Onyeka Ekeh, LinkedIn, Women In Marketing (Black)
Women In Marketing

Women In Marketing 2021 Edition ft. Onyeka Ekeh from BlueCrest University College

For this segment of Women In Marketing we are joined by Onyeka Ekeh who is the Marketing and Communications Manager at BlueCrest University College in Ghana. Born in Nigeria, Onyeka was exposed to entrepreneurship from an early age. Her stellar business acumen is an advantage for the decisions she has to make on a daily basis. Let’s learn more about her

LET’S GET PERSONAL

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, ONYEKA. 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. I grew up in a neighbourhood called Ketu Alapere in the beautiful city of Lagos. It was a fun neighbourhood; with kids always playing on the balcony. Growing up, I remember having to wait for the tv stations to start at 4pm. It was only during this time that I could watch all my favourite shows and cartoons – good memories that I will always cherish…

Onyeka, Women In Marketing 1

Growing up was amazing. My mum was a businesswoman and also in the sales and marketing space now that I think about it. She was either providing a service or selling some interesting product. I remember one time I went to meet my mum and I told I wanted some money to buy 2 dozens  of soda drinks so l could sell them to our neighbours. Proceeds of the profit, I would pay back- it was a fun experience until my siblings stopped paying for the soda drinks they bought

 Lol.

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS? 

Junior High school I was that small quiet girl. Socialising with people was a bit hard for me; I guess it was because of my petite frame. When we relocated to another part of Lagos, I was appointed the Head Girl for one of the High Schools I attended. I would say Onyeka was leaving her shell during that period. College years were a different ball game. That was me preparing for the future that I am in now. It was fun parties etc but, I was very focused and ready to take on the world with baby steps. To be honest, I was really eager to go into the corporate world.

Mest Alumni party 2019 - With my friends, Women In Marketing
Mest Alumni party 2019 – With my friends

IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? 

I would definitely be a Dolphin – Dolphins are really Intelligent animals, they do well with people around them- good communication. And I really love it when people communicate well.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!

I am madly in love with Pasta …. Pasta with cheese, meatballs chicken etc. you have my heart…I could spill all of my secrets…

IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE? 

Well at first I would just stare at it first and be sure all that is for me. Way too much excitement!!

One thing that I would actually do first would be to set up a cancer foundation. I lost my mum to breast cancer in 2007, I saw how it was really tough and expensive for us to foot all the medical bills. Helping other people would really mean a lot to me.

Investing in some small-medium business, helping a couple of family and friends – then work on some of my pending projects. 

Women In Marketing 2021 Edition ft. Onyeka Ekeh from BlueCrest University College 1
GHANA TECH SUMMIT 2019 – with BaddiesInTech Ceo Allie Tsahey and a Panel Speaker

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 love singing and cooking- both are on my list for self-care Sunday.

CAREER AND WORKPLACE

WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?

After I had a career switch in 2018, going into the tech space not sure what I really wanted to do in that space. I decided to do Product Management, but then I saw how a couple of Early-stage startups struggled with how they communicate and sell their products and services to their target audience. 

BlueCrest MoU Signing with Yali Tv Online Ghana- { People in the Picture - Dr. Anand Agrawal -Position Rector BlueCrest University Ghana and Richard Nartey- Assistant Registrar Admissions BlueCrest University Ghana}, Women In Marketing
BlueCrest MoU Signing with Yali Tv Online Ghana – People in the Picture – Dr. Anand Agrawal -Position Rector BlueCrest University Ghana and Richard Nartey- Assistant Registrar Admissions BlueCrest University Ghana

Some of these startups didn’t even have a Marketing Strategy. They are mostly just focusing on the operational side, they forget that the product or service needs to be sold to their customers. So I went on a training course with a Product Management School In Nigeria called ProductDive. I got to understand different types of Product Development, Product Marketing and Product Management.

GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!

Neither a Team Coffee or Team Tea. I actually don’t like coffee, the smell or taste. 

If you find me taking tea- then I must be down with the flu. Either a bowl of cereal or water starts the day for me.

HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?

It’s really hard trying to create a work-life balance. I put in the effort to make sure I take a break when I need to, hang out with my girlfriends on Friday nights and to have my self-care Sunday.

Christmas 2020 - With Close Friends, Women In Marketing
Christmas 2020 – With Close Friends

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?

I think it’s important. I can mention a handful of women who mentored me over the years – especially when I wanted to take that big step in switching careers. I still reach out to them when I need to, it’s something I am really grateful for having experienced women guide me through, and this is something I also want to do for some other younger lady who is ready to take on the world.

WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?

I prepare for my weekly tasks Sunday afternoon. It helps me go through all my to-do list for the week or any pending tasks. It is so easy to strike through when I am done.

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?

I believe it helps one’s career. I hopped around for a while, to be honest. I have gathered a lot of experience and skills just by working in different industries. It’s just like taking up a new challenge and boy do I like challenges!!!

Onyeka speaking at an event, Women In Marketing

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?

Women are better communicators. We are passionate about what we do, so if it means explaining to a client 10 times what benefit they would get using a product or service we would do it.

Women In Marketing 2021 Edition ft. Onyeka Ekeh from BlueCrest University College 2
Women In Marketing 2021 Edition ft. Onyeka Ekeh from BlueCrest University College 3

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 really a tough one. Like I always say, no woman should be given a position just because the organisation needs a woman to fill that role. 

If I have the skill for that job, I deserve to sit at the table with the men. It’s also always assumed that we involve our emotions in everything we do which isn’t true. Organisations need to find ways to manage both genders, Male & Female, to ensure that there is a balance.

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? 

I guess most companies have just been wired into thinking that working means you have to be physically present. But guess what, the pandemic happened and we had to adapt to this new way of working. Working remotely was something that I started doing in 2018, so it was pretty easy for me. 

Onyeka, Women In Marketing 10

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?

Follow the same time schedule. Resume business operations at 9am and close at the exact hour as when you are physically at the office. The company needs to understand that they don’t expect people to work after work hours even if work is remote, the need to help them find a balance.

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? 

For me, innovation is more about solving problems that have lingered on for a long time and just using Technology to make it easy for people.

  • Women In Marketing 2021 Edition ft. Onyeka Ekeh from BlueCrest University College 4
  • Women In Marketing 2021 Edition ft. Onyeka Ekeh from BlueCrest University College 5

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?

Well if there’s one thing 2020 has shown us is how technology really helped us with a lot of things. I would say Virtual Reality will have a huge impact in the marketing space. Communicating with customers way better than traditional media

2020 AND BEYOND

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

Keep working hard, don’t give up. Even on days when you feel like you want to, remember why you started. So be that confident woman – stay focused and things will work out, just be patient.

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?

Be ready to fly really high – not allowing me to overthink certain things.

Onyeka, Women In Marketing 9

ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?

Go to New York City!!!

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?

Late Luda Achi Ekeh {My Mum}

Ibukun Awosika

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I love both Paperback and E-readers. Currently reading ‘The Highly Sensitive Persons Survival Guide‘ by Ted Zeff.

WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?

Hmmm, I would say a singer — I really do love to sing Lol, hopefully, I am given the same talent.

But then a better version of myself won’t be a bad thing!

WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?

Sweet Magnolias/Girlfriends/Blacklist.

WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?

Hmmm, no one, in particular, I have been in Accra Ghana for a year now. Although I haven’t seen family and friends in a year now I always keep in touch every day. I don’t miss my weekend calls with my Dad.

WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?

Mrs Joana Abbiw -General Manager- Sales and Marketing (NIIT GHANA).

A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY

Trust your instincts, always work as a team. No man is an Island. Believe in yourself

Onyeka, Women In Marketing 11

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME ONYEKA. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

Linkedin

Personal: Onyeka Ekeh

Company: BlueCrest University College

Instagram

Personal: onyeka_ekeh

Company: bluecrestcollege. ghana

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Head of Relationship Management at naughtybanana. I am a father to an awesome boy who thinks highly of me; perhaps I'm doing something right after all. When I'm not establishing new business relationships, you might catch me reading a book or of course, being an awesome dad.