Following the success of our November event at the House of Commons, on 7 March 2018, the Alumni Relations team and the Brunel Law School hosted the next in our annual Alumni events programme - ‘In Conversation with Eniola Aluko.’ Attended by alumni, students and staff, Eniola was engaging, funny and full of interesting insights to share with interviewer Prof. Bill Leahy - Deputy Vice Chancellor - and the audience.
Since graduating from Brunel University London in 2008, Law alumna and international footballing star, Eniola, has had a career in both the legal and footballing world spanning both sides of the Atlantic, and increasingly in the media as well. With 102 appearances for England and having played in three World Cups, she has been at the heart of the growth of women’s football in England.
Hosted at the Blake Morgan LLP offices in central London, we were thrilled to have the chance to talk to Eniola about her amazing career since leaving Brunel and her plans for the future. Having been scouted at an early age, Eniola spoke about football being her “avenue to acceptance” and how her passion for the sport continued to grow. Looking to combine her gift for football with her academic strengths, Eniola chose to study Law at Brunel, having first been inspired by Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Having graduated with a First class honors degree, and maintaining her sporting career throughout, Eniola commented on the importance of having a release through differing interests and “channeling her academic brain alongside her sporting brain.”
With a passion for developing character for success, Eniola went on to give tips and advice to our students and alumni in the room. For exam and study success, she highlighted the importance of “applying knowledge in the right way to fit around the reading” - the key being in the application, something she found all too crucial when studying Land Law at Brunel. Described as the subject that “terrified her,” she was quick to say that it was this fear that drove her to work hard and succeed - earning herself an ‘A’ grade in the process - and highlighting the importance of “realising your weaknesses & bouncing back from failure,” taking the “opportunity to learn and succeed.” Crediting her dissertation - and enthusiasm for her topic - as a key moment in earning her first class degree, she went on to emphasise not only the importance of this for our current students, but the value of having passion in all you do. When it comes to life after Brunel, she was quick to encourage the audience to take that passion and “network, network…and network some more!”
For Eniola, being in a high profile profession “comes with responsibility,” but importantly, is also “an excellent opportunity to help people and promote women’s rights.” In looking at her role and opportunities to be had, Eniola reminds us about her drive for “implementing change - not just for me, but for others.”
Inspiring our students and alumni was one of the big highlights of the event. Tapiwa, a final year Law student, commented on Twitter that “Eniola is the best - thank you [Brunel] for making this possible.” Anthony Inglese from our Brunel Law School also shared his thanks for the evening, noting that Eniola “exemplified both sporting and academic excellence with great dignity,” adding that he “liked her concluding message of hard work and networking” and was “impressed with the engagement of our students.”
With Eniola giving her time generously after the event to answer one-to-one questions, first year Law student, Zahra, said via LinkedIn “she has shown me, amid my balanced conversation with her that ladies are in energy of anything!” Summing up the event, Prof. Bill Leahy remarked that “Eniola is a fantastic role model - I was very impressed with her poise, her drive and her generosity.” In terms of raising aspirations and promoting success, Bill also commented on the overall value of the event, noting that “our students were so impressed by her [Eniola], by the event itself, by the location and the environment. It shows them what they can aspire to and what their future could look like.”
As the event drew to a close, Eniola thanked us for great conversation - and reminded us that she is “always a Brunelian.”