Founding and launching Parachute Media. Landing a prime role at a top sportswear brand. Graduating from college. Ochuko Akpovbovbo hasn’t let the past year and a half stop her aspirations. In fact, the Lagos native currently based in Portland is just getting started. She took a few moments out of her purpose-packed schedule to share more about her journey.
OwnTrail: Your trail reflects a journey with big aspirations and confidence to achieve them even in your teens. Given the prevalence of the confidence gap between women and men, why is it so important to not limit what we see for ourselves?
“Throughout history for women it’s always been one thing or the other; some “can’t” or “shouldn’t”, but what shifts the needle are women who just do what they would anyway, and do it with confidence.”
Ochuko Akpovbovbo: I’ve always genuinely believed that I can have it all. The amazing career, the family, the friends, love, all of it! So much in society makes women believe that life itself is a zero-sum game but hasn’t that always been the case? Throughout history for women it’s always been one thing or the other; some “can’t” or “shouldn’t”, but what shifts the needle are women who just do what they would anyway, and do it with confidence. Which by the way, doesn’t always mean I know what I am doing, but means I realize that I don’t really need to, and that doesn’t make me any less worthy.
OwnTrail: You recently graduated from Lewis & Clark College, sharing that you learned even more outside the classroom and in building community. Why do you think it’s important to highlight the entire college experience, and not just what happens in classes?
Ochuko: The way I see it, grades (in certain majors) are a proxy for how one might perform “in the real world”. But a proxy is just a proxy, and what’s even better than a proxy is the doing of the actual thing. College has so much to offer besides classes; there are connections, resources, events, volunteering, and in my opinion, those offer the best opportunities for holistic growth and I will always be proud of myself for really tapping into that, and I encourage others to do the same!
“College has so much to offer besides classes; there are connections, resources, events, volunteering, and in my opinion, those offer the best opportunities for holistic growth.”
OwnTrail: Before you launched Parachute Media, you volunteered and interned with tech, startup and venture capital organizations. How did these experiences influence how and when you launched Parachute?
Ochuko: Confidence. That was the biggest thing. I’m always asking myself: How good am I actually? How much better than me are the best people? Does that even matter? So I had to go see! Those experiences made me realize that “smarts” are just a really good combination of really good knowledge on specific, relevant things which over time teaches your mind how to think about life, and problems, and people. So I set out to learn, and I’m still learning every day.
OwnTrail: Parachute Media’s mission is to empower Gen Z and Millennial women and nonbinary folks of color to reclaim their narratives and redefine success on their own terms, which is so aligned with owning your story on OwnTrail. What impact have you experienced from owning your personal narrative and blazing your trail on your terms?
Ochuko: I guess the creation of Parachute itself is a direct impact of owning my narrative. I started Parachute because of my lived experiences, and as our team and community grows, we encourage people to bring in their own narratives into the creative and decision-making process.
“In this journey, you don’t want to be fighting with yourself, you’ll need all of you.”
OwnTrail: What advice do you have for women and nonbinary folks ready to dream big and redefine success on their terms, at any age?
Ochuko: Embrace all of yourself. Even those “feminine” or “sensitive” parts of yourself that have been made out to be weak or contrary to leadership. In this journey, you don’t want to be fighting with yourself, you’ll need all of you.