March 2, 2015
We Celebrate Her: Ronke Lawal, Founder of Ariatu Public Relations
Today we are celebrating Ronke Lawal, Founder of Ariatu Public Relations, a public relations and marketing consultancy. They currently represent clients in many industries including the entertainment, fashion, lifestyle & beauty, food and luxury goods sectors. Ronke started her own business in 2004 & became the Chief Executive of the Islington Chamber of Commerce where she remained until the end of 2012 and became a non-executive director of The Hoxton Apprentice in 2011. She is a Mentor for The Cherie Blair Foundation and for The Elevation Networks Start Ups Initiative. In 2011 Ronke Lawal was honoured to receive a Precious Award for Inspirational Leadership.
How did you ‘Make it Happen’?
I started my business in 2004 at a time in my life when I was hungry for change, I had to make it happen on my own terms if I was to live a life I loved. I wasn’t satisfied in full-time employment; working in a role that was not really for me but it paid the bills. I had suppressed my entrepreneurial spirit for a long time and so when I chose to start RSL Management Services I was realising my dream and creating my own journey. I started the business whilst I was still working and saved money from my job before going into work full time. I drew up a concise business plan and got to work from there – my main focus at the time was to network (even though I was never taught how to network I understood the principle) my research showed me that networking was crucial in growing my business. in 2014 I rebranded RSL Management Services which is now Ariatu PR to undertake PR and marketing campaigns for our clients, increasing their visibility & brand recognition to potential customers.
What kind of woman are you?
I am a bold, beautiful and brilliant woman. I am the kind of woman who does my best in all that I do but if I make a mistake I learn to forgive myself and learn from the experience. I am a woman who loves to love and enjoys giving to and supporting others. I am a woman who is always keen to learn and always ready to grow. I am the kind of woman who is aware of my greatness even though I don’t always do it justice. I’m still learning and that is what makes life beautiful.
What drives you to run your business?
Being happy drives me to run my own business! I just seek joy and fulfilment in everything I do; as well as achieving my goals. I am very passionate about my path in life, knowing that passion, consistency and integrity will enable me to reach my goals. Lots of people inspire me, the obvious being Oprah, Mellody Hobson and even Lord Alan Sugar. But the London Borough of Hackney has also inspired me to aim high; growing up in a poor area did not hold me back; in fact it empowered me because I did not want to remain trapped in the story of the streets. I wanted more for my life and am realising that dream each and every day.
Why do you do what you do for a living?
I do what I do because it is authentic to who I am. I am a strong leader and a great relationship builder, traits that are essential to any good publicist. I also do it for the independence that self-employment brings and the power that comes with that independence.
Who has been the biggest help to your career to date?
There are so many people that have helped me along the way, mentors and friends who have unknowningly served as mentors. It would be remiss of me to try to list them all but they are truly amazing people. Just a few inspirations and helps have been Vanessa Vallely (wearethecity.com), Ronke Adeyemi (http://brownbeautytalk.com), Sophia A Jackson (www.afridiziak.com), Nibi Lawson (http://www.thekinkyapothecary.com/) Afi Ofori (http://zarsmedia.com) and so many more – I want to list them all but I hope that they realise that they are still appreciated.
What Kind of teenager were you?
I was a geek, a popular geek. I had plenty of friends (although not all of them were good to or for me). I read lots of books and studied hard, there was no room for anything less than academic success in my family. My mother would not have accepted failure unless there were some kind of medical affliction and even then I’d still have to study! I used to set my self mini goals outside of studying, because my pocket money was not huge I learnt how to save for everything I wanted. Magazines and CDs were my 2 favourite things to spend money on…oh and blank tapes to record songs from the radio! Times were so much fun in the 90s! LOL!
What has been your biggest challenge in business/career?
I have often been my own biggest challenge. I had to constantly coach myself to believe in myself and in all honesty I think that there have been stages in my business life that I have actually sabotaged my own success. I got in my own way because I felt like a fraud when I started to become successful in business. Perhaps other women can relate to that feeling of constant self-doubt and uncertainty. It can be the most detrimental of all obstacles, everything else can be overcome through practice but it takes a lot to silence that voice that tries to convince you that you’re a fraud with your own success. It may not always be silent but I recognise it now and know what to say when it starts up again….”I am worthy”
What is your biggest regret?
Not trusting myself sooner, knowing that I am doing the best that I can do and that I am worthy of greatness. I wish I had realised this sooner…but I would say that this is more of a lesson than a regret.
What has been the highlight of your career/business so far?
Aside from being in business since 2004, becoming the CEO of the Islington Chamber of Commerce was been an amazing experience. I had to deal with a lot of misconceptions based on my gender, age and possibly even my race when I was leading this organisation.I would say that seeing the changes in the chamber in the time I was at the helm was exhilarating. Ultimately thought my biggest achievement is staying in business since 2004!
I’m only as successful as my clients’ say I am. It’s not just about money it’s about the lasting legacy that I leave with my clients, when they offer referrals to people they meet who need my PR services then I feel truly successful. By being authentic you can really give life your best, if you’re spending time trying to be someone that you’re not (which SO many people do) then you’ll never be truly successful, you’ll only be an actress without the awards.
What I know is that every thing that is meant to be for your greater good happens at the right time, not your time but the RIGHT time.
Do you know a woman who is just awesome and killing it in her career or business? Or someone who you just admire for their strength and attitude? We would love for you to share why you think they are awesome using the official hashtag #wecelebrateher
Happy International Women’s Day