To celebrate International Women’s Day, we caught up with Rolake Rosiji, the newly appointed Jobberman CEO, whose decade of global experience in strategic leadership and operational excellence has defied gender-biased attitudes and bias.
Rosiji’s has a proven track record in business expansion projects, digital and technical transformation and executing strategic partnerships. Before her role as Jobberman CEO, she led the technology and sales operations for credit financed smartphones and solar power sets as Country Manager of M-KOPA Nigeria, an asset financing company that makes financing for everyday essentials accessible to everyone.
Prior to that, she was Head of Strategy & Business Development for Arla Foods Africa, where she developed distribution and joint venture partnerships across West Africa to rapidly scale up sales and worked in Corporate Strategy roles in Denmark and the USA.
What does the International Women’s Day 2021 theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world” mean to you in your work life?
For me, in my work life, it means providing more opportunities for women who are underserved, especially women in Northern Nigeria, by providing more opportunities for them to upskill, become entrepreneurs, become employers and eventually contribute to Nigeria’s growing economy. On the flip slide, it is about getting more women into leadership and to support those already in leadership. It can get quite lonely and stressful if you don’t have good people around you, so a support network is key.
What inspired you on your path across various executive positions?
I have always been passionate about leapfrogging economic growth in Nigeria and across Africa, hence my degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Durham University. I also have a Masters Degree in Development Management from the London School of Economics, and a Business Administration and Management Certificate from Stanford Business School.
I began my career in consulting in the UK before moving back to Nigeria in 2014, as it was important for me to use my knowledge and skills in my home country.
I’m constantly inspired by the need to make an impact wherever I go. This is what has carried me through my roles in companies such as Arla Foods, M-KOPA and now as CEO at Jobberman.
In your opinion, why is it vital that more women take up professional roles?
So that our children, especially women, can see women represented in all areas, and know that they can do whatever it is they want. Also, if you only have one gender in leadership, solutions become one-sided and a whole wealth of value is missed.
What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women in the workplace?
Speaking specifically for Nigeria, I believe it is the unconscious bias that our culture has created. Certain roles are seen to be for men and it makes it more difficult for women to be hired in and penetrate those industries. If and when they finally get into these industries, it is tougher to rise to leadership positions and then have the same earning power as the men in those roles.
How important is it for women to support each other and what does that mean to you?
It is absolutely important for women to support each other. When women motivate each other, it increases confidence and it can be an inspiration to others looking to attain certain goals in their own careers.
On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women trying to forge their careers?
As a woman looking to grow in her career, it is important to let go of imposter syndrome and build confidence. It doesn’t matter how old you are or where you’ve come from, once you are confident in your skills and abilities, your confidence will take you places you never imagined.
In today’s fast-paced world, technology is advancing at a lightning pace, and the au…