Growing up, she had a fun and loving childhood with parents who raised her to believe that she could do and be anything she put her mind to. “My parents would always encourage us saying, ‘You are destined for great things”, She said. She was raised to believe that there was absolutely nothing that she couldn’t achieve which was why she delved into a lot of things in secondary school. Though she was in the sciences, she didn’t limit herself to science-related activities only. She was the only student who took Arts classes. She participated in plays and even played football.
Growing up, Blessing Abeng, had a personal mission to save lives and live a life of impact after witnessing a doctor save her father’s life. This led her to make a career decision to become a Neurosurgeon. She went ahead to study Biochemistry at Covenant University, a Pre-medical course in preparation for surgery. However, while studying biochemistry, she grew weary of the monotony of the work and the limit to the number of people that she could directly impact. This left her wondering if there was another way to save lives aside from being a Neurosurgeon.
In this conversation, she took us through her journey from wanting to become a neurosurgeon to studying Biochemistry and eventually becoming a great branding and communications expert and co-founding Ingressive for Good.
YellowLyfe Mag: Who is Blessing Abeng?
Blessing Abeng: I am a branding and communications professional; this just simply means that I help people discover their identity and communicate that unique identity and value to their target audience. I am also the co-founder of Ingressive for Good, where I help drive the mission to increase the earning power of African youths by empowering them with the tech skills and resources they need to grow and excel in their lives. Though, I wanted to study Neurosurgery. I attended Covenant University, but Covenant does not have a medical degree, so the closest thing I could do was a premedical course which was Biochemistry and my dad just wanted me to have that grounding before going abroad to study for surgery. At some point, I joined a club where I learnt how to write business plans. I was so good at it that a friend suggested that I go into branding. Branding wasn’t very popular then, so I googled it and liked that it was a good combination between business and marketing. Doing that made me realize that there isn’t one way to save lives, every single person who is doing honest work is in their way saving lives. Everyone is playing a part to make everyone’s life better, there isn’t just one way to go about it. Through branding and communications, I have been able to help businesses stay alive because they can reach their customers and get more people buying into their business. That way, they can sustain the lives of their employees by paying them salaries and helping them reach their dreams.
YellowLyfe Mag: What motivated you to start content creation, and why did you stop?
Blessing Abeng: My content creation journey started as a 30-day challenge to share one thing about branding per day on my social media. Before that, I was already doing content creation for multinational brands and startups, however, I kept underestimating what I knew and overestimating what other people knew. I never saw my social media platforms as a channel to talk about my work, and I also didn’t feel like I knew enough about branding to start telling people what to do. So, I signed up for a course and I think that is what most people use as an excuse, “Oh, I don’t think I know enough, let’s do a course”. While taking the course, I realized I could do better than the instructors. So, I created my course, and while a lot of people recommended it, only one person signed up. I realized that people didn’t sign up because I was using my social media platforms to promote the course but there was nothing on those pages to suggest that I knew anything about branding. After the 30-day challenge, I created another course, and it sold out in less than 24 hours.
I don’t think I stopped content creation; I just changed my channels of sharing because it was no longer sustainable. Now that I am co-founder of Ingressive for good, I do have a lot of responsibilities in addition to my normal life. I don’t take my newsletters for granted, I still show up at Instagram lives, Twitter spaces and workshops, which is the way I have decided to show up these days. I also post regularly on LinkedIn where I share newsletters on topical issues concerning Life, branding and communications. Those are ways that I have chosen to share for now.
YellowLyfe Mag: Can you tell us a little bit about Ingressive for Good and the partnership with Google?
Blessing Abeng: A lot of startups think that the biggest problem is money until they have the money and then realize that the biggest problem is Talent. There are two sides to this; the start-ups that need talent and the people who want to learn the skill to be that talent but cannot, because it is expensive to get access to the places that would teach those skills in a way that one can use the knowledge to secure a job. At the time, I was already teaching people marketing and one of the challenges I realized we had in Africa was that there were brilliant businesses and solutions, people just didn’t know how to tell their stories in a way that appeals to their customers and investors. So, we created Ingressive for Good to increase the earning power of African youths by empowering them with tech skills, resources and opportunities that they need. The biggest thing Ingressive for good does is to give people access; access to resources, people, jobs and opportunities and everything that would get them to the next level of their lives in tech. We have three core things that we offer: Micro scholarships, technical training and Talent placements. Under the micro-scholarships, we do give laptops once in a while to people who are key beneficiaries of our technical training programs and the key programs that we focus on are, Design data, Software development, Product Management and Marketing. Soon, we are adding Web 3 to it. Also, Alphabet decided to sponsor us because they saw the work that we had done so far, and they were inspired by the work. They also saw the result of the work and the people that it had impacted.
YellowLyfe Mag: What inspires you daily?
Blessing Abeng: Different things inspire me per time. I could say failing inspires me. I’m the only person that I know who keeps losing at FIFA 22 but is still sitting there. I’m using that example because if something is scary, I feel the need to do it and that is just counterintuitive but there are a lot of hard things to be done and someone has got to do it but not everyone is brave enough to do those things. Seeing people’s lives change or watching them be just a little bit better is very inspiring for me. Being able to be scared and still do things and be successful in them is inspiring, the people around me are inspiring.
YellowLyfe Mag: What do you see as the future of Tech in Nigeria?
Blessing Abeng: I think that Tech might be our way out of poverty. Tech contributed more to Nigeria’s GDP this year than Oil did. So, I think the future of Tech is going to be our way out in terms of economic power, it is going to give us a big leveraging power as well. One of the most inspiring things is how Tech companies are making enough money to invest in other companies and that was not possible before. Tech companies are beginning to invest in the music space, and politics and that’s good because you require economic power to make the change that we need. Tech is showing a new perspective on the African continent, showing how amazing and talented our people are as opposed to the general opinion of us as a poverty-stricken continent.
YellowLyfe Mag: What are the most likely challenges that tech enthusiasts are likely to face?
Blessing Abeng: There are a lot which is why we really exist, of course, money is one because you need money to have access to training or resources that you need. You also need access to the people who will help you and these people are not necessarily reachable to everyone but non-profits like Ingressive for good have been to make these people accessible.
Another thing that we have not been able to help solve is power. We have given them the courses and the tools but for them to use the tools, there is no light or internet. The problems are a lot. However, if you can just commit thirty minutes every day and say, “I understand that there are challenges but despite these challenges, I will come out on top”. if you can find a community of people who are of like minds, goals and ambition who would inspire you to move forward.
YellowLyfe Mag: Can you tell me something about yourself that people don’t know?
I’m very lazy but my friends would say it’s a lie because they see me working hard. I love to find the easiest and fastest possible way to get quality results. I will not compromise on quality, but I will find interesting ways to get work done. I love to experiment; I get bored easily. I experiment a lot with everything, Food, Work, and my life. I’m also really playful.
YellowLyfe Mag: Aside from playing FIFA, what else do you do for fun?
Blessing Abeng: I love to meet new people and enjoy having conversations. I love to spend my time and energy gisting with people just to learn more. I believe that we are all living in this world, but we are all experiencing very different things. So, just being able to see things through other people’s eyes is such an interesting thing. I also enjoy watching movies because I found out that movies give me ways to articulate things that I have felt or experienced but never had the words to articulate them. I also like to visit new places. Lately, I have been really crazy about not postponing my happiness. I find something to do in between my day and if I can’t do it once a day, I would do it at least once a week just to find a bit of happiness in between my day. I like to read, I read random things.
YellowLyfe Mag: Where is your favorite place to go to, your favorite book and movie?
Blessing Abeng: My favorite place to go to is Home. When I am done with all the noise outside, I just want to come home. It’s familiar, I curated my home in a way that I am surrounded by things I like and the people that I love.
Books. I have different ones per time for different reasons. One that I really loved was, ‘Year of Yes’ by Shonda Rhimes and she had spoken about what the power of saying Yes did for her and also what the power of saying No did for her and not being able to just say No out of fear but out of logic and time. That was interesting to read. The book gave me an insight into understanding that Imposter syndrome happens to everybody no matter how much you have achieved and just being able to manage it by having the right people around you.
Movies! Oh my God, don’t get me started because I have a lot but let’s talk about Tv shows first. I liked Games of Thrones, even if the end was not the best but I liked it just because of what it stood for and how it played with people’s minds because it kept experimenting and going against the odds. I also love Kanye’s documentary. It was dope and touching, it talks about friendship, and self-belief, it was a lot of things in one. I also liked the greatest showman and Bohemian Rhapsody.
YellowLyfe Mag: Can you describe your journey in five words?
Blessing Abeng: Accidental, Experimental, Interesting, Fulfilling and Inspiring
YellowLyfe Mag: What is the best advice you ever got?
Blessing Abeng: I think it’s the one from my partner. He says, ‘Blessing, if it scares you, do it’. if I say, ‘Oh my God, I’m so scared’, he says, ‘That’s good, do it’. So that really helps and it’s always in my head.
YellowLyfe Mag: What are some of the principles that guide you?
Blessing Abeng: I prioritize being straightforward and being as transparent as possible in a way that will not cause harm. It just makes things a lot easier for everyone. I also care about simplicity as well, not making things overly complicated when they don’t have to be. I value experimenting and I don’t compromise on that. I would not just stick to a formula or structure just because it is working. If it is working for too long, I feel the need to shake it up a little bit. The most important part of that is if you are shaking things up, you need to communicate with your stakeholders that you are shaking things up and it is an experiment, this is what we are trying to achieve. The goal of an experiment is not to be right but to discover, so if we are doing it with a discovering mind, it means we are willing to fail and that means failure is not always a bad thing.
YellowLyfe Mag: What should we expect from you in the future?
Blessing Abeng: Just expect more experiments for sure. Expect that I’m going to always just shake things up as much as I need to, to ensure that the world is just a little bit better. No matter what I do, that’s just the one thing that is just going to be constant. No matter what I dedicate my life to, it’s going to be for the benefit of what makes someone’s life better, helping someone reach the next goal of their life. I’m not obsessed with being the richest person in the world or owning luxury properties, I just want to be sure that I’m a catalyst no matter what I’m doing. I will keep trying new things and experimenting. I will keep delving into several industries, who knows, one day I would probably be in space with Elon Musk or discussing politics with Obama. I will always keep my options open because I know that no matter what and no matter where when I look back, the dots will connect.
YellowLyfe Mag: What is your favorite quote?
Blessing Abeng: The goal of an experiment is not to be right but to discover.