All Blog Entries

Alumni Case Study

12 Sep 2017

Speaking with Funmi was uplifting. A woman with such integrity ensures inspiring conversation. Since competing in the Grand Final of Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! in 2008, Funmi’s life has been nothing short of inspiring. The programme “changed my life” she tells us, but we think she found her voice and then changed her own life.

Funmi was always confident at school, but it wasn’t until she took part in the Speakers Trust workshop that she gained a sense of personal development. It was only then that she started to dream of being excellent. Goals began to form and Funmi realised that first and foremost, she needed to learn how to communicate. Her quest to perfect these skills began and led her down the most extraordinary path.

Funmi was distraught not to have won the competition, but quickly realised that she hadn’t lost anything, she had gained everything. Since the taking part in the programme, Funmi feels like she has “power in communication” and that she gained a voice. How she has used that voice is incredible.

She wanted to serve her community, so Funmi joined the London Youth Parliament and was elected as a local youth MP for two years. She was then appointed head of the London Youth Parliament, a position that saw her make history in 2009 as the first non-elected member to open a debate in the House of Commons. Funmi debated fiercely for a cap on tuition fees.

In 2010 Funmi hosted the Child Poverty Awards. She tells us how she wants to utilise her communication skills within youth projects. Whilst studying Chemistry at the University of London, Funmi founded the Institute of Mad Science, a youth programme teaching young people about science in fun and engaging ways. She has also set up a voluntary project in Gambia helping young women and girls avoid risks of poor maternal health through education.

It’s no surprise that Funmi was number two in the Future Leaders Magazine, which profiles 100 of the UK’s most outstanding African and African Caribbean students and new graduates.

Funmi would encourage any student who has an opportunity to participate in the Speakers Trust workshop to go for it. “It’s accessible and it’s free,” she says, and teaches the “most integral skill you can have.”

It’s amazing what someone can achieve when they have the drive and passion. The “Speak Out” Challenge! opened a door for Funmi, but the rest was down to her and her commitment to maximise on an opportunity. We can only imagine what good she will continue to do with her voice and her dedication to helping others.

Funmi’s top tip: Be authentic and work hard on being yourself! Everyone else is already taken.