A dancer, a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, a singer. "I dreamt of being everything when I was a child," says Dunola Oladapo. And while she admits that ability to "dream unapologetically" tends to deplete as we get older, it doesn’t seem to be the case for Oladapo. That childhood career list has evolved into a similarly varied roster of roles—transforming her into a multihyphenate influencer.
While working full time at Morgan Stanley, she served as the U.K.’s ambassador to the G(irls)20 Summit. Shortly after, the Nigerian-born activist founded Luton Lights, a nonprofit dedicated to putting girls on a path to STEM careers through mentoring, coding lessons and more. And now she’s on the youth leadership board of the Avast Foundation, which is focused on digital safety and freedom. She is also a program officer in the digital inclusion team for youth at the U.N. International Telecommunication Union.
The common thread through all of these initiatives? Empowerment. Oladapo believes the first step for today’s rising leaders is connecting them online. Roughly 2.9 billion people worldwide—many of them youths—don’t yet have internet access. "That means 2.9 billion people are being left behind as the rest of the world progresses," Oladapo says.
While some might be overwhelmed by the scale of such a problem, Oladapo remains optimistic—and motivated. "Young people continue to be thoroughly underestimated," she says. "I get to work with young people from across the world who are passionate about pressing issues and who aren’t just talking but also creating innovative solutions."