Inspirational Women – Ronke Lawal – Founder of RSL Management Services

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and what you do currently

The company was founded in 2004 at a time in my life when I was hungry for change. I wasn’t satisfied in full-time employment; working in a role that was not really for me but it paid the bills. I had suppressed my entrepreneurial spirit for a long time and so when I chose to start RSL Management Services I was realising my dream and creating my own journey.  I started the business whilst I was still working and saved money from my job before going into work full time. I drew up a concise business plan and got to work from there – my main focus at the time was to network (even though I was never taught how to network I understood the principle) my research showed me that networking was crucial in growing my business.

RSL Management Services is a marketing management business which works for SMEs and entrepreneurs to reach the best that they can. We undertake marketing, publicity and business development campaigns for our clients, increasing their visibility & brand recognition to potential customers. I am also a partner in a London based fashion label, The Simone Williams Label – Between 2010-2012 I was the CEO of The Islington Chamber of Commerce, a challenge but worthwhile position which taught me so much about business, life and myself.

What else do you do outside of business?

I joined the board of Trustees of Voluntary Action Islington in 2012 and am currently on The Employers Panel for the National Employment Savings Trust. I am on the board of advisors for Precious Online and a Mentor for The Cherie Blair Foundation. I am also a mentor for The EN Start Ups Campaign for young entrepreneurs. I love to travel and spend quality time with friends and family.

Life really is meant to be explored to the fullest which means prioritising how one can help to enrich the lives of others through acts of service and giving; and also finding out what really makes us happy.

 What has been your biggest challenge?

I have often been my own biggest challenge.

I had to constantly coach myself to believe in myself and in all honesty I think that there have been stages in my business life that I have actually sabotaged my own success. I got in my own way because I felt like a fraud when I started to become successful in business. Perhaps other women can relate to that feeling of constant self-doubt and uncertainty. It can be the most detrimental of all obstacles, everything else can be overcome through practice but it takes a lot to silence that voice that tries to convince you that you’re a fraud with your own success. It may not always be silent but I recognise it now and know what to say when it starts up again….“I am worthy”.

Though I have never been scared so to speak,  it can be lonely if you don’t have a business partner.  There are absolutely no guarantees you have to create your own path and follow it; learn from mistakes and pick yourself. I have had to repeat that mantra to myself; even whilst it has seemed that I’m not moving forward I have been able to stay focused and motivated.

What’s been your greatest achievement personally?

My biggest achievement is staying in business since 2004!

I’m only as successful as my clients’ say I am. It’s not just about money it’s about the lasting legacy that I leave with my clients, when they offer referrals to people they meet who need my services then I feel truly successful.

By being totally authentic I can become and remain successful in all aspects of my life. By being authentic you can really give life your best, if you’re spending time trying to be someone that you’re not (which SO many people do) then you’ll never be truly successful, you’ll only be an actress without the awards.

If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you be doing?

I would be a travel journalist or counsellor. I would also find a way of having food as part of that!

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Being happy inspires me! I just seek joy and fulfilment in everything I do; as well as achieving my goals. I am very passionate about my path in life, knowing that passion, consistency and integrity will enable me to reach me goals.  Lots of people inspire me, the obvious being Oprah, Mellody Hobson and Lord Alan Sugar. But the London Borough of Hackney has also inspired me to aim high; growing up in a poor area did not hold me back; in fact it empowered me because I did not want to remain trapped in the story of the streets.

I wanted more for my life and am realising that dream each and every day.

What’s the best part of what you do now?

The independence and the power that comes with that independence.

What is the most important lesson you learned along the way?

To trust myself, knowing that I am doing the best that I can do and that I am worthy of greatness.

What piece of advice do you have for business owners out there?

I would say follow your passion and stay focused. Make sure you actively network in your business and professional life and engage with the right people, but be sure to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.  If you can get a mentor, or at least surround yourself with a positive and powerful circle of people who will champion you in your career journey. Seek continual business development through training and seminars; education is important but only if used actively. Use education wisely as part of your long term professional strategy.  Most importantly be courageous; a member of the chamber’s tagline is – I think this should be everyone’s tagline. Be brave in your career and don’t ponder on mistakes for too long, learn from them and move on. You can reach anywhere in your business if you so wish – don’t let anyone hold you back, least not yourself.

What does the future hold for you?

The exciting aspect of the future is that there are endless opportunities, endless chances to start afresh. I am at a stage in my business career where I am excited about the future. I have some interesting choices ahead of me and may choose to change direction slightly which is fine because I know that whatever path I choose will be one filled with intentional purpose.


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6 Responses
  1. Abiola Lawal

    What a fantastically uplifting, human article. You are definitely an inspirational woman to me. Well done!

  2. Luyi Brown

    Ronke keep up the good work. I am so proud of you. You are an inspiration to a lot of people.

  3. Ronke, WOW! I don’t know you very well but I feel as if I know you a whole lot better after reading this amazing piece. There is just so much common sense in what you say and any woman reading this article should understand that – none of it is “rocket science”!

    Shine on fabulous lady – a few more Mini-Ronke’s would be a great asset to the planet!

  4. What a wonderful article and all Ronke’s efforts have and will continue to be rewarded. Her youthful passion and dynamism around business are what our young people today are all about. I work with young entrepreneurs and I appreciate Ronke’s level of perception, business acumen and technology which serves her generation after us and teaches us who are a little older.

    Keep up the good work and continue to shine and inspire. It is always a pleasure to see good things written about the right people.. Well done Ronke.

  5. Atiti Sosimi

    Very inspiring to read, Ronke you’ve done incredibly well
    Keep the flag flying and keep smiling; you are indeed a shining star!