I was born in London in the 80s to Jamaican immigrants who arrived in the UK as young children in the 1950s.
My mum studied and worked as a nurse for the NHS (UK’s national health service) specializing as a midwife before becoming a health visitor. My dad was a Ph.D. educated engineer, physicist, and researcher working for MI5 (the UK government security and intelligence agency). He was also an Open University lecturer.
My early ambition was to be a lawyer. I began a Law degree at London Metropolitan University but discovered pretty early on that it wasn’t for me.
I changed to Marketing and Spanish with the ultimate aim of working internationally.
After university, I worked in a number of traditional PR and marketing roles and in the early 2000s, transitioned to a more digital focus.
More recently I have been making my mark within the UK digital retail space leading award-winning teams, projects, and campaigns.
I developed the content for the Mothercare (UK Mother & Baby Retailer) app – Winner of Best App at Paypal E-tail Awards – 2013 & 2014. I managed the social media team shortlisted for Best Social Media.
In 2017, I was a Tech50 Women award nominee which acknowledges emerging UK female tech talent.
“But I’m leaving London for Equatorial Guinea”.
In 2014, I met my now fiancée – a self-taught digital designer and animator who had worked for companies including Google and Amazon.
We would often get requests to design leaflets and websites – many from DRC and Angola where my partner originates. There was a clear demand for digital and design services but no-one local to fulfill.
My partner went to DRC to explore the market and landed an opportunity in Equatorial Guinea where he teaches animation at a local school, has built their website and is working on other marketing collateral.
Africa’s potential as a global leader in the world’s digital economy grows significantly every year.
A growing population, increasing internet penetration and mobile adoption, already goes a long way towards overcoming infrastructural barriers to digital transformation and connecting people and services online.
That’s why we’ve created Dimax – a digital agency helping businesses in Western Africa become more digitally focused to drive growth.Relocating and establishing a business is exciting, but it is hard work - @MissSteele Click To Tweet
How am I preparing for such a big transition?
Here are my top 5 ways to prepare for a huge transition such as this…
1. Visit the region multiple times. Read, research and understand the cultural and business landscape. Upskill if necessary.
Current reads: “How We Made it In Africa” – compiled by Jaco Maritz &
“Africa’s Business Revolution – How to succeed in the world’s next big growth market” by Acha Leke, Mutsa Chironga and Georges Desvaux.
I’m also a student at the Oxford University Fintech Programme learning about how technology is disrupting financial markets.
2. Network. Get yourself known. I attend at least 2 networking events per month and am working on elevating my online personal brand
3. Get your finances in order. Reduce expenditure, increase passive income and have a plan for how your assets will be managed whilst you’re away
4. De-clutter – I didn’t realize how much stuff I had – most of which I don’t need or won’t be able to take with me
5. Focus on your physical and spiritual health. Your mind and body will be tested with all that you have to do, so step up your exercise and healthy eating regime.
What am I looking forward to?
- Playing my part in Africapitalism. Driving financial returns and long term sustainable economic growth with social and environmental responsibility, education and community enrichment at the core.
- Living and working side by side with my partner in life and business
- Sounds cliché, but the weather – anyone who has ever lived in London knows the struggle!
I will however definitely miss my family, friends and the fast-pace of London.
Looking to make a similar transition? Follow these steps…
- Preparation is key. I’ve hired a business coach to help me plan and prioritize which has been so helpful because at times I get overwhelmed with what I need to do including holding down my day job whilst I’m still in the UK!
- Be patient. You’re going to want everything to happen quickly – know that everything will happen when it’s meant to.
- Allow yourself to be vulnerable: No need to always know your next move. Whilst we have short, mid and long-term goals, we still don’t have everything figured out. It helps not to overthink things. Once we made the decision to make the big move, things just started to fall in place.
- Tell people about your plans: you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help you or connect you with someone that can.
- Be flexible: Whilst I aim to be in Equatorial Guinea by the end of 2019, nothing happens before its time. Following my most recent visit,
I have been invited back to host a workshop and participate on a panel at TegCampus – an annual tech initiative for young people organized by telecommunications company GITGE in May. So, I will be back sooner than I had anticipated. Watch this space!
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