Atinuke Odjenima, is a Human Resource Professional, the principal partner of Leadscope Consult International, (a Business Management Consultancy and Training firm) where she helps SMES structure & manage their businesses for effectiveness, Profitability & Growth.
As a Nation Builder, she expresses her passion for good governance and Leadership on the platform of the Hindsight Development Organisation (a non-profit leadership & Nation Building Organisation) saddled with the responsibility to raise, nurture & groom a new cadre of African leaders who will build their families, communities, their Country and positively impact their World with the leadership Orientation mindset of “To Lead is to Love”.
She is the Host of “FOR THE LOVE OF COUNTRY” a media program that aims at the engagement of developmental conversations & re-orientation to generate actionable steps that will catalyse Nigeria’s development.
Atinuke Odjenima is a passionate lover of God & life, called & living to serve Individuals, Oganisations & Nations. Equipping them to build capacity for growth & transformation to fulfil purpose and establish Gods Kingdom on Earth.
In this interview with the Editor, SAMUEL O. ADEYEMI, she speaks about nation building governance.
What aspect of your growing up do you think probably contributed to the person you are today?
Well, I really do not understand the question on “ASPECT” but what contributed to the person I am today is largely my Dad. Very early in my life, he introduced me to many things on self-esteem / confidence giving me the freedom to express myself. He emphasized on being responsible and taking the lead because I am the first child.
He will force me to listen to news, read motivational books and watch specific developmental talk show programs. All of these, I believe are growing up experiences that has contributed to who I am and what I do today.
Your profile says you love helping others be, become and find fulfilment in the process. What informed this passion and how do you go about doing this?
What informed my passion for helping people to do, be and become is this strong conviction of the possibility of living ones dream life. This conviction is a result of the knowledge and understanding I have of who God is and His will and intent for man.
Also, because I live my life on purpose, which has given me a beautiful life of joy and fulfilment, it is my desire to really help others and I also see it as a call to spread the good news of a beautiful life we can have in God through Purpose. I do this through my coaching program, Growth Goals.
What’s your target audience like?
People between the ages of 19-35.
You are also passionate about nation building , which has seen you embark on a project you tag ‘raising reformers, tell us more about this?
Raising Reformers: Their responsibility in one sentence is to reform what has been broken and restore what has been lost. They are a new breed of African leaders who will embark on rapid, ruthless, aggressive and radical execution. Reformers Network is a network of young passionate and committed Nigerians regardless of their social, educational and cultural background whose sole mission is to restore, build and deliver the Nigeria of their dreams.
They will have interest to be in Public or Civil service with the purpose to reform and restore different sectors that will revolutionise our National life. There will a faculty of mentors & caches, we will be bringing together experienced people in different sectors, experts and professional on different social issues that will equip & empower the reformers with skills, knowledge, attributes & abilities, such as character, courage, competence, compassion and wisdom needed for them to set Nigeria on the right lane of development.
Can you share some of your results with us and in relation to this, can you share some of the results you have for from raising reformers?
As for results, right now we are still in process of results. Any sustainable developmental program such Reformers Network cannot be subjected to the pressure of quick, unripe & unsustainable results.
Our results will be seen, heard and felt by all when our network members are assigned to their various places, occupying their spaces, performing hands on, on what they have been groomed and coached to do. Nonetheless, when the time comes, we will surely brief you on our progress and challenges on the Raising Reformers Network project.
Your profile also says you are a budding policy advisor. In which areas of policy implementation for National development have you identified gaps, and what are your policy recommendations?
Policies and programmes are coordinated series of actions from decisions of political actors for the purpose of achieving developmental objectives. Policies are the gateway to National development and no nation can ever attain any level of development without putting in place Policies and programmes capable of galvanizing the desired developmental.
It is in of policies and programmes to national development that various governments came up one policy/ programme or the other. Nigeria has had many developments plans & policies but don’t record much successes.
The problem of Nigeria is not planning national development but how well these plans are implemented to the benefit of the citizens. It is of the opinion that objectives of these policies and programmes is the desire of the government to create or rather to achieve development. It is an irrefutable fact that the level of development of any nation is tied to the workability of her policies/programmes. The problem gaps identified in our policy implementation are:
- Unreliable data & statistics.
- Inadequate or lack of clearly defined goals.
- Lack of sincerity of purpose and political will.
- Weak democratic values & lack of good governance.
- Policies and programmes must be a direct reflection of available human and material resources, cultural realities and political persuasions.
- Policies and programmes must be in deep democratic norms of accountability, transparency and fiscal discipline.
- There must be a match between the choice of planned projects and real priority of the economy so as to reduce the widespread abandonment and white elephant projects.
- Proper monitoring and evaluation of development policies and programmes to ascertain whether the policy program is on track and also to know the impact of such policies and programs of the people.
Having said all these my area of policy interest is on human capital development and policy on governance and institutions.
What do you consider to be the obstacles in the path of women aspiring to management positions in the public and private sector?
Challenges or obstacles I believe women face are gender equality & discrimination. Stereotyping and past perceptions of leadership skills, competence and assertiveness may hinder women to succeed. Many organisations associate masculine characters with success and achievement this include: assertiveness, aggressiveness and task oriented and of women the expectation of being modest, quiet, selfless and nurturing. They are also confronted with prejudice and family demands.
How can these obstacles be surmounted?
To surmount these obstacles, women should come to the table prepared and show what they are worth. Productivity and Performance are not gender based, therefore as we women we should horn our skills, increase our leadership abilities and deliver excellently without sentiments or excuses. With this, I believe we will make a statement of who truly we are, what we are worth and what we are actually capable of doing. Older Women should also be the advocate and Mentors for other younger women.
You also have some experience in helping SMEs grow. For some working in a difficult climate in Nigeria, how do you help them navigate the many treacherous bends?
The truth is, all SME’s have different major or minor issues, in as much that they have some general challenges as businesses in Nigeria yet, really there’s no one size fit all approach to solve their issues. But then, helping SME’s navigate is to identify the core or fundamental issue(s) a business might be experiencing, then advise them on what needs to be done and help them implement some of the issues within the scope of what our firm does. We help SME’s with the structure, systems and processes that their businesses need for productivity, profitability and growth. We offer services such as business & Operational plans, company profile, company policy handbook and Training programs.
Lastly, what’s your advice for young women aspiring to leadership positions in their chosen field?
My advice for young aspiring women is to know themselves enough, to know who they are, what their strength & weaknesses, their capabilities and continuous personal improvement, believe in themselves, remain focused, get a mentor or a coach and then be audacious to pursue their dreams.
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