Neya Kalu is the Chairman and Publisher of The Sun Nigeria, a reputable Nigerian news outlet. She is also the founder and CEO of Basecoat Nigeria, a nail salon chain changing the face of the Nail Industry in Nigeria.
She has a degree in Law and an MSc. in Finance from the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom. She has 12 years experience crafting and implementing business initiatives across industries. The amazing businesswoman had previously worked in the banking sector for five years as Human Resource Manager before her appointment as Chairman/Publisher of the Sun Nigeria. She leads the Board on strategic matters, establishes high governance, and oversees the company’s business.
She talks to us about her work ethics and how she has navigated her journey so far. Read and Be Inspired!
Hi Neya, please tell us about yourself.
I am a mother first and currently the Chairman/Publisher of the The Sun Nigeria, Vice Chairman of Sun Heaven Hotels and Resort and Founder of a nail salon chain in Lagos, Base Coat. I sit on several boards spanning across different sectors from Oil & Gas to Banks. I am an entrepreneur and own several small business – mainly real estate, outside of my scope of work.
It is so interesting to see how much you have grown in your career, take us through your journey.
I started my career at age 18, interning at legal firms, working mostly in the family business (Newspaper & Shipping) and then transitioning to the banking sector, where I worked for several years in the capacity of an HR manager and lead of the HR team. I have more than 12 years experience implementing business initiatives across industries.
You recently had an interview where you talked about your father’s work ethics being your greatest influence, can you shed more light on this?
My father and I are extremely close, and growing up I spent a lot of my time with him. Growing up, I had this compulsion for always trying to make him so proud of me, so i worked 10 times harder and smarter. So I guess you can say, he rubbed off on me a great deal. As children, your greatest influencers are those whom you spend time with. He is the hardest working man, I know and people say we are un canning in that regard.
What are the major challenges you’ve faced in your industry and how have these ethics helped you so far in this journey?
I would say my age and gender, have definitely been my biggest challenges so far. But I am happy to face these hiccups head on. I always to shift the narrative, that younger people have limited experience or knowledge based on their age, but especially and in my case based on my gender. I walk in rooms at times, and they are still waiting to see the Chairman/Publisher of The Sun. While this might demoralize others, I believe it is my greatest motivation.
Being in the position where you are now, do you believe that women can do better in this industry and how can they be better in this industry?
Women can do better anywhere, look at all we juggle everyday just being women. It is society and the times dating back hundreds of years that has made most women believe they cannot achieve much. I would admit, the newspaper industry, is tough as it compromises mostly of men but even I myself, have suffered from imposter syndrome – where believing in myself and translating my knowledge have been a challenge for me. The only recipe missing, is women just believing in themselves and shattering the status quo. I say this often, being female is your superpower.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Honestly, I’m never too sure how to answer this question. To me, its the hardest to answer and most answers I find are quite generic. I just want to be healthy and well.
So many young individuals look up to you, what’s your advice to them?
Three things. Vision. Consistency. Growth and/or Hunger. You must have a clear vision of what exactly it is you want to do and what you want out of life, without vison you are lost. On achieving this goal, how do you stay consistent? What are you doing that others are not? Then, what are you doing to sustain your growth – being comfortable is the easiest and fastest way to lose sight of your hopes and aspirations. As they say, a closed mouth does not get fed.