Joining us on this segment of Women In Marketing is Abiodun Anani from Ride9ja Transport Company. With an active childhood, she was involved in various extracurricular activities which helped carve her leadership qualities today. She explains why a healthy work life balance is crucial in preventing burnout. Let’s learn more about her
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, ABIODUN. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in Lagos, Nigeria.
Well experiencing childhood in an environment like Lagos is something I’m constantly eager to discuss. Because if you can survive in Lagos, then you can survive anywhere else in the world. Lagos is a brilliant city with amusement, sea shores, open positions, hustle life and much more.
A portion of my remarkable childhood experience would be my first day at school. I did the following: knitting, dance choreography, football and music. I am so appreciative of my childhood experience. I can only hope that my kids will have a similar experience.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I graduated high school in 2007, I was just a quiet girl who loved to be involved in school activities.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would definitely be a lioness. I consider myself to be strong, caring, brave, fierce and above all a very observant person.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
My favourite meal is semolina. A milled flour of durum wheat and okra soup, spiced with crab and some fluted pumpkin leaves. Lol
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I would buy my mother a house.
This is to show her my appreciation. She is selfless and always gives me good advice. Such a wise woman my mother is. I would set-up an NGO to help young girls in Nigeria who cannot afford going to university. I would also invest into real estate.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, DR. LIEZEL BYGATE SAID THAT SHE IS AN EXPERT HULA-HOOPER!
I am a beauty expert.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
Marketing is an interesting industry. I have always loved marketing from high school, although I didn’t study it in university. My parents wanted me to study a particular discipline.
As a creative, one of the things that interest me about marketing (unlike other careers) is the ability to understand your customers pain points or needs for a product or service and providing a solution.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I am definitely #teamtea. I am an early riser and starting the day with a cup of water to hydrate my body is key. For me. This would be followed by to do’s list for the day, exercise then breakfast. .
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
It is important to keep a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout. Having priorities is critical. Weekends are for downtime. I spend quality time with my family.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR BSC IN ACCOUNTING & FINANCE FROM THE NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA. YESSS GIRL! ACCORDING TO CNBC, RESEARCH CONDUCTED BY GLASSDOOR FOUND THAT COMPANIES LIKE APPLE, GOOGLE AND IBM (AMONGST OTHERS) OFFER WORK-FROM-HOME JOBS THAT DO NOT REQUIRE ANY FORMAL EDUCATION. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEIR CAREERS PARTICULARLY IF THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO AFFORD A FORMAL EDUCATION?
The internet has several uses depending on the needs of an individual.
However, the importance of the internet is unquestionable and with that said, upskilling oneselves is crucial. Women who cannot afford a formal education need to embrace the internet. I have encountered people without formal education who are living their best life because they didn’t allow their education status to define them.
If you cannot afford a formal education, just go online, pursue your interest, take online courses, learn on youtube, coursera, attend workshops, read blogs etc.
There’s no better time for personal development than now. Education has gone beyond the physical classroom. As you learn online, make sure you network and connect with professionals too.
SABRA MWAURA WAS A FEATURE FOR OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES. SHE MADE A FEW GOOD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP FOR WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MENTORSHIP?
Mentoring is good, not because of the knowledge you learn from your mentors but because they are most likely to have been through a similar experience and can provide a better point of view. Furthermore, having mentors can help you build confidence, advice and guide you on your career path as well as to provide guidance on how to stay focused in order to achieve your goals.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
A lot of time we get involved in so many activities. At the end of the day we are overwhelmed. For me, I ensure my calendar doesn’t run my life, I listen and observe more. Prioritising tasks is important, I resort to my task lists.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
Job hopping is very common now and can be related to different factors. Sometimes people spend less time on a job because of better opportunity, higher salary, finding a path to a dream job or even bad management. Employers and recruiters consider job hopping as a red-flag. However, there are some good reasons why job hopping can be considered to be good. Irrespective of the circumstances though, whether it hurts or aides one’s career, always do what works best for you.
FOR IT’S 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL CMO’S REPORT, FORBES LISTED 31 WOMEN OUT OF 50 CANDIDATES (19 MEN). IT APPEARS THAT MORE WOMEN OCCUPY CMO ROLES COMPARED TO OTHER C-SUITE ROLES. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE?
If women ran the world, there would be no wars, it’s an old stereotype. Women occupying chief marketing officer roles is good news and also a clear indication that women are creating an edge for themselves and doing exceptionally well.
We all know every role comes with it’s own challenges, and the market is always demanding. I think this would translate to increase productivity, better decision making, greater innovation and higher customers and employee retention.
REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MARKETING, PARTICULARLY, IN SENIOR ROLES IS ON THE UP. IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN STILL FACE DESPITE THESE CHANGES AND HOW BEST SHOULD THESE BE ADDRESSED?
It’s interesting to see women getting into influential positions particularly when you consider the hostile environments that exist and prevent them from achieving career objectives.
Although most organisations are investing into building gender parity, women still encounter challenges in the workplace. Some of them are gender stereotypes, having to always prove themselves amongst their male counterparts, being treated equally, advocating on their behalf, equal pay and policies that dont benefit women etc.
The best way to address these is to look beyond the gender gap, leaders should focus on productivity and result, women should be given the same opportunities as men.
ONE OF THE LEARNING CURVES FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, IS THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES TO FACILITATE REMOTE WORK. FOR TECH PLAYERS IN SILICON VALLEY THE TRANSITION WAS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH THE LIKES OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER DESIGNING A FUTURE WHERE THEIR STAFF MAY POTENTIALLY WORK REMOTELY FOREVER. THE ARGUMENT THOUGH, IS THAT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE COMPANIES TAKEN SO LONG TO IMPLEMENT REMOTE WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
Coronavirus has brought the new normal and most people have switched to working remotely. Nonetheless, some companies are yet to fully embrace this because of the fear that their employees would not be as productive as working in the physical office. Because of mechanical tools that need human input to perform tasks, some because of the kinds of services they render to their clients., others are still trying to identify a proper management and reporting tool to track employees activities.
WORKING FROM HOME IS AWESOME! MOST OF US CAN AGREE. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT WITHOUT IT’S SET OF CHALLENGES. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS HAS TAKEN A SIGNIFICANT STRAIN WITH PEOPLE WORKING LONGER HOURS AS A RESULT OF EMPLOYEES BEING ‘ALWAYS ON’ AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. HOW CAN EMPLOYERS GUARD AGAINST EMPLOYEE BURNOUT OR IN THE WORST EVENT, LOSING THEIR BEST TALENT?
Life is different now. Working remotely has its fair set of challenges because sometimes you work on your desk all day without realising the day is over. Working from home is all about flexibility and not giving your employees a strict schedule to follow.
In order for employers to avoid losing their best talent, employers should have a clear resumption and closing time. Unnecessary meetings should be avoided, employees should be allowed to work confidently without being micromanaged.
BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020 AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE?
Any creative idea that adds value, is acceptable, capable of providing solutions and easy to execute.
HEMAL THAKKAR, BRAND MANAGER FOR BURGER KING INDIA IS A RECENT WOMEN IN MARKETING FEATURE. ONE OF THE KEY AREAS SHE IDENTIFIED FOR CONTINUED GROWTH IS THAT OF INFLUENCER MARKETING. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF MARKETING LOOK LIKE ACCORDING TO YOU?
I think we are gradually moving to an era where marketing will no longer be about the product features but about creativity, consumers emotion, experience and engagement. Technology will continue to play a lead role in all activities.
2020 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Nothing really because I would always be me and do me.
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
Challenges are an inevitable part of life. You can choose to embrace them or not. What is important is not allowing them to disturb your inner peace and the ability to learn from them and become better.
My biggest challenge right now is completing my book.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Help at least 300 young girls in 2021 acquire new skills.
Take more courses online to expand my horizon as well as to swim with the dolphins and make more money 🙂
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
Queen Elizabeth 2
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I do both depending on my availability.
Recently, however, I have been conformed to audiobooks which have really been helpful because I can always listen on the go while I get my hands on other activities.
I love to read detective, mystery, thrillers and business strategy books. I am currently reading ‘How they started: Global brands: How 21 good ideas became great global businesses‘ by David Lester.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
That’s a very nice question but if there’s anything as such, then it has to be centered around business growth which marketing is also a part of.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
My next watch would definitely be “Night stalker”
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
I haven’t seen my mum in a while and I miss her.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
Peace Itimi of Seedstars
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
I have been privileged to speak with quite a good number of people who are either pursuing their career in marketing or about to. My unique message still remains in understanding and finding your purpose, knowing what makes you happy. Aligning yourself with new technologies in marketing, accepting challenges and putting your best in all you do. And, as long as you keep going, you will keep getting better.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME ABIODUN. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
You can follow me on linkedin: @ abiodun anani and our company’s page @ride9ja on all platforms. Thank you.