Ayibadi Daniel has over ten years of experience as a Strategic Sourcing Expert and Supply Chain Professional. She holds an M.Sc. in Supply Chain Management from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply in the United Kingdom (MCIPS).
She is currently employed as a Category Manager in a leading telecommunications company. She describes herself as a fun-loving ambivert, married with two sets of boy/girl twins.
Njideka Akabogu is a PR & Communications Expert with over 8 years experience working in Media and Communications in different capacities as content strategist, content creator, fashion editor and PR consultant. She is currently a Lead PR & Communications Adviser at ID Africa (BHM) where she’s charged with advising the business’s leadership on commercial strategy, new markets and customer service optimization; as well as spearheading the development, communication and implementation of effective growth strategies and processes in the business.
Njideka has recently been appointed to oversee BHM’s East African operations.
Both of these queens beyond their diverse professional areas and unique personalities are members of the Her Network Community. Read our Q&A with them in honor of International Women’s Day!
What does international women’s day mean to you?
Ayibadi: International Women’s Day is a day set aside to honour the accomplishments and unrealised potential of all women, regardless of their chosen professions or social status.
Njideka: I think women deserve to be celebrated every day but having a day like this especially set aside to celebrate women from all walks of life is really great. It serves as a reminder that in the little and big things, we are killing it and we deserve to be given our flowers! But it’s also a much-needed reminder that while some progress has been made in creating a society that is welcoming and safe for women, there is still so much work left to do and we can’t afford to rest on our laurels until this battle is completely won.
What actions do you think business leaders can take to create a more equitable workforce, based on your experience?
Ayibadi: Gender equality in the hiring process should not only be discussed but also implemented across all job categories. Women’s reproductive rights, including paid time off from work to have children and care for them, when necessary, should not be discriminated against or restricted.
Through mentorship programs, firms should take into account and support the advancement of women into C-Suite positions.
Njideka: Recognizing and acknowledging the need for equity in the workplace is a first step, and then putting measures in place to ensure that people are not alienated. The key is understanding that people are at the core of your business and designing your culture, processes, and even your physical structures in such a way that no one feels left out. From creating flexible work arrangements to incentivizing employees for their performances and ensuring transparency and equal access in your promotions; the list is endless really. At ID Africa for instance, we have an unlimited leave days policy that offers flexibility to our staff and helps promote a healthy work-life balance. I’ve found that people are more likely to bring their A-game to work when they feel like the organizations they work for truly cares for them and are transparent and fair in their dealings with them.
Why do we need more women in leadership?
Njideka: I’m strongly of the opinion that women make excellent leaders. And I’ve seen it over and over again. If there’s anything that BHM and ID Africa have shown me, it is what is possible when you create a culture that allows women to thrive. All our major portfolios are being managed by exceptionally brilliant women and I think one can draw parallels between that and the phenomenal growth that the business has experienced.
What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
Ayibadi: A more diverse workplace is facilitated by having more women in leadership positions, which inadvertently motivates the younger generation of women to aspire to such roles. Women are known and celebrated to bring fresh insight into leadership roles which translates to a more innovative workspace.
There has been a lot of improvement in this area. More organizations have shown commitment to the achievement of the sustainable development goals, while equally recognising the importance not just to women but the irrefutable benefits these women leaders afford the society in general.
Njideka: I’ve seen more and more organizations exhibit more intentionality in messaging around gender equality and inclusivity. I think this is great and commendable. But I hope that beyond talking, we can actually start doing because that’s where the real work of creating a fair and equitable society is.
What’s your international woman’s day message?
Ayibadi: You are enough! Quit doubting your potential.
Njideka: Hey Queen, you are deserving!