We are thrilled to welcome Anthonia Ogundele as our March 5th speaker.
Anthonia Ogundele, planner, resilience professional, and founder of Ethọ́s Lab.
Ogundele has a passion for cities and engaging communities and was a member of the Northeast False Creek Stewardship Committee, igniting the launch of the Hogan’s Alley Land Trust, and later the Hogan’s Alley Society. In 2016, she turned a storefront facing closet on Carrall Street into the Cheeky Proletariat: an accessible and inclusive space that fosters free expression of all People. Inspired by her teenage daughter, Anthonia founded the Ethọ́s Lab, a non-profit social enterprise that leverages culture as a vehicle to access STEM exploration. Youth ages 13-18 have access to emerging technologies and a vibrant community of innovators. Ethos Lab advocates for access to the tools and Skills youth members need to create the future they want through their collaborative online platform and physical space.
How do you define creativity and apply it in your life and career?
Creativity is authentic self-expression. It has actually taken a while for me to accept my creativity…and call it creativity. In life, we are often told to move in particular kinds of ways or have particular life paths. But truly it’s about the uniqueness of who you are and your own uniqueness that you bring to the world around you. And so when it comes to me creativity is about the world telling me to make a left when my heart tells me to take a right. My career has been my left-hand lane, but only until recently did I say, time to unleash my creativity, time to make a right. So I made the decision to step out of formal employment and dive into entrepreneurialism, which allows me to fully live in my creative ability or more into my authentic self.
Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?
I get my inspiration from music, faith, and people. When I listen to music it gives me energy up and my creative juices begin to flow. I believe life consists of intricate patterns that can be remixed, broken, enhanced, and amplified. When I think about what I do around creative interventions I ALWAYS think about how J DILLA makes his beats. He always started in the offbeat so I try and live my life in a similar rhythm. Also, I am a Christian and my faith energizes me and connects me with the world around me—nature, people, and my spirit. Finally, Humans inspire me—I am surrounded by so many inspirational people.
What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
Don’t be afraid to be creative. Your uniqueness and self-expression is needed and valued and undoubtedly is your superpower.
Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings?
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I once received a call from a friend in the middle of my workday at lunch who asked if I wanted to fly to Chicago on Obama’s election night. I left my desk, went to the airport, and celebrated his win in Chicago. The next day I was back at work.
What fact about you would surprise people?
I have Federal top-secret security clearance.
What keeps you awake at night?
The Metaverse—ensuring Black people exist in the future.
What has been one of your biggest Aha! moments in life?
That cities are intentionally designed. That policy is intentionally designed. That all things we create as humans are intentionally designed—which means that they are on the table for creative disruption.