Morin Osunmakinde: Building Women Of Purpose
Words By – Temitope Ojo
Morin Osunmakinde is a certified Customer Service Coach. She runs a human resources and customer service firm known as Epiproactive Company; a company responsible for recruitments and establishments of excellent customer service culture for companies in diverse industries including financial services, retail, hospitality and not-for-profit organisations.
Fondly called PMO, her passion for helping people find purpose in life, led her to found Babes! Redefined, an interdenominational social media women’s group committed to raising a generation of women that will affect others around them positively.
Married to Dele Osunmakinde, the overseer of The Baptizing Church, the mother of three, in this interview, speaks on how the group came into being and how to live a balanced, happy and successful life as a woman.
It’s been 10 years since Babes Redefined was founded. How did the journey begin?
It’s been 10 years laced with grace. I remember having a conversation about women and life with some sisters from my church back then in Abuja in 2009, when one of them used the word babes in the conversation. It sounded like I was hearing it for the first time because it was suddenly highlighted in my heart. Right there, I got the acronym; Beautiful, Adorable, Blessed, Empowered and Saved. And boom! The vision was born.
I’d always known I would do something with women being the pastor’s wife but until that day, I used to think it would be limited to overseeing the sisters’ fellowship in church.
One day, I was in our living room with a pastor friend and brother, Pastor Segun Coker, just talking generally about life and ministry. I shared the BABES Redefined vision with him and he suggested that I could start a group for women on Facebook. Before then, I was not exactly a frequent user of FB. But I took his counsel and opened a Facebook group and named it BABES REDEFINED. I was then left with deciding what the aim was going to be since this was different from what I was used to.
A word came to me saying “it is just a group where women can come and just be themselves without the cloak of Church,” a place where they can get answers to deep issues they probably won’t feel free enough to share in church. Gradually, the aim became refined to, seeking to address the wholeness/ the totality of a woman.
So what happens to women who are not tech savvy and don’t have Facebook account?
The NGO arm of BR covers that. We’ve had several outreaches through the zones in the last 10years to many of such women. These women are around us in communities we live in. So through the initiative, we organize programs and events to cater to them.
Would you say you’ve achieved this aim?
Absolutely yes! And even much more. Just as our name, we have been redefined over the years.
What’s the membership strength now and what are the criteria for being a member?
As we speak, we are 83,401 members. To be a member, firstly, you must be female. Secondly, you must be 18 and above. Thirdly, you must be ready to abide by our recommendations in keeping the group orderly. Lastly (not compulsory though), we encourage members to join a zone, which is a physical hub of the group within a location.
What is the testimony of BR today?
Our testimony is that we’ve enjoyed God’s grace through the years. Many groups started just like we did 10 years ago, but are no more. We are still here and would be till He says so. It’s not just 10 years of just being there, it has been years of great impact, expansion, and influence. I look back and I ask myself, how did we do all of this? Honestly, it wasn’t that I had a clear laid out plan, I just trusted God each step of the way. And here we are today! In the last 10 years, BR has raised over 200 leaders in the form of ‘vision carriers.’ That is a huge testimony.
How do you ensure that members keep to the group’s code of conduct?
In the early days, we did not find it funny. Our Admins had to practically keep track of posts to weed out erring comments. I remember one of our first set of leaders would have sleepless nights just guarding posts simply because we did not want anyone feeling stifled and at the same time, we wanted to maintain decorum. I remember we had what we tagged “BR Police”. But it is a lot better now, with the zones and more Admins, things are a lot saner. With time, members got more acquainted with what is obtainable in the group.
What lesson(s) have you learnt in your interaction with women online?
Three major things: You need lots of patience in dealing with women of various backgrounds. You do not get that so much in managing the women’s fellowship in the church.
Secondly, things are not always as they seem. People are going through different things and at different phases in their lives. Do not make a permanent decision over a temporary matter.
Thirdly, stay on your lane! This is BIG for me and has kept me focused and in line with God’s assignment over my life.
From the issues women post, what would you say are the common problems women face all over the world?
Insecurity, lack of understanding of self-worth, validation, faulty and weak mindsets as well as damaged past/upbringing.
What would you say is the highest and lowest moment of this group so far?
It would be a series of events when we collectively helped raise support for one of us. We raised almost N3m through a Go Fund me account for a member who needed a kidney transplant. We couldn’t get her the kidney, but we bought her extra months on dialysis. She eventually went home to be with the Lord.
Another is when we set out in the year 2018 to reach 5,000 girls in secondary schools across Nigeria and at the end of the year, we had reached over 9,000 students. That was huge!
For low moments, that would be when we lose a member. I still remember vividly when the news of the passing of one of our dedicated leaders in Jos broke. It shook all of us. Asides this, we go through high and low moments like it’s expected of every group.
Are there still things you’d want to achieve through this group that you’re yet to achieve?
Oh yes, there is still so much to do, territories to take over and lives to change. We are just scratching the surface. Our vision is to address the wholeness of a woman and they in turn, discover purpose and translate it into impacting their community. A lot of women need to be liberated economically and mentally.
My desire is to see women grow to take responsibility for their lives, and raise children who understand the importance of being empowered mentally, socially, and financially.
How would you describe Nigerian woman?
She is strong and resilient. Any woman who survives in Nigeria can survive anywhere. It is not a function of the colour of her skin but the totality of what has formed and shaped her; culture, traditions, religion and the economic and social system.
What is the secret of living a happy and successful life as a woman?
Knowing early in life who you are, whose you are and why you are here. This will inform what you need to do in life, who you should do it with, and how you should live your life. These things can only be made possible when you are connected experientially to the one who has the answers – Our heavenly father. It is not anything material. Wealth and riches are offshoots of the real deal, which is staying connected to the real source.
This year has been a unique and challenging one for everybody. Moving forward, what would be your advice for women?
One thing I’ve learnt from this pandemic is that nothing is guaranteed in life. What keeps you going is how much personal investment you’ve made on yourself.
I’ve also come to understand deeply that there is something more important and needful than money and this is human relation. No one should go about life as an island. Invest in people and not things. Value relationships for what it represents in your life and not just for what you can get from it. These mindsets are what helps you rise up from any situation especially, events that spring upon us suddenly.
Since life is not static, women should learn to be flexible. Change is the most constant thing in life. Being able to adapt and bounce back from any form of setback is an attribute one must covet. Sitting and whining has never gotten anything done.
You are a pastor, wife and working mother. How do you balance these roles?
I do so by His grace. I did not do as much ministry work as I do now in the early years of my marriage, especially when I was either pregnant or nursing (I had 3 children in 5years). Even though I knew I was going to do ministry and I have a passion for women, I was more of a supportive wife in the first few years of my marriage. But as I gained clarity about the HOW of my assignment, I found out that opportunities presented itself and I did several things with ease. I’m also one to receive help when offered. I cannot go through life feeling like I can do all things by myself. So, I was open to help; paid help, volunteer members of the church and adopted sisters.
Lastly, of late, I am deliberately taking time to stop and smell the roses. Life is not a sprint, it is a marathon. The most important thing is to live a balanced life; stay focused on my assignment and enjoy life while at it.
Let’s talk about your style. What’s your style?
My style is unique to me. I love being me. Be you! This is one of my strongest messages. Do not let anyone, system or institution put you in a box. The best gift your world needs is the gift of YOU. God took His time creating each one uniquely and intricately. Being someone else is depriving the world of enjoying or experiencing the gift called YOU!