Emilia Ndely-Ogundipe: Impact-Focused Innovator and Leader

Emilia Ndely-Ogundipe headshot

Emilia Ndely-Ogundipe (BA ‘11, economics), winner of CLA’s 2022 Emerging Alumni Award, centers equity, innovation, and leadership in her professional work. As a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, she wields her creativity and expertise to develop effective services and products that serve the needs of citizens. Ndely-Ogundipe has given back to the UMN community and created spaces of belonging in many ways since her graduation in 2011, most notably through her foundation of the UMN Black Alumni Network. 

How are you involved in the community?

Founder and past president of the UMN Black Alumni Network. UMAA board member since 2018, serving as the Student and Recent Alumni Council Director (2018-present) and in an executive capacity as Secretary in 2021.  

How did your time in CLA inspire you to pursue your path?

My time in CLA, and the U at large, prepared me with great leadership skills (Black Student Union board member, president of Black Motivated Women, and Student Health Advisory Committee member) and a strong network that I continue to rely on as I grow in my career.

What is your favorite memory from your time as a student?

Participating in the African Student Association’s Mr. and Mrs. Africa Pageant with my (now) husband.

What advice would you give to current CLA students?

Take advantage of your time. Get involved with different organizations and use those experiences to try interest areas in a more professional capacity. If you're interested in graphic design, take on a marketing role in a student organization. Play your student card. Most professionals are open to helping students. Use this time to get to know more about potential career paths through informational interviews and networking. Have fun!

How do you spend your free time? What "fills your cup"?

I spend most of my free time hanging out with my husband and our friends, spending quality time with my family, and/or working out. The best is when I can do all those things at once!

What was your reaction to receiving this award?

I was grateful and appreciative. Thank you for the recognition.

What's next? What are your personal/professional goals for the next five years?

I've honestly never answered this question correctly. Even if I think I know what’s up next, God shows me otherwise. I am open to opportunities that allow me to have a positive impact and flex my innovative and strategic skill sets.

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