#CareerConversations: “Changing careers twice has taught me about the unbelievable capacity of the mind and its ability to adapt to new situations” – Uche Ogboi, Chief Operating Officer of Lori Systems

Uche Ogboi

Uche Ogboi is one of the leading women in technology and technology investment with a rare combination of finance, banking, tech investing and operational experience. She is a turnaround expert with a stellar track record in driving value creation through excellent execution and implementing processes and structures. 

Uche is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Lori Systems Corp, an e-logistics startup and one of the largest and fastest-growing startups on the continent which was recently nominated as a 2020 tech pioneer by the World Economic Forum. 

At Lori Systems, Uche manages a 200- person team active across 11 countries and she grew the Nigeria business by 10- times in less than one year – a feat she successfully achieved by implementing key initiatives and instituting processes and structure.

Prior to her role at Lori Systems, Uche was Principal, Investments at EchoVC Partners, a Pan-African tech and tech-enabled stage- and sector- agnostic venture capital firm, where she grew the company’s portfolio by 5-times investing in startups across various sectors including healthcare, fintech, telecoms and agriculture. 

Uche was also an Investment Banker at Citibank for 8 years, focusing mainly on M&A, Advisory and structured. She was involved in deploying over $8billion of capital across various regions including Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. Whilst at Citi, she managed the bank’s SME fund and was involved in structuring the bank’s agriculture lending initiative. Before joining Citi, Uche worked as an accountant for 2 years. 

Uche is a Chartered Financial Analyst, qualified with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Investment Management Certificate. She holds a BSc. in Accounting and Finance from the University of Birmingham.

She sat on the boards of Lifebank, an e-logistics supply chain for blood and other vital products, Riby, a tech-based financial solutions and services company and System One, a healthcare IoT-enabled devices company. 

Uche is the Founder of The Live Well Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on youth empowerment through its 3-month training programmes in web design and other digital skills for underprivileged youths. She is a passionate advocate for women and is the Investment Lead at Rising Tide Africa, a women’s angel investment network which aims to empower women through investing and mentorship. Uche also mentors several founders in the Africa tech ecosystem. 

Uche is a dynamic and highly sought-after speaker. She has shared her insights and expertise in technology and logistics in panel discussions and high profile events across Africa, including The Financial Times Summit, Africa CEO Forum, Africa Tech Summit amongst several others.

Uche Ogboi
Meet Uche Ogboi

Uche Ogboi is a finance professional turned tech startup executive. She is currently the COO of an e-logistics tech startup called Lori Systems as well as the founder of The LiveWell Foundation; focused on empowering lower-income Nigerians to earn a living. She is also an Angel Investor, investing and mentoring founders in the startup ecosystem. Changing careers twice has taught Uche about the unbelievable capacity of the mind and its ability to adapt to new situations. She is an extremely passionate and committed person and that comes through in every area of her life – my work and my relationships. She loves her family deeply; love to teach/mentor and give.

Journey in the corporate world

I started as an Accountant at a musical instrument distributing company. I’ve been in the corporate world since 2007 – 13 years.

An accomplishment you are most proud of

Turning around one of our business units from stagnancy to 3.5x in just 3 months (4 months after I joined).

Overcoming hurdles

I think a lot of businesses have faced one of the most challenging years yet this year. We had to keep the business alive and thriving through such a difficult period globally whilst dealing with so many unknowns. We have done a good job so far but it was by no means an easy feat.

Lessons learnt as a career woman

Do not “see” gender. Other people will call it out and when they do, continue to deliver excellently and just keep pushing until you exhale!  

Challenges facing women in the corporate world

Definitely. Amongst several others, one real challenge is maternity – both how it affects women mentally and emotionally and how certain companies allow it to impact decisions like promotions about women that have been on maternity in a certain period.

We have to continue pulling each other up so that there are more of us at the top and we can drive the paradigm shift we want to see.

Advice for women on career advancement

Always volunteer for opportunities, even the most challenging. Challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone. It will stretch you in a way you never thought possible, sometimes almost to the point of breaking you but it will eventually birth a new you and you will be so grateful for it. Always network and build relationships across genders and industries.

Greatest influences in your life and career

Several people depending on where I am but the one constant is my father. He is extremely hardworking, diligent with high integrity. He is always ready to take any challenge on and constantly turning around businesses he gets involved with. He is extremely generous and impacts everyone that comes in contact with him and he also builds strong relationships.

An all-expense-paid trip to anywhere in the world

Bali!!! It has almost every kind of natural beauty from greenery to waterfalls, to fields to mountains to beaches…the list goes on!

Self-care and things you do to unwind

Unplugging from time to time once I realize I am starting to feel stressed. I go for long walks, spend time with loved ones and dance!

 

The Leading Ladies Africa Career Conversation series focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.

Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to lead@leadingladiesafrica.org and we just might feature her.

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