Which of these feedback would you desire to receive from people?
Sorry, but you could have made an attempt at it or showed up, at least!
Congratulations on your completion of this certificate course, or on your new appointment!
We live in an age when an average individual will choose to live within a safe and comfortable space and go the route of least resistance. We have seen time and time again that this route favours none of its users.
Today on LADWITS (Launch Deep! With Taofik Sanni), Taofik sits with Nene Obichie, the Head of Marketing and Sales at PayAttitude, as she shares her story of how she stayed strong as a wife, mother, employee and student all at the same time.
If you think the world is on you, that you have too much on you to hold you back from going for your goals, please read this!
Taofik Sanni: Good morning Nene, your story is such that it has the potential of encouraging many other women in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. Can you start by introducing yourself to us?
Nene Obichie: Thank you, I’m Nene Obichie, a marketing and communication professional who drives profitable growth in rapidly evolving competitive digital payments and technology environments. I’m a wife and mother of 2 young children.
Taofik: Can you please tell us about how you came into the marketing and communication profession?
Nene: I was always a big talker who loved to read and write so my father thought I’d make a good lawyer. Unfortunately I was unable to make the mark to study law and opted instead to study Mass Communication.
After my first degree, I worked in a few small organizations but because I liked the fast paced world of technology, I switched careers to banking specifically the E-Business department of one of Nigeria’s leading banks. Working in Electronic Payments in the early days was very exciting because electronic payment was still a novelty as most businesses still relied heavily on cash. However once the CBN’s cashless drive kicked in, I started to feel a bit less challenging and switched departments to the Aviation department within the same bank. If I thought E-business had become boring, I was in for a shocker as I found Aviation rather monotonous. Don’t get me wrong, I had moments of excitement whenever I was able to get my Aviation clients to use electronic banking to scale but I was pregnant with my first child and started to reconsider how to marry my first love of communication with my new passion of digital payments. I decided to pursue a masters degree in Marketing Communication and the rest they say is history
Taofik: Wow! So interesting! So can you tell us the story behind all these movements from banking to marketing communications and how they relate to your marital life, pregnancy and study?
Nene: A wise man once said “if you don’t like where you are, move. You are not a tree.”
This has been one of my guiding principles. Believe me when I say it wasn’t easy juggling a tasking career at a bank, newly wedded blues, pregnancy and early motherhood in addition to pursuing a higher education but my desire for a career I was passionate about was stronger than the temporary discomfort of multi-tasking so I just had to make that move.
Like the African adage goes “it takes a village to raise a child” I’m thankful I have a very supportive husband, worked with a great team of colleagues who covered for me when I had to leave the office to attend a class and had the support of my sister and brother in-law assist with childcare. I’m proud to say that I never turned in a paper late and was even the first student in my class to submit my final thesis and complete my viva!
Taofik: Wow! You are such a strong woman. During all of these experiences, did you ever feel like giving up or quiting?
Nene: Yes, early on in the program I was tempted to throw in the towel because believe me it was intense but I had to start with the end in mind and forged on
Taofik: What are the lessons you picked in the course of your journey here?
Nene: The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. If you want something, no matter how daunting it seems just take the first step towards achieving it. Once you take that first step it becomes a little less daunting.
Taofik: As a wife, a mother and a professional, what advice do you have for other women out there who may have been stuck at one point or the other in their journey to achieving their marital, parental and professional goals?
Nene: There’s a photograph I have that was taken by my colleague years ago, after I had returned to work from my first maternity leave. In that photo, I’m fast asleep at a makeshift rest area at the corner of the office just beside a copier because I was exhausted from staying awake with a colicky baby the night before. Yet I made it to work that next day tired as hell but determined to make it through.
It doesn’t matter what gender you are, life is going to throw curveballs at you along the way, just be determined to take each day as it comes and give it your best shot.
It also helps when you have people that love and support you because like I always say, teamwork makes the dream work
Taofik: For those young people desiring to take a career in marketing and communications, what advice do you have for them?
Nene: For young people desiring to pursue a career in marketing and communication, my advice is for them to stay true to your passion and keep their eyes on the prize. As with most professions, it may not be rosy in the beginning but it is a very exciting career path with diverse opportunities. With digitization, the profession has become a lot more dynamic than what it used to be only a few years ago. But this generation is blessed in the sense that they have access to a lot of information, so they must continue to stay abreast on the trends, keep learning, unlearning and relearning whilst staying true to the ethics of the business.
Taofik: Are there any certification, annual conference, or quarterly workshops to boost the employability of those aspiring to become a leader in the marketing and communication profession? Also, what are the opportunities and leadership track a young chap can key into to become successful in the profession?
Nene: Certifications are nice to have but they aren’t must haves. The beauty about the profession is that as long as you have strong written and communication skills you can perform effectively. Companies will typically consider candidates who have earned degrees in Mass Communication, Communication, Marketing or journalism but like I said they are no hard or fast rules.
To boost employability in the field, an aspiring leader has to have a firm grasp on marketing research, communication strategy and pricing and budgeting strategies. Again in this age of digital marketing, one must be abreast of the all the digital channels and tools and must be able to analyze marketing trends
Taofik: So Nene, in case someone out there desires to reach you or have a career conversation with you, how can they do so?
Nene: In my spare time I mentor young graduates and professionals on employability and personal branding. I have a blog (www.careersensei.com.ng) where I try to answer questions about all that pertains with thriving in today’s workplace. I can also be reached on all social media platforms.
Taofik: Thank you Nene, for your time and efforts to help many know they can be more than what they are and be better than what they think they can be despite your busy schedule.
Nene: You are most welcome