Stephanie Dan-Okafor is a young woman in her early twenties striving to make a name for herself in the service Industry. Moving back to Nigeria in 2017, she realized that hospitality/service in Nigeria was often times neglected by business owners and so, when she found herself at Filmhouse Cinemas, she knew she could make an impact; she knew she had found her home.
Her Favourite Quote “I will leave my mark, soul, everyone will know, I was here” by Beyoncé Knowles is a big indicator of Stephanie’s desire to live of life of impact! Stephanie began her career at Filmhouse Cinemas as a Guest Services Executive and over time was promoted to the Guest Services Manager position for Filmhouse Cinemas Lekki. She is currently the Branch Manager at the newly opened Filmhouse Cinemas Oniru-Twin Waters, in addition to my role as the Guest Services Manager for Filmhouse Cinemas Lekki.
Stephanie obtained her B.A in Public Relations at the State University of New York at Oswego and my MSc in Human Resource Management from the University of Kent. Her experiences since then, have no doubt, shaped her into the woman she is today. Stephanie always saw herself working P.R for a fashion house; an idea she got from watching endless hours of girl boss, Samantha Jones, in Sex and the City. Like they say, Life has a funny way of proving us wrong. While working towards this “dream”, Stephanie found herself working several jobs in the service industry. After a couple of years, it finally dawned on her that seeing a guest smile or leave happy, would always turn a horrible day into an amazing one. From that moment, Stephanie made sure she worked in a variety of industries to gain a better understanding of exceptional guest service.
Starting off at Filmhouse Cinemas, Stephanie had the best support system; in all her years of experience, Stephanie affirms that she had never seen people genuinely go out of their way to make sure you succeed. When she joined the Filmhouse family, the Guest Services department was non-existent. “I worked extremely hard to make our presence felt not only by the major stakeholders- our guests, but also by management and all employees.” She said. Senior management regularly called to ensure Stephanie was transitioning into my new role properly, she was also asked whether she was satisfied with my job so many times that she almost panicked thinking she was giving the wrong answers. Yikes!
Stephanie says “Filmhouse is extremely inclusive and one thing I love is that the organization doesn’t discriminate at all, be it based on gender, age, academic qualifications, etc. It is a company driven by strong performance, which pushes me to want to do bigger and better things. In my quest to continuously challenge myself in my roles, I have never felt the need to prove myself, never had to traverse the glass labyrinth like several of my female colleagues in male dominated industries.”
Stephanie also shared how she had the amazing opportunity to attend a single sex a.k.a all-girls high school and so, was only ever exposed to women in leadership positions. It made her realize that women are just as capable, just as hard working, and just as awesome as any man out there; arguably even more awesome than men. So, on the rare occasions when Stephanie has had a guest size her up and immediately assume that because she is a woman, she is incapable of handling guest enquiries or complaints, she does well to educate them about their misconceptions and prejudices.
Gushing about her job, she says “Filmhouse is such a dynamic company so there is always room for growth and career progression. We have a very attentive management team and they value open communication channels. Working at two of our cinema sites, I cannot count the number of times our Group MD, Mr Kene Okwuosa, and our Group ED, Mr Moses Babatope, visit the cinemas and engage the staff. I have never worked at a company where management values every single member of the team and where they take the time out from their busy schedules to come in for meetings with the team where they can voice their concerns or opinions. I believe this is what makes Filmhouse Cinemas different, this is what makes us who we are, this is how we all understand our worth and the impact of our work towards the bigger picture.”
When asked what she would tell her younger self if she could say anything, she said “I would tell her to stop tracking the A’s. She should focus on finding ways to improve herself so as to gain competitive advantage. She should focus on loving herself and she should understand that it might seem to be only a man’s world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl.”
We’re sending some love and light her way and wishing her greater successes in the near future.