What do you do after a graduate degree in international business and a career history in finance and sales?
Become a dancer, of course.
At least, that's what Trinette Ogunnusi is doing.
Originally from Wisconsin, she moved to the Atlanta area in August of 1990 to pursue a degree in international business. (She wanted to work for the Foreign Service and enroll in the international relations program. Someone discouraged her by saying she was "too honest.")
She transferred later to London's Schiller International University to finish her undergraduate degree, then finished her graduate degree at American Intercontinental University's London campus.
Ogunnusi has a love for all the arts – dance, theater, music, archeology, and history. She also loves to travel, which is what guided her in her choice of universities.
Her faith motivates her choices more than anything, however.
“I feel I was called to teach and work with young people,” she said.
That call came to her often. In fact, the first time she came face to face with it was while she was still in school in the Atlanta area. She was living with a missionary woman and was introduced to a pastor from Uganda. When she told him what her plans for the future involved – international business – he challenged her.
“He said, no, I would be working with young people!” she said. “From that day on, I really couldn't get away from it.”
Despite her success in finance and sales, everywhere she turned, her passion for working with youth was inescapable. Once she settled into London life, she became involved in a local church, Glory House, located in East London. She mentored youth, many of whom were immigrants and refugees.
She and her husband were youth leaders at the church.
“I got a chance to teach them dance, theatre, and drama,” she said. “A lot of them were from west and east Africa.”
Dance is something that not only comes naturally to Ogunnusi, but is a way of expressing herself. When she began teaching dance in London, her mother reminded her of what she would do when she was a little girl.
“I would take curtains and belts and dance in the back yard,” she said. Her mother would tell her to take those things back inside. “So I would go back out with a towel.”
After establishing her career in London and getting married, she and her husband moved to Norcross in 2002, then settled in Snellville in 2004.
“It's a nice, quiet place,” she said, “and has a bit of a country feel.”
She enjoys driving down local backroads, taking the time to experience the beauty of the fields, horse farms and old barns. Idyllic scenes like these appeal to her artistic side.
In August, Ogunnusi will begin a new endeavor - she will offer a month-long, weekly Zumba workshop at the on Ronald Reagan Parkway. Her 4-year-old daughter, Mia, attends the school.
“I thought this would be a good way to not only continue to do what I love,” she said, “but offer a way to help people get fit.”
The training to get certified was grueling, she said, but it was "the best training I've ever had."
For Ogunnusi, dance is a way for her to work out her frustrations.
“I was very shy, very timid,” she said. “The only way a person could see the real me was through dance. It was freedom. A way to express me. A way people could not confine me.
When it comes to the arts and dance, there are no parameters. People can't box you in."
To register for her classes, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (404) 819-6214.