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Tewa Onasanya: “Our mindset is the foundation of everything. We create things twice: first in our mind and then, in our reality, it happens.”

Her transformative journey from pharmacology to publishing, philanthropy, and mindset empowerment radiates resilience, leaving a powerful legacy of inspiring women and changing lives.
November 24, 2023
9:12 pm

I met Tewa Onasanya at the enchanting Four Points by Sheraton in Victoria Island, where the bustling ambiance mirrored the diverse paths that led guests through its doors. Some were here for celebrations, others for meetings, and some simply to savor the hotel’s delectable cuisine. It was a setting where countless stories converged and diverged. Amidst this vibrant backdrop, Onasanya, affectionately referred to as Dr. Tewa, as lovely and radiant as ever, welcomed me, marking a reunion a year in the making. Our paths had crossed at the 14th ELOYs Conference and Award Night in November 2022, where I had witnessed her remarkable journey through the worlds of pharmacology, publishing, lifestyle, and philanthropy. While we hardly knew each other then, destiny had brought us back together.


The interview that followed delved into the depths of reinvention, the power of mindset styling, the essence of ELOY Awards, and the impactful stories that shaped Dr. Tewa’s legacy. As she shared her insights, the vibrant energy of Sheraton’s surroundings seemed to amplify the profound wisdom she imparted. The conversations painted a portrait of resilience and transformation, affirming the notion that, indeed, we create our destinies.


“In your career, you’ve navigated a transition from pharmacology to the world of publishing, lifestyle, and philanthropy. What insights can you share about reinventing oneself and embracing a new path, especially in a different field?” I inquired.



Dr. Tewa’s expressive face brightened as she began, with her body language echoing the enthusiasm in her voice. “I suppose I should say that everybody can transition into any path they want to, especially because of the fact that as we learn, we do pick up some transferable skills along the way. So, it doesn’t matter if you used to be a doctor or an engineer, as long as you want to switch a career field, you can do it.” She continued, “I recently read about a mechanic who eventually became a medical doctor, so there are different basic transferable skills you could develop along the way. And, of course, you still need to have some certifications before you fully delve into that field.”


The essence of our conversation expanded beyond the boundaries of the hotel’s captivating setting. We delved into the concept of “mindset styling,” a topic that elicited a contemplative expression from Dr. Tewa.


“The concept of ‘mindset styling’ is fascinating. How do you perceive the intricate relationship between mindset and personal success, and can you share an example of how altering one’s mindset can lead to transformation?” I asked.


Dr. Tewa’s eyes sparkled as she responded, “Now, I believe that there’s no way one can separate mindset from personal success because our mindset determines our success. If the mindset isn’t right, we wouldn’t be able to think of that kind of success in the first place. Our mindset is the foundation of everything. We create things twice: first in our mind and then, in our reality, it happens. So, for anyone to achieve any success, whatever it means to that person, you have to have seen it in your mind first.” As she spoke, the atmosphere seemed to shift, as if aligning with her words. The diverse crowd continued to weave in and out, but the spotlight was squarely on Dr. Tewa, who shared her wisdom with a passion that resonated far beyond the hotel’s walls.



Eager to explore the heart of the ELOY Awards, I posed the question, “The ELOY Awards recognize remarkable women. In your opinion, what are the common characteristics or qualities that set these women apart and make them deserving of such accolades?”


Her face lit up with a mix of pride and admiration as she spoke of the honorees. “These women who we award the ELOYs to are women who are doing excellently well in their various fields. We have a board that decides the criteria to choose such women. They include things like integrity, commitment to work, quality leadership, and the rest. We usually have five criteria to be met, and we ensure that a good number of them are usually fulfilled.”


Dr. Tewa recounted an unforgettable tale of a nominee facing a dire moment in her entrepreneurial journey. “There are quite a number actually. I can remember a particular year, not sure if it was 2017 or 2018, where one of the nominees felt like all her efforts in her business were futile. It even got to the point where she almost committed suicide because, well, business wasn’t going as well as it should have.” She continued, “The day she wanted to end her life was coincidentally the day a friend of hers called her and said, ‘Oh wow! You’ve been nominated for an ELOY!’ That changed the course of everything for her. She even ended up winning the award. The wonderful thing about all the women who won the awards that year was that they all wanted to give up. They had finally given up, even.”


Our conversation continued with a reflection on the impact of Dr. Tewa’s work and the legacy she aspires to leave in the world. “The impact is being measured by how many women we’re able to support through our entrepreneurial trainings, how many women we’re able to put in touch with people that are able to help them out with affordable loans and also give them grants. We’re launching a product soon, which I can’t say much about, but we guarantee that it’ll help a lot of business owners.”



As our conversation delved deeper into Dr. Tewa’s diverse roles and passions, we explored her impactful career as an author with a collection of six books. I was eager to learn about the societal or cultural change she aspired to achieve through her writing.


“Your book, ‘Rule Your Mind,’ has received praise for its impact. As an author, you have the power to influence perspectives and change lives through your words. What kind of societal or cultural change do you hope your writing will contribute to eventually?”


Dr. Tewa’s eyes gleamed with purpose as she responded, her words carrying a weight of transformation. “I would love Nigeria to have a huge mindset shift. When I say mindset shift, I’m talking about a complete shift where you’re minding how you talk and think, which influences how you act. A lot of people unconsciously put themselves and even this country down, and they don’t understand that that is why the country is the way it is.” She continued, “Yes, we as individuals still need to take action to make things better, but if you keep saying ‘this thing is bad, it won’t work,’ well, that thing truly wouldn’t work. You’ve convinced yourself that it wouldn’t work, so you can’t expect a positive result.” With the backdrop of the hotel’s dynamic atmosphere, Dr. Tewa’s words carried a message of profound change. The hotel’s guests, going about their daily lives, seemed to absorb the essence of her words, as if collective consciousness were awakening to the power of positive thought.


“That’s the title of my latest book, actually — ‘Convince Yourself First,’” she revealed. “Because something you think over and over again will become a belief, and that belief has to be manifest in reality. If you’re saying the country is bad and have said it so many times, your mind has to show you that what you’re saying is ‘right.’ Hence, it has to show you that the country is bad.”


Dr. Tewa’s vision extended beyond her books, aiming to catalyze a broader transformation. The cultural and societal change she hoped for was, at its core, a profound shift in individual mindsets.


She continued with a message that resonated within the very walls of Sheraton Hotel, “So when we have a complete and total mindset shift, it’s changing how we think about this. It starts with us actually — changing how you think about yourself, your family, your future, and all that. Always think positively, and it will happen!”



In the midst of our vibrant conversation, we delved into another facet of Dr. Tewa’s journey, one that reflected her commitment to philanthropy. The Exquisite Magazine Annual Cancer (EMAC) Walk, a remarkable initiative aimed at raising awareness about cervical and breast cancer, had left a significant imprint on her path.


I couldn’t help but wonder about the pivotal moment or personal connection that led to the inception of this foundation. I asked, “You’ve also given yourself over to philanthropy. The Exquisite Magazine Annual Cancer (EMAC) Walk is a remarkable initiative focused on raising awareness about cervical and breast cancer. What pivotal moment or personal connection led to the inception of this foundation, and what has been the most rewarding aspect of your work with it?”


Dr. Tewa’s demeanor turned reflective, and her eyes carried a mix of determination and empathy. “Well, I was in Nigeria in 2008, and I was talking to a friend that I wanted to go back to London to have my pap smear. She did not understand what I was talking about, and I was like ‘pap smear… for cervical cancer.’ She still didn’t understand what I was talking about.”


Her vivid recollection of that moment hinted at the spark that ignited her mission. On her way to London, Dr. Tewa’s thoughts revolved around her friend’s lack of awareness about this crucial procedure. She shared, “I started to do my research, and I found out that at least one woman in Nigeria dies every hour due to cervical cancer. That threw me away.”


In the grand tapestry of the hotel’s dynamic atmosphere, Dr. Tewa’s story struck a chord of deep concern for the health of women in Nigeria. Her realization had transcended personal experience and embraced a broader mission.


She continued, “And then I thought… Exquisite Magazine is a magazine that talks about women, their fashion, their lifestyle, and health, so who better to talk about cervical cancer awareness than Exquisite Magazine?”


In 2010, Dr. Tewa and her team orchestrated the EMAC Fashion Party, a creative initiative designed to make women aware of the disease in a fun and engaging way. She recounted the success of the event, which featured performances by notable artists, including Tiwa Savage and Goldie, among others. However, the journey didn’t stop at the party. Dr. Tewa explained, “By 2012, we decided to stop the party and instead do a walk, an EMAC Walk. We started screening women, and that’s how it’s been since then!”


As she narrated the evolution of the EMAC Walk and the impact it had on women’s health, the hotel’s surroundings seemed to amplify the importance of the cause. The lively comings and goings of the hotel guests symbolized the constant flow of awareness and support that the EMAC Walk had generated.


As we continued our conversation, I couldn’t help but feel inspired by Dr. Tewa’s dedication to making a difference. The year of radiance had not only illuminated her path but had also left a trail of positive change for others to follow.


As our inspiring conversation approached its culmination, I couldn’t help but wonder about the legacy Dr. Tewa hoped to leave behind in the realms of publishing, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship. With a hint of anticipation, I asked, “Looking ahead, what legacy do you hope to leave behind in the realms of publishing, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship, and how do you plan to achieve this vision?”


Dr. Tewa’s face radiated with a sense of purpose and determination. She shared her vision for the future, saying, “In the world of publishing, I aspire to continue to be a voice for women, empowering them through stories and content that uplift and inspire. Exquisite Magazine will remain a platform for showcasing the excellence and achievements of women across various fields.”


“As for philanthropy,” she continued, “I hope to leave a legacy of improved women’s health and empowerment. The ELOY Foundation will continue to expand its reach, supporting more women through education, health initiatives, and entrepreneurial training.” Her words resonated with a promise of enduring change. The ELOY Foundation’s work was far from over, and Dr. Tewa’s determination to uplift women’s lives shone brightly amidst the lively atmosphere of the hotel.


Dr. Tewa concluded, “In entrepreneurship, I aim to be a mentor and a catalyst for women’s success, providing opportunities and resources to help them thrive in their endeavors. My various business initiatives will continue to be vehicles for empowerment and growth.”


As our interview concluded, the story of Dr. Tewa’s year of radiance reached its final chapter. Her journey was not just about personal success; it was a testament to the power of resilience, vision, and dedication to making a difference.


With the backdrop of the hotel’s ever-flowing life, the legacy of Dr. Tewa seemed not only possible but inevitable. It was a legacy that would resonate in the hearts and minds of women, inspiring them to embrace their radiance, and to continue the journey of transformation.


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