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Tola Lawal

Tola Lawal

Tola is a creative disruptor, speaker, and CSR strategist who thrives at the intersection of social impact, youth culture, and entertainment marketing. She is the founder of Gyrl Wonder, an organization that empowers young women.

What advice would you give young women who are just starting their career in the Entertainment Industry? 

  1. INTERN, INTERN, INTERN – Interning or participating in fellowships (for the post-grad gyrls) will give you the experience you need before entering the real world. You learn what you like, what you don’t like, where your interests and strengths lie and what you’d rather not do. That’s where you pick up the foundational basics and the transferable skills needed to be successful in your entry-level roles and beyond. You learn professional basics; how to email, how to respond. While interning, READ, immerse yourself in the trades, the publications specifically for your field. Know the power players, the “who’s who”. If the media/ entertainment space is where you want to be, you have to eat, sleep and breathe it. 
  2. Build genuine relationships – Find peer mentors, find senior-level mentors. LISTEN to them, WATCH them, LEARN from them. Join organizations that can help you build community.
  3. Be a sponge –  Read everything related to the field you want to be in. Read the trades. Familiarize yourself with the power players and their professional trajectories. 
  4. Dream big, but be prepared to work for your dream. Have a plan, but make it a loose plan. Be open to life + career pivots and shifts. The easier you adjust to change, the smoother the journey will be. Most people in the creative space start out doing one thing and in a few years, they find they enjoy something else. Be open to that pivot. 


What has been your favorite project you’ve worked on while serving as Head of Marketing & Brand Partnerships at Gyrl Wonder? 

That’s tough. I love everything about the work that we do. We’ve had some really cool partnerships and campaigns but If I had to choose, I’d probably say it’s a tie between our inaugural Gyrl Get Hired conference last year, and our most recent launch of our campus ambassador program. That’s going crazy right now. Honestly, anything that allows me to bring something new to the GW audience makes me happy. We have something BIG coming with an iconic fashion brand and the thoughts make my eyes water (lmao)!

What is one way brands can increase their social media and community engagement?

I think it’s a combination of a couple of things: 

  • Brands can afford to do a deeper dive into their target audience. If you don’t know who your primary and secondary audiences are, the “strategy” is pretty pointless. Really honing in on the digital habits 
  • Incorporating more everyday people into their strategies. The consumer loves a feel good story, or more realistic storytelling. We enjoy seeing everyday people incorporated into brand strategy. Create content that the people want to share. That’s how HumansofNYC won. We want to see everyday people and hear their stories! 
  • Lock in on social impact storytelling. Gen-Z especially is very radical when it comes to social responsibility.