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BusinessDay 13 April 2018

WOMEN’S Friday

WOMEN’S Friday 13 April 2018 BUSINESS DAY HUB ‘‘ With technology, there are no limitations of career options and possibilities ‘‘ FOLUSO GBADAMOSI The technology advocate

EDITOR’S NOTE Leading Woman 7 BUSINESS DAY Friday 13 April 2018 WOMEN’S HUB Welcome to another edition of Women’s Hub. This week, our cover personality and LEADING WOMAN is Foluso Gbadamosi and she is passionate about technology, humanity, succession and more. Her story is indeed mind stirring. FOLUSO GBADAMOSI, the technology advocate FOLUSO GBADAMOSI is the Director, Business Process & Technology, Prime Atlantic Group and Co-Founder at 8191 Solutions which provides technology solutions to SMEs. Her career spans over 13 years in the Telecommunications, IT and FMCG industries. She shares with KEMI AJUMOBI on her passion for technology, improving the welfare of humanity, succession in African businesses and more. Excerpts. Vanessa Cole was among the production team at the recently concluded Arise Fashion Week. She shares her experience in our FROM HER POINT OF VIEW SECTION. Tosin Ogundeji came second in Nigeria under her age category after participating in the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest, a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of Toyota Motor Corporation. She writes a letter to express her gratitude. In our AGIANST ALL ODDS section, Catherine Kahr survives depression. Read her story and be inspired on being positive about life. These and more we have for you this week. Enjoy! KEMI AJUMOBI kemi@businessdayonline.com Growing up I am the first of four children. I grew up in a home with open doors to everyone and parents who expected the best. My parents instilled humility and love for people in ways I find hard to describe. I learnt a lot about being responsible, loving people, the importance of family and so much more from my parents. The truth is, children learn from our actions more than our words, most of the values I have today are from seeing my parents in action. Gender was never a limiting factor in our home and I was raised to know that nothing is impossible. Why the passion for technology? I am passionate about technology because it’s a huge catalyst for social development. Ironically, my late father always bought me ‘tech’ toys as a child. I loved fixing electronic items around the house as well. So if the VCR broke, I would take it apart and attempt to fix it. I also love the fact that technology is a tool for solving almost every problem we experience in the world today. Most of the organisations I am affiliated with use technology as a tool for transformation. Why the decision to move back to Nigeria? Any regrets? I always intended to move to back to Nigeria. I never intended to live abroad and thankfully, everything fell into place when I was ready to move back. I believe in Nigeria so much! I don’t believe anyone is the citizen of the country they are from by accident, there is a reason God made me a Nigerian and I intend to do my best to solve as many problems as I can. I have no regrets. The need for succession in businesses In every organisation I find myself, I’m constantly thinking about whether enough has been done to ensure that the business stands the test of time. Many African businesses are not structured for succession, there is no sustainability and this has contributed to most business and poverty problems that plague the African continent. Many pioneer Africans who started great movements, dreams and organisations died with all their breakthrough ideas and everything lies 6 feet beneath the ground. Instead of continuing where someone left off, we find that people have to start afresh, struggle afresh and rebuild. Being Director of Operations, Monarch Communications Ltd and restructuring the organisation, preparing it for the sale of its 3.5GHz spectrum to Swift Networks Ltd. For Monacom, it made business sense to sell the license to Swift because the Industry was so fragmented. The Telecoms industry is heavily capital intensive, you can’t break even without scale. At that time, most of the companies with our type of license did not have enough to scale up, so selling our license to Swift helped them become larger as opposed to all of us operating in little silos – a setting that was in no way sustainable. Serving With Love I am very passionate about being the change I want to see! There are lots of problems around us, many of which only need simple solutions. Serving With Love (SWL) was setup to solve a very basic problem - provision of essential needs to indigent families. Over time, we have evolved and now handle more than just those needs. We have an education fund, health fund and general fund which takes care of the basic needs. We have plans to build a Technology Centre for underprivileged children where they can learn how to code and so much more. SWL also intends to build a Cancer Centre for children as we have been working with Dorcas Foundation – a foundation that provides healthcare for children with cancer. You wear different caps, how are you able to juggle all without neglecting one or giving one more attention than the other? By creating efficient structures and recently, by being very militant with my time. Honestly, this is still evolving; I have learnt that purpose needs to be the anchor behind everything I do. It is what determines how I manage my time and run my life. I say no to whatever is not in line with my purpose and assignment to make time for things that are. Can women truly have it all? Having it all means different things to different people. Based on the definition of ‘have it all’, I believe that through the management of life’s different seasons, we can have ‘all’ for that season. For example, if you are in a season where you are physically pregnant – having it all could be a healthy pregnancy and doing the things God created you to do within the limitations of being pregnant. You would be in serious self-denial if you think you can speed up the pregnancy period or do all the same things you could physically do when you were not pregnant. I think having it all would be less of a sore topic for many if we would just embrace life’s seasons! There is also the instant mindset nowadays because of how much quicker we are getting things done – many refer to this generation as a Microwave Generation. Truth is, there are still many things you cannot get done instantly and it is something we must accept and handle with wisdom and maturity. Being teachable and open to learning during these seasons is also very important. What is your view on the need for women to support each other? I am all for women supporting each other. This is one of the reasons I love Women in Management Business & Public Service (WIMBIZ) so much because it is a powerful platform that supports women in different seasons and stages of life. Men have been supporting each other for years and we all see the fruits of that. The women I see supporting each other break barriers and achieve more sooner than those who do not. What is currently in your front burner? What are you looking forward to? I look forward to providing more solutions and structures to solve social and business problems in Nigeria. I also look forward to Serving With Love , developing the IT Training School for underprivileged kids and also the Cancer Centre for kids. When I see what liberation and freedom is gotten from being able to do something as ‘simple’ as coding these days, it truly excites me. I recently met a lady who taught herself to code, graduated OAU recently and has a job with a company abroad while living in Nigeria because she can code! With technology, there are no limitations of career options and possibilities. In fact, there are careers that do not exist now that will be created because of technology. Careers like Blogging and Social Media Management did not exist a few years ago. I look forward to a future where succession planning is actually happening and is integral to Nigerian and African businesses. I can just imagine how much quicker we will get things done if we can sustain businesses, create wealth, transfer and share knowledge from generation to generation. Final words Your purpose is bigger than you – it is not a career, a business, marital status, having kids and all that. Those are all assignments from God and while they are important, your purpose is bigger than you, way bigger than your wildest imagination. You were created for dominion and to create solutions. Whatever you were created to do, you are specially graced for and it is so important to accept that and not try to operate in anyone else’s calling! Stay in your lane because that is where you will create value, find fulfilment, make a difference in the world and be successful. One of my most recent favourite quotes is from TD Jakes – “God doesn’t make chairs, He makes trees!” God gives us natural resources; a major part of our purpose is to create solutions that improve the world we live in.

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