Born to nobility, Chizoma Olumba Nosiri (BA ’02) was a young princess in her native Nigeria. When she moved to Washington D.C. with her family for a better educational future she had to start an entirely new life. The transition was challenging, but through hardships Nosiri realized she was much more than a princess.

Entering a foreign school with a new culture and language was difficult for the six-year-old Nosiri. “I was bullied because I was different. I came from Nigeria. My hairstyle was different… I didn't speak English; I was a foreigner….”

“I came home one day from school, and I asked [my mother], ‘Why am I being laughed at in school?’ She told me not to worry because I'm beautiful,” Nosiri recounts. “There's one statement my mother made to me as a young girl that stayed with me even until today. She told me, ‘You are the queen of Africa.’”

Nosiri says, “It is just the concept of being special, being unique and being able to know and be who you are, regardless of trials and obstacles in life, knowing that God loves you, and you are His daughter and special to Him.”  With that understanding, Nosiri now sees the hardships she experienced as a child helped shape her into who she is today.

This self-understanding stemmed from a combination of her family’s culture and religious beliefs. “I have always had a sense of a culture where you are special. That helped me. As my family joined the LDS church, the church's principles—and the culture I already had from my own native land stayed with me,” Nosiri says.

A passion for communicating led Nosiri to BYU where she studied media arts and film. Nosiri explains, “A visual element is a language that everybody speaks. Whether I'm from Nigeria and speak Igbo or from the United States and speak English, if we see the same thing, we can easily interpret it faster, instead of going through the medium of trying to interpret it in our own languages.”

After graduating in 2002 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Nosiri went on to receive her Master’s degree in Public Relations with an emphasis in Organizational Communications from Bowie State University and her Ph.D. in Communications, Culture and Media Studies from Howard University. Today, Nosiri continues her passion for communication as an Empowerment Guru and Communications Consultant. With her work, she looks outward to promote change and empowers others by helping them see themselves and people around them in more positive ways. Nosiri’s clients range from individuals to large organizations, but her message is the same: Empowerment is founded on an appreciation for every soul and an understanding of personal worth.

“A lot of my clients are spiritually lost… and when I speak with them they begin to gain awareness of [their] inner self. The outer [self] always suffers, if the inner is suffering. We can fix the outer [temporarily]… but if you're not fixing the inner, the problems remain.”

Even though every person and organization have different circumstances, Nosiri shares that in order to make positive, inner changes one must be completely open with oneself. “We don't learn when we're in denial. Our minds become closed. Once we're able to say, ‘Hey, maybe I do have a problem. Maybe I do need to work on this.’ Once we have that, then we're able to start to change [positively],” Nosiri says.

While the changes start within an individual, the impact continues to expand outward into relationships and organizations. “You've been taught, ‘Don't focus on yourself, that's selfish.’ But if you don't focus on yourself, you're not going to really help anyone else… you won't understand what true love really is,” Nosiri says. “And true love is when you're able to love with yourself ... When you understand your value, then you can understand that others are as good as you are; and you love them in return.”

Nosiri has seen this work in the lives of her clients. “One client felt rejected by those around him and started to negatively cast himself as unachievable and unworthy,” Nosiri shares. “He turned his perspective around by using and implementing the tools I gave him to apply. The young man has been thriving for years with the faith and conviction to overcome any obstacle placed before him.”

The desire for personal and community growth was nourished while attending BYU. Nosiri says, “My professors, they guided me and showed me love. You can see that light and goodness in them. It made you want to become who and what God wants His child to become. They guided me towards that light of understanding myself so I can reach my potential and help others to reach their potential.” Through her final project at BYU, Nosiri conveyed similar feelings in a short film entitled Innocence. The film focuses on the pure love of God, His willingness to help His children and how the pure in heart are pure toward God, themselves and their fellowmen.

Although far in time from being a young girl bullied at school, Nosiri is not distant from that experience. Today she finds herself filling the same role, for others, which her mother and professors filled for her as a motivator and mentor and person who cares, and wants others to succeed and reach their potential.

- Braden Taylor ('19)

Chizoma Olumba Nosiri
BA 2002