WHAT I CONSIDER STRENGTH, OTHERS CONSIDER WEAKNESS – NEWTON & DAVID CEO, UCHE MAJEKODUNMI ON LIFE @ 60
Events Queen, Uche Majekodunmi is 60. This adorable and hardworking woman who founded Newton & David, an Event & Decorations company very many years ago has built a solid brand that has remained No 1 for decades.
She turned 60 a few weeks back but she didn’t have a big celebration as expected. That is the Quintessential Uche for you. She has always been a quiet and reserved person who does not like the noise and attention that her job brings along with it.
Uche is a brilliant event decorator and planner. She is one of the lucky entrepreneurs who have been able to turn their pastime to big business.
How does she feel at 60? How did she celebrate her birthday? How does her mind work at 60? What has changed about her at 60? What hasn’t changed? How has she been able to keep her over 25 years of marriage intact despite the fact that both are from different parts of the country? How did she build Newton and David into the big brand it is today?
These and many more were the questions SEYE KEHINDE, the Publisher of Citypeople Online Fashion and beauty magazine asked her recently. It’s her 60th Birthday interview and trust Uche Majekodunmi she was frank in her answers. Don’t forget that Uche is unconventional in her ways and thoughts. That trait is what has helped her to remain a clear leader in her field. Below are excerpts of her interview.
Congratulations on your 60th Birthday. How does it make you feel? How did you celebrate ur birthday?
Seye, how thoughtful of you to remember me. Thank you for your good wishes. You have interviewed me for years and you remember!
How do I feel at 60? The same. I feel the same except for aches and pains but my spirit feels the same. How did I celebrate?
Thanking God for life. Thanksgiving. That’s all. I do parties for a living so I did not want one more party. Just thanking him who made me finish.How my mind works at 60. Same as before, strange!
I say strange because what I consider as strength, others consider as a weakness. Things I admire, I meet very few people who do. Honesty, integrity, kindness, humility, and patience… yes those are the things I look for at 60.
Have I attained them? No. But those are the traits I wish for in my self and I admire in others who have it.
Those are my thoughts; Telling the truth always no matter how hard it is! I have learned that truth is costly sometimes.
Life lessons at 60?
Do not take life so seriously. Laugh at yourself sometimes
Let things go. Forgive. Life is short! Really short.
Not much has changed in my life really except to thank God that most of my kids and wards are all educated. All except 1.
What sort of person am I? Unconventional.
I am creative with an extremely lively imagination. I love to love. I love family. Friendly and family. I love friendship and sisterhood of women. I believe in love. I believe in being me and the best of me that I can be. I discovered early in life that to be fake is too much work. Be my self is born out of laziness.
For some I think it makes me seem crazy. A lot of times I hold my self and say to myself. Aside from being myself, I think I am quite boring.
My husband is my friend. He trusts me and I appreciate the trust. He brought out the best in me and I am thankful to God that as a very confident man he does not need me to be less so he can be more. Do you see why I say I am strange? In this town that is not conventional thinking! I look up to him in that aspect cos he lets me be. That has not changed.
Only the older we get the more our cultural differences come to the fore. Tribal traits are so true.
We all need to be patient with our selves because culture plays a role in expectations within a marriage. Still, my husband is always there through thick and thin. Patient kind constant and a cool head in a time of crisis.
We have been married since 1987. June 6th. Over 30 years
Whenever your name is mentioned what readily comes to mind is Newton & David. It’s been a big brand. How did you build such a successful brand? How old is the brand now?
I love what I do. I open my self up to change and to the times. I continue with being thorough and dotting my Is and crossing my Ts. I believe also that crowning Newton and David in all we do without sounding crazy is God. It all started from the blessed sacrament in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I pray God never ever lets me forget.
There are those who feel Uche Majekodunmi has seen it all in your field and there is no more point for you to prove. Will this be a correct analysis of your frame of mind now at 60?
Seen it all?
Yes, I have seen a lot? We have served several heads of state and the commonwealth event was the queen of England was in attendance. The Nigerian centenary celebration which took place over one whole year. Please Nigerians it is not just all about the money, it is a hell of a lot of work! Mindless work. Plenty of work. Yet I really have much to be grateful to God for. It is not really about proving a point. Just do good work.
There is still a lot for us to teach and to share and I am trying to teach and to share the lessons passed on by my late mum and some, I picked up in the course of doing what I do.
I have trusted protégés in newton and David. They will move forward and I will slow down. I am not leaving. I shall work until God calls me.
My sister, I forgot to ask you about the influence of your mum on your choice of career as an events person. Is she the one that made you set up Newton and David?
My mum had nothing to do with my choice of work.
Her education and exposure meant that I grew up knowing what a lot of people in my generation had to learn after leaving home. My mum in the late 1940s was in school in Scotland. She was also a teacher after she returned to Nigeria in early 1960 with my dad.
As I have said in several interviews it all started from church. The upbringing probably gave me the confidence to proceed. Event decor and management is a new field. There are very few universities that offer this as a course. Knowing how to do the job has a lot to do with one’s level of exposure.