The Future Awards 2018 Leading woman in Tech is our muse on #CareerConversations with LLA, this week! Whoooop de dooo!!! Tech smart Odunayo Eweniyi lets us in on her ground breaking Innovations- Piggy Bank Nigeria and Push CV.com and how years of investment in the corporate space equipped her with the requisite grit and character to flout her own companies. Enjoy!
Can you briefly describe yourself and what you do?
I am Odunayo Eweniyi a tech professional. I am a Computer Engineering graduate from Covenant University – and I’ve founded a number of startups, most notably Piggybankng and Push CV.com
Great! How did you start out in your career, and how long have you been in the ‘corporate world?’
I am not exactly in the corporate world – tech is a lot more flexible than that. I started out in tech by trying to find a solution to a problem that I and many people around me had – employment. And it just kind of snowballed from there. I have been a tech founder for 5 years now.
What are some of the things you love the most about being a career woman?
There is a gratification that comes with making a change from your own corner of the world that has a larger impact. I love working, I love making things happen, and most of all I enjoy playing a part in doing things that make positive impact on lives outside of my own.
And the downsides – what are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome them?
Of course, I have experienced problems especially being a woman in a male-dominated space – from cultural limitations, to sexism from men, to dismissal of my work and my knowledge because I’m a woman. It is all super discouraging, but it helps to be single-minded in your drive for your vision. Knowing what I want to be and where I need to go, helped me navigate through all of that and speak out when necessary. And now I’m very vocal for feminism and women empowerment. It is very important that women find their place, wherever they want to be.
What’s your take on cliques or “you can’t sit with us groups” at work? How does one navigate such?
I cannot stand cliques and I don’t belong to any because I would like to absolutely and completely destroy clique culture – because it is damaging. But once again, the counter to that is building up self-esteem and self-confidence and the ability to speak up against whatever it is that’s in your way. When you see injustice, no matter how little, never keep quiet. I certainly don’t.
Of course, we’re going to talk about mentorship – what’s your view on it? Important or nah?
I think that is completely subjective – and a mostly personal choice. If you think you need mentorship, then you should totally do your research and then go out and build that relationship with a person who will complement your vision and goals with their advice.
Two things – what have been your best and worst career decision – and what did you learn from each respectively?
Best career decision was deferring studies to work on birthing the companies, and I haven’t seen the worst yet, but it’s early days, lol. What I’ve learnt specifically is to follow my gut and my hunches. Exploration and self-discovery are always a plus.
How do you advice girls facing harassment in any form, from their superiors at work to handle it?
Always report. Never stay silent. The weapon that these people have against you is shame. They weaponize the shame that a woman experiences when she’s harassed. Resist shame culture, you did nothing to deserve harassment. Document and report.
Do you have a “side-hustle” and what’s your view on having other interests outside of work?
I recommend productive side hustles. Just make sure they don’t interfere with your day job. Side hustles are a good escape to focus energies on when the day job is a little tough.
In what specific ways would you advise women to “lean in” more at work?
Just don’t be shy to speak up about your capabilities and abilities. Be confident about your abilities. Let your superiors know when you can handle a job. Respectfully decline to do things below your position, especially when there are juniors who can do those things. Work hard, speak your truth, and remember that you do NOT need to be loved by everyone.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Hopefully, leading an organization that is making huge social impact moves for women – leveraging technology, of course.
Do you think personal branding at work is necessary? If so, how do you build it?
Always. Everyone needs to be known for something. Identify what/who you want to be. And then control the narrative. Do things that gear towards that. I always recommend a single-minded laser focus towards who/what you want to be known for. Brands a notoriously fickle, so you have to work hard at building it up and maintaining it.
What in your opinion are key success principles for upcoming career women, or those just starting out their careers?
Be yourself and love who you are. Now that seems basic, but in life, the most constant thing is criticism. You’re a woman, so you’re dealing with everything else and then your gender on top of that. So, you absolutely need to be comfortable in your own skin to go out and face the world. There will be detractors, “haters” etc. But when you know who you are, where you’re going and why; and love those three things – and also have focus, you’ll go very far.
What’s your advice to entry-level/interns new to organisations, what should they look out for or try to achieve?
Be hungry. Learn broadly. Sharpen your skills. And as always, speak up.
The Leading Ladies Africa #CareerConversations Series is a weekly interview series which focuses on Leading women of African descent in the corporate world. It 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.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes women empowerment and gender inclusion for women of African descent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to email@example.com and we just might feature her.