Mabel Ogundayo

Councillor, London Borough of Bexley. Age 25.

Please could you tell us a bit about your role as a councillor?

As a councillor my role is to represent the people of Thamesmead East, who I’m elected to represent within the council, as well as Bexley as a whole. I deal with all sorts of problems, such as issues with local education systems. My main priority is to look out for the best interests of my residents.

Has there been a defining moment in your life that has made you who you are?

I was born in Nigeria and I think the defining moment in my life was when I was 13 and went back to Nigeria for the very first time. It really dawned on me what opportunities my parents had provided for me by bringing me to the UK. This made me realise that I really needed to make the most of these opportunities and do something important with my life.

What were you like at school?

At school I’d say there were three words that defined me… shy, determined and talkative. I was very, very shy. I had dyslexia that wasn’t properly diagnosed when I was young and because of that I wasn’t able to achieve the same things that my peers were able to. This made me very quiet. So when I was able to get attention in class I’d be really loud and play up a little bit because of my insecurities.

Where do you find your confidence?

I think my confidence comes from my mum. She’s an extremely confident person. In the past I’ve been very shy and whenever I’ve been nervous about a situation I just ask myself what my mum would do in that situation and I try and emulate that.

My main priority is to look out for the best interests of my residents.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to go into a similar profession?

I’d tell them to be passionate about every single thing they do. You need to be really passionate about the area and the people you want to represent. You have to be really keen to make a positive change in society. I can’t say that I had any particular skills that made me stand out from the rest, but my passion for the people and the area has got me to where I am today.

If your teenage self could see you now, what would she say?

She’d say ‘we did it!’