From Rock Bottom To Million-Dollar Boss: The Story Of British Born Nigerian Yemi Penn

It is one thing to build a thriving business with the accumulated wealth of a previously successful business but nothing is more inspiring than seeing someone succeeding without any capital, funding, and sometimes even education or experience.

Thirteen years ago, Yemi Penn was homeless sleeping in rat-infested hostels till she was to be housed by the government, frustrated and disappointed at her situation after her parents asked her to leave after getting pregnant. But the British born Nigerian entrepreneur was determined to make a success of herself – and is now the proud owner of three businesses.

Though it did not happen overnight, today she is jetting between Australia, the UK and the USA to drive her businesses forward and spread her powerful story even further as she turns millionaire at 37.

Penn never gave up and to add to her achievements, her success story made it to the cover of the Pan African Entrepreneurial and Luxury magazine, Pleasures Magazine.

Talking about her earlier experiences with Pleasures Magazine, she said: “It was rock bottom. And for a long time, despite my successes, I kept quiet about my struggles. And whilst it’s easy to say “don’t give up to someone”, often these words can seem empty.”

How can you have the courage to speak up even when you’re scared, and leverage tough experiences to make you stronger? She shares this across the world with her signature programs, bringing her programs online in 2020 to reach further and wider.

Yemi is breaking every limiting belief out there and has no intention of stopping. Her mission is to empower others, especially young girls and women to take charge of their life and be conscious and active designers of their future. Yemi’s story is a formidable one that transmutes suffering to glory and self-empowerment.

Having been sexually abused at age seven meant she was constantly hiding in the shadows for fear of being seen and ultimately hurt. She carried this pain for decades despite speaking up all those years back but falling on deaf ears, over two decades later, Yemi sees the importance of speaking your truth because as cliché as it sounds, ‘it sets you free’.

Yemi is a transformational coach, global speaker, entrepreneur, and x3 business owner. Yemi Penn is originally from London, she spent her early childhood in Lagos, Nigeria and has now made the Southern Hemisphere her home in Australia where she manages her Engineering Consultancy in Sydney Australia, she is also the founder of W Squared Coaching that seeks to empower others to live their best life, at the same time helping organisations build high-performing teams.

She is the owner of an F45 gym in Brixton, a gym studio she created to bring people together from all walks of life and offer a safe space for personal and health development. She has founded and taught over 1,000 exercise programs around the world including, Australia, Japan, and several US Military programs.

Over the past few years, Yemi has gained an international reputation as an inspirational, transformational motivational speaker sharing her personal and business insights, she has recently shared a stage with Mark Whalberg and Andre Agassi with audiences from Australia to the UK, South Africa, and the USA. And all whilst developing three successful businesses!

Put simply, Yemi is on a mission to change society, enrich the lives of others and disrupt the way we live, work and think.

Yemi who is an engineer by profession is dedicated to increasing the conversation and most importantly action around increasing the number of girls and women in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths sector. The statistics on gender equality and equity are still shockingly low and even more so in certain parts of Africa and the Middle East.

Yemi is a firm believer in the school of thought that says ‘your dreams choose you’, meaning when you have an idea that comes to mind, it is usually your higher self or God guiding you on your mission. She said what usually stops people from being successful is ‘fear’ and so part of your mission in life is to learn to take fear for dance because it is not something that will disappear overnight but it is something that should never control you, worst yet, dim your light.

Yemi encourages young girls and women, in particular, to step up to their dreams and dig deep to ensure they achieve them. The semi-autobiographical tome of ‘Did You Get The Memo, is a balance between personal story, motivational snippets and hands-on advice, appealing to both business people and those looking for an entertaining page-turner.

Yemi took out £15k in debt to start her own company at first.

Speaking with Pleasures Magazine about the book she said, “My book has been written to be inspiring, empowering and life-changing, but importantly I want the reader to question the way they live, think and react, especially when it comes to responding to challenges, shifting their mindset to find passion, purpose, and happiness in life.”

‘Did You Get the Memo?’ explores how to achieve success based on one’s terms and not society’s, whether that is within a career, home life or both. Yemi’s work invites a conversation with the woman who decided not to (or can’t) have kids, to the young man trying to make a better life for himself and his family despite institutional barriers, her work explores knowing your ‘WHY’ and building your life around it.

The themes from Yemi’s personal experiences all build on Yemi’s professional work with organisations all over the world, as managing director of Penny Consulting (an Engineering Management Consultancy), W Squared Coaching and F45 Training Brixton.

Within these businesses Yemi manages a team that specialises in Project, Design and Interface Management, alongside associates she mentors and implements strategies for corporate executives and their teams, to create real impact, disruption, and diversity in their workplaces. She works with organisations to give businesses and their people the tools and strategies to work smarter and become more efficient, ultimately building high performing teams.

“Change is the only constant in life, so embrace it”
Ms Penn explains that “Regardless of how much we think we adapt to change effortlessly, it remains a challenging paradigm to embrace. Change means coming from a place of ‘knowing’ to ‘not knowing’, which sprinkles a level of uncertainty in the air. If we work according to the ‘norm’, change can be perceived as bringing about chaos.”

She said “By challenging the concept that the ‘norm’ is what has always been done and has in turn brought about results, we take the first step towards a conversation to bring about cultural change not just in us as individuals but businesses and organisations. The simple question: “Is the norm still working for us?” allows organisations in particular to address the potential for a shift which can make a business more sustainable.”

Shifting the workplace norm and acknowledging that change is a positive action, brings about the opportunity for often much needed increased efficiency within a team. By acknowledging where improvements can be made, businesses can start to understand a new way of thinking, similarly, this can be applied to our individual lives.

Yemi Penn’s work with Organisations and Businesses
Introducing a healthy conversation about change in organisations allows and empowers employees to manage their work-life integration.

Yemi’s mantra in the workplace is for leaders to empower their employees, giving them greater independence and autonomy, as well as flexibility which allows individuals to influence how and when they work at their best, which in turn brings about increased motivation, commitment, efficiency and productivity on the premise that the organisation remains transparent in communicating its overall objectives.

Yemi is also a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, she told us, “This isn’t just about bringing more women or ethnic minorities into the workplace but it is about widening our vision to actively encourage diversity of thinking.

This comes from our experiences and understanding of cultures that might differ from our ‘norm’, so organisations must focus on how we can integrate differences into the business’ culture and environment. Once values are clearly defined and underpinned in behaviour this diversity of experience in working towards an ultimate common goal.”

She has helped people to wake up to the benefits of diversity in the workforce and encouraged both businesses and individuals to bring on the changes, initiating through small steps including:

● What working flexibly looks like and how it could transfer into your business culture?
● What are the needs of the people in your organisation?
● How does each person work effectively as an individual?
● What are the opportunities for diversity of leadership?
● What are the opportunities to overcome any hierarchical structures?

This issue also includes an in-depth look at one of the leading names in aviation for the past six decades, Gulfstream. A must-read for anyone with an interest in travel or aviation, this article traces the history of this pioneering company to its iconic status today.

On the topic of travel and transportation, Pleasures Magazine brings us details on some exciting new property offerings, including a special feature on New York, as well as updates on the exciting world of yachting.

Plus, a special focus on the next generation of African designers and how they’ve come of age and taking more of an interest in fashion and wanting to see themselves represented within the fashion industry.

And as usual, the magazine is incomplete without your usual light stories and other human interest narratives such as an exclusive on how Namibia is converting its desolate sand dunes into the retreat of a lifetime.


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