Diane Ngako: Influential Cameroonian Entrepreneur Says “Success is not About Getting Rich”
Diane Audrey Ngako is a Cameroonian entrepreneur, seasoned journalist, and woman rights activist. She is the founder and General Manager of Omenkart, a pan-African advertising agency that manufactures ideas to connect brands with the world around them.
Through her startup – Omenkart, Diane and her creative team are responsible for organising one of the biggest art fairs in Cameroon: “Douala Art Fair and Douala Digital Show,” a marketplace to meet key players of the Cameroonian Tech Industry.
A Forbes honouree, Diane Audrey, in 2016, was also ranked amongst the 30 most influential young people under the age of 30 on the African continent. She’s actively involved in several social and non-profit initiatives for the empowerment of girls and women in Africa.
In this chat with Business Elites Africa, she tells us about her life’s events that led to where she’s today.
Q: Please tell us about yourself ?
A: I’m a 28 years old creative entrepreneur, and the General Manager of my advertising agency Omenkart. I started my career in 2012 at Africa N * 1 where I spoke about culture. The same year, I became editorial manager of Roots Magazine, a paper magazine dedicated to Afro-Caribbean culture, distributed in Île de France and online.
In 2014, I joined the editorial staff of the newspaper Le Monde to cover Africa and its youth, and in 2015, I joined TV5 Monde Africa as a columnist for their news show. After 5 years in the media in France, I decide to return to settle in Cameroon. I hold a master’s in strategic communication (ISEFAC Paris). I’m involved in various associations that fight for the rights of women, albinos, and pygmies in Cameroon.
Q: How did you discover your vision or what led you into this line of business/career?
A: For me, a real dream is about living for something bigger than yourself. It’s your life’s purpose, your mission, the reason you were created. I remember asking myself how are you going to change the world? What kind of legacy will you leave? What impact do you want to make in the lives of others? Visions are about hopes, dreams, and aspirations and we all have ones. Just pay the time to listen to your inner voice.
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Q: What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started in business?
A: I don’t think enough people are honest about the challenges that come along with starting a business and how we often tie our identity to its success and struggles. I wish I’d known to surround myself with likeminded people out of the gate and found relaxation tools early on. I would have been a lot less stressed!
Q: What does your company do?
A: Omenkart is an independent, global creative company. We solve problems through creativity and collaboration. Our goal is to create purposeful work that works for your audience and your business.
Q: How did you get started?
A: My only capital sourcing was being able to save a little cash from my previous work. I did not do a business plan or any mentorships. I just followed my intuition.
Q: The best business decision you’ve ever made?
A: Leaving my work as Journalist for Le Monde in 2016 to go back home and open my agency Omenkart.
Q: What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in business? How did you fix it?
A: The biggest mistake I’ve made is hiring in a hurry. This happens when growing companies wait too long to start the hunt and hire quickly to take the stress off of their current team. Today, I plan more and focus on potential not just a track record. I look for someone who has a strong interest or passion for causes or missions that are similar to mine, and, separately, evidence that the person is really good at what he or she has done before.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Success is not about selling, acquiring, accomplishing or getting rich. You are a success in every moment within which you enjoy the step you’re at while at the same time staying motivated to go for more. The ability to love wanting while enjoying what you have and where you’re at is my definition of the attainment of success…
Read the rest of the interview in our digital magazine here: Find it on page 49.
Editor’s Note: This interview was originally conducted by Victor Oluwole.
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