I had been aware of WIMBIZ from its founding year, the concept was interesting but not high on my priority at that time. Timing as they say is crucial because our times and seasons vary. I enjoyed the gist and snippets of information I gathered about the conferences and other activity and at that time it was more than enough for me, somehow you hear more social gist than substance, perhaps people were hoarding the real value, making light of the substance within or didn’t know how to express the value they were getting from the organisation and the networks.
Over the years as I got more grounded in my business space I began to feel the need to connect with other professional women for many reasons:
- Network outside my sector: I knew I needed to start meeting people across sectors, outside my existing network and building relationships in professional and structured organizations. WIMBIZ immediately came to mind.
- Benchmarking: I needed to find yardsticks to measure my journey, achievements and goals against my superiors and to a lesser degree my peers, particularly to get a closer look at their business and career trajectory to model mine.
- Capacity Building: There was evidently a need to equip myself with a broader economic, business and personal knowledge on a wider range of topics that wouldn’t normally cross my space.
- Expose myself to more Nigeria business practice and methods. There was a business gap I knew existed having worked only as an entrepreneur in a self structured environment and in international organizations, understanding the Nigeria corporate context was important to have and I was naturally curious to have a range of people to check in with periodically.
- Social Responsibility: Time management issues caused me to consolidate my social responsibility activity towards women, entrepreneurs, youth etc that over the years it had spread across many organisations, FateFoundation, Lagos Business Schools, EDC, Success Digest Leadership Academy, the IFCs STEP program & several tertiary educational facilities in the south west.
The Journey Begins:
I attended a few Annual Lectures and Conferences depending on whether I liked the speaker, I found the theme interesting and even in some cases based on too numerous to ignore text messages and emails from WIMBIZ devotees.
The events I attended were worth it and easily was value for money. That’s how the journey started, continued, deepened and improved. Then I joined the devotees in pulling people formerly like me into the fold.
At the start of 2013, I got invited to participate in planning the 2013 Annual Conference which I agreed to with trepidation. I worked with some brilliant and extraordinary result oriented women and spent plenty of sacrificial hours making sure we delivered great content, while meeting the need of modern day women and looking for partnerships to support the conference in excellence. It was both fulfilling and rewarding and I was back on the planning committee in 2014 and 2015. I devoted much of my time to fundraising through individuals and corporates to augment and support some of our flag ship events. In 2013, I also had the opportunity to facilitate at the mentee workshop sharing on my favorite topics: Networking, Goal Setting and Actualization.
I have acted as a mentor for three years and assisted various secretariat activity. There is much bonding that takes place and learning across board. I participated in the 3-6 month internship program to help young women get practical work and professional experience, it guides and prepares them on making their CVs employment ready, positioning them for employability and helping them transit from tertiary school life to work life seamlessly.
WIMBIZ is not all work, there’s lots of fun too. There are a few clubs that help us de-stress and gives us the opportunity to enjoy our hobbies with like minded women, one of which is the Food and Tavel club. I’ve acted as co-chair of this club and met many foodies, we meet monthly to try out new restaurants, recipes, cuisines of other lands and local food. We get instructions and learn how to make the food under the chef’s instruction. As if that’s not enough fun, anchoring the associates inductions in Abuja and Lagos and the after parties are some of the ways we’ve let our hair down while welcoming and meeting new associates.
In 2015, under the WIMBIZ umbrella I got the opportunity to be a speaker at the Global Summit of Women conference in São Paulo, Brazil on Renewable Energy and was invited to serve on the WIMBIZ Executive Council. I understand the enormity and responsibility of being a role model, moreover those who had served before me had made huge strides that one would have to improve on which is no mean feat but what better platform to ride on to meet my CSR goals of improving the lot of career women, young women and female entrepreneurs. WIMBIZ has now become more of giving back with the satisfaction of seeing the impact in the life’s of women and their families and youths.
My wish is that every woman gives WIMBIZ a try and makes up their mind from an insiders perspective. You will be pleasantly surprised. 15 years of building and growth has gone into WIMBIZ and it is stronger and better than ever. I look forward to welcoming the new entrants and collaborating with those of us already part of WIMBIZ. It’s been a colorful journey so far and I’m looking forward to the adventures to come.