Your Self Care shouldn’t suffer at the expense of Career Excellence – Nnennaya Udochu

Female engineers have been branded to be nerds and unattractive. It is a common belief that female engineers have no sense of style, not feminine enough and probably too strong for the average man.

Contrary to this widely held bias, Nnennaya Udochu is a firm believer that female engineers can be trendy, decent, and elegant.  Nnennaya’s life and style is full proof that women are going against this bias.

As an analog engineer, she doesn’t fit into what you’d typically call your hard hat-wearing engineer. She has held the office of a Professor Faculty in the Mathematics department at the University of Portland, Oregon., and she balances career with self-care.

Nnennaya doubles as a fashion blogger and also motivates ladies who fear that taking a career in engineering or any career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) would impede and perhaps limit their chances of a relationship.

In this article, she shares her experience in the profession gives her insights on the misconceptions placed on women in STEM.

 What prompted you to want to become an Engineer?

I enjoyed solving a lot of Math problems and enjoyed a particular topic in my physics class, Electromagnetics.

It was from that course in Secondary School I decided I wanted to pursue a degree in Electrical Engineering.

 What setbacks did you experience pursuing this dream?

Taking some engineering courses that would make me think, “why me” or “God help me” because I found them very challenging. For example, Thermodynamics and Statics.

Aside from those challenges, the fear of self-doubt. Sometimes, just believing in yourself regardless of what people think goes a long way. I remember being in a study group where we were discussing our prospective first jobs and I said Microsoft or any Fortune 500 company.

The whole group burst out laughing but today here I am staying in the course of what I want for myself.

 Did you have a hard time proving your credibility to your male lectures/superiors?

Yes, I did most of the time. It took a lot of hard work and proving myself but I would always let the quality of my work delivery speak volume.

Once you’re very knowledgeable about your expertise and firm about making decisions, it would be difficult for anyone to question your abilities in the workforce.

 Females in #STEM tend to recline to the background whenever leadership or academic roles are called for. Was this your experience?

No this isn’t my experience. I am very tenacious in the pursuit of leadership or academic roles in my career; certainly not shying away from it.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Portland, Oregon and I’m continuously getting mentored by senior leaders in my industry.

 As an Analog Engineer, what does your typical workday look like?

My workdays are very busy and a lot of critical thinking is involved.

Every day I am faced with new challenges on addressing power issues and honestly, everything I learned in Physics II (especially applied principles of electromagnetics) are applied from day to day.

Basically, I am mentally tasked each day.

 You are also an Instagram blogger. Tell us about your journey.

The journey so far has been great! I continue to curate content on my platform to inspire people across the world through my travel shots, beauty, hair and showcasing different fashion looks ranging from street style to guest inspired looks at a wedding.

I’ve collaborated with brands such as Pitusa, Chi Chi London, Res Ipsa, Palmers, Victoria Emerson just to mention a few and my work has been featured on various Instagram and media platforms.

The most exciting experience I’ve had from my journey so far was being privileged to have featured on a fashion segment on Fox News (Fox12 Oregon) discussing the latest Fall fashion trends in 2018.

 In your opinion why do you think women in #STEM do not take self-care as a top priority?

I feel it’s because they don’t want to appear unserious for their jobs and have their co-workers not take them seriously in a meeting or on a project.

The perception of a woman figure in STEM is always painted wearing dirty clothing, or plain tops and jeans and this have clouded some women’s judgment on how they would like to present themselves.

 What advice do you have for women starting out in #STEM?

Stay persistent and confident in the pursuit of your career goals. Don’t let the presumptions society has about women in STEM be a reason you get discouraged in achieving your career goals.

Who you are or aspire to be shouldn’t be limited by someone’s experience.

What’s the look on people’s face when you’re all dressed up like a diva and you tell them what you do?.

They are always astonished and perplexed. Some make decent remarks like, “Beauty and Brains” while others find the need to argue.

Once a co-worker said I was in Finance and I said, “No”. Only for him to turn back around still amazed and say, “I always thought you were in Finance and you were a spoilt brat because of the way you dress”.

Between anger and range, I managed to get my emotions in check and simply responded, “For someone educated that is quite shallow of you to say”.

 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

Take Stock of Your 2017 Goals

December is around the corner. The last few months of the year seem to fly by and we seem to have that looming anxiety about the 2017 goals we made at the start of the year. So, have you managed to tick off all the boxes next to the goals? Or an even better question, do you still have the list? Should we still be making year long goals that we seem to forget by mid- January or should we go with the flow?

Having goals and ambitions is not a bad thing at all. It empowers you and drives you more when you know what you are working towards. There is nothing like that feeling when you finally achieve that dream you’ve had for a long time, whether it’s buying that car or getting a promotion at work.

Goals are great and accomplishing them is even better. But what happens when you fall short of your own expectations, or even completely forgot what you wanted to do at the beginning of the year? Does this render the whole year meaningless? I don’t think so!

Right now is actually a great time to take stock of the last 10 months. We always drive ourselves to the ground worrying about what we should have done or could have done, but actually fail to realize what we have actually done. Take a step back and account for your last few months.


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Remember the small wins

Remember that amazing project you got to be a part of from start to finish, remember that park- run your friend forced you to join? Our goals don’t have to be these large, wonderful sky- high achievements.

It’s the little things that actually show that you haven’t been chilling all year doing nothing. It was the ability to send out all those job applications, it was standing up for yourself in that meeting, it was the ability to ‘do’ when the world said you couldn’t.


Take stock of what you have managed to achieve

There is definitely nothing wrong in having the grandest dreams about where we should be. However, it is wise to take stock of what you have managed to achieve. This balance is necessary.

Write down a list of your accomplishments so far and stick them up on your fridge or office cubicle. Look at where you have been and how amazing it was. How does this help your mindset for the rest of the year? Well for starters your track record shows that you have accomplishments worthy to be proud of.

You have done some pretty amazing things this year. Appreciate what you have done, appreciate yourself and use it to propel your success even further.


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Evaluate your January goals

If you still have your list of January resolutions and none of the items have been crossed off, this may be a good time to consider why you haven’t done the things you promised to do.

Look at what has changed, where were circumstances out of your control? You also have to hold yourself accountable, why did you not go for that promotion or not save for that trip you wanted to take? I don’t recommend this to make you feel bad, Motherland Mogul, but if we do not ask ourselves the hard questions who will?

It’s also about considering the shifting priorities and incentives. If the year did not go how you thought it would, how did you respond to that? What did you have to change to accommodate your different reality? This will help you re-evaluate your goals for the rest of the year based on what you know, as well as help you manage your expectations.


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Consider how you can add to what you have already accomplished earlier in the year

Looking back is an amazing way to create motivation for what feels like both the longest  and shortest year. Also, your achievements so far can help you plan for the last 2 months of the year. Consider how you can complement what you have already done earlier in the year.

Maybe you could come up with another project that takes the previous one to another level. Maybe you could motivate a friend to join you for that park- run. Look at where you have been and where you want to go, what could you do to bridge that gap? Create new goals for these last two months, what do you want to do that could make the last part of the year exciting and different for you?


Create weekly and monthly goals for these last 2 months

One of the great ways to avoid this looming anxiety about not achieving your big goals, is to actually create weekly or monthly goals. This helps you create goals for the reality you actually are in, not what you thought the year would be like.

This is important because achieving and celebrating the small things can really motivate you to push for the bigger goals. Writing down and shaping smaller goals is more realistic. You are holding yourself to attainable goals, founded on what’s happening here and now.


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So, what have you done this year to be proud about?

Let us know more about you and your story  here.

6 Characteristics Exhibited By Exceptional Business People

Great people are willing to do what a majority of people are not most likely to do Click To Tweet


Great people are willing to do what a majority of people are not most likely to do. Every great achievement in history came from exceptional thinking and perseverance. Every start up to ever rise to the pinnacle of the business world exhibited some exceptional qualities that propelled them to where they are.

To attain such heights of glory and acclaim, there are certain characteristics you may want to consider adopting straight away. Say good bye to the old days of laxity, procrastination and disorganization, its time to embrace focus, doggedness and persistence. Without further ceremony, here are 6 qualities you should exhibit if you want to see your nameplate next to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Dangote’s.



Outstanding business people do not rely on others for their drive for success. They continue to operate with a sense of composure and self-confidence when tough challenges spring up, they are willing to take calculated risks. That’s because they believe in their worth, their objectives and never they forget the importance of their business quest.



Outstanding business people are self-driven, confident and in control of their emotions. To them  rejection is an opportunity to be better and view risk as a rewarding attempt. Therefore they don’t back down in any difficult situation. They remain sanguine about prospects of their nation’s economy and are passionate about their dreams in the business realm.


Great business persons are conscious of the company they keep and try to shrug off any form of negativity. They surround themselves with positive and forward thinking minds and only associate with those who build them up. And create time for leisure, exercise and fun. These people have a mindset development routine and maintain personal relationships to achieve their business pursuits.


According to Ward Cunningham (2004), “Simplicity is the shortest path to a solution”. This denotes that outstanding business people find straightforward means of solving problems, by creating products and rendering services which would seem understandable to nearer society. There is beauty in simplifying innovative ideas. Sometimes, its not about providing multiple solutions, it could just be about providing “the” solution to a “specific” but “nagging” problem.



Generous business people do whatever it takes to rise in the morning to feed and nurture their children, pets, partners, career and themselves. They display the great power of giving and always carry out giving-oriented CSR in some communities. Giving back to the public is of utmost importance to them.



Interview 5 successful people and they would all tell you the same thing – They kept at it. It’s not about how many times you got turned back, but more about how many more doors you knocked on. Powerful business people are sharp-witted, focused and determined. They keep their eyes on the prize regardless of the competition and distance required to travel to fulfill them.


Feeling inspired already? then get cracking. No one says the change is going to take place over night, it could take quite some time. Like the saying goes, “make a conscious decision to be that change you wish to see.”

Do you have any more tips about being an exceptional business person?

let us know more  here.

Twitter Chat with Shade Ladipo: How consistent career development helped me become a better leader (Aug. 9)

In case you missed this Twitter chat, see the oh- so-good moments below!

Have you ever thought of starting a management company and growing it into a profitable business? Or becoming that Motherland Mogul in management with a six digit salary?

If you think it, act on it!

As young African women, you need to equip yourselves, plan for your future, and prepare to scale up that ladder of success, even when you’re starting from the bottom.

Join us on Wednesday, Aug. 9th for a Twitter chat with travel/media entrepreneur & the country director for WEConnect International  – Shade Ladipo, as she enlightens young African women interested in management, on how consistent career development has helped her grow and become a better leader.

Shade who founded a destination management company from nothing at age 25, believes that education and career development is the most important driving force for every aspiring Motherland Mogul.

Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats to ask your questions and participate in the discussion.

Topics that we’ll cover:

  • Why women in management need education and career development
  • Gender bias, feminism and gender roles in today’s society
  • 5 reasons why consistent career development is critical to leadership

Twitter chat details

  • Date:  Wednesday 9th August
  • Time: 12 pm NYC // 5 pm Lagos // 6 pm Joburg
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats

Here are some moments from the chat:


About Shade

Shade Ladipo is the Executive Director of WEConnect International  , a travel and media entrepreneur and a social activist.

At the age of 25, Shade founded Avienti Limited – a Destination Management company with three offices in Nigeria. She has also worked with the United Nations Volunteers Nigeria and several advertising agencies where she specialized in event management, account management, and client services and strategy.

Shade has been recognized by several platforms for her work as a change agent and businesswoman. She has been nominated for the Future Awards Africa Awards, chosen as 101 Young Achievers at the African Business Forum in Accra Ghana in 2008, and selected as a Goldman Sachs fellow.

Shade regularly appears on radio programs and at live events to talk about everything she is passionate about, including leading a successful business in Nigeria.

Twitter Chat with Osayi Emokpae Lasisi: Finding Your Entrepreneurial passion as a new mom (Mar. 31)

Becoming a mother may be the most amazing experience ever. But that being said, what’s next for you? It’s about time you got your groove back and attain those future goals you’ve been dreaming of, by finding your entrepreneurial passion, and most importantly, making money from it.

Join us on Friday, Mar. 31st for a Twitter chat with money making mom and virtual summit queen, Osayi Emokpae Lasisi as we discuss ways young moms can find their entrepreneurial passion and be at the top of their game.

Osayi helps moms gain the knowledge and experience they need to start and build a successful business through her blog

Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats to ask your questions and participate in the discussion.

Topics that we’ll cover:

  • Finding your entrepreneurial passion
  • Monetizing your passion
  • Overcoming challenges
  • Figuring out work/life transitions

Twitter chat details

  • Date:  Friday 31st March
  • Time: 12pm Lagos// 1pm Joburg// 3pm Nairobi
  • Location: Follow She Leads Africa on twitter and use the hashtag #SLAChats

Help us spread the word:

Join @SheLeadsAfrica & @OsayiLasisi for #SLAChats on Friday Mar. 31st at 12pm GMT+1 Click To Tweet

Twitter chat with Osayi (1)


About Osayi

Osayi is the Queen of Virtual Summits (online conferences). She is the convener of the MoneyMaking series of Virtual Summits, MoneyMaking Transition, MoneyMaking Book, and the MoneyMaking Blog Virtual Summit.

Her book is one of the best resources for those interested in creating their first virtual summit- “Your First Virtual Summit: Everything you need to know.” You can find out more about her and get her free resources.

Osayi is also the mommy of the most amazing Toddler, Princess.


Dreaming up new career goals

Ever experienced a sudden change to your career path? This one is for you Click To Tweet

Have you ever been so confused about which career path to take —or better still be jaded by the courses on offer. In the part of the world I live, capabilities are often reduced to the ‘societal value’ of the course studied. That is why almost 90% of university hopefuls in Nigeria fight tooth and nail to get admitted into the ‘robust and lucrative’ departments.

Parents want their kids to study courses that will secure their futures; not ones that are merely a “waste of time: (going with my dad’s words). Courses like Medicine, Law, Accounting, Pharmacy or Mechanical Engineering are regarded as ‘de la crème’.

This inevitably puts a lot of pressure on young people and those who fail to meet up to this expected standard are often seen as the leftovers. I can be considered as one of the leftovers because I was part of those denied admission into law.


My broken dreams

One lesson I have learnt that is still relevant in my career journey is that dreams can change and so we can’t afford to focus on the unfulfilled ones. Soon after my graduation, I was given an opportunity to become a copywriter; I never thought writing could be a path for me. It was when I went for an interview that the two panelists convinced and opened my eyes to the uniqueness of my ability to write.

At the moment I realized that the allure for law or banking was no longer there. The interviewers had planted an idea of creative writing inside of me and since then I have learnt to hone my skills. Over the years, I have come to love my new career in writing and I thrive to become better. So if you happen to stumble into a career like l did, you might find these steps useful:

1. Never stop being hungry

Don’t ever be content with the basicness of the new career. Get empowered with every given opportunity. When I started as a copywriter, I quickly enrolled myself in an advertising school in Lagos where I learnt firsthand from the industry veterans. Soon after, I began to attend trainings related to my field and I still to date commit myself to multiple learning.

Also don’t be afraid to spread your wings in the new  field. I started with copywriting but I gradually began to explore journalistic writing. I used to send  weekly opinion pieces  to the Sunday editor of Punch newspaper. Those publications boosted my morale and steadied my feet later as a journalist.

Explore the new field and don’t be comfortable with average,strive  for excellence. As African women, we put  a lot at stake if we decide to be complacent in our careers and not seize the moment.

Dreams can change and we can’t afford to hold on to the unfulfilled ones —even with your career Click To Tweet

2. The key word is patience

I know you have heard this word ‘patience’ countless times; but it remains one virtue that must be acquired for us to get to the peak of our careers. Yes, it was one interview that reset my career goals but it is patience that I have continually needed to stay calm in my career journey stay calm in my career journey.

It is so easy for us to fall into the trap of comparing our career stories with others but it is not right or fair on us. I particularly am guilty of this as often times I feel behind in my career in comparison to the different success stories of my colleagues.

This is what I do whenever the thought crosses my mind; I take a deep breath and remind myself how far I have come and further challenge myself on the next career decision. The secret to being patience is never giving up even when all doesn’t make sense.

3. Get mentors

There are mistakes in life that we can escape from. This is what mentors are for; they’ve walked that path and they can constructively guide us through our career goals if only we ask. Career mentorship is vital and it can detect  how far we can go in our careers, so get to it today and seek out those mentors now.

There are lots of mentoring programs for women of African descent that are committed to building and shaping the careers of African women; give yourself the opportunity of having a voice in this patriarchal society.

Recently, I realized I was getting rusty in writing (I took a break to have babies) and I decided to seek professional help from an old colleague. I periodically began to send articles to her so she could constructively critique me. It’s been months now and am eternally grateful that she took me under her wing to mentor because my skills have significantly improved and l now have better approaches than before.

Email course: 3 secrets to #SLAYing2017

Happy New Year! If you’re like us, you’re sick and tired of hearing “New Year, New Me!” and seeing zero changes. So how do you move from simply speaking what you want into the universe to actually moving things?

We hereby introduce SLA’s exclusive email course: 3 Secrets to #SLAYing2017.

How does it work?

It’s simple

  1. Sign up to join our list and receive lessons directly to your email (scroll to the bottom for the form).
  2. Each lesson will come with practical advice and assignments. Yes, homework! We’re absolutely serious about making sure you really achieve those goals you’re aiming for.
  3. Do your homework, follow our candid advice and SLAY 2017 like the Motherland Mogul we know you are.

When we say secret, we mean secret. So even if you’re part of our community, you still need to sign up to receive this email course.

Help us spread the word: 

Help us spread the word about this event and you could win a Motherland Mogul or Boss T-Shirt! To qualify for this, you must be based in Lagos. Sorry, shipping’s expensive! Not in Lagos? Still spread the word & win SLA brownie points!

@SheLeadsAfrica is hosting an email course on making and achieving goals #SLAYing2017 Sign up here Click To Tweet

Not sure this course is for you? Here’s what to expect:

  • Why New Year’s Resolutions fail.
  • The differences between resolutions and goals and why goals are better.
  • How to set SMART goals that you’ll work on achieving throughout the year.
  • How to find an accountability partner.
  • Why it’s okay to procrastinate (within reason).
  • Worksheets to help you complete each assignment.

This course won’t be available anywhere else outside your inbox. So sign up below to start #SLAYing2017 and join our community.