‘Today’s women are pushing boundaries, creating opportunities for others’ — Guardian Woman — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

‘Today’s women are pushing boundaries, creating opportunities for others’ — Guardian Woman — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Marilyn Akpoebi Oruwari is the Central Head of Content and Chief Operating Officer at Jumia Group and Jumia Nigeria respectively. Joining the corporate in 2012, she began working within the style division, the place she confirmed exemplary management and contributed to the group’s progress.
With a Bachelors of Arts diploma in English Language and Linguistics from Ambrose Ali University, Edo State and a Masters of Arts diploma in Critical Thinking, Discourse and Argumentation Studies from the University of Bucharest, Marilyn is extremely expert in Strategic Planning, Content Development, Project Management, Operations and Content Marketing Strategies. She has grown with the corporate to guide in her present function throughout international locations the place Jumia operates and helps operations in Nigeria.
Passionate and curios about something tech and providers that makes life simpler, she tells TOBI AWODIPE how she rose to develop into COO in a decade, what feminine owned companies can do to outlive and thrive, why she’s all the time studying and what she would love to vary for Nigerian women if given the possibility.

Take us by your profession journey until date, how has the journey been for you?I’ve a Bachelor’s diploma in English Language and Linguistics from Ambrose Ali University, two grasp levels in Discourse and Argumentation Studies and Critical Thinking from the University of Bucharest, and a mini MBA from IBMI, Berlin. I even have a Risk Management and Digital Design certificates additionally from IBMI and a senior administration program certificates from the Lagos Business School.
I began my profession principally interning as a private assistant, then taught at Nigerian Navy Logistic School throughout my National Service 12 months, took a pause, and returned to additional my schooling, the place I developed a ardour for content material writing and growth, challenge administration and know-how normally. I had began studying and creating these pursuits in my free time, e.g. HTML, graphics design, enhancing and copywriting, as I used to be already learning one thing else for my masters.
The journey has been very fascinating and difficult. I Joined Jumia 10 years in the past, proper after my MA research as a content material author for our style class. I took on some small tasks targeted on structuring the content material creation course of on the time, and in just a few months, led the content material writers’ group. As a startup, I observed some gaps we might tighten in our processes to optimise output, so I jumped into restructuring different models within the division, which led to managing the unit in just a few extra months.
After some time, with growth and progress of the corporate, new departments opened up, and the top of my division requested me to tackle manufacturing below my scope and handle all the division whereas she moved on to go one other unit. I prefer to assume I added worth alongside the best way, as a result of as opportunities inside my space opened up, I used to be really useful to tackle the roles. I grew to handle manufacturing and content material globally throughout international locations in lower than 5 years. In addition, I took on the interim COO function in Nigeria in 2020 for 11 months and once more was requested to leap again in and assist operations in Nigeria this 12 months within the COO capability.

Rising to develop into the COO in lower than a decade is definitely no imply feat, how have been you capable of obtain this in such a short while?I had a powerful ardour for what our mission was. More than something, I confirmed that I used to be in it for the lengthy haul and tuned in to what wanted to get achieved, even earlier than we had the construction we’ve now. I had ambition early on to execute and ship no matter was anticipated of me and exceed expectations in the beginning of my profession; I took a useful method to see issues by. I used to be all the time current on collective tasks and I took on duties and roles exterior my major operate.
I continued to develop myself and acquire a deeper understanding of our instruments and sources. When you set in a lot effort and are constant and reliable, you all the time come to thoughts when opportunities open or current themselves for progress.
As COO, what does your day-to-day function entail?Typically overseeing inside, each day operations. However, duties can change in keeping with the objectives and necessities at a specific time within the enterprise. My each day duties and obligations embrace overseeing the trajectory of day-to-day operations. First, ensuring I’m conscious of the actions in varied departments below my purview, which incorporates customer support/gross sales, buyer and vendor expertise, IT, programs, manufacturing and content material. So, I have to arrange each day check-in periods with every division head to overview KPIs developments, strategise and deep dive into matters that want enchancment.
Sometimes, I could also be extra concerned with creating operations technique or give attention to guaranteeing that the plans and methods developed with the CEO are on observe and correctly/efficiently applied. The total key accountability will all the time be to make sure that the corporate’s operations assist the model and CEO’s imaginative and prescient and working intently with division heads, managers and supervisors to assist the day-to-day exercise is all the time my precedence.
How would you say your academic background and expertise helped stand you out in your trade?There are no shortcuts whenever you are constructing a profession; I needed to put within the work. More than something, the dedication, time, and ardour I put in has propelled me and made me stand out greater than my academic background. However, the very first thing that bought me by the door was my schooling. The much less educated you are, the slimmer your opportunities.
I’ve studied programs from varied topics, which opened my thoughts and broadened my curiosity and perspective. Then, I continued to informally take on-line programs, which helped me perceive a variety of matters round these I would like to have interaction with each day and assist.

You head content material throughout international locations the place Jumia operates, together with Nigeria, how is that this expertise like for you?Leading manufacturing and content material operations throughout international locations includes lots of particulars. It could be difficult as each nation has its distinctive variations. But over time, I’ve been capable of develop and perceive the intricacies. It takes lots of organisational abilities to make sure you can test in and be as supportive as attainable to all departments throughout all international locations.
The function can be very a lot targeted on supporting all consumer expertise initiatives, and I become involved in an enormous array of tasks that assist us enhance our programs consistently. There isn’t a sluggish day; day-after-day comes with new duties and one thing fascinating to leap on.
As somebody expert in buyer and vendor expertise, what would you say are the most important points distributors and younger founders grapple with probably the most?The price of any engagement to lift buyer consciousness is excessive, and a scarcity of information to assist the choices you could make could be difficult. Sometimes, discovering a talented workforce to assist what you are promoting generally is a problem.
Finally, it’s a regulatory minefield on this a part of the world; navigating this may be very robust for distributors.
How accommodating is that this trade for women, particularly these seeking to make a profession right here?I can’t converse for different organisations on this trade, however I can say at Jumia, there isn’t any bias towards gender, and the setting encourages variety and is supportive. There hasn’t been any blocker so far as my profession progress is worried.
Once you set within the work, you climb up the ladder. I encourage women to tackle roles in start-ups, rising industries and tech environments; the probabilities are infinite.
For a feminine owned enterprise seeking to break into distribution, what are some steps she will be able to take to assist her?Know your customersUnderstand methods to promote and market your productDon’t be afraid to begin small and develop, give attention to fast-moving merchandise, or discover a area of interest.Learn to leverage social media, it is likely one of the finest and most reasonably priced technique of reaching/promoting to your focused viewers.Speak to individuals within the fieldCustomer expertise is vital, this covers customer support.
How necessary is mentorship for profession women?I believe it’s important for each younger profession skilled to have a mentor. Experience has worth, and you may all the time profit from a lead profession professional who will assist broaden your imaginative and prescient and perspective on the topic. There is a lot to be taught from seasoned leaders that you simply can not in a classroom. Hands-on expertise all the time provides you extra perception.
What is one thing you probably did/do that you’d say helps your life and career-wise?Discipline, figuring out methods to construction my time and priorities, specializing in the tip aim, and not dropping give attention to my imaginative and prescient for my future. Secondly, and this is essential, it’s essential to love what you do.
How would you fee feminine entrepreneurship in Nigeria and usually, in Africa, do we’ve sufficient women going into it?In normal, the tradition previously put some limitations on women establishing companies of their very own throughout Africa, extra prevalent in some international locations than others, however that is quick altering. We see extra women pushing boundaries in the present day, opening large institutions, and having thriving companies, with nice success creating much more work opportunities for others. Today, women are main small companies on social media, promoting every part from house to magnificence to style.
From an financial standpoint, women do not need a alternative however to additionally take up breadwinning in most properties; joint earnings is a necessity. So, we’ve so many artistic and revolutionary companies bobbing up each day.
If you have been talking with an upcoming entrepreneur proper now, inform her 5 basic items she should do/keep away from being profitable on this subject?Do not be afraid to ask questions. When you have no idea one thing, are not sure, or do not need sufficient information on the topic, ask.
Do not be afraid to make errors and don’t dwell on these made.Educate your self on as many topics as attainable and all the time be open to seeing issues from the consumer’s perspective

Simplifying issues – execution and consistency are every part, so all the time decide and maintain the appropriate group round you.Find time to recharge, it is rather simple to burn out on this subject, so you could discover methods to recharge your batteries
Has there been any private expertise that made you need to throw within the towel?Not so far as desirous to throw within the towel, I tuned in to the imaginative and prescient at Jumia early. It was a really acutely aware determination to see each a part of that imaginative and prescient actualised, regardless of how lengthy it took.
There have been instances I bought extraordinarily overwhelmed, and I needed to step again, reevaluate my capabilities, reprioritize and guarantee I used to be specializing in the appropriate issues, delegating appropriately and making time for my private wants.
What is your ardour, what drives you?I’ve all the time had a ardour for content material manufacturing and aimed to develop into a specialist and level of reference within the subject. Operations, normally, enhanced that aim and broadened my perspective, therefore taking over the function in Nigeria. In this function, I be taught new issues and expertise new challenges each day as there are all the time issues to resolve.
I’m very obsessed with studying new issues, regardless of the topic. You will discover me listening to podcasts or choosing up books/magazines starting from the medical subject to inside design, style, enterprise to new tech improvements.
Finally, I like serving to individuals and simplifying life. I’m in the appropriate subject for that, as we attempt to construct comfort day-after-day. I’m most motivated being surrounded by like minds, passionate individuals who don’t want hand holding however all the time ask questions.
If you had the facility to vary one thing for Nigerian women, what would that be?I believe the mindset is already altering, and it’s superb to see how a lot has advanced on some blockers that existed for the feminine youngster normally. If I might change something, I’d love for all Nigerian women from each a part of the nation to see how a lot potential they’ve from a really younger age and dream massive, be obsessed with having a profession and try to teach themselves. Knowledge is energy!
Life at this degree could be very hectic, how do you chill out?My life exterior work could be very easy and peaceable; something to maintain my head house and temper optimistic and motivated. First, I attempt to make amends for sleep and then check out new recipes or menus.
I actually take pleasure in cooking and consuming out. I’m going swimming and do yoga just a few instances every week. I additionally spend time with family members enjoying board video games, video video games, watching motion pictures and listening to music.


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