Q2 of 2020 will definitely go down in the history books as the period in time when life as we knew it changed forever. Looking back at the Q1 Social Sector Networking Event which took place in March feels like a lifetime ago. The Social Sector Networking Events are a series of quarterly meetings, workshops, and webinars designed by YAP&E and Philanthropy Circuit to create a space for diverse social sector actors to connect, learn and share while working together to overcome challenges to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
I started attending these quarterly meet-ups in 2019 and it has become a much looked forward to item in my calendar since then. The Q1 event was the last public event I attended in March before the COVID-19 lockdown hit Lagos. It was a truly inspiring gathering packed full of so much advice perfect for International Women’s month.
I had the pleasure of moderating the session on behalf of Philanthropy Circuit with our super-star guest: Nkemdilim Uwaje Begho. Nkem is a 2019 Obama Leader, the CEO of Futuresoft Nigeria, a Global Speaker and Digital Transformation & Marketing expert. I had heard her speak at both the LSETF Employment Summit and Social Media Week Lagos the previous month, so I was super stoked to get a chance to interview her one on one.
The topic we discussed was how to enhance the use of technology to promote the empowerment of women, but the gems that came out of the conversation went well beyond that. I’m so glad I took notes while moderating the session to preserve some of those gems.
Here are some of my takeaways:
“If we tell our stories properly, we can have a lot of impact”
One thing that intrigued me about Nkem was her personal brand and her multi-faceted profile. Before the session, the top question on my mind was how exactly she managed all the multiple sides to her while staying true to each brand. I identify as “Multi-faceted” and often struggle with my multiple passion projects and businesses. It was lovely to see a successful Serial Entrepreneur thriving in all her ventures. One thing she said that stuck to me was that she stopped calling her “side-hustles” side hustles and hobbies following some advice from one of her mentors. She became intentional about referring to herself as a Serial Entrepreneur and really owning that identity. Another thing that stuck out to me was her emphasis on building our profiles women as well as our credibility through publishing our work.
“The more that’s out there about you, the more opportunities you’ll attract”
In a follow up to her advice on building our profiles and credibility, Nkem advised us to build our visibility. She asked us if we would pass the Google test (i.e. if you were searched on Google what would come up about us?) and to also make sure that our LinkedIn profile was always up to date. In addition to this, we needed to document our journeys, be our own cheerleader, and also get champions who would be our microphones and push your work out to the world. Nkem shared that her Dad was one of her biggest cheerleaders and would always publish notices in the newspapers with her speaking engagements and achievements in the early days of her career.
“Be deliberate in becoming a subject matter expert”
Another valuable takeaway from the session was the need to be deliberate and intentional about becoming an expert in our field. Nkem advised us to invest 30 minutes every day in educating ourselves on a particular subject area. She also emphasized the importance of role models and the need to cultivate a culture of knowledge sharing.
If you’d like to learn more about “The Why, What and How of Personal Branding”, check out Nkem’s Medium article here.
This article was first published on LinkedIn in June 2020 by Zahra Z. Abdulkareem.