Her University of Lethbridge (ULethbridge) journey began back in 2017 as a Kinesiology and Physical Education student. Two years later, Nifemi Ashani (BMgt '23) traded her sneakers for stilettos to chase a career in fashion. The Dhillon School of Business (Dhillon) marketing major aims to be recognized as a leading voice in the international fashion industry.
My student experience wouldn't have been as lively and successful without my amazing friends, study groups and diverse student community groups I am involved with. Also, I deeply appreciate the women working at the Student Success Centre for helping me be more organized and intentional with my education in the past years.
Meet Nifemi. Multifaceted. Creative. Innovator. Steadfast.
Hometown: Beaumont, Alberta
Program: Bachelor of Management | Major: Marketing
Why did you choose ULethbridge?
I chose ULethbridge initially because of its excellent kinesiology program. However, as my passion and purpose for working in the fashion industry became clearer, I made the decision to switch to the business management program at Dhillon. This shift aligned more closely with my aspirations and allowed me to pursue my career goals with greater focus and enthusiasm.
Have you participated in experiential or work-integrated learning?
I had the privilege of participating in the Agility Undergraduate Fellowship (AUF). This fellowship provided me with valuable mentorship and the chance to immerse myself in various artistic projects aimed at celebrating the diverse art forms within Lethbridge. During my time with Agility, I spearheaded several initiatives, including organizing a group meditative hike that incorporated elements of exploring our personal style. I also lent my support to Agility's Innovation Zone programs, which deepened my comprehension of event planning and production.
What is your most memorable ULethbridge experience so far?
One of my most cherished memories was collaborating with new student union president, Maleeka Thomas to curate the Black Arts Creatives Exhibition during Black History Month (BHM). This year's BHM witnessed unparalleled engagement, setting a new benchmark since my time at ULethbridge. It was a true privilege to contribute to its monumental success, ensuring it became an unforgettable and enjoyable experience for all ULethbridge students.
Another experience that stands out as my personal favourite is the thrift pop-up. The turnout was nothing short of extraordinary, resulting in a remarkable $400 raised to support food security on campus. This event's immense success inspired our team to make it a recurring semester highlight. As Dhillon Business Students Association (DBSA) event director, I was honoured to receive an award in recognition of my efforts in organizing the event.
How have your professors impacted your education?
My Marketing Research Professor, Debra Basil stood out as a dedicated advocate for students' success. She went above and beyond by inviting industry leaders from diverse backgrounds to share their invaluable work experiences with us. This not only inspired me but also encouraged me to dream big. Professor Basil also played a role in helping me achieve my fashion research fellowship.
My passion for sustainable business practices and fair trade flourished during my Managing Responsibly in a Global Environment class, guided by Professor Enjoo Koo. Professor Koo nurtured my curiosity and provided me with a unique opportunity to work alongside her as a Research Analyst assistant.
Lastly, Professor Andrea Amelinckx's International Management class provided a remarkable journey into the realm of global perspectives on international management issues. Her classroom served as a safe and inclusive space where we could engage in meaningful discussions and share insights on the decolonization of international business topics—an experience that was truly unique among my other business courses.
Thank you all for being an instrumental part of my educational journey. I am blessed to have you in my corner."
Have you received any scholarships and awards?
I had the honour of receiving two grant awards through the Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group (LPIRG). These grants helped facilitate fashion workshops and a thrift pop-up event held in Lethbridge. It also helped support my international travels to participate in the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I also had the privilege of serving in an executive capacity for the Abs and Money Entrepreneur Club, an initiative as ULethbridge's inaugural Black business student club. Our remarkable achievements and significant contributions to both the university and the broader community were recognized when our club was awarded "Club of the Year" for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Are you participating in any extracurricular activities?
Presently, I hold the position of a fashion research fellow at the Council for International African Fashion Education (CIAFE). My research focuses on decolonized approaches in fashion production, marketing and communication and sustainable business practices. My work is dedicated to empowering African and Diaspora fashion brands and agencies by developing innovative strategies for sustainable fashion events and impact-driven campaigns.
What is the most important lesson you learned during your time at ULethbridge?
Success awaits us on the other side of fear. When we embrace and conquer our fears, we open doors to new possibilities. Whether it's taking the initiative in or outside the classroom, seeking guidance for entrepreneurial ventures, applying for opportunities, or simply showing up to enhance our student experience, each step outside our comfort zone can propel us closer to our goals and aspirations. It's a powerful reminder that facing challenges head-on can lead to remarkable growth and achievements.
What are your hopes/plans for the future?
My vision is to make meaningful investments that impact my family and community, prioritizing the environment and the well-being of future generations while advancing the principles of the kingdom of God. I aim to promote sustainability, cultural diversity and inclusion, ethical practices and social responsibility within the fashion industry, fostering a better future for all.
What advice would you like to give those about to begin their journey at ULethbridge?
I would strongly encourage you to immerse yourself in the diverse student communities that the ULethbridge campus has to offer. There is an abundance of knowledge and experiences waiting for you beyond the confines of the classroom. Consider joining a club, volunteering regularly, and actively engaging in campus social and career events. By doing so, you'll have the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and discover your own sense of belonging and purpose on campus.
What are three awesome things about yourself?
- I have an impeccable sense of style which in this season I describe as mature, Afrocentric and playful.
- I love to dance and I am great at it.
- I am deeply committed to living out my destiny and this dedication shines through in my passion for being a valuable resource in this area. I take great joy in helping those around me find the information, support and knowledge they need to align with their own life's purpose.
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