31 March 2019 6 min read
Spotlight: Uchechukwu Mojekwu.
In honor of Mothers on Mother’s Day, we reached out to five awesome ladies in different fields to talk about the challenges, joys and meaning of being a mom with a successful career. We caught up with Uche, a passion-driven business woman and a mother. In this interview with the TBCA Talent Team, Uche shares with us on juggling motherhood, careers and winning it all.
How do you describe yourself? Strong, Independent, Spiritual, Loyal, Adventurous, Resilient, Versatile, Mindful, Passion- Driven.
Looking back, are there any indications from childhood that foreshadowed your becoming successful on your chosen career path? This made me giggle, like Steve Jobs said “we connect the dots looking back”. Growing up I was that inquisitive child that observed a lot, I was reprimanded for talking a lot and asking questions that people in my environment thought I should not be bothered with at my age. I lived in my mind a lot, reason I got a family pet name of “small cunny girl”. Being the youngest in a large family that sheltered about 15 people per time (comprising siblings, extended family members and domestic staff) I observed the older ones and I had a lot of questions that require answers. I was also in the habit of reading anything in my sight especially the torn newspapers I swept away during morning chores. I just wanted to know and know and understand how life works. Those formative years I am sure contributed to my resilience, the depth with which I go through life and the knowledge I share on my platforms.
Tell us about your first entrepreneurial venture (if any). My entrepreneurial venture started in primary school, trading services for money but my civil servant prim and proper family didn’t allow it blossom. So yes, while in university, one of my big sisters imported men’s briefs from Asia, so I picked them up and sold in school. Again, my family was not happy but I had gained some independence and enjoyed that it made me liquid so I could afford some luxury in school. I noticed early that human connections came easy for me and that I had the ability to convince people.
As soon as I graduated, I went to banks seeking contracts to supply anything ranging from nylon bags for wrapping money, diesel and deposit/withdrawal slips. I had no business name anywhere I only had my imaginations and ability to introduce myself and sell whatever I had imagined.
Consequently I got the contract from 2 banks to supply diesel, nylon bags and printing deposit/withdrawal slips in Port Harcourt. It was after I got the contract that I sought nylon manufacturing plants and printing press around me. I was just having fun, living in my mind, imagining things, believing and working on them and seeing them become reality.
My Business and contact was growing and I was enjoying my hustling. Then one day I overheard a bank security man make a comment about me,” Is it not your mates that are in the banking hall”? Meaning: I deserve a corporate job and not diesel, deposit slip and nylon bag supply- pitying me. That was how I started desiring a corporate Job (8–5) and in less than 4months, I secured a good job in VI Lagos where i spent about 7 years working in the banking industry.
Then, I had a major detour, life happened to my believing mind and I lost that awareness that I can be, do and have anything I had imagined. I later traced my steps right back.
Presently I do both 8 to 5 and entrepreneurship. I am the lead Partner of Makarios Global services providing Human Resource Services, Business Process Management Services and Trainings for both SMEs and established companies. I am also the Chief Operating Officer of UKdion Investment, an Asset Management Company. I enjoy the creativity and activities around working, birthing new things and exploring new horizons.
Do you follow a certain morning routine or daily schedule to maximize productivity and well-being? My spiritual experience is my primary productivity anchor: I am conscious of reaching a state where my mind, body and spirit is in harmony before I interact with anyone else in the day. I usually wake up early, I also maintain calm quiet mornings, so I usually will do one to three of these activities every morning. Praying and studying God’s word comes first, then either reading, meditation, and physical exercise will be included.
How do you balance your career & personal goals, marriage and motherhood? I Prioritize. Being at home doesn’t mean being present. Finding what matters to the people I care about and playing fully in their lives is my primary objective. So if my kids want me to form a circle and dance holding hands with them in church, by all means I do it, so far no one is inconvenienced. Spontaneity and seizing the moments create memories for us. I also use my children’s school work to bond with them. Family exercise time which includes racing, aerobics and generally being funny create opportunity for family bonding. Much as I have a busy schedule at work, I make up for my family through the quality of time I spend with them. I am present and do not live in guilt whether I am at home or at work. I keep my weekends free of events and ceremonies. I hardly attend those except it is absolutely necessary. Weekend are sacred for us. I also take out time for a me-time or go on a personal vacation when I need to detox.
Motherhood and career are often headed in opposite directions. So yes at some point I slow down for marriage and children to happen, but there is a time for everything. I enjoy each phase and find fun while at it.
In the home front, I do a few things, I also prioritize, I implement a routine and I delegate. I also hire mature and educated nannies, comes at a price though. A little less of micro managing and being able to handle responsibilities and chores better are some of the benefits. Being a career mother, i know i cannot be more efficient than the quality of my work force both at work and at home.
Finally, No man is an island, Solid human structures and support system is something I have intentionally built around me. My parents always had trusted friends and extended families members they shared life with. I prayerfully and deliberately built those around me so much so that we all bear each other’s burden and walk past crisis like it wasn’t so difficult. It’s been an interesting journey for me. Ups, downs, yet holding steady.
What’s the best advice you have received in your business/career journey that you wish to pass on to our readers? Response- Able- Be should be at Cause in your life. Define your own success and fulfillment and seek it. Execute and Execute. Do it afraid, never be afraid to fail.
Ecology — always plan and live for the common good, sow seeds you want to reap. The universe runs on a payback, feedback system.
Partnership-ensure Partners values align. Everything you will ever need in life is resident in people, in Information and in resources, play cautiously. No one’s gallbladder is missing. No one has the monopoly of bad behavior.
Follow–up until people do what you want. I am still learning on this last one.
What is your favourite thing to do in your free time? My Spare time is usually an opportunity to escape and live in my mind, reading, thinking, sleeping or catching up on something intriguing. At other times I spend my spare time with people that I connect with deeply, be it family or friends, we binge, laugh and talk about everything and anything we can talk about.