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TopNaija Stories: Cassandra Akinde, Chevening Scholar & Team Lead, TNCI





Cassandra Akinde is a young healthcare professional with strong passion for health advocacy, humanitarian work, human rights, and environmental sustainability.

A Rotary Club Alumni and sustainable development goals advocate, with a focus on SDG 3, 4 & 17, Cassandra is currently the Team Lead for Neo Child Initiative, a non-profit which promotes child health awareness and sustainable education to empower them with healthy choices.

TopNaija Stories had an insight into the journey of one of Nigeria’s medical professional, Dr. Cassandra Akinde. Enjoy!

Current role:     Team Lead of The Neo Child Initiative for Africa (TNCI) /Deputy Director NeoChild Care/Chevening Scholar 2019

Location: London, United Kingdom

Current computer: HP Laptop

Current mobile device: Samsung A 50

What you want to be remembered for:  I want to be remembered for serving humanity and improving global health worldwide.


Tell us how you started out and how you got to where you are today?

I began my journey when I was in medical school as a volunteer for TNCI . I would be going to staff schools to teach children good handwashing practices, healthy tips about nutrition, personal hygiene, and dental hygiene. This was a simple dream until it became much more than the founder and I envisioned, a large volunteer-based platform for transforming the lives of Nigerian children by improving their access to healthcare and mentorship and building the capacity of young people to be change-makers and leaders. I began as a volunteer who caught the vision, committed to the vision and slowly climbed to the leadership position of overseeing the team of over 400 vibrant young people eager to make a positive change.



Furthermore, my passion for health advocacy and Sustainable Development Goals has propelled me to think of innovative ways and using skills like social media and storytelling to deliver on social impact projects in my community. This led me to volunteer for various organizations like NeoChild Care, War Against Rape, Girlhub Africa, Kids Beach Garden, Smile With Me Initiative, Health Hub Africa and finally  Medglobe in which  I am currently on the board of trustees.

All these volunteering experiences further built and strengthened my leadership and networking skills and I found myself winning the prestigious Chevening Scholarship sponsored by Foreign and Commonwealth Office to study MSc in Tropical Medicine and International Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.



What time do wake up, and what time do you like to be at your desk?

I belong to an association of late sleepers and as a result, I sleep past 12 am most nights which translates into me waking up around 7-8 am depending on my schedule for the day. I have to be in class at 9 am.


A brief rundown of your daily routine?

My daily routine would be waking up, getting a quick shower, going for classes, check my social media, respond to my emails, listen to a podcast, prepare a task for the next day, pray and sleep.



How do you keep track of what you have to do, on a daily?

I have a diary where I write all my activities for the day. It is easy, saves time and quite effective.



Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in business?

Well, looking back I won’t classify them as tough situations but a part of the learning experience. In the non-profit sector, there are many challenges but learning from them is what makes the difference.


What is the best business or career advice you’ve ever received?

Oh that will be

“ Dreams are lovely but they are just dreams. Dreams do not come through because you dream them. It is hard work that makes things happen. It is hard work that creates change.

Quote by Shonda Rhimes

This has helped me to be intentional, strategic and hard-working towards achieving my goals.


What conventional life or business advice do you disagree with?

Value performance over loyalty. I disagree with it because I prefer committed volunteers who share my vision and are passionate about what I do. Some can argue that there are times you need to make the tough call to remove even a passionate and loyal co-worker who is underperforming. But blindly valuing performance over loyalty is not courageous or decisive. We’ve also cut under-performers and replaced them with people who turned out to be worse because they didn’t care enough. I need people who are passionate about the company and the mission.


If you had to start all over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing!!!!. Everything happens for a reason and  I have no regrets.


Tell us about your current role and key traits required to succeed in this role.

I currently work as the Team Lead for The Neo Child Initiative for Africa. I am tasked with the supervision of my team, a delegation of duties, reviewing monthly progress reports and ensuring timely implementation of projects. The key traits for me are empathy, passion, team building, effective communication, and mentorship.


Tell us about a task do you dislike but still do and a problem you’re still trying to solve?

I dislike sourcing for funds from the public but it is very important in this line of business.

I keep trying to learn different innovative ways of fundraising.


Who has had the greatest impact on your career, and why?

Dr. Yusuf Shittu

He gave me the platform and lots of opportunities to learn all these skills I have, build myself and self develop.


What business achievement are you most proud of?

I am proud of my team that despite my absence or sometimes unavailability the projects for the year are always successful. For instance, WASHED UP. (Water sanitation hygiene education against diarrhea, undernutrition, and pneumonia) was a complete success with my minimal input and my team impacted over 4,000 children with good handwashing practices and health information


Tell us about your greatest weakness as an individual.

I tend to be a perfectionist and sometimes end up doing more than necessary to get a project done when one of the volunteers is slacking. I am still learning to let go of certain situations.


Name two untapped lucrative business opportunities in the world, right now.

This would be Digital Health and Agriculture


Aside from God, what do you consider your greatest success secret?

My family, network and friends.



What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

I am currently reading   “Becoming”  by Michelle Obama and listening to Marc Anthony `s album.


What tools, gadgets, or apps can’t you do without?

I love my phone and spend approximately 6 hours on it every day.


What’s your favorite social media platform, handle, and why?

My favorites are LinkedIn because it has resources for learning purposes and Instagram to keep up with my network.



How do you unwind?

I love to watch movies, telenovelas, hanging out with friends, volunteering for SDGs and scrapbooking. I  also love listening to music and podcasts.


Who would you love to have answered these questions?

Eniola Akinyemi Founder of Exhale NG






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