Some journeys are incredible. You start out in one place, believing you have a complete sense of where you’re headed, then you end up in another place.
My name is Itohan Izugbokwe, I work as the Sales Lead and Accounts Manager at The Filmhouse Limited. If you ever come by and need someone to point you to my office, just ask for The Money Girl.
It’s been 9 years of acceleration, and sharp bends, from starting out in customer service in a mid-size establishment in New York, to coming back to Nigeria and starting off in Oil & Gas. To ICT. To Digital Media. And now, to Filmhouse Cinemas. While paths change, the vehicle that has stayed with me in all this time is Client Relationship skills. Nothing as propelled me throughout my career than the obsessive need to fulfill one purpose; value, Always providing value.
My role at The FilmHouse Ltd is primarily to generate alternative streams of income for the group, forging strong partnerships, all with a goal to build the Filmhouse brand. My formula with partnerships is clear; how can I help our brand partners advertise and generate more leads? It’s the question I show up to work to answer every day.
While it’s safe to say that I’ve gotten some professional management training, I believe every task in my career led me to this place. From the sense of appreciation, a client felt when I was in New York, to a client in Digital Media saying, “Itohan can fix it,” I believe every opportunity prepared me for this challenge.
Now, it’s one thing to thrive in an industry, but it’s different ball game to thrive as a woman. I don’t know if it’s been easy or I’m just the tough and determined one, but my career has been mostly pleasant. Maybe being the daughter of General counts for something here.
But one thing is for sure, there’s always been the need to work extra hard to prove yourself as a woman in this male-dominated industry. I mean, I do the work, but sometimes you get reduced to just ‘being the pretty face.’ Nothing thrills me like shocking them with delivery.
Despite this, Filmhouse cinemas has a strong culture, from top to bottom. For example, its inclusive enough for me to thrive as a working mother, without feeling like I’m losing on one front. Watching my kids grow on one end, and watching my ideas blossom on the work front feels like a win-win. And while this should be a given, I can’t help but be grateful for my line managers, my team, and my husband for their support and encouragement. The occasional days off also help a lot when I hit a block.
There’s one other field of play–my home. When you have two toddlers, you can’t afford to start your day late. It helps to have a strong support system, but I always plan–every single day–mostly with a to-do list, written or mental.
Back to work. I’d be lying if I said every day at work is a walk in the park. There are the clients who you put in work for on a partnership, who then pull the plug last minute. The thing about disappointments is that they are inevitable, and we don’t always have control over them. What we’ll always have control over is our will to get up and try again.
I’d say I have an ‘average day at the office’, but when you’re building the biggest entertainment distribution brand in West Africa, you have no average days. So you’re either sitting through at strategy sessions or planning events.
And why is all of this worth it? It’s realising that just showing up to work every day, I’m directly involved in growing Nigeria’s film industry, filling millions of Nigerians with pure happiness. And overall feeding the ecosystem to empower all stakeholders in the country.
The work is far from done, but if you ever come looking for someone who’s showing up and killing it everyday–doing it for the culture and for the industry–ask for The Money Girl. You’ll find me.