The Ideal Startup Employee

In the 1950s, the average age of a company on the S&P 500 index was 60. Today, that number is less than 18. This just means that the most successful corporations are growing three times faster than they have in the past. To succeed at this rate of rapid change, employees and business leaders in start-ups have had to adapt by adopting growth mindsets, learning new skills, and embracing flexibility. 

In this article, I will be sharing some valuable tips that make you stand out as an exceptional startup employee.

It takes a certain type of personality to want to work at a startup . So just before you submit that resume, take a moment to compare your assets to these must-have traits below:

1. Adopting the Idea Generator personality 

Most business owners value employees who are able to take it upon themselves to do some exploring on their own, generate, develop, and communicate new ideas while figuring out solutions to difficult challenges. This involves taking ownership and wearing the hat of a divergent thinker. Come up with many ideas, select the best idea (or ideas) and work to implement the idea and put it into practice frequently.

2. Thriving in organized chaos

The best way to describe a startup is as fragile as a newborn baby. Some days, you wake up and realize, “What we’re building isn’t actually scalable.” The immediate reaction to this would be to change things immediately. The best startup employees not only understand this but are ready to adapt to new changes alongside helping you spot issues along the way  for the improvement of the whole.

“Challenges can get overwhelming, and by extension, the work at SLA can get overwhelming as well. However, nothing beats the satisfaction of completed tasks and goals.”- A She Leads Africa Employee Click To Tweet

3. Adapt to changing processes

As times change, processes change too. What that means is, you have to not expect things to always be set in stone in a startup. Obviously, the goal for these sorts of organizations is to find the ideal standards and build processes and best practices that scale and age well. Most of all, the ideal employee just understands when things need to change at a moment’s notice and be willing to run and sprint with it.

4. Look beyond the formal job responsibilities

When you’re working in a startup environment, there is a never-ending list of things that can be done. On some days, my to-do list ranges from “in the weeds” tasks like prospective candidate follow-ups, vendor follow-ups and training new employees.

Juggling multiple tasks can be extremely mentally tasking, however, the great startup employees realize they are building their “future role” at the company and beyond so they take it upon themselves to not only get their own work done, and done exceptionally well, but find other ways to check things off the company’s to-do list– even if it means being a salesperson for an hour.

5. Don’t measure your value between the hours of 9 to 5

In order to be a valuable addition to a fast-growing startup, you have to be fine with the fact that your day won’t always start right at 9:00 AM and end the moment the clock hits 5:00 PM. Some days will start earlier than normal and other days will go late. Some weekends, you’ll even find that you want to get some work done yourself  so that you don’t have a crazy week ahead. In a startup, you typically have more freedom, but with that freedom comes with high expectations of exponential value.

6. Replace short-term rewards for the longer-term payoff

It is common knowledge that building something great takes time. It’s also amazing to hear people say, “I was one of the pioneer staff at Uber,” or, “I was part of the first 20 at Microsoft.” In society, these early employees are praised and idolized almost just as much as the founders.

If you want to be part of that pioneer group though, you have to really come to terms with the fact that none of those early employees signed themselves up for a “job.” Most of them believed in the vision. They wanted to be part of the building process and bring the founder’s vision to life.

7. Be intellectually curious and willing to learn

Working in a startup can be hard because almost everything you do is the “first time.” You’re constantly in exploration mode, which means you’re probably going to be fumbling in the dark for a while.

A great startup employee thrives in this sort of high learning environment. They take it upon themselves to do some learning on their own without management having to necessarily push you. Independently identify resources needed to improve on existing skills.

“The best career advice I have ever gotten is to work for people who will help you grow.  The #WeStayLearning core value of SLA showed me a commitment to supporting my career growth.”- A She Leads Africa Employee Click To Tweet


Every day is a fire-fighting day for a startup. I have come to realize that both large and small companies will invest in team members who are ready to adapt to change with an intense sense of ownership over their responsibilities, and often beyond them as well. Be ready to bring something new to the table on a daily basis
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“I Learnt Perseverance After My Fire Accident” Meet Eco-friendly Entrepreneur, Chidiebere Nnorom

If there’s one thing Chidiebere Nnorom wants us to know, it is that she’s a typical Igbo girl with a never die attitude, never ever wanting to give up! Even after going through a rough patch, she refused to succumb and found her way back up.

Chidiebere Nnorom is the Co-founder of Paperbag by Ebees. She has a strong passion for the environment, social impact and business.  

Watch this space as Chidiebere is determined to change norms and make waves as an entrepreneur, environmentalist and a young global leader. Scroll down to read more of her story.


What’s your background story?

Before my business grew to the stage it is at now, I went through a lot! I was involved in a fire accident which kept me indoors for a while. I had to stop business operations and lay off staff. It was unbelievable. Imagine being at a point in life where you are clueless about what to do next. Well, that was me then.

It took me almost a year to heal. I couldn’t work or do anything. My savings had been zapped and I kept wondering how I’d scale through. There was a personal instinct to do something, I knew it wasn’t the time to give up but to breakthrough! I needed to turn the light on in my heart and that I did. 

To cut the long story short, the accident was a validation to move on. Months later, I picked up my business and started building up gradually. Next thing I knew, business calls were coming in! People said they saw the paper bag and wanted to order. Some of the paper bags they saw were made way before the accident. The referral rate was massive! I was so elated and grateful I didn’t give up back then.

What ignited the spark to start Paperbag by Ebees?

In 2016, we started off as a food delivery business but one of the problems we faced was the packaging, we just couldn’t find the right packaging. With a background in geography and my love for the environment, we decided to start creating eco-friendly packages.

There were a lot of “buts!” That was the year the foreign exchange was high, fuel scarcity and other things kept creeping in. We had to take a step back to think of how we could make it. My team and I carried out some research, tried out different products, monitored what was moving and what wasn’t. Everything was coming up gradually.

Before I knew it, we made it official!

 

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

At the early stages, our major challenge was accessing raw materials in Nigeria. It meant having to buy in large quantities and also importing from China. We had other expenses to run the business and couldn’t afford it.

This caused a setback. We had to think of how to make it ourselves. We carried out some research and found alternative ways to come up with the resources. That was when we started the business for real!

Business development was our second challenge, it took us a while to see that the market was ready. We had to try out different products to see if the market will accept us. It was quite hard, to be honest. After a series of experiments and market research, we were able to count a milestone. Finally! We achieved growth.

These experiences really shaped our mindset as a company. To every business owner out there, celebrate your little wins! We count every little effort we make as a win and an opportunity to do better. I’m learning to take joy in the little things, every small success is a validation. I say to myself, “Chidiebere well done!” It tells me that every step I took at the time was worth it.

 

How do you come up with the designs on your paper bags?

I won’t take all the credit, I have a really good team. My own inspiration came from purpose. The point is, if we chase our real purpose there are things we won’t struggle to do. I found my passion, and everything fell into place.

Finding the right people who know what they are doing is key. I also took some time to learn product design. It’s a combination of all these things.

 

What have you learned so far from running this business?

I was in paid employment and transitioning was quite drastic.

Take your time and plan! If you’re transitioning from paid employment to business, have enough money to cover up for your expenses. Make sure that the business can take care of your bills. There is no need to go through stress because you’re an entrepreneur, life can be easy!

An HR Executive’s Tips for finding a job during COVID-19

This is by far one of the most challenging times in history. Businesses are shutting down, people have lost jobs and finding a job is even more challenging than ever.

As we adjust to life during a global health pandemic, operations departments all over the world are looking for ways to stay lean to weather the storm. While this might seem scary as hell if you are trying to find a job now, the good news is that there are still a lot of opportunities out there.

As you try to find a job to help you move on to the next phase of your career during COVID-19, here are some smart things you should do.

1. Restrategize

When it comes to finding a job, it might be time for you to go back to the drawing board. Be open to roles outside of your current career path. Think about what you can do today, or in the next 30, 60, and 90 days. It’s fine to take a job outside of your field for a little while, especially if it means it’ll help your personal finances.

Expanding your scope of work may even make you more marketable when the crisis is over. Use this time to explore jobs you may have not considered in the past, and perhaps you’ll find opportunities you’d never have thought of.

finding a job

2. Pick and Choose Your Targets

I cannot overemphasize the importance of research. It is very important to keep up with the latest news on companies hit by the crisis. This may not be the best time to be targeting a job in the oil and gas sector or the aviation sector, for instance.

Find out which companies and industries are still in operation and may not have been hit as much by the pandemic. Top picks to focus on for me would be logistics, technology, food, entertainment and telecommunication industries.

It doesn’t matter how many jobs are or aren’t out there, you must focus on looking for the right one for you- Nneka Alfred, HR Manager at She Leads Africa Click To Tweet

3. Work Your Network

There is no better time to reach out to your network. You may have been in contact with a recruiter, co-founder, or business owner in the past but slowed down on conversations.

Now is the time to rummage through those business social media contacts and let them know you’re available. As a recruiter, I can tell you that during these unprecedented times, what matters is value. More than ever, we rely on referrals and direct candidate sourcing versus investing time/resources on probability.

finding a job

4. Consider Freelancing

Freelancing does not mean that you are not good enough or that you stop chasing a full-time job but you need to keep an open mind. Most companies would rather not commit to long term funded projects as there is no clear or specific timeline for when this pandemic will phase out.

You can get freelance gigs on African focused sites like NoSweat, Jobvine, CediJob, Hausbuddy. You can also check out global freelance sites like UpworkFiverr, and Solidgigs. You never know, your first paid gig could be one click away.

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5. Know the job description of the position you are applying for

Knowing more about the role helps you recall past achievements in previous jobs that align with the job description Click To Tweet


It is important that you study the job description to truly understand what the employer is looking for. This is extremely important. While the primary purpose of the job description is to detail the role and entice you to apply, there’s so much more you can do with it.

Knowing more about the role helps you come up with possible interview questions and recall past achievements in previous jobs that align with the job description. This is one of the easiest ways to ace your job interview.

6. Sell Yourself

Selling yourself involves you doing more than learning about the company. You’ll also need to also focus on the employer’s needs.

Learn how to talk about yourself in a meaningful and powerful way. Include testimonials or proof of past achievements to your resume, application, or professional profile. Your resume inspires any recruiter’s first guess, so you want to make sure it’s a compelling portrait of your strengths and skills.

The recruiter should not only see what you were responsible for but how well you did it and how you can make that success happen for them.

7. Ask for advice

We are humans, not robots. And when things don’t go as planned, we feel very sad. Reach out to colleagues, friends, mentors in similar sectors for moral support and practical advice on the best ways to land that job you seek. Be specific about the ways you want them to help you. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

8. Stay Positive

The most important thing when searching for a job in tough economic times is to keep a positive attitude. No matter how hard or how gut-wrenching these times are, my first order of business is to smack myself across the head with the simple message, “I will not give up. Caving in is not an option.”

Focus your energy instead on what you can control. Call that person at your dream company who is friends with your friend. Figure out how to use LinkedIn to your advantage. Take an online Excel course to shore up a required skill. Celebrate after each milestone to keep you energised.

Developing resilience isn’t easy, especially in these tough times. Pause, take a few deep breaths, meditate if you need to. But strap on your boots afterwards and find some new ways to muck your way to victory. You’ll find a job in no time!


Want access to more resources and articles to get you ahead in your career? Visit SheLeadsAfrica.org!

Hannah Olukoye: Working in Information Technology- My Perspective

According to data from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), only 25% of Information Technology jobs worldwide are held by women. Only 3% of those women are Black/African. There is a huge lack of diversity in the Information Technology Industry.

If you need an image of an African woman working in the IT industry, picture Hannah Olukoye!

Hannah Olukoye is a Kenyan software developer working in the IT industry. She is a graduate of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Actuarial Science.

She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Applied Information Technology at the African Nazarene University. Take a look at how her experience and expertise have opened doors for her as a Software Developer.

In the beginning, there were fewer women in IT compared to the numbers we see now. It was more male-dominated, especially in the local workplace. Click To Tweet

How did you get started in the Information Technology field?

I have always had a passion for programming even though I majored in Actuarial Science at the University. I started off with part-time courses in basic programming languages as soon as I graduated and combined that with a lot of online courses that were offered on free websites.

Information Technology, A group of people sitting at a table

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As an African woman, was it harder for you to enter the IT field?

I am lucky to be born in a country that believes in equality for both genders in education.

Only 25% of Information Technology jobs worldwide are held by women. Only 3% of those women are Black/African. Click To Tweet

In the beginning, there were fewer women in IT compared to the numbers we see now. It was more male-dominated, especially in the local workplace. I would be in teams where we were only two female developers and sometimes, I would be the only female Information Technology expert.

What changes do you foresee in Software Development across Africa?

I see tremendous growth in the number of women sticking to IT, especially when you look at programs like AkiraChix and GADS that are providing more opportunities for developers. These programs provide opportunities to not only learn how to code but also teach them how to make their work stand out.

Information Technology, A person posing for a photo

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I am now part of a team-building an Android application that will use machine learning, algorithms to provide solutions to health workers across Africa. I gained confidence in my knowledge through the community.

Would you encourage African women to pursue a career in Information Technology?

Yes, I would! Most women have a hard time being in the IT field because they are treated unfairly and even underpaid, compared to their male colleagues.

This causes many women to be unable to advance in their careers. One of my goals would be to attain more senior roles in companies or organizations that are leading in the Tech field and change the status quo.

How to find a job on LinkedIn

Need a new job?  Well in case you didn’t know, LinkedIn can be one of the best places to start. This is why we’ll be taking you through 5 major tips for how to find the job of your dreams on LinkedIn. Play your cards right and you’d be surprised when potential recruiters are the ones reaching out to you! 

Update your profile

Think of LinkedIn as an online CV but with more. Don’t hold back, use this opportunity to detail the work you’ve done and the skills you have. Apart from a brief summary of your work experience, have a LinkedIn bio that’s interesting enough to read through with hobbies and a bit of what you’re passionate about. 

Set up job alerts

You can set up job alerts on your career interests dashboard so that LinkedIn notifies you when a new job is open. With this feature, you can be one of the first to apply for jobs you’re interested in.

Build your connections

Be sure to connect and engage with things and people that interest you on LinkedIn. Following companies that you’re interested in and connecting with their employees and recruiters is always a good idea. 

If you have a list of emails of people that you have connections with offline, all you need to do is upload a CSV file of those contacts and LinkedIn will automatically send connection requests to all of them. This can also help to give your LinkedIn profile a little boost. 

Reach out

When you’re looking for a job on LinkedIn, you’ll need to reach out to recruiters in your choice organisations. One way to make this easy is to have a message template that you can tweak

Here’s a good example: 

“Hello Ms. Archer

My name is Lerato. My background is in software engineering. I’m exploring job possibilities and at this stage, am thinking that Maverick could be a fit for me because I can design systems exceptionally well. Can we meet for 15 minutes to discuss?

Recruiters are busy people so you want to make sure you give at least a week for a reply. 

Let Recruiters Know You’re Open

Showing your profile to recruiters is another great way LinkedIn helps you find a job. To do this, enable the open to job opportunities feature on your LinkedIn profile. You can also choose to opt in to appear in recruiter searches that match your career interests.

LinkedIn tries to protect your privacy by not showing your preferences to recruiters in your current organisation but you need to know that it’s not a 100% guarantee that you will not be visible.

That’s it! You’re now on your way to applying for the job of your dreams!

How to find a mentor online- without leaving your house!

Since Covid-19, we’ve all been in search of new ways to do things from the comfort of our couches. Figuring out how to find a mentor online can be a bit challenging because successful people are usually booked and busy but it’s very doable!

When you’re looking to find a mentor online, sending a bunch of emails or LinkedIn messages requesting that they take you under their wings may not be the best way to go. If you’re looking to have someone to mentor you, they probably get tons of similar requests every day. You’ll need a strategy that helps you stand out. 

Here are some hacks to help you find a mentor online and possibly a friend for life: 

Find relevant people

find a mentor

If you haven’t already, make a list of people in your field who inspire you. You can then boil it down to 3-5 people. When you have your list, make sure you find out as much about these people as you can. To find a mentor, you can also use the LinkedIn Career Advice feature, a great tool for finding new mentors. 

Make yourself visible

The next step is to make sure your LinkedIn is popping with your work experience and accomplishments. The CEO of a company is not very likely to reply to a message from an account with no bio and 5 connections. Apart from LinkedIn, you want to make sure your presence on social media is clean and reflects who you are in the best way possible.

Hit them up!

find a mentor

Now it’s time to send a message to your mentor. Don’t say who you are and then go on to ask for them to mentor you. What you want to do is show that you respect the work they’ve done and talk about how this has also impacted your own life, you can then go ahead to ask if they can help with a specific area of your career.

Once you do this, don’t forget to give a reasonable time for a reply, preferably a week. Make it easy for them to contact you by providing your contact information.

What can you do for them?

Don’t forget that mentors are people too so what you want to do is gain their friendship. One of the best ways to get a mentor is to build a personal connection.

Volunteer to help them with a project, help out with a cause they’re passionate about or offer to help with some research. You can even interview or write an article about them – this is a great way to get to know who they are and connect with them in the process.

MOLPED FEATURE ON SIMI DREY: AWARD WINNING RADIO AND TV HOST

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Molped’s breathable layer keeps young women fresh, and it’s skin-friendly, cottony soft layer does not cause irritation. Molped sanitary pad is every girl’s best friend, helping them be more confident, and supporting them through their periods.

Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections. 

You can connect with Simi on Instagram and Twitter.

ABOUT SIMI DREY

Simi Drey is an experienced multi-award-winning Broadcaster who has worked across media platforms in both the United Kingdom and Nigeria. 

With a First Class Degree in Broadcasting and Journalism from the University of Wales, she currently hosts the Saturday and Sunday morning shows on the Beat 99.9FM and on television anchors 53 Extra on African Magic.

Having won the Future Awards Africa for Best OAP (TV and Radio) in 2019, Simi Drey uses her platform to share her passion for entertaining and educating the youth; tomorrow’s leaders.

What does friendship mean to you?

Friendship means family. My friends are people who know me, they know my strengths, they know my weaknesses yet they still love me. 

They have been there for me and always will be at different stages of my life and I will do the same for them.

Can you tell us of a time when any of your girlfriends connected you with a career or business opportunity?

There have been numerous occasions where my girlfriends helped me but the most recent would be Gbemi Olateru Olagbegi who nominated me for the OAP category of the Future Awards Africa. She did this without my knowledge and even when I won, she still didn’t tell me what she had done. Someone else informed me. 

Since then, winning the award has opened so many other doors for me such as being the Nigerian representative of a panel in South Africa, to discuss the role and emancipation of women in African society.

Can you tell us about a time when your friend (s) helped you through a difficult situation in your career?

In the first year of my career, while I was more or less fresh out of university, I did not know anyone in Lagos and I was hardly earning anything. I didn’t feel like I was making progress and I was extremely frustrated. 

During this period, I became friends with Dr Kemi Ezenwanne. She constantly encouraged me and prayed with me. She also helped me get a foot into the modelling industry which eventually brought about enough funds for me to move out of my aunt’s house, and rent my own place. 

Without her, I may not have continued pursuing a media career.

How many women do you have in your power circle, and why did you choose them?

I have three different power circles. One consists of four women including myself, the other consists of three people, myself included and the last, five in total.

I don’t think I chose them to be honest. I think we realised how much we had in common and we just ‘clicked’ as friends. However, they have remained in my power circles because of their loyalty and support throughout the years. When the world saw me as a nobody, they were there. We have grown together and stayed together through stages of our lives; school, employment, marriage, childbirth and even divorce. 

No matter what though, we see the potential in each other and we strive daily to bring it out. One person’s success is a success for the entire group.

How do you think young women can network with other women to achieve career success?

I think now more than ever, networking is much easier especially with social media. There are people I am friends with on Instagram for example that I had forgotten I had never met. 

However, because we talk a lot and exchange ideas, it feels like we know each other inside out. 

Social media networking can start simply by liking or commenting on a person’s picture. Search for someone in a similar industry as yourself or someone who has inspired you along your journey and send them a message. 

Don’t just write ‘hi’ though. Make it personal.

What is your fondest memory of you and your girlfriends, from when you first began your careers?

Before I started working in Nigeria, my friend Deena and I auditioned for the X-Factor. Neither of us made it past the first audition. Along with our friend Sully, we thought we were going to become a successful girl band- Deena and I as the singers and Sully as a rapper. We never released a single together. Our dreams of a girl band were pretty short-lived. 

Fast forward and Sully is now a successful Investment Banker in London, I have become a multi-award winning Broadcaster and although Deena actually continued to pursue a career in music, she now has been booked for shows across Nigeria and the UK and her songs play on mainstream radio stations.


Finally, what advice/tips do you have for young career women, to help them build and maintain valuable relationships with other women?

I think the phrase ‘women don’t support women’ has been one of the most damaging statements for young women.

 I would say first and foremost, do not compete with other women. See them as allies. Celebrate their victories and try to lift them up in ways you can. They will do the same for you. 

Society is difficult for women generally but when we stand together, we have so much power.

#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


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MOLPED FEATURE ON OMOWALE DAVID-ASHIRU: COUNTRY DIRECTOR, ANDELA

Molped sanitary pad is a product from Hayat Kimya Limited (manufacturers of Molfix diapers), and is a skin-friendly, ultra-soft, sanitary pad, designed to make young girls feel as comfortable, soft, and secure as they feel beside their best friends.

Molped’s breathable layer keeps young women fresh, and it’s skin-friendly, cottony soft layer does not cause irritation. Molped sanitary pad is every girl’s best friend, helping them be more confident, and supporting them through their periods.

Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections. 

About Omowale David-Ashiru

Omowale David-Ashiru is the Country Director for Nigeria and Ghana as well as the Head of Africa Operations at Andela, a company that helps build distributed software engineering teams quickly and cost-effectively. 

Before joining Andela, Omowale’s professional career included a decade-long stint at Accenture, where she started as an Analyst and grew to become a seasoned Management Consultant, Business Process Re-engineering expert, Interim Human Resources Lead and a Certified Project Manager. 

During her time at Accenture, Omowale led complex and challenging projects at numerous strategic clients including the largest bank in Nigeria and West Africa (at the time) as well as a key financial regulatory organisation in Nigeria. In her role, she collaborated and worked with diverse and multicultural teams in various countries, including India, Singapore, Oman, and South Africa. 

After Accenture, she established and managed a maternity retail company for eight years. As part of the Youth enterprise drive of the Federal Government of Nigeria, her company was vetted and awarded a highly coveted entrepreneurial grant. The company also supported the community by partnering with a Not-for-Profit organisation, to employ secondary school graduates as part-time sales assistants with the aim of economically empowering them while assisting them to prepare for and gain entry into tertiary institutions. 

Omowale obtained a First Class B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Ibadan. She has won awards for leadership, academic excellence and theatre. She has a deep passion for inspiring people and has a mentoring circle for ladies. She is an avid reader and loves adventure. 

You can connect with Omowale on LinkedIn and Instagram.

What does friendship mean to you?

For me, there are two things that stand out when I think of friendship. The first is people who get me, which basically means that we think alike. For example, we could be looking at something and we just laugh because the same thought crossed our minds, at that same time. 

Friendship is also vulnerability, a friend is someone I can really be myself with. This is particularly difficult for me because I am not a vulnerable person by nature, so I have had two, maybe three friends including my sister, that I have ever been vulnerable with.

Can you tell us of a time when any of your girlfriends connected you with a career or business opportunity? 

Actually, this is how I got into Andela, a connection from a friend of mine. So a friend of mine who was in Andela also, mentioned Andela to me, got my CV and basically connected me with the opportunity to work here.

Can you tell us about a time when your friend (s) helped you through a difficult situation in your career?

At some point, I was at a crossroads in my career and business. I was running my own business, and it had gotten to a point where I was considering either going back into the corporate space or just continuing my business.

I had been considering this decision for about two years, when I had a conversation with my friend and she spoke about the issue from a different point of view. It was a lightbulb moment for me after that conversation, and I was able to make a decision. That decision eventually led me to being open to getting a corporate job, and I found myself in Andela.


How many women do you have in your power circle, and why did you choose them?

This is a very interesting question because interestingly enough, I actually have a power circle or more like a prayer circle actually, with three women. We talk together, we pray together and I am vulnerable with them.

We meet every week for about two hours unfailingly, and we talk and pray through issues and decisions. Just like the earlier example I shared, I spoke with one of them about a decision I needed to make. I didn’t even give her the facts of the issue because I didn’t want her to be biased. After some time, she prayed for me and got back to me with some advice that gave me clarity.

It’s an interesting story how I met them. Basically, my husband and I host a bible study course which we have been running for years now, with different sets of people. So these women and their husbands had been attending the bible study, and when it was time to start the life fellowship, we just picked ourselves because we had been together for years and had built an organic relationship.

How do you think young women can network with other women to achieve career success?

There’s a principle called the four degrees of separation which basically means that you’re four persons away from anybody else you want to meet in the world. What that means is that if I want to meet Obama today, there are four people between him and me. 

This means that everyone you meet is important and every opportunity to meet someone is a networking opportunity. So you shouldn’t be looking out for who in particular to network or a special opportunity to do so. Instead, simply look for more opportunities to meet people. 

Also, the more people you meet gives you a wider pool to choose from, and assign positions like a mentor, and an accountability partner to different ones. I have several instances of meeting people like this and how it has helped me.

In summary,  just look out for opportunities to meet people, and treat them well also.

What is your fondest memory of you and your girlfriends, from when you first began your careers?

Back in the university when I was in my final year, a company decided to come to my university to test and interview students for jobs. It was quite interesting for me because we were all young and still in school, so we had lots of questions to ask each other about what to wear or what to say.

That same way, we also had to travel to Lagos for the first time for an interview and I remember how excited everyone was then. Now when I look back, I see how far most of us have come since then.

Finally, what advice/tips do you have for young career women, to help them build and maintain valuable relationships with other women?

I think the key tip is humility. You should be humble and stay humble so that no matter what, you’re able to treat people with respect. The thing is as you continue having access to more people, you should remember to be respectful.

Humility will always get you far and help you maintain your relationships.

#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


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Here’s what you missed from SLAY Festival Joburg 2020

For the first time ever, SLAY Festival was held in Johannesburg South Africa, on March 7th and it was a VIBE!

More than 1200 women came together to attend a one-day learning and networking experience. There were speed networking sessions where we saw our SA boss ladies work the room, and make new connections, and then our Keynote Speaker Bonang Matheba, made her entrance and taught us all about making money moves. 

All attendees had direct access to some of Africa’s biggest and brightest innovators, including celebrity chef and entrepreneur Mogau Seshoene, youth activist Zulaikha Patel, TV presenter and model Kim Jayde, Africa Director for Global Citizen Chebet Chikumbu, doctor and mental health advocate Dr. Khanya Khanyile, Managing Director for TRACE Southern Africa Valentine Gaudin, actress Ayanda Thebethe, author and personal finance coach Mapalo Makhu, Head of Marketing for Google South Africa Asha Patel, Swiitch Beauty CEO Rabia Ghoor and many more.

It was a full day of interesting mainstage panel discussions, networking sessions, masterclasses, mogul talk sessions, shopping from local vendors and loads of fun. Our Mzansi queens showed up, and showed out!


So whether you missed the event, or you want to relive the SLAY Festival Joburg 2020 experience, this is your first behind the scene look, at the brands, experiences, and fun that went down at SLAY Festival Joburg 2020.

We upgraded our business skills with AUDA-NEPAD

In line with their flagship project, “100,000 SME’s by 2021, AUDA-NEPAD Senior Programme Officer, Unami Mpofu, led an interesting conversation on growing a sustainable business and accessing funding for a business.

We learned new career and digital skills with Women Will

Women Will, a Grow with Google program hosted private mentorship sessions and masterclasses throughout the day, focused on career growth for millennial women in the workplace, and tips on how women can use digital skills to grow their business.

We slayed our hair with Dark and Lovely

Dark and Lovely our official haircare partner, treated our queens to a full glam station, where they were able to try new products and get new hairstyles. During a special masterclass, they also got to learn the latest styling techniques, to keep their hair slayed and popping.  

We bloomed with Glade

Glade brought a one-of-a-kind sensorium experience that was just the breath of fresh air guests needed. They also hosted an engaging discussion on how women make Africa bloom with Poppy Ntshongwana, Monalisa Molefe, Nkgabi Motau and Martha Moyo and Christine Jawichre.

We discussed topical issues with Global Citizen

Global Citizen allowed attendees to engage in conversations on issues affecting women, and other topical issues, which was very enlightening for our  SLAY Festival attendees.

We vibed with Trace

Our official media partner Trace, brought in the entertainment and cool vibes with their interactive photo booth and green screen, and there was never a dull moment there.

There you have it, this was your official behind the scenes look at what went down at SLAY Festival Joburg 2020.

We Came. We SLAYed. We were WITHIN!

SLAY Festival Joburg 2020 was a vibe and more. The moment the gates were opened, to when the last person left the room, we learned, unlearned and relearned, while having so much fun.

So here’s raising a glass to all our SA queens who made the time, energy and resources that went into planning SLAY Festival Joburg totally worth it.

Click here, to watch the highlights from SLAY Festival Joburg 2020.

Molped Feature on Chidinma Ekile: Award-Winning Musician

Molped sanitary pad is a product from Hayat Kimya Limited (manufacturers of Molfix diapers), and is a skin-friendly, ultra-soft, sanitary pad, designed to make young girls feel as comfortable, soft, and secure as they feel beside their best friends.

Molped’s breathable layer keeps young women fresh, and it’s skin-friendly, cottony soft layer does not cause irritation. Molped sanitary pad is every girl’s best friend, helping them be more confident, and supporting them through their periods.

Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections. 

About Chidinma Ekile

Chidinma Ekile is a Nigerian singer and songwriter, popularly known by her stage name Chidinma. She worked as a business promoter in Lagos, prior to auditioning for the third season of Project Fame West Africa, in which she emerged as the winner in 2010.  

Following the release of the music video for her “Emi Ni Baller” single, she became the first female musician to peak at number 1 on the MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 chart.  In 2011, she released her first solo single “Jankoliko” featuring Sound Sultan.   Chidinma, her self-titled debut studio album, was released through the music platform Spinlet.  It was supported by the singles “Jankoliko”, “Carry You Go”, “Kedike” and “Run Dia Mouth”. Chidinma won the “Best Female West African Act” category at the 2012 Kora Awards 

Considered one of the most loved and respected African female artistes, Chidinma is verified across ALL social media platforms. 

A responsible, classy and elegant woman, devoid of scandals, Chidinma has over the years comported herself in a ladylike manner, evolving from the girl next door to becoming a role model and mentor for several young girls across Africa.  Chidinma recently signed an endorsement deal with the premium sanitary towel line, Molped, where she features in all Molped’sTV and radio commercials as the Face of the brand in Nigeria. She released a critically acclaimed joint EP with Africa’s foremost musician, Flavor.  

Chidinma is the founder of Nma Care Foundation, a non-governmental organization set up to cater to visually impaired children.  

You can connect with Chidinma on  Instagram and Twitter.

What does friendship mean to you?

Friendship to me, means identifying the traits and characteristics you favour in people. It means that you accept them for who they are, recognize their flaws and help them improve on themselves.

It also means being there for them as practically as you can.

What advice or tips do you have for women trying to build a professional relationship with mentors?

While learning from your mentor, it’s important that you make sure you never take their time, access and opportunities for granted.  You should recognize and respect their boundaries.

Also, always offer value, because a person’s gifts will make way for them.

What skills or character traits have been most helpful to you in building your career?

I definitely think it is treating the music business as just what it is; which is a business, something akin to a 9 to 5.  I am deliberate about my actions, my team and I plan ahead. We also don’t compromise on our standards or the quality of relationships we cultivate.

What advice do you have for women trying to build a career in the music industry?

As much as I am still learning, I will humbly state that any woman willing to build a career in the entertainment industry, must be ready to work twice as hard as the guys.  Make sure you pay more attention to details and cultivate quality relationships.

Do you think it is important to have a mentor as a young woman trying to grow her career?

Yes.  However, I think that it is important that any woman takes very careful time to evaluate the person she is submitting herself to as a mentee. This is important, in order not to have a misrepresented view of the industry they are working in, and also not be taken undue advantage of.

Since you are the Brand Ambassador of MOLPED, in what ways does the brand remind you about friends/friendship?

Ok I need to actually share this with the world☺. Let’s start with how the features of the product remind me of friendship. It’s not just soft, but cottony soft with no nylon and wide wings and because of these features, it causes no irritation or leakage. 

Those are definitely qualities that I expect of a friend. For them to be soft and comforting, with us having minimal to no friction or fights. I know we might fight at times though, but not all the time you know, and of course she always keeps my business my business.

In addition, the brand promotes friendship and girls being there for each other, and drawing inspiration from each other at all times.

Do you have any words of advice for our Motherland Moguls, trying to be successful like you?

Please ensure you are bringing value to the table. Develop your craft, hone it and guard it like a mother protects her baby.


#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


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