Amanda Omogiafo is the Managing Director at Xenia Lifestyle; an indigenous hospitality management company focused on curating hospitality services. She started her career as an Analyst, Foreign Currency Operations with Everdon Bureau De Change and quickly became Team Lead. She later became an Associate, Group Treasury (Financial Services) at the VFD Group Plc. Amanda’s combined experience cuts across the Hospitality, Marketing, and Finance industries. She is also passionate about technology, innovation, and sustainability. Amanda holds two MSc degrees in Disruptive Innovation and International Marketing, both from Hult International Business School. She graduated with dual distinctions and a BSc. in Finance from the Univerity of Lagos.
In this interview with BusinessDay Weekender editor Lehle Balde, she speaks about her career thus far, the importance of value, and much more.
How have you broken the bias in your career?
So far in my career, I have been fortunate enough to work in progressive organizations with bias-free systems and a work culture that prioritizes capabilities, skills, and value over gender. I am very much aware of women’s discrimination in workplaces in Nigeria and worldwide. Hence, I have always been intentional about creating systems and spaces that encourage women to thrive and soar.
I see people for who they are and the value they bring, and I give everyone an equal opportunity to prove themselves and explore their capabilities. At Xenia Lifestyle, we have clearly defined structures that allow people to measure their progress and track their results, and I am very passionate about pushing my people. For the women on my team, I see that I am proof that regardless of their gender, growth to the highest positions in the organization and industry is attainable if they work towards their aspirations.
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Who inspires you?
I have several mentors that inspire me. I know the qualities and achievements that I aspire to and seek out people who have shown strong capabilities. I have a mentor who is a director at a leading hospitality company, owns and runs a successful chain of businesses, and still finds time to be a super mom.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career, and how have you overcome it?
I have a bachelor’s in Finance and spent the earlier years of my career in the finance industry before I made a pivot into hospitality. I dealt with imposter syndrome in those early years, which can be pretty tricky. I was a young woman sitting in meetings with older, highly experienced people, and sometimes I would feel like I was not good enough to be in those rooms. This made me feel undeserving of the opportunities that came my way. However, I took the time to improve my mindset and self-awareness. I focused on excelling at the opportunities that came my way, and the more I achieved, the more I was able to believe in myself and earn my place in any room I found myself.
What advice do you have for women looking to work in hospitality?
Honestly, I’d tell them to think within and outside the box. Many things are already happening within the pack that needs to be re-defined and better executed in the hospitality industry. I believe there are many facets to hospitality and many untapped possibilities that can be explored. Secondly, the world is progressing at an increasing pace on so many levels, so you need to be able to think fast, be innovative, and stay up-to-date on technology and global trends not just in hospitality but in other industries that have a crucial impact on experiences. Lastly, the world is for your taking. Don’t be afraid to take on more significant opportunities and challenges.
If you could tell your 16-year-old self-something, what would you say?
I would tell her not to be afraid to take up space, take risks and take advantage of opportunities. I would say to her constantly to wield confidence like a weapon.