April 13, 2015|Mary Nnene Okeiyi, RN, BSN

Greetings UIU Family and Friends!

Our registration numbers are off to a strong start and we’re literally 3 months away from our 11th Convention in UIU’s history! Chei, how time flies! Just last year we were kukere-ing, vibing with Phyno and KCee, jamming on the ones and twos with DJ Obie and E-Cool and laughing out loud with Nnamdi, Yvonne, Chief Obi, Foxy P and Chinedu.

In all reality – #UIU2014 was a good year.

So, as we gear up for #UIU2015 we wanted to share a little more with you about what we do and what UIU represents.

Often times, our organization gets mistaken as purely a social event. While this may hold a lot of truth to it, Umu Igbo Unite offers so much more than that and we encourage you to look beyond what UIU has to offer socially. This year, in our 11th year of service to the Igbo-Nigerian community, there are some things we wanted to remind you all of what Umu Igbo Unite istruly about.

This year, our theme – creatively derived from our AWESOME planning committee members, NEW GENERATION | NEW VIEWS | BUILDING BRIDGES TOGETHER will focus on the New Generation and New Views of young Igbo professionals and how we can use our resources, education, network, culture and experiences to help move Nigeria forward.

In this regard – boy do we have a jam-packed weekend of planned events for you!

Ultimately, the purpose of the Umu Igbo Unite Organization is to promote personal, cultural and professional growth amongst Nigerian Igbo Professionals.

As such, one of our missions is to provide a forum where Igbo professionals can network professionally, culturally and socially and share their experiences in the hopes of contributing positively to the growth and progress of Igbo-Nigerians.

NETWORKING PROFESSIONALLY

Umu Igbo Unite is one of the best places to meet new professional contacts and exchange information.

If you want to meet people, you have to go places where people meet. Duh! So make sure to register and attend Umu Igbo Unite this year, from August 6th through August 9th, 2015 at the Newark Liberty International Marriott Hotel in Newark, New Jersey.

Umu Igbo Unite is a perfect opportunity to uncover new connections. Several of our panelists and non-Igbo attendees are looking to expand their professional network with Igbo-Nigerians. If you learn about someone who is in your same profession or you want to learn more about a career or area of interest to you – jump in! Introduce yourself briefly, but more importantly, make a real contribution to the conversation and actively engage as the conversation develops.

After the conversation ends, exchange contact information, a business card, an email – or even a phone number and reach out to anybody and everybody you engaged with during the weekend. Go even further and ask for more information about who they are and what they do. You may also find UIU members reaching out to you because of your expertise. Our LinkedIn Group is also an ideal place to look for these connections and to begin a conversation.

NETWORKING CULTURALLY

I had the honor and privilege of attending the Emerging Market’s Summitt with my fellow UIU members at the world-renowned University of Chicago – Booth School of Business earlier this April. It was remarkable to hear several CEO’s proclaim Nigerians as the Next Generation of Global Leaders of our time.

By encouraging the formation of a stronger Igbo-Nigerian network, Umu Igbo Unite aims to improve our cultural infrastructure so that we may strengthen the voices and impact of Igbo professionals, Igbo leaders and Igbo entrepreneurs. Our goal is to enhance the conditions of Igbo-Nigerians around the world and increase the marketability of our people globally. Our cultural network helps address the needs of personal and professional development for Igbos, advocacy and creating global collaboration with people of other cultures.

NETWORKING SOCIALLY

“Bia, come, let me introduce you to Amaka…”

Let’s just face it – everyone who tells you about UIU may always start with the social angle…whether positively or negatively.

“You shall meet your future husband or wife at UIU this year….in Jesus name! Amen!”

“What five new outfits are you coming with this year to UIU?

“My friends list multiplied after UIU last year.”

“Trending….#UIU2015”

“I met tons of girls at UIU last year – it’s the best place to be with a ratio of 5 Igbo girls to every Igbo guy!”

The simplest way to talk about UIU’s social network is to experience it and examine it for yourself. When you come to UIU this year, GO OUT AND INTRODUCE YOURSELF! I further encourage you to high five or fist bump a board member and planning committee member who worked tirelessly all year to put #UIU2015 on!

But let’s keep it real – sometimes I know it may feel like it isn’t in our (Igbo’s) DNA to walk up to someone you don’t know and say:

“Hi, my name is Nneka – I love that Ankara you’re wearing!” or

“Hi, my name is Ugo, I heard you’re from Enugu State – me too!”

Often times we find ourselves skeptical about why someone out of nowhere would come up and talk to us. I remember having a friend from college when she first met me ask – “Why are you so nice – Nigerians, we’re not nice to people we don’t know….” Like…Legit!!!

My friends – there is absolutely no harm in making new friends, especially Igbo ones. This is at the core of what Umu Igbo Unite is about – which literally translated from Igbo means “Igbo People Unite or Children of Igbo Unite”.

Ultimately, conversations are gateway opportunities. Reach beyond the safety of your digital screens and don’t let your connections stay confined to the digital world. Our generation has really got caught up in social media that many of us don’t even know how to engage with people on a personal and face-to-face level anymore. Carrying a genuine conversation takes practice and you can’t get better at dialoguing with others without practice. Once you’ve interacted a handful of times with people you’ve connected with socially, take the next step with a phone call or, even better, an in-person meeting for coffee, lunch or dinner. Nothing can replace the personal feel of direct interaction.

With all of this being said – we look forward to high-fiving, dapping it up, lol-ing and gisting with you all-weekend long.

We look forward to seeing you in August 2015! Igbo kwenu my people!

#igbokwenu #UIU2015 #tristate #newark #umuigbounite

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