Martha Awojobi, Corporate Development Officer at West London Mission
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we are highlighting the work of women who are active in the community in and around Paddington Central and are an inspiration to others.
Martha Awojobi, Corporate Development Officer at West London Mission homeless daycentre. Martha has raised 70k for the charity in the first five months of being in post.
What is your name and what do you do?
I’m Martha and I'm a Corporate Development Officer at West London Mission. We work with homeless and vulnerable people and transform their lives through various services.
Would you have considered yourself a role model for Women of Paddington?
Yes, I think I would. I think that I am incredibly brave and this is something that is shown in the work that I do. It is not easy to ask people for money, it’s not easy to convey to people what it is like to sleep rough. It is certainly not easy to walk into a room of 15 men and pitch as the only woman in the room.
How do other women inspire your work?
I work with some pretty cool women who work with difficult people on a day-to-day basis and have to keep their composure at all times. I also work with women who work with a lot of love and compassion. We are all very strong and we know how to look after some of the most vulnerable people in society.
What inspired you to pursue your career?
There are two things that I like about my career. I work in a sales role, which requires tenacity, humour and being able to understand people. I also change people’s lives. Everyday I hear about incredible people with incredible stories and lives that have been transformed by the work that we do. I really do want to make a difference.
What does a day in the life of Martha look like?
My day is very chaotic. It's a lot of phone calls, emails and networking. It is a lot of hearing the word ‘no’. My day is about trying to maintain balance amidst this.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
I have only just started recently doing that. The nature my job involves intensity. You have to know where your limits are, take a step back and realise that if you burn out you're not going to be effective at what you do.
What have you found to be the most rewarding aspects of your career?
I'd never be able to pinpoint just one thing that I love about my job. I work with incredible women and I've never worked in a female dominated workplace. To see women kicking ass everyday is inspiring and very rewarding. I get to hear the success stories of people that have struggled with many different, but equally awful, situations.
How long have you been part of the Paddington Community?
I'm new as I've been here about a year.
What are the major changes that you've seen at Paddington in your time?
In the past year I've seen real community activism and more interest in the charity that I work for.
How important do you feel that the development of Paddington Central is to the community?
I think it is important for the marrying of both social and business. It will provide more awareness of how people can get involved in the local community.
What advice would you give to your younger self when first starting your career?
I'd tell my younger self to take more risks and take up more space. I would always encourage the younger me to be loud, brave, always take risks and to apply for jobs that I'd think were beyond me. I'd tell myself not to be afraid of reaching for things that I think aren't attainable. To be honest, men are told to have aspirations that women are told to avoid.
What do you think the definition is of Women of Paddington?
Being in the epicentre of the business world, it would be a woman that is tough.
What can other Women of Paddington do to make a positive impact to our community?
They should get to know the local community and the community groups by going online to see what volunteering opportunities there are in the area.
How are you celebrating International Women's Day?
Everyday is International Women's day for me because women are amazing. I'm spending my entire week with my friends, who really inspire me.
West London Mission
The West London Mission (WLM) has been serving people affected by homelessness and poverty since 1887. We are part of the Methodist Church and run a wide range of services which empower people to live more fulfilling lives. For more information about the work they do, please take a look at their website.