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Female Disruptors: Martina Inumidun Iwala On The Three Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry

Martina: Gotta thank a friend and IG for a quote sent to me which said: Pause. Breathe. Adjust your crown. Proceed. I was having the TOUGHEST week and my bestie of 15 years DMed this post to me. Now I pass this information along

As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Martina Antoinette de Truff née Inumidun Iwala.

Of Nigerian & Cameroonian descent, Martina grew accustomed to the realities of being the product of immigrant parents: their passion for success will forever be to ensure their future generations have a better life. Martina’s passion for success “…far exceeds the limitations we’re inundated with by society…” and believes the “deepest misfortune is living within the confines of a social media generated chimera”.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Many believe that I went from Ivy League student to climbing the FinCorp ladder to model-slash-actress to producing features & reality television in a one-four-swoop but between the first three peaks -for lack of a better word- I was truly just along for whatever ride I was on. It wasn’t that I didn’t know what my natural talents were or what I enjoyed doing, it was simply the immensity of truly understanding just how “user-definable” being an adult is. Being a first-generation Nigerian/Cameroonian, there are certain rights that North American citizens have that we simply aren’t privy to which is oftentimes a disadvantage when it comes to everyday life. However, I believe when someone comes to you to point out a problem without a solution they’re simply complaining thus Operation: Adulting™ was formed.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We’re disrupting what comes to mind when people imagine non-profit organizations as Operation: Adulting™ is North America’s first Millennial & Gen-Z run hypeOrg assisting diverse, underrepresented STEAM-focused high school & college-aged students with APPLIED adulting skills. We curate programmes and events that promote financial literacy in what we call our FinLit “course” which goes in-depth about the advantages of investing in retirement earlier on and sustainable money management tips; we also focus on inner engineering, or what we call our ID2021 course, which highlights Knowledge, Skills & Abilities or KSAs as these students are leaving the orbits of high school or college and aren’t aware of what they’re actually good at. We’re disrupting what it means to be to #adult in this digital revolution!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Joining my first Zoom-based pandemic interview while changing into my Zoom shirt. Definitely taught me to change all of my web-meeting settings to Camera OFF upon joining a call. Yikes.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

You won’t believe me when I say my mentor will always be myself plus 20 years. It’s great to find someone who inspires you through the actions they took however, I’m a firm believer of keeping the ideal version of yourself in mind. That doesn’t include a fleeting thought of the future you; I’m talking 10 minutes daily, really envisioning who you are, what makes you smile, all the way down to what allergies you’ve developed over the years. Really make that image of yourself as tangible as the vision of you spending those powerball winnings or finishing a triathlon! I say this as society is often preoccupied with everything going on beyond ourselves that we lose sight of where we’re going and who we aim to be. Look, we enter the world alone and when we’ve finished leaving our marks- be in the minds of those who dislike us or in the hearts of those who admire us- our candle going out signals the curtain call of our world tour. Go out knowing that you lived YOUR best life and not a version of life only remembered through a collection of “top 9” social media posts.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disruption has never held the positive connotation it does today. Meyer Lansky is a prime example of this as books and articles written about him have recently been reworded to label him an innovative rather than a criminal. Without speaking for O: A, I believe that all disruptions are positive! When you think of Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr, John F Kennedy, The PowerMBA Global, the Shaw Academy or even Amazon, Waze and Uber- the aforementioned have all been through intense scrutiny, some sacrificing their own lives because they’ve gone against the grain. Disruptors have visions that don’t fit into a mold and stand the tests of evolution and time; instead of defaming or ostracizing these magnificent individuals, there simply needs to be an understanding of perspectives paired with guidance and assurance.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

I’m known for going on and on so I thought I’d have my fellow Chairpersons share some advice as well

  • Martina: Gotta thank a friend and IG for a quote sent to me which said: Pause. Breathe. Adjust your crown. Proceed. I was having the TOUGHEST week and my bestie of 15 years DMed this post to me. Now I pass this information along
  • Walyce: “Teach your name” — My very first journalism professor taught me that my name is part of my identity. He said it’s my right to assert myself and not give anyone a free pass for not learning it. “How do you know?” — Several people along my journey have challenged my beliefs and preconceived notions about others by asking that question. I ask myself “how do I know” often to ensure that I am applying critical thinking, mindfulness, and truth.
  • Courtney: Be confident in who you are, and remain focused on your goals! Confidence and focus are key drivers to succeeding all areas of your life, not just in education.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Whew, growing older taught me two things: 1) you’re stuck with you no matter where you are & 2) understanding perspectives is the key to non-violence. Operation: Adulting™ has future plans of bringing the innovative and disruptive worlds together. I definitely suggest signing up for updates on

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

Easy. Transcending the Levels of Consciousness by David R Hawkins. I had a hearty laugh with this one as everyone familiar with me already knows my answer. The contents of this book are deeply rooted in what I believe with one quote in particular resonating with me: “We change the world not by what we say or do, but as a consequence of what we have become.” In order to reach that “consequence” you go through a series of actions with karma being the result of said actions. We need to update the idea of “karma” as many don’t realize that we deal with karmic influences on a daily basis. Karma isn’t energy coming at you from what you did to your ex or co-worker, it’s the average of your actions. Don’t feel like doing the dishes for a week? Cool. When you’ve slept through your alarm and are searching for the coffee traveler hidden beneath the pan under the cutting board beneath the knife under the smoothie blender you placed in the sink earlier in the week, those giggles echoing? That’s just Karma.

Oh and Hidden Brain; I generally listen to the NPR podcasts but there is a book of the same name.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I had to ask my fellow Chairpersons and I quite honestly live by one and one only: “If they don’t challenge you in a positive way, sign your checks, pay your bills or have access to your assets; Pluck ‘em.” — Martina Inumidun Iwala. With the help of our mothers, we entered this world naked; they fill us with the knowledge they’ve acquired along the way only to share some of it with us in hopes of coming to our own conclusions. Don’t live your life occupied with the irrelevance of so and so from marketing who won’t stop eating your clearly labeled lunch or that neighbor down the hall who never holds the elevator for you; worrying about what could’ve/should’ve/or is about to happen simply has that thought taking up space and paying rent twice. Your mind has better things to do like worrying about a company you have shares in and if your potential suitor will have an up to par portfolio.

Walyce: “Bola pra frente que atrás vem gente!” My mom is Brazilian and she played futbol in college, so she uses sports analogies to explain life. That expression basically means to keep moving forward and persevering because life is relentlessly coming for us, like defenders attempting to block you from scoring. When I was about to quit college because I couldn’t afford anymore tuition, I asked the dean for financial aid and the school provided it. When I was exhausted from meeting jerks off of dating apps, I didn’t shut my heart down and was able to connect with a truly good person. When being unemployed drained all my confidence, I continued to apply for jobs and brace for rejection until I was finally accepted. So don’t give up! Keep aiming between those goalposts until the last whistle sounds.

Courtney: “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” — Muhammad Ali.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Can we start a #LBR: Let’s B Real trend? People are unbelievably insecure about their shortcomings when they should be acutely aware of their tall-comings. Myself as an example: I’m the G.O.A.T. when it comes to developing ideas and ill strategies. Need those ideas implemented? I’ll outsource the heck out of it. Figure out what you’re naturally inclined to, begin making yourself the BEST at that; figure out which issues you’re passionate about and how your natural inclination can assist in solving that issue.

And an affordable union for PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS should be in order right about now.

How can our readers follow you online?

If you’re reading this and you’re a high school or college-aged student interested in all things STEAM, find us on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok & LinkedIn @OperationAdulting

If you’re reading this and are interested in representing the underrepresented in STEAM categories, connect with me at @izzaMII on IG

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!



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