They say that middle children are often left to their own devices, and this was true for me. I have four siblings, so I come from quite a big family. I learnt from a young age to be very independent. Recently, I was reminded of how independent I was, when I went through some old things at my parent’s house and found my ‘bank book’. At the age of 12 or 13, I would collect money from family members who wanted to invest in some simple business ventures I was putting together. I would keep a tally of how much everyone paid me in my bank book, and I would use the money to purchase items that I could sell onto my peers to make a profit. So, already from a young age, I was showing my entrepreneurship skills.
My parents were a big inspiration to me growing up and were crucial to developing my career. My mum was a surgeon, and my dad was a teacher, which created an unusual dynamic. In traditional Nigerian households, the dad is the breadwinner and the mum is normally at home. For me, it was the opposite. Mum was the main breadwinner and often on call; while my dad, as a teacher, was at home more often. My dad fuelled my aspirations and provided practical advice when I was faced with obstacles and challenges, whilst watching my mum be a leader inside and outside the home shaped the way I think now. I have never seen women as less capable.
Indeed, growing up, I wanted to be a doctor like my mum. But, in school, I always found myself sticking up for the underdog and challenging unfairness. I realised quite early on I had a passion for justice, so I honed in on that and decided to pursue law.
In the role that I am doing now, I want to be able to inspire a new generation. In particular, black girls who may lack confidence, doubt their abilities, or who may not have role models the way I had in my mother. I’d like them to think, ‘If Ella did it, maybe I can do it’. Even if they face obstacles, I want them to know they can still make it. I am a young Black woman, but I don’t see these three diverse characteristics as obstacles. I see them as my ‘superpower’ – as every room I walk into, you are going to remember me.