Folashade Ambrose-Medebem Inspires Female Students of ‘Women Inspiring Impact Network’

Entering, excelling and rising to the top of the most attractive professions requires more than natural talent or academic qualifications. While a 15-year-old might be knowledgeable about professional careers; he or she might not have the ability to eloquently explain the difference between a management and financial accountant, this is the knowledge that a university graduate may lack. Such knowledge is very useful for choosing and entering selective professions.

Here, the difference between haves and have-nots is social background. In the United Kingdom for instance, whilst only 7% of students attend private schools, this 7% produce 54% of Chief Executives and 70% of Finance Directors. The private schools which groom students in clubs for aspiring lawyers, accountants, investment bankers etc, reinforce the advantage students whose parents are lawyers, accountants, doctors etc. already have. When students without privileged social or financial backgrounds are female, the barriers to them entering and rising to the top of professions are considerably multiplied.
Whilst women earn roughly 50% of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) degrees, only 12% of STEM jobs are held by women. Even though we lack figures on gender representation in select professions in Nigeria, it is very evident that there are very few women at the top of Nigerian accounting, law, manufacturing etc firms. Equally, women from modest socio-economic backgrounds are poorly represented in these professions especially given the poor quality or total absence of career guidance services in schools and universities.
A Nigerian woman, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem is doing something about this through the organization; Women Inspiring Impact Network (WiiN).Folashade; a qualified chartered accountant who excelled in an environment where in addition to gender, the race was a barrier she had to overcome. Currently the Director Communications, Public Affairs, and Sustainable Development at Lafarge Africa Plc., She qualified as an accountant in the UK, got a job in the highbrow consulting firm PwC and moved to specialize in strategy.
She later worked for firms such as Ford Europe and Diageo. WiiN is a platform designed to mentor women already in professional careers to thrive. It is also focused on inspiring and preparing many more women for professional careers. Folashade met with the Unilag Chapter of WiiN on Friday, October 26th, 2018, at the American Corner, Yaba, Lagos. 15 young female undergraduates spent two hours with one woman who has thrived in a male-dominated manufacturing sector.
“Make sure the experience is never lost; seek constructive feedback; trust your intuition; let your work speak for itself” were among the nuggets Folashade shared that afternoon.
Responding after the program, Adesola Ologun, one of the mentees says the meeting with Folashade has fired her up to keep going against all odds.
“It has given me the impetus to push myself and go the extra mile for what I want despite all the challenges in the country. You only see what you want to see, and being a source of inspiration to other people is what I now see” Adesola says.
For Kabirat Osilaja, a Sociology undergraduate, great ideas give birth to greater ones. “You need someone to share your ideas with; someone that can motivate and put you through and cheer you on through your career milestones. I learned that in anything you are doing, attitude is key which will make you go anywhere you want; I learned about seeking mentorship from someone who is knowledgeable and confiding in people that can move you higher,” Kabirat who is already an entrepreneur said.
Chemistry Education undergraduate, Esther Alomaja reckons that youths should not allow the challenges they face deter them from pursuing their vision. “I have learned about going out of my comfort zone to pursue my ambition and being flexible rather than staying on my career path alone so that I can have an edge over others,” Esther says.
Such reactions are what WiiN aims to provoke, Folashade concludes. “After sharing my story, and career experience with them…, I could that they were inspired, motivated and some of them are already asking that I should come and speak at their school’s programme, some of them are already speaking up and demanding. I am already seeing an instant impact” she says.
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Dovadje Dickson Popularly known as Investor Wealth a Nigeria Blogger, Entrepreneur, Dancer, Former Model, Graphics Artist, Movie Editor/Nollywood Actor, Ex – Lindaikejisblog Publisher, And I.T Expert, CEO/MD – Danfame Telecommunications, Wealth Nation…

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