#WiMMeets Tolulope Tomori Adedeji - Marketing Director & Executive Director for Anheuser-Busch InBev

09 June 2022

#WiMMeets Tolulope Tomori Adedeji - Marketing Director & Executive Director for Anheuser-Busch InBev
Welcome to #WiMMeets - a series of short interviews with marketing leaders from across Africa and around the world. The series will present a different side to senior professionals with the aim to share the things that matter to them and inspire others. 
In this interview, we sat down with Tolulope Tomori Adedeji, Marketing Director and Executive Director for Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Tolu is an experienced marketing and business leader with 18 years experience. She joined Anheuser Busch in November 2018 after 14 years with Procter & Gamble. Many describe her strengths as Brand Building, Leadership, Strategic Thinking, Commercial Strategy and People Development. Tolu is resilient and loves to leave a legacy in every role. At AB INBEV, Tolu is proud of driving innovation and almost doubling the portfolio in less than 4 years, with successful new brand launches and growth of existing brands.
Her Hobbies include writing, mentorship and nurturing young professionals with the Tolu Adedeji Mentoring community (T.M.C). Tolu is passionate about shaping minds, hence she authored a fiction book for children titled Smart Sindara, adventure series.
Tolu has a First class BSc degree in Business Administration, an MBA and MSC in International Marketing from University of Liverpool. Plus a Marketing in a Digital Era program from Harvard Business school. Tolu is a life-long student. No wonder, she was crowned the FMCG Marketing professional of the year 2021 by the WIMCA organisation.
In 2022, Tolu was admitted as a member of the Forbes communication council, in recognition of her contribution to the industry over the last 18 years.
Tolu is a wife, mum to 4 kids. Her personal philosophy: With God, Everything is possible.

WiM Africa: What gives you energy and drives you forward when you are not feeling at the top of your game?

TA: It is in 3 folds: For me, It always starts with the mind. First, I reminisce on past challenges I’ve overcome, I think about how tough those moments were and how I felt I couldn’t overcome them but I did. I also ruminate on uplifting content like motivational podcasts, books, music and movies. Secondly, I draw strength from my faith. I strongly believe there is nothing that happens to us that we cannot overcome. If it has happened, it is because we have the potential to overcome and how we react would determine the outcome. We cannot control what happens to us in life but we can control how we react to it. The more we overcome, the stronger we become. Lastly, people. I have a close circle of trusted family and friends I draw strength from. I spend time talking to them to get the positive energy I need to overcome the low moments.


WiM Africa: Which advertising campaign, from any brand, has been the most memorable for you and why?

TA: Oh, there are a couple I have worked on and those I haven’t. But since I can only choose one, I’ll pick one from my repertoire. Our Brand Hero Lager is one that inspires our consumers to be Heroes, to overcome their challenges and reward themselves with Hero Lager. Working and conceptualising the Hero’s Echefula campaign with my team is a memorable one. The Echefula campaign is centred on our consumers not forgetting their identity. This is based on a key consumer insight where most of our ways, customs, languages, medicine, are going extinct in the guise of globalisation. Whilst we must learn from global trends, we must not forget who we are and what we stand for. Over the years, the campaign has grown to a movement galvanising our consumers to take pride in their identity (Echefula), to live up to their names (Aha gi efula), and Nwanne di Uto (Brotherhood is sweet). With this campaign, we have done a lot of education, bringing back a long-forgotten language of communication called the Nsibidi, did a documentary on the informal apprenticeship trading system from the South east part of Nigeria popularly called Igba Boi and provided seed capital for apprentices. It is the first time a local beer brand has taken such a leadership role in preserving and evolving culture and heritage.


WiM Africa: What three pieces of advice would you give to a woman marketer aspiring to a senior position about getting to and staying at the top of their profession?

TA: It is advice for everyone really. 4 things determine how far you’ll go in career and life generally.


1. How you spend your time: Invest in building your mind, body and soul. Read up, bet on yourself, invest in yourself. Take care of your body, it is the vessel that will carry you on earth. Take care of your mind: it is the engine room. Start with an audit of how you spend your time today, it will shock you how much free time you have when you think you have no time. This advice is for me too.

2. How you spend your money: This is key especially for career people. Building wealth is possible from paid employment but you need to be wise about investing in passive ideas that can work for you, invest in what you know - don’t be tempted by unrealistic investment yields, except when there is a clear rationale, invest in yourself. Have a clear budget and financial goals yearly. Invest a fixed portion of your income in assets yearly. Compounding is a key way to build wealth. Imagine investing consistently over years and the impact of compounding interest on that capital plus the interest. Take your finances seriously, do your net worth assessment, check that you have more assets, than liabilities. Know you will retire someday and your assets will be your ongoing income generator.

3. Who you spend your time with. This is key, you are mostly an average of your circle so if you spend time with average minded people, you will be average or below average. Spend time with people ahead of you, that will inspire you. Spend time with people coming from behind that you will uplift, spend time with peers that will challenge and motivate you. Invest in true meaningful relationships. Know the difference between family, friends, accomplices and allocate your time accordingly.

4. How you see life: Half full glass or half empty. There is so much negativity around us, mostly unsolicited and we must train our minds to rise above it. This is key especially in a world where there are many illusions and grandiosity built with social media. This isn’t only for younger people. Even as older people, we can get into the trap of comparison whilst in fact everyone is on their own race. The best lane to run this life is in your lane, that is the only space that isn’t congested. Life is a marathon, not a sprint and it is never too late to reach for any goal or dream you desire. Your life, your script. With God, all things are possible.

To be a leader, you need to be competent, have character and be committed. Whether man or woman. You must deliver results and value to your organisation, family and society.


WiM Africa: Which one person, dead or alive, would you say inspires you the most and why?

TA: This is tough, there are too many people I learn different things from as no one person in life has a perfect life that I totally covet.

I learn business and career mostly from Top CEOs in the world. People like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg.

I’ve learnt about leadership from Nelson Mandela. It is about service and sacrifice. Still learning.

Learnt Loyalty, ethics and discipline from my parents: Mr & Mrs Tomori.

Learnt about ambition and executive presence from Barack and Michelle Obama.

Learn about identity and authenticity from Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

I learn a lot from biopic movies too. Love them.

I can go on.


WiM Africa: If you were stuck on a desert island what three things, excluding electronics, could you not do without?

TA: If stuck on an island, it is about survival, safety and escape so I would definitely focus on anything that would give that to me. It is the basics from Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.



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