Ezinne Ezeani: Pushing Women To Achieve
She is a social entrepreneur. Advocating for women empowerment is her passion. She is also interested in human capital development with renowned experience and in-depth knowledge in implementing strategies, processes and policies that drive corporate performance.
She holds a degree in Guidance and Counselling from the University of Ibadan and a Masters degree in Managerial Psychology from the University of Lagos.
After a short time working as Human Resource Manager with Golden Tulip Hotel, Lagos, she left to establish ZK TonyuSignature, a corporate Travel and Event management company. Where she holds sway as Managing Partner. She is also the COO of MBr Signature Limited, an ambient advertising company. In 2017, she established the SheCan Nigeria Women Foundation, a movement to help women realise their innate abilities and potentials.
Eninne Ezeani, an Associated member, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM), here talks about SheCan, a movement for today’s woman and how she is helping women take up more challenging roles especially in a male-dominated environment.
Why and how did you start SheCan Nigeria?
Over the years in my career as an HR Leader and also a country manager, I have always seen a lot of women shy away from leadership positions and uncommon career opportunities. Also, we identified that the next generation is not willing to go through the process to attain success. SheCan Nigeria was birthed out of the need to drive the paradigm shift in today’s woman that SheCanDoMore irrespective of her background, gender, religion or career.
We saw the need to create a platform that will offer opportunities for career professionals, entrepreneurs, and the generation next, to help them actualize their dreams and attain success by being properly mentored and guided by the right leaders. We also help create positive, social impact by empowering and offering business and educational opportunities to less privileged girls and women.
SheCan Nigeria is a platform set to help others succeed. Before the official flag-off of the campaign, we organized periodic general counseling and mentoring sessions for different girls and women from several communities, offer tailored trainings and many more programs. During the course of these social impact, one thing was clear: on the need for Women To Do More, hence the urgent need to flag off the movement that will change the paradigm shift that SheCan Do More in every area of her life including Career, Business, and Education.
The official birth of SheCan Nigeria annual conference tagged, SheCanDoMore was launched in April, 2018.
What is SheCan Nigeria about?
SheCan Nigeria is a movement for Today’s Woman to realize her potentials and develop her capabilities in achieving success through collaboration and empowerment to become active players and contributors in our world today.
A movement designed to drive a change in culture and perception of our t woman. Our goal is to empower adolescent girls and women through strategic training, mentoring, counseling, vocational skill acquisition and community empowerment initiatives; grooming them to become change agents in their various communities and industries.
In SheCan Nigeria Movement, we believe that “Empowered Women Empower Women” and that every woman can achieve the highest level when she has the right positive mindset. SheCan Nigeria is not a gender equality organization as our focus is on the “Woman”.
As a former HR personnel, how do you rate women in the workplace especially when placed side by side with their male counterparts?
The amazing strength women have is the ability to go all out when they decide to, and also, to see through things. Women are able to make and take a more calculated risk. However, most women are not willing to receive bullets or take the lead. Over the years, we always noticed that when vacancies are made open to all for (particularly internal vacancy) leadership or management positions, men are more likely to take up top-level positions (even when not fully qualified). We are glad that the narrative is gradually changing, as more women are taking up leadership roles in organizations.
What factors have you identified that limit women from growing? Mindset, orientation, religion, and social-cultural values, I’m- a-woman-syndrome, etc. Note, as a woman, you must accept the fact that ‘’You are a “Human” before a “Woman”. Life will not consider your gender before your fate is decided. Life is willing to give in return what you’re ready to invest in it.
There are intrigues in the workplace just like in politics that women don’t like to be part of. How can women be helped?
Stand tall and do not feel apologetic about being a woman (human). Most women feel very guilty when they succeed. They feel they don’t deserve the success. They think they owe society an apology for making the best of their life. We worry more about what will the society or culture think or say. Asides being a woman, you are also a Human being, we need to drop the self-pity or I-am-a-woman syndrome. Work hard and smart, acquire more knowledge and compete with and for the right reasons. Never limit yourself. I tell women: if a man is better fit or qualified for a job, I give him the opportunity because he is also a human being. Women should not stop fighting for power when it can be earned easily. I am an advocate for She Can Do More because I believe every woman can achieve and attain success
It seems the marginalization of women has crept into the football sector too necessitating the Shefootball conference. Or what was it about?
The Shefootball conference as mentioned is a platform to support the dreams and aspirations of upcoming and present female footballers in Nigeria. It aims to identify raw talents, expose girls to opportunities in the football industry and develop female football in Nigeria. Much more, the initiative is designed to identify young women aspiring a career path in the football industry, mentor and guide them to build a successful career in football. So the conversation here should not be about Women Football being marginalized; rather, it should be about what can women in football Do More to become even better and achieve a successful career?
Many concerned women have come up with brilliant ideas like that of SheCan but crippled by lack of funds. How do you fund your projects?
Our company Mbr Signature Ltd which is an Outdoor Ambient Advertising organization, funds most of our projects; while other projects such as the SheCanDoMore Conference and Skill Acquisition programs are sponsored by some external partners SNEPCo/NNPC, Wema Bank etc.
What kind of collaboration do you have with other SheCans in other countries to help Nigeria?
We currently run some SheCan programs in the UK and we are open to more collaboration in 2020 with other countries.
How can women create work/life balance so that they can retain their roles for long?
What has helped me is the ability to see work as a project and my family as a project. As a working woman, every minute is crucial — at work and at home. You would be astonished to know that distractions at the workplace can cost you more than three hours a day. If you want to be focused and productive, it’s essential to keep chatty coworkers, casual internet surfing, smartphones, and other distractions at bay. At home, avoid watching too much TV and instead, you can use that time to strengthen your bond with your family. I also advise women to adequately plan Childbirth as this is the most common factor that keeps them away from work. Maintaining work-life balance requires constant adjustments, compromises, and sacrifices. To achieve a work-life balance as a career woman, you must develop your “Time Management Skill” allocate time to what is needful and important to you. Any other extra is a distraction (hence WLB becomes unrealistic). Sometimes, please don’t be sad being selfish in order to take good care of yourself. You deserve it.
What support do you give to women in male dominated career paths?
Some years ago, we flagged off an annual conference tagged SheCanDoMore where women who are successful industry leaders in male-dominated industries, converged to share their success story of how they became the first, best or only in their male-dominated sector, inspire the participants by sharing their real-life experiences with them. It doesn’t end there as mentoring sessions with these industry leaders are held to ensure maximum impact. In SheCan Nigeria, we believe Empowered Women Empower Women. To help secure the future space for the women, women must learn to be actively involved in industries shaping the way we live our life. Through the SheCan Nigeria platform, we drive the paradigm shift that She Can Do More irrespective of her industry or background, compete with their male counterparts and break that glass ceiling to get to the top management level of their industry.
The SheCan Nigeria Conference is a platform for all stakeholders (Corporate partners, Beneficiaries, HR Professionals, Female Professionals, Entrepreneurs, Generation Next, Media Partners) to address the aforementioned pertinent issues as relates to Women and the Girl child empowerment in Nigeria, to help her realize SheCan-Do-More in their Business, Career, and Education. Several segments/areas have been executed and covered during past conferences: SheCan Code, SheCan Tech, SheCan Entertain, SheCan Fly, SheCan Women in Business and SheCan Med.
How has this work enriched your life?
Empowering, impacting and inspiring thousands of girls and women in Nigeria, has been emotionally rewarding for me. It has given me a sense of purpose. The daily prayers and wishes from participants of our various programs are invaluable. It feels so good being able to be a change agent and inspire a lot of girls and women out there.
When you are not working, how do you like to rest?
Watch nice movies at home or a weekend getaway with hubby.
Where is your Favorite travel destination?
London, I love the serenity.
How would you describe your style?
Decent, comfortable and Classic
What won’t you do in the name of fashion?
Which one woman do you see as role model?
Michelle Obama, I admire her high level of humility, intelligence, family bond and her fashion style.
Photography: Bamiyo Iselema Emina
Makeup : Debrene Beauty