
It all started with an idea. My boss, Peace Itimi, came to our group chat early May 2023 and told us she was thinking of hosting a live event in Nigeria. This was an idea that had been hinted at in the past but merely as a passing thought. This time however, we knew it was for real because I found myself opening a Google doc to write down all the idea I had regarding what the flow of the event would be like and the type of networking activities and games we could have to keep attendees engaged. Once we had a rough flow, we started working towards it.
Having ideas is easy. Execution is the hard part. For the six weeks that followed, we put our all into ensuring that the event went smoothly. I learned so much from watching the team (especially Peace and Joyce) move with precision, great detail, and speed. Every little thing was thought through — from who the speakers were going to be, to sponsorships, activities, design, merch, volunteers, etc.
Founders Connect: Live in Lagos held on the 8th of July 2023, and people from all over Lagos and beyond trooped into Zone Tech Park, Gbagada, for a day of learning, networking and fun. Speaking at the event were key players in the industry: Funke Opeke of Mainone, Mitchell Elegbe of Interswitch, Tayo Oviosu of Paga, Odunayo Eweniyi of Piggyvest, Bayo Adedeji of Wakanow, Babajide Duroshola of M-Kopa, Maya Horgan Famodu of Ingressive Capital, Victor Fatanmi of FullGap and Fola Olatunji-David of Sporting Lagos (ex: Amazon Web Services and Google). We were also supported by our sponsors, Africhange, Tech1M, Paystack, Seerbit, Eden Life amongst others.
Watching the event from the figurative backstage of all the preparation that had been put into place made me marvel at how ideas can bloom when sufficient willpower is poured into them.
It was the little things: the stage setup that had once been a digital mockup and which I watched come to life the night before; the brochure and its activities that once were ideas in my head; the series of meetings that took place every Sunday by 7 pm where Joyce Imiegha (the best Operations Manager in the world) would open up a Notion database containing the tasks from the previous week and ask everyone how far they had gone; the enthusiastic and hardworking volunteers who worked together in ensuring that the event went smoothly, etc.
It was very magical, watching everything unfold. Peace attributes much of its success to grace, and while I know the divine must have had an important part to play, my human mind can only imbibe lessons from the things I saw while they were in motion. And so, these are the lessons I will never forget:
- Do Good Work: No advice rings truer than this. Getting the sponsorships and the speakers we got was not as difficult as it should have been because Peace already had a track record of doing good work. Having worked as a marketing expert for nearly a decade and interviewed nearly a hundred founders on her show, Founders Connect, it was easy for people to agree to be a part of our event. Being excellent at what you do and maintaining a consistent track record of visible output will smoothen out your path. I learned that it was important to focus on doing good work and putting it out there for people to see.
- Be as Detailed as Possible: When planning events, activities, and life in general, it’s easy to ignore the little clusters of activities that may seem insignificant, but these activities may eventually grow and take up space if care is not taken. I liked that on our notion taskboard, everything was documented, even tasks as simple as calling a client. The human mind is fallible, and it is very easy to forget all the things you have to do, so documenting things, no matter how insignificant they may appear to be, will make your projects easier to manage.
- Synergy matters: The success of this event was tied largely to the fact that Peace and Joyce have worked together for years and understand each other. This makes them a great team, and their display of one-ness made it very easy for the rest us to follow their lead.
- Don’t Underestimate Your Influence: Less than two weeks after tickets went on sale, they were sold out, and we were flooded with a massive influx of requests. A week after the event, we learned that someone was able to flip their ticket from 5K to 50K. They couldn’t make the event, and the demand was so high that someone was willing to pay 50K to buy it from them! Had we known that there were a great number of people who would have loved to attend the event, we would have gotten a much larger hall. Moral of the story? Try dey rate yourself more. You are a lot bigger than you think you are. (Of course, this only applies if you put in the work).
- Experience Goes a Long Way: Before Founders Connect: Live in Lagos, Peace and Joyce had the joint experience of organizing events together, which largely informed the decision-making process they underwent while organizing this one. During a car ride, Peace shared how much her experience organizing other events contributed to the success of FC Live in Lagos, and it made so much sense. Experience builds better results, so don’t be afraid to experiment, get your hands dirty, make mistakes, etc. That’s how you grow. That’s how you get better.
I really enjoyed ideating, creating content, managing our social media accounts, and assisting with the execution of this event. It was a very fulfilling experience for me, and I look forward to what next year has in store for us here at Founders Connect.
Thank you for reading. ♥
This article is the second part of a series on the Three Events I Organized in the month of July. To read the first article, click here.