Ibukun Awosika is a powerhouse. There is no other way to state it. She is elegant, worldly, sharp, gracious, full of wisdom, Afrofierce. This is a lady who has built a career unabashedly shaped by a strong sense of self, natural curiosity, a quest for excellence, and an unapologetic can-do attitude.
Apart from running her own thriving manufacturing business, Madam Awosika is the chairman of the First Bank of Nigeria, sits on the board of Cadbury Nigeria, runs a mentorship program for young woman under the TLD Program while holding it down as a wife and mother of three.
During this years LSE Africa Summit she took time out to share a few home truths with African students about self, value creation and responsibility to their continent.
1. Above all Know Yourself, you cannot offer others value if you don't know what you bring to the table. If you don't know yourself, take the time to figure it out, its the ultimate investment.
2. Never ever look down at or pass up an opportunity. Being open may take you in an unlikely but incredibly powerful direction. Take it from the Chemistry major turned furniture manufacturer, turned Bank Chair.
3. A degree doesn't differentiate you in the market. The difference comes from the degree added to the person you are...weak foundations will never result in strong outcomes, even if you plaster a Harvard degree on it.
4. Values matter. In fact, holding onto values should be your primary rudder in life. Hardships will come, in work, in career, in the everyday of life and if ones values aren't deeply embedded, the crossroads of life will try and redefine your value system. If you let that happen - you are lost.
5. Be deliberate about writing the story of your life. Continually being reactive will not move you in a productive direction. Take ownership, its your story.
6. Continually search for the sense of you, understand that it is not static as it is informed by each season you are in. You will not be the person you were ten years ago, but your essence remains central.
7. Choose your influencers carefully. You give your role models influence over your life.
8. Many people struggle in the search for purpose or career, so while you may not know immediately what you want, whenever you figure out what you don't want, don't waste time, leave it behind. Calibrate towards direction.
9. Don't start a business just to have a business - be a solution provider. Creating solutions for problems creates value people will pay for.
10. Never ever give in. It's not too hard, its just that you haven't cracked the kola nut right. Success that is significant only comes from one thing - work.
Lessons from Women Who Own It.