Martina Iwala

Founder of Operation: Adulting

Demonstrated in all aspects of her being, Martina’s charming and inquisitive demeanor, paired with an innate sense of self-awareness, authenticates her progressive experience from FinCorp to entertainment to media production to social advocate. Of Nigerian & Cameroonian descent, Martina grew accustomed to the realities of being the product of immigrant parents: their passion for success will forever be to ensure their future generations have a better life. Martina’s passion for success “…far exceeds the limitations we’re inundated with by society…” and believes the “deepest misfortune is living within the confines of a social media generated chimera”.

Where did the idea for Operation: Adulting come from?

The idea came when, funnily enough, some friends-of-friends of mine were discussing the ways nCov-19 has changed our lives as we all used to know it and I was curious to learn how their kids were adapting to this “new normal”. The words that left their mouths were: “I don’t have to deal with it for much longer, I’ll be gone soon.” I was saddened with everyone nodding in unison. When did we go from generations sharing/passing down knowledge they’ve acquired and experiences they’ve had with the youth to “not caring” about what happens after their time on this planet ends? Why do we act with such haste in sharing hilarious or thought-provoking memes on various social media platforms yet become so defensive when sharing our defeats and disappointments?

I’m barely first generation American. By barely, I mean my-mother-was-boarding-her-flight-before-her-water-broke, barely. I wasn’t privy to the rights one has as an American citizen; being a product of immigrant parents young ones grow accustomed to hearing: “we came to this country to give you a better life” to “we didn’t come to this country for you to waste this opportunity” to “do you know what people would do to be in your place?”.
Of course we’re thankful for the opportunity but we more-so have this fear of not “screwing up” an opportunity our parents vigilantly fought for.

Operation: Adulting™ is North America’s first Millennial & Gen-Z run hypeOrg assisting and guiding diverse, under-represented & marginalised STEAM-focused high school & college aged students. Pre-nCov-19 we would connect our students with several tech companies to expose them to “A Day in the Life” where our students would shadow someone in their career path. We connect with millennial, gen z, gen y and beyond, leaders who are willing to share their “rookie mistakes” so these budding adults can make better informed decisions about their futures because, let’s face it: they’re making life long decisions based on little life experience if any.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

HA! A typical day for me begins with a nice run along either side of Manhattan and then finding a nice spot to meditate for about 30 minutes. I usually return home at about 7 in the morning to make a pot of sencha tea and continue to write the tasks needing to be accomplished for the day & the week. Around 8:30 am is when my fingers type type type away and this is where times get a bit fuzzy; from Zoom meetings to Panel preps to council interviews to onboarding both volunteers and our students; I barely have time to change out of my workout clothes before I’m sucked in to my day!

How do I make it productive? By trusting the board and councils. It took awhile for me to get comfortable with delegating tasks and ensuring they’re being done; as coming from a finance & reality television background, I’ve grown accustomed to doing things myself! When you have a team around you, dedicated to the same mission, it’s difficult to fail.

How do you bring ideas to life?

HA! Like Nike says: Just do it!
Life waits for NO ONE and fortune only favours the bold; etc.

Time, is a luxury we ALL have. Think of loved ones who are buried 6 feet under, they would give anything to have your WORST day.

That being said, it is OK to bring your “half-baked” idea to life! Why? Because every moment brings experience: from an aggravating co-worker to mistakenly beginning a Zoom call with your shirt off; we learn from ALL of these plot twists; yes, they can be frustrating, embarrassing and un-utterable but ADULTING is the accumulation of those experiences; the ways we grow and learn from them is what makes us successful #adults.

What’s one trend that excites you?

There’s a budding trend of younger people finding their voices; those voices are getting louder and I’m here for it! It’s a breath of fresh air to come across a young person who acknowledges their shortcomings yet understands the value of asking. If we could take the time to comprehend the tremendous power each of us have with the various devices we so deeply cherish, most would make better use of the spare time we grow so weary of saving.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I guard my mornings with my entire being as my workday normally begins at 8am. My clock goes off around 4:30am, I tend to jump out of bed otherwise we’re playing the dangerous game of “5-more-minutes”! There’s something about having the city to yourself in the wee hours of the morning that simply permits you to get out all of the insecurities, frustrations, disappointments and squeals of excitement or jigs of joy!

Think about it this way: What would you do if no one was around to judge your thought or every move? What magic could you create without all of the noise?

What advice would you give your younger self?

You know, Operation: Adulting™ is based on this question and I’ve never answered this question myself, until now!

I know my younger self is half as stubborn as I am today. With that, I would tell my younger self WHO tf CARES?!
WHO CARES if someone sees you fail?
WHO CARES what they’ll think of you?
WHO CARES if you don’t know the answer to something You feel pressured to know?

Everyone wants to say that THEY care but that’s just it! YOU care! If YOU care so much, you’re more than halfway there. YOU have the ability to change the world with your “small” thought/action. Just as a pebble dropped in a lake creates ripples which, in turn, affect oceans; your thoughts have the ability to change the world.

Oh and don’t fall into the ‘what’s-the-point’ trap because someone else is executed an idea similar to yours before you had the chance to. Stroll down the bread aisle and tell me how many different brands of bread there are; my point exactly.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

I feel confident in saying that approximately 12% of the world’s population would agree with the following statement: Waking up at 4 in the morning is literally a blessing in every aspect of the word 🤣

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Write Down Your Ideas!!!!!! I’ve kept a journal since I could hold a pen to paper; with technology, its easier than ever to jot ideas in the notes section in your phone. Next time you’re feeling uninspired or down, go to your notes section and scroll to your very first one; not only is it dope to see how much you’ve grown as a human, it also goes to show that all of those dark days that seemingly never end soon become trivial. Trust me, we’ve all experienced varying levels of ‘having been there’.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Word of mouth and entertaining social media posts! We’re building a brand for students to refer to time and time and time again.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?


I HAVE to give props to the amazing people superstar chair-humans of O: A™. I am definitely an idea maker, task delegator & hypeLady but when it comes to following up or checking in with people, I am confident enough to say I suck with that. It’s a daily struggle but with the help of fellow chair-humans holding me accountable in addition the virtual sticky notes, reminders and task automation and although I’m not perfect, I am getting better at keeping on top of things!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Production assistants needs an affordable union. Usually at the bottom tier but doing everything from picking up incredibly expensive equipment to driving oversized vehicles on their first day; there are so many PAs dedicated to production and at times, they go unnoticed under the wrong circumstances. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have been taken under the wings of some incredibly talented humans. Which solidified my reasoning of always paying things forward.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 I recently spent was for Operation: Adulting™. I am incredibly passionate about shaping the brilliant minds of future generations. We’re ensuring future genz make better informed decisions about their futures. It’s frustrating trying to “keep up” with your idol but O: A wants young people to realise that your idols should encourage you to think rather than mirror them. We’ll encourage you to figure out the insecurities they’ve overcome in order to be where they are now as you’ll be incredibly shocked at what you’ll learn!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Let me know if you find one piece of software or web service haha! I tandemly use several services as I’m an incredibly personalised customiser! It’s easier for me to link several apps than to root & code one particular software or service that still doesn’t cover all of my autonomous needs.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Transcending the Levels of Consciousness by David R Hawkins. I read this annually as each read offers a deep self-reflective experience. It’s one of those books that may take a bit of time to land for some yet the moment it does, it’s as though your pupils dilate about 210%. You truly see and comprehend the world differently.

What is your favorite quote?

I have two:
1- If it has nothing to do with your assets, your health or your family: pluck it! We all get so consumed with what’s going on in the world around us that we tend to get lost in it.

2- Pause, breathe, adjust your crown, proceed.
Again, we ALL face moments when we want to, for lack of better words: pop off, but Pausing gives us time to asses the situation; breathing

Key Learnings:

  • One, allow inexperience to be your motivation rather than your crutch.
  • Two, one must deeply learn themselves (that includes everything from your weaknesses to your fears) you’re stuck with you until the end of time so you may as well learn yourself through and through and level up your natural strengths & talents.
  • Three, find the value in voicing your opinions & concerns. You aren’t supposed to know everything unless you lied about it because then, that’s on you. You didn’t enter the world with the ability to read this article but you’re able to do it now am I right? Speak up when you don’t understand something more importantly, speak up when you’re curious about learning something.
  • Four, ensure you’re investing in your future daily- whether its learning a new language, reading a book, even doing your laundry or making your bed; these actions add up and your future you will thank you for it.
  • Finally, if it has nothing to do with your health, your family’s safety or your assets: pluck it!