Each month, we sit down with a member of our community to talk about their work, their experience working out of CapitalSquare, and to just generally let the world know how awesome they are.!
Who: Nefe Etomi
What she does: management consulting
Working from CapitalSquare since: March 2017
Hi, Nefe! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.
Hey, my full name is Omonefe which means ‘a child is greater than riches/wealth’. I’m from Edo state and fully plan on picking up Benin/Esan at some point in my life.
I used to work in Investment Banking in England and moved to Nigeria at the end of 2016 to do NYSC. I am now a business consultant as well as a performing artist (I sing and occasionally host reality talk shows) and I absolutely love to travel and explore new things and places. Yeah, I love what I do.
What’s your typical workday like? Tell us about what you do for Areedi.
I joined Areedi exactly a year ago actually. One of the things I love about Areedi is how flexible it is, making that ‘work-life balance’ thing we talk about so often very possible for me. I started off working part-time sort off, cause of NYSC and giving me time to meet producers and just get a bit more grounding in the music industry here. Now I work full-time and… wait, I haven’t answered your question lol. So typical day, I come in, post a few things about ‘Design thinking’ on our Linkedin page. Do a bit of research depending on the current needs for our clients. But my best part is actually when I’m not in the office but at a client site, running interviews or having meetings to better understand their needs or help them execute some of their ideas.
What is it like working for Areedi? what kind of clients do you serve?
It’s great, we’re all female and I don’t know why people complain about that, because it has been such a huge blessing to me. I haven’t had to deal with a lot of things my friends and family complain about. My boss is great, she’s always willing to help you grow and learn and gives you enough space to make your own decisions sometimes.
Our clients cut across so many industries: media, technology, legal, manufacturing, pharmaceutical etc and that’s why I love it. You learn about such a wide variety of things, I don’t see how I could ever get bored.
What has been your biggest career lesson? What would you do differently if you had to start over?
My biggest career lesson has been to be true to myself- which might be quite cliche but it’s the truth. It might not be a big deal in Nigeria to be fair, but in the UK, it wasn’t particularly expected to be so free in the office. So I was felt stifled, once I started bringing my ‘full self’ to the office, I felt like I connected with people more and my performance improved, and it encouraged people to do the same. I’ve also learned not to take things too seriously, I started sending jokes round to my colleagues on Fridays and just generally making the office a bit more cheerful. You spend wayyy too much of your life in the office/with your colleagues to be miserable at work. Also with things like closing hours etc, I just have never seen the value of staying late (aka facetime) for the heck of it, it’s such a waste of life. If I’m done with work and no one needs my help with anything I go home/out for dinner/to the gym anything- this is something that a lot of Nigerian firms don’t practice, so I’m really grateful that Areedi doesn’t have such a culture.
Hmm can’t really think of anything I would do differently… maybe negotiate a higher starting salary? LOL.
In addition to working with Areedi, you also sing and perform. How do you juggle both?
Haha I get this question a lot, and honestly it still confuses me. In no particular order I think it’s about time management and prioritisation, both careers are extremely important to me and make up who I am, and thus I plan my day/week/life in a way that I give each one enough attention. I do my vocal warm ups in the shower when I’m getting ready for work, and sometimes when I’m on set/in the studio, I’m scanning through my emails. It doesn’t always feel too stressful to me. Importantly, I lean on God, I’m literally like- you created me and know why I have 2 very different things I feel like I’ve been called to do, so please give me what I need to be successful in both!
What would be your number one advice for anyone looking to improve their skills and get better at what they do?
My number 1 advice would be to take it one step at a time. If there’s something you want to get better at, list out everything you need to do to get there, and just aim to tick things off one by one. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed, but if you focus on just doing one thing that takes you closer to your goal and always looking back to acknowledge how much progress you have made (and pat yourself on the back for it)- you’ll be fine. Needless to say, pray every step of the way.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be? Why?
Hmm, not sure if it’ll be a switch, but definitely something I aspire towards. It’ll be my dad. He runs his own company, travels a lot, gets involved in many different ideas/projects that he’s interested in, and still makes time for us. He has obviously paid his dues which is why he can do all this. And that’s what I want for my future.
When you’re not working or performing how do you like to unwind?
I TRAVEL!! Before I started doing nysc and earning Naira and was instantly humbled, I literally used to travel once a month, just quick (and cheap) getaway trips for the weekend to enjoy new places. It’s taken me a while here, but I’ve started doing that again recently, I visited Osun recently which was amazing and I have a few trips planned for the near future.
I also like to hang out with my family at friends at home, in a bar, club, restaurant, spa etc. I’m an extrovert and get my energy from my surroundings and people around me. So it’s really important that I refuel with people I love, doing things that I love so that I have positive energy to give back to the world.
You’ve worked out of CapitalSquare for a while now. What do you think about the space and community?
I really like it. So funny story, when I first joined I didn’t realise CapitalSquare was a co-working space. I thought it was all Areedi and I didn’t know why I was only introduced to just Damilola. I remember I brought in chocolates on my second day and no one touched them when they were by my desk till I moved them to the seating area outside… took me three days to realise what was going on!
Anyway, I really like the community, because I remember when we had the first networking breakfast- hearing all the great things everyone was up to was honestly so inspiring. I tell this story to all my friends today. Everyone thought I was crazy to voluntarily move back and after a while I started to think so too, but once I heard some of the cool things people were doing, I don’t know, it gave me a bit of hope.
Thank you for your time, Nefe. This was fun!
Thank you for interviewing me!
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