She had potential all this time
Efe is a successful motivational and confidence coach focused on empowering individuals to succeed in their careers. In addition, she is also an international speaker, an author, and the founder of Odihi, a nonprofit mentoring Black girls and young women. Efe is passionate about revealing greatness and providing confidence to people's futures.
Today, Efe is a successful powerhouse. But growing up, she had very few people who believed she would be what she is today. In elementary school, Efe was physically ill, and this affected her weight. She looked anorexic and sick. The other kids didn't like to talk to her, and when they did, it was to bully her. They considered Efe as an object of scorn.
By age 13, her family moved to Belgium to a small neighbourhood that didn't welcome Black families. As if being in a new country and learning a new language wasn't hard enough, Efe dealt with repulsive looks and murmurs from the locals. Moving to a more metropolis city like Brussels didn't help either. Efe didn't look like the "pretty Black girls" people see in the media. She didn't look like someone who had the potential for popularity and success. So she was continuously excluded and bullied.
Meanwhile, Efe walked with her head held high. Some days were more challenging than others. But overall, Efe's stubbornness prevented her from giving into total passivity. She only had herself, and she refused to lose it. She refused to let other people's malice and contempt dictate who she was going to be. Efe knew she offered great things to the world, and she would find a way to make them happen.
Life as a young adult wasn't any easier. She worked as a chef, nursing assistant, and au pair. She put herself through school. There she dealt with college professors refusing to write her reference letters telling her, "You're not what they're looking for." Even when she made it to Oxford University, some professors still didn't see Efe's potential.
But Efe proved everyone wrong. Eventually, she worked at reputable companies like GSK, Pfizer, and Accenture. Now, she has her own business, a nonprofit, and a book. So many people doubted Efe could make it this far. Now, in addition to a successful career, she uses her overflowing confidence to help others realize their greatness.
It's hard to remember your potential when people are constantly drawing graffiti over your "Dream Big" and "You Can Do It!" posters. Efe experienced this first-hand, and she struggled through it alone. She has a tender heart for those who want someone to believe in them and help them move past the obstacles that are in the way of achieving their goals.
I think what's most impressive about Efe's story is that she came out of her struggle with the passion for helping others instead of bitterness against them. Especially with social media and heartwarming Oscar-winning movies, we're familiar with these underdog stories. But we should remind ourselves it's always incredible when someone beats the odds. Instead of becoming a bully, Efe became an advocate.
To contact Efe and learn more about this story, follow @efefruci on Instagram. You can also visit her website, check out her book, and learn more about her Odihi.