By: Yetunde Rotimi

To start with, have you ever attended a conference or a meeting of any kind that had all your expenses covered? Unfortunately, I did not have the privilege of enjoying such an opportunity until recently. Being opportune to attend the Women’s Forest Congress (WFC) in October was a dream come true for me. Much better was the fact that I was not just considered an attendee but equally allowed to participate as a delegate. Indeed, I could say it was the first-ever meeting I was entrusted with such great responsibility, and I do not take that for granted.

Coming across the possibility of attending WFC in early July, I immediately knew that this was an event I had to attend. This was so because it came at the very point in my life when I was seeking a sense of direction. I had so many questions on my mind without knowing precisely whom to ask. Other than academia, I wanted to know about some other potential career paths in the field. I wanted to know the place of women and how we thrive in the field. Understanding that no one could lead me better in life except for the kinds of people that have a perception of where I am coming from, I was determined to attend WFC, and yes, I was not disappointed.

It was super captivating to see about 500 diverse women in the field of Forestry represented at WFC, and this alone already answered the numerous troubling questions that clouded my mind. For me, it was not just pleasant to see that there are women in Forestry but even more enticing to realize that there are women in the field with voices that are constantly making things happen. At WFC, I learned that, in life, you’ve got to do what makes you “YOU,” even if it has to do with doing it alone.

From a gathering that lasted only but a few days, I had the privilege of enjoying a soothing of a lifetime. I consider this a huge opportunity that I’ll forever leverage because, at all times, I have got to be at the table; otherwise, I’ll remain on the menu.