Define your own greatness
Damola’s job gives her the power to succeed on her own terms.
When we picture lawyers, we tend to rely on stereotypes. Whether our reference is Harvey Specter or Olivia Pope, our automatic impression of the legal profession at its most exciting runs a narrow gamut from corporate law to criminal defence.
Enter Adedamola Adewusi, an assured and undeniably qualified legal professional whose brand of law couldn’t be further from the prevailing stereotypes. As Senior Legal Counsel for MultiChoice in Africa, Adedamola navigates through the entertainment world, making sure we are poised to deliver the best entertainment to millions of viewers across the continent. We caught up with her to understand how a person would choose this side of the law and what real success means.
“You can call me Damola,” she insists as she prepares to unpack her fascinating journey at MultiChoice.
Law meets entertainment
Damola begins: “After being in a law firm for a few years, I stopped and asked, ‘What am I doing here, how do I get out and what do I want for myself?’”
She knew that she wanted to continue practising law, but didn’t want to be ordinary. After all, she was raised by parents in the broadcasting and creative industries in Nigeria and couldn’t help but be drawn to her artistic side.
As the appeal to join the entertainment world grew, Damola was resolute in only working for the best. Her search went as far as only two companies – MultiChoice and Disney – and she patiently waited until a role in this niche area opened up. Finally, in 2015, Damola began her journey with MultiChoice Nigeria as Legal Officer and in September 2019, relocated to South Africa to take up her current position as Senior Legal Counsel in Africa.
Damola is quick to point out that while she works in a company that operates in the entertainment space, she won’t be pigeonholed as an entertainment lawyer. “In such a dynamic business, I get to practise various aspects of the law,” she says. She facilitates contracts which ensure that the business runs smoothly and manages the company’s litigation portfolios and risk. She provides legal advice to MultiChoice to guarantee that all the moving parts necessary to bring content to life get the legal thumbs-up.
“MultiChoice is the proverbial ‘big fish’, so there will always be people who want to take advantage of that. My job is to always keep the company safe and sometimes hit the brakes to say, ‘You can’t use this image or you can’t run this concept because we’d be at risk or could get sued,’” explains Damola.
The critical difference between her job and the jobs of her contemporaries in other legal fields comes down to the culture of her working environment. Here, she works in a space where collaboration is encouraged and competition among co-workers is counterproductive. Everyone works together to protect and advance the interests of the business.
“I also get to leave in time to see the sunset,” she laughs. Work-life balance is valued at MultiChoice and Damola is motivated by being able to pursue her career ambitions and personal interests at the same time.
Africa is her oyster
Damola is based in Johannesburg but works with a team that supports MultiChoice’s entities in the East and West African regions, i.e. Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana. Her position has turned her into an Afropolitan and broadened her view of different cultures, attitudes and experiences across Africa.
“MultiChoice has broadened my horizons and opened up Africa to me. To be able to interact with people in different markets has been a gift. I see the world a lot differently now and have a greater appreciation of how multicultural Africa is.
“Our company is synonymous with entertainment in Africa and I get to contribute to that every day. That’s not something I would necessarily be able to say if I was working anywhere else.”
“Know and own your power”
Damola considers herself an excellent negotiator and believes that her confidence in her abilities has opened doors for her and kept them open. “Working for MultiChoice has given me plenty of learning opportunities, formal and informal. And the most important thing I’ve learnt is to trust my instincts and to believe that I deserve to be in the room,” she says.
She concludes by mentioning a book she recently read that outlines the three types of power we all have – knowledge power, task power and people power. It’s the latter that she’s most grateful for.
“My people power was very beneficial to getting me to where I am,” she adds. “There were a lot of people who decided to take a chance on me and who I’m very thankful for. Know and own your power,” she adds.