Temilade Adelakun

What is currently inspiring me to continue in STEM is how innovative the field is and how you have the chance to work on cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, and Quantum Computing.

Country of origin

Nigeria

Which company do you work for?

The Bulb Africa and I Cofounded StudentBuild

What is your specific area of specialisation?

Program Management / Operations/ Business Analysis

How long have you been in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math’s (STEM) fields?

I have been in the STEM field since my first year in the University. I have a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering, I will say 5 years+

As a woman in a male dominated industry, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

I would say imposter syndrome. I sometimes struggle with confidence and the assertion to be heard. It took me some time to overcome this. At some point in my life, I was not comfortable talking about my achievements, but unless I do, how would anyone know what a great job I was doing.

What inspired you to join this industry?

As a child, I was inquisitive; I always enjoyed the challenge of finding things out for myself. I was very good at mathematics and physics, and I had the opportunity to go to some STEM and robotics competitions in high(secondary) school. I remember coming home to gist with my family about new things I have learned or seen. It amazes me that despite all these, I did not consider a field in STEM (I never knew we had women in the STEM field, so I considered studying medicine and surgery) until my teacher in school encouraged me to. I will say my teacher was the push I needed. The encouragement and enlightenment from my teacher were the inspiration.

What is currently inspiring me to continue in STEM is how innovative the field is and how you have the chance to work on cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, and Quantum Computing. Also, STEM is not boring, and it involves critical thinking and problem-solving, which I enjoy doing.

What changes, if any, have you seen in your field with regards to women in your field?

I have witnessed an increasing number of women enter and dominate the STEM field. We see women at the forefront of technology and also dominating the entrepreneurial space. It is encouraging to see more women take on top roles in the STEM field

How can we attract more women to consider a career in the STEM fields?

We need to start by changing the narrative and dispel myths that have for too long dissuaded girls from studying STEM subjects in school and later pursuing careers leveraging STEM Education and training. For example, STEM is not all about coding, and it is not for the male gender only.

Sponsorship: When it comes to mentorship, things are significantly improving. There are a couple of mentorship programs here and there for women in STEM. With mentorship, a woman can enter the STEM industry, but when there are no sponsors, they are often stranded in lower-level positions, leaving a sense of stagnation in their career.
Sponsors include people in leadership positions that go beyond merely offering guidance to junior colleagues to acting as advocates. They employ leadership, power, and influence to help build and advance their “sponsorees” careers.

If you were to advise other young women starting their careers in the tech or within the STEM fields, what is the one thing you would say to them?

For those ambitious ladies thinking about building a career in STEM, please do not be afraid to take your seat at the table. Take that bold step today, and you are on the path to success in STEM.

For those who are already in a STEM career, know your worth. You bring different perspectives and skillsets to any company. Make learning part of your commitment to yourself and keep looking for new ways to grow. Please do not be too hard on yourself and take breaks when necessary.

When not working, what do you do for fun?

I enjoy working out, listening to music, volunteering, making new friends, travelling to new places and surfing the net.

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