#CareerConversationsWithLLA: “Be authentic; Stay true to yourself,” Simbo Olatoregun, Product Marketing Manager leading Diversity and Inclusion initiatives for Grow with Google in Sub Saharan Africa. 

Image credit: Simbo Olatoregun

Simbo Olatoregun is the Product Marketing Manager leading Diversity and Inclusion initiatives for Grow with Google in Sub Saharan Africa. She is the lead for Women Will, a Grow with Google program and is based in Lagos, Nigeria. Simbo is committed to increasing digital inclusion (skills & devices) for Africans as a whole and for the African girl and women in particular.

She is a Director at Slum2School Africa and was also a Startup Success Manager for the Google Launchpad Africa Accelerator Program. Simbo has substantial marketing experience that cuts across the Consumer Goods and Technology Industry, she is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing CIM (UK) and has worked on programs across various countries on the continent. 

Prior to Google, Simbo was Market Development Manager for Intel Corporation in West Africa, responsible for co-marketing and managing OEM relationships across the region. Simbo is also the Gender & Inclusion team lead for the Lagos Hub of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community.

In this interview with Leading Ladies Africa, Simbo shares her sojourn into the corporate world, tips on diversity and inclusion in the workplace and three strategies every career woman should implement. Lean in!

Can you briefly describe yourself and what you do? 

I work on the brand & reputation team to support our diversity & Inclusion initiatives across Africa via our Women Will program. Via my work with the Lagos hub of the Global Shapers Community, I have worked on projects that help give girls in indigent communities access to digital skills and devices and also led projects that focus on connecting women to early to mid-career to mentors via our “Meet the Leader” Series

How did you start out your career and how long have you been in the corporate world? 

I started my first post-NYSC job in 2011 so this is my 10th year in the workplace. My first job was at PZ Cussons as a management trainee after which I started as Assistant Brand Manager for the fabric care category.

Image credit: Simbo Olatoregun

Tips for diversity and inclusion in the workplace (esp. for women)? 

I’m not sure that the tips should go to women 🙂 they should go to everyone. It’s everyone’s responsibility to aim to ensure equity in the workplace.

If you could have a lunch date with one woman you admire – who would that be and what would you ask her? 

I think Michelle Obama. She showed so much backbone and courage with such grace during her tenures as the first lady. I would ask her how she finds the strength to “stay high when going low.”

What’s your take on cliques or “you can’t sit with us groups” at work? How does one navigate such? 

I honestly don’t have an opinion about this; to each their own.

Image credit: Simbo Olatoregun

How do you advise ladies facing harassment in any form, from their superiors at work to handle it? 

I don’t think my advice should be going to the women but to the people attempting to harass them. And the things I want to say to people like that can’t be printed 🙂

When you’re creatively stuck, you…? 

I shut down, switch everything off, take time off social media, and try to “recalibrate.”

Image credit: Simbo Olatoregun

What’s your take on mentorship? Important or Nah? 

I think mentorship is important if you want to do more than “good enough.” If you’re ambitious and aiming high, mentorship will help make the road smoother. And if you’re looking for “good enough,” you’re good without mentorship.

Three strategies you’ve used that other career women should implement? 

  • Learn from your mistakes – Never repeat the same mistake twice 
  • Be authentic – Stay true to yourself 
  • Learn vulnerability – Ask for help 

 

The Leading Ladies Africa weekly 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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