My Name is Adaora Lumina Mbelu. But everyone calls me “Lumina”. Lumina translates to “Bright Light”. I consider myself a Bright Light, Dreamterpreter, and Purpose Driver. I also like to think of myself and others as a spirit in a bottle. Bottle being, the human container. I love to introduce myself this way, because these are identities that are descriptive of who I am, and the work that I do. Being a Bright Light means that I bring light into the hearts of people whose lives intersect with mine. I remain plugged into a higher energy source, and when people interact with me, they want to know more about my light source, the higher power that I come from…God.
I call myself a Dreamterpreter because I believe that one of my gifts is the ability to interpret the dreams of others - not the dreams you have when you’re asleep, but your God given mission in this world. I help people take decisive action to get their best work out into the world. I’m passionate about elevating human consciousness, and helping people discover, accept, and use their gifts in a purpose centric way - this is why I call myself a purpose driver. People often ask me what do I do? One of my philosophies is the importance of living a purpose driven life, and using as many of my gifts as possible. As a result, I find several mediums to express my purpose. Yes, I have many creative expressions, but they all have a thread of purpose that runs through, or what I like to call my “philosophical heartbeat”.
I truly believe that people are the bedrock of society, and by helping them find clarity, while simultaneously inspiring and empowering them, to become the best version of themselves, we will see a ripple effect of love, peace, innovation, and growth across the world. This is where my mission lies.
In human speak, I’m a dreamer, and I’m a doer. I’m a Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Entrepreneur, Brand Developer, Project Manager, Content Producer, Talent Manager, Speaker, Mentor, Teacher, Philanthropist, Rapper, Poet, and the list goes on. I believe that you think of yourself as a spirit first, it becomes easier to navigate this world, without the many limitations that your body may bring. You can Be more, and Do More.
Over the past 10 years, I have worked professionally as a brand developer, and storyteller, bringing projects and campaigns to life for several multinational companies, government organizations, and individuals. Some of the clients I’ve worked with include Google, Johnny Walker, Pernod Ricard, Guinness, Pepsi Co, amongst others. I’ve also been a talent manager for some of Nigeria’s top talent, Godwin Strings, Osa Seven, Denola Grey, Tobi Bakre, and a few others. Before I moved into brand development, I managed two of the top television shows out of Africa - Nigerian Idol, and Nigeria’s Got Talent. I also worked as a content consultant on a few government events. In 2010, I was the corporate communications manager for one of Africa’s leading sports marketing agency, during the 2010 World Cup managing communications on the broadcast rights for Nigeria. My educational background is in Economics and I’ve paid my dues there working in credit with Citigroup USA.
Aside from my academic and professional work, I have a super-passion for community development. I’ve worked as a care giver with Volunteers of America, where I took care of a group of people with developmental disabilities. It was a very impactful experience for me, working with people in their most vulnerable state, and being able to learn from them. In 2015, I founded Socially Africa, a foundation that gives back to the community through several initiatives. We have executed our initiatives, Art For A Cause in 16 schools across Nigeria, impacting over 15,000 kids. We’ve hosted food drives, code classes, given out thousands of Love boxes, and kickstarted an initiative called #FundTheFlow where we give free sanitary items to women and girls who cannot afford them.
I’m an artist at heart - I like to draw, take pictures, rap, and write stories. I’ve found that when I think about myself as a spirit, it becomes easier to navigate this world, without the many limitations that your body may bring. You can Be more, and Do More.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
On my journey, I’ve experienced many hurdles, it’s difficult to classify them in order of size. Being a woman doing business in Nigeria is a challenge. I live and work in a male dominated environment that views women as lower class citizens. I’m continuously having to first make people aware of this bias, educate them on the problems associated with this bias, and then provide them with ways in which they can become part of a solution to this problem. It’s continuous effort to deal with the gender inequality and the overall disregard for women. A large part of my work requires changing mindsets, and elevating human consciousness. Every day, I play my part to educate the people whose lives intersect with mine.
What books are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading “Good Vibes, Good Life” by Vex King.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Growing up, my parents didn’t always have the “last say”. They listened to their kids opinions and put this into consideration when making decisions with us. They didn’t just make decisions for us, and force us to do as they wanted. They helped us understand the various options, and the results of the decisions we made. This is something that I’ve learned to appreciate in my adult life. My family hasn’t always agreed with some of the expressions of my purpose but they respect my life’s work. I’m also very patient with communicating with them. If my family wasn’t aligned with that I do, I’d still do it. However, I would prefer as minimal friction/disagreement as possible, so I make the effort to communicate, and understand perspectives. My family is important to me, so..I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success?
I think my commitment to my life’s work is my super power. I’m truly committed to helping people become a better version of themselves. I truly believe that people are the bedrock of society, and by helping them find clarity, while simultaneously inspiring and empowering them, to become the best version of themselves, we will see a ripple effect of love, peace, innovation, and growth across the world. This is where my mission lies. So, I’m not distracted by Passion or comparison. Passion is great, but purpose is better. There’s a misconception that Purpose is about our “Why” alone. But purpose isn’t just about “Why are we doing this”. It is also about “Who will benefit”. When you understand that this journey is really about being a solution, you express yourself more confidently.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
I wish I knew that I could be Pro Africa, and still build a structure abroad that would allow me to thrive even better. When I left the United States, I was laser focused on returning to the African continent to be part of the solution to our problems. I had the opportunity to build a life on both continents. However, I thought that if I had a base in the US, I wouldn’t be fully committed to being in Nigeria. So I took a dive into Nigeria with no “back up” plans. I don’t regret it. My journey has been beautiful, with it’s ups and downs. But…in hindsight, I would’ve worked on building a footprint on both continents simultaneously. The good thing is…It’s not too late!
What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
You’re not an island. Be open to collaboration - if you don’t care about who gets the credit, you are more likely to do many amazing things. Don’t say yes to everything. You have to show up fully or not at all, your integrity is hard currency. Finally, be Patient - Time is a great storyteller. This is my mantra. I believe that we can beat many variables in life, but cannot beat time - the understanding and acceptance of this fact, brings focus, peace of mind, and ultimately Joy. I know you want to “make it” overnight, but I suggest that you keep showing up, and let all things work together for your good. Your future self will thank you for putting in the work now.