Ngozi Nwanji's voice holds a powerful resonance in the ever-changing world of journalism and storytelling. A Nigerian American journalist and freelance writer, Ngozi possesses a unique talent for unearthing the untold stories of entrepreneurs and startups within the Afro tech landscape. Her work not only sheds light on the innovative ventures reshaping industries but also champions the voices of those who are often underrepresented in the tech world. In this blog, we have the privilege of introducing you to Ngozi Nwanji, a storyteller who transcends borders and boundaries, providing a platform for the brilliant minds fuelling the Afro tech revolution. Join us as we delve into the life and career of this remarkable journalist, who uses her words to celebrate and amplify the voices of entrepreneurs and startups that are changing the face of innovation.
1. As a Nigerian-American journalist with a passion for storytelling, could you share with us your journey and how you ventured into journalism?
My passion for writing started when I was in middle school and I would write short stories on loose-leaf paper to share with my friends to read. From there, I wrote for my high school newspaper and then majored in journalism at Temple University. Although I’ve been writing for over a decade now, I landed my first official writing position in 2021.
2. You have attended some progressive conferences in the past. Can you elaborate on which ones were impactful and why?
Two conferences in particular instantly come to mind and that is AFROTECH Conference and Black Tech Weekend. They are each highly impactful because they provide a safe space where Black founders, entrepreneurs, and innovators feel empowered and are provided with access to knowledge, potential job opportunities, resources, connections, etc. The panels and networking that take place at these events leave you feeling inspired and ready to conquer what it takes to reach your goals.
3. Could you please discuss the individuals and works you have had the privilege to interview? Which among them have inspired you the most, and why?
I’ve had the great privilege of being able to interview leading founders, entrepreneurs, entertainers, creatives, and more. From CEOs of startups aiming to disrupt industries to budding business owners, the stories I’ve been able to help amplify have been super rewarding. Honestly, all of my interviewees have greatly inspired me but I would say that the founders who have bootstrapped their companies amaze me with how perseverant they are.
4. What advice or top tips would you offer women looking to advance their careers and
A main piece of advice I would give women is not to take barriers as defeat but rather as a challenge. In everything we do, there will be some form or level of opposition. However, as cliche as it sounds, the major key is to never quit. Take a break, possibly make a pivot, but never completely quit. Also, I would say to get creative with how you approach your career goals. Don’t be quick to follow someone else’s path because it appears that it worked easily for them. Seek guidance from people who genuinely want to see you win but don’t take your eyes off your own lane and set your own pace.
5. As a woman in your profession, what obstacles or challenges have you faced, and how did you overcome them?
The main obstacle I faced was officially getting my foot into the media industry. It’s no secret that the market is oversaturated, but I didn’t let that deter me from pushing to make my voice heard. As a believer, I trusted in God’s timing and continued to get my work out to the world. While initially waiting to secure my writing position, I started my own blog so I could keep working that writing muscle in the meantime. A current challenge I face is trying to ensure that I don’t burn out from my workload. To overcome that, I do my best to keep boundaries in place and to carve out time to unplug from my laptop.
6. How do you keep up with trends and stay current in the field of journalism?
Along with reading articles from multiple media outlets, I stay up to date with social media because in this day and age, it’s one of the main ways to be in the loop of what’s in the mainstream. Also, I have a wide circle of fellow media professionals so that definitely keeps me aware.
7. Could you share your experience of travelling, working, or living in different places?
I mainly work remotely, which comes with its pros and cons. It’s wonderful that I’m able to work from pretty much anywhere but it can also be lonely at times not being able to interact with my colleagues face to face. When I get to travel for work to attend events, it’s always a great, engaging experience.
8. What are your hobbies and interests outside of journalism?
I’m super into music so I love going to concerts and discovering new artists to listen to. I would say that I’m a big fan of creative work in general whether it’s artwork or a compelling TV show/film. I enjoy traveling because it allows me to learn about different cultures. Reading is another interest of mine because it’s my favourite form of escapism. My love for reading since a young age is also the reason why I’m the journalist and writer I am today.
9. How do you approach finding and telling the untold stories of innovators and entrepreneurs for AFROTECH?
When it comes to telling untold stories, I always strive to be super intentional. I don’t take what I do lightly and I always do my best to make my interviewees feel like their story is safe in my hands. Ultimately, I love being able to help highlight and amplify their story and hope that they further feel proud of what they’ve accomplished.
10. In your experience as a journalist and freelance writer, what qualities do you believe are essential for success in this field?
The top quality I would say is that you have to absolutely love writing because the media industry is not for the weak. Another one is it’s crucial for you to be a great listener and detail-oriented so that you can properly tell stories. Lastly, I believe that having a vivid imagination is important to succeed in the field.
Connect with Ngozi Nwanji
Twitter and Instagram: @znwanji
Link to my LinkedIn HERE