Years in Tech
General Manager, West Africa, Kwese Iflix
Problem solving! There are always going to be challenges, hurdles and potholes and if one isn’t solution driven and outcome focused then one can get derailed. What are we trying to achieve and what is the best and efficient way to achieve said goal giving the obstacles?
14th December 2018
As the General Manager for Kwesé iflix West Africa, I am responsible for the business strategy, performance and overall management of Kwesé iflix in West Africa. I lead the team to grow the brand by developing strategic relationships with key stakeholders in the tech, mobile and entertainment industries that will lead to business opportunities for Kwesé iflix.
Prior to joining Kwesé iflix, I was the Chief Partnerships officer at IrokoTV where I worked to create a consumer acquisition pipeline for irokotv.com mobile app. In addition to developing ubiquitous payment options and channels for the service.
I have also served as the Growth and Partnerships Manager for West and Central Africa for Facebook and was the GeoMarketing Manager for MTN Nigeria.
I have International consulting experience and in-depth knowledge and exposure in the consumer internet, telecommunication, technology and mobile industries across Africa.
I have a BSc in Management Information Systems and Decision Science and an MSc in Systems Engineering and Engineering Management.
What experiences led you to technology and how did you develop the skills to compete in the industry?
I started college in 1997 which was then then Y2K buzz was at its peak and the hottest careers then were Computer Science (which is more software focused, about reliable computer programs and the core skill required was logic/procedure) or Computer/Electrical Engineering (which is more product focus with the objective of processing requirements to improve a device or engineering product). Then there was MIS which focused on the organisation which will employ the Computer Science and Computer Engineering major. It had the balance of theoretical and applied science, its core objective was to determine the business requirements for information systems and it required problem solving, analysis and design skill sets which were more suited to my natural areas of interest. It bridged the gap between business and technology and allowed the flexibility to think strategically about technology, honing in one’s ability to think both in details and conceptually. I didn’t realise it then, but had I asked myself in 1997 “Ngozi what are your natural skill sets and how can you monetise them, I would have ended up at the same place!
How has your background helped/differentiated you in the tech industry?
Earlier in my career, I used to refer to myself as a ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none!’. I have done it all! Requirements Analysis and Design, Human Resources, Marketing and Strategy, Business Development, Business Intelligence! I used to be so concerned that my resume wasn’t enough of one thing. I had dabbled in so many areas but didn’t seem to realise at the time that it only made me more suited for General Management (yes, I know thats my current title :)) but seriously it turns out that every role and every job better prepared me for senior organisational management!. So now I own being a ‘Jane of all trades’ and in one word, ‘Capable’!
What advice would you give to women considering a career in technology? What do you wish you had known?
Well certainly don’t do it because it seems to be the fad! As I would for any other career one might be considering, I would suggest that one first identify their natural skill set and make sure it aligns with the requirements of the career you are considering. I left Nigeria thinking I would study law until I saw the reading requirements for pre-law; I almost fainted! Now I get my law fix by binge watching Suits (which is available on Kwesé iflix:)). Seriously though, I think it is so important that we enjoy the careers that we choose and the first step to enjoying a job is being damn good at it! And if it is technology, then come with your boldness to ask for a seat at the table and the competence to prove you deserve it! Welcome onboard!
Any other thoughts on women in technology?
Not unlike any other field the female perspective is so varied, each one unique and worth hearing. Imagine building an app without insight of half of your target users? Who does that? How can you be successful? You will find that the more representation in a field and in the boardroom, the better the product and its marketability.