• Friday, June 14, 2024
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Every obstacle I faced in my life was a blessing in disguise – Ivie Omoregie

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Ivie Omoregie is the founding partner of the firm Skye Advisory, which is based in Lagos Nigeria and specalises in Mediation and Corporate/Commercial Advisory. She graduated from her LLB with a second class upper division from Bedfordshire University and then proceeded onto the College of Law, Bloomsbury, UK, for her Legal Practitioners Course in 2007. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2012.

She is admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in England & Wales. Prior to setting up Skye Advisory, she had garnered considerable professional experience working with Obaseki Solicitors, Akintola Williams Deloitte, Babalakin & Co, and most recently Templars Law Firm.

Omoregie is a bright, talented and ambitious Barrister who possesses a vast wealth of knowledge and has a proven record for providing indispensable advice to clients and delivering positive results.

In this interview with Weekender, she speaks on why she chose Nigeria over London to set up her firm and how she is able to navigate challenges she faced as a woman in her field.

Tell us about Skye Advisory and how long have you set up the firm?

Skye Advisory is a full-service business consultancy firm. We deal with all matters relating to the optimised operations of any business within the Nigerian jurisdiction. Our strengths lie in our bespoke service delivery as well as our familiarity and astuteness with navigating major sectors of the Nigerian economy. We have been in operations since 2017, however our team of consultants have over 40 years of combined experience working within the West African business world.

What informed the name Skye Advisory?

When I decided that I wanted to set up a consultancy, I spent many hours reflecting on the right name; I believe names are very important and I tend to be quite intentional when naming anything.

Then God told me “the sky is your limit”. From there the name “Skye” was born. I currently have several other businesses and they all have the reference “Skye” in their names.

What distinguishes Skye Advisory, from other business consultants in Nigeria?

As a team we always aim to gain deep understandings of each client’s peculiar needs; we then apply various principles, including legal and financial, to craft workable solutions to meet those objectives. Our consultants are trained to tackle issues from a pragmatic and commercial perspective, thereby resulting in the creation of highly innovative solutions.

Did your family background in anyway influence your career path to become a lawyer?

Although we have a number of popular lawyers in the family, I would say this did not influence my career path. I was raised in London, England, which is a very different environment to Nigeria. My parents have been married for 42 years and have 5 children; they are simply not the type of people who force their own opinions on any of their children.

What they were particular about was being honest, having confidence and doing whatever you choose to do very well. My parents have always been my back bone and have given me unquantifiable and unwavering support over the years.

You were admitted to practice law in Nigeria and in England & Wales. Many in your shoes would have chosen the ‘Japa’ path rather than setting up a Consultancy in Lagos. Why did you choose to base in Nigeria and not London after your law practice?

Because my name is Ivie Omoregie, I am and will always be a proud Benin Woman. From a very young age I have always been patriotic. In as much as I lived in England and grew up with British people, I always identified as a Benin woman.

How can I be a proud Nigerian if I am not here in Nigeria? If someone has issues with their home, does that mean they run away from their home. No. They stay and fix their home because that is their home. I believe Africa is the future of the entire world. We have our issues, but I believe we have the mental agility and the strength of character to work through these issues.

Many Nigerians in the diaspora want to come back home but are scared and simply do not know how. But the move is something I will always encourage as the unfortunate truth is that if they don’t we will have a lost generation who are not quite British or American but also not quite Nigerian.

No matter where I am in the four corners of this world I will always be a Nigerian so being in Nigeria was always important to me.

Having studied overseas, how would you describe the academic experience over there with what is obtained here in Nigeria ?

The truth is that we have a long way to go but we are making positive strives daily.

Having completed Law School in England and also in Nigeria, I can categorically say that the disparity is very clear and very wide.

I had never schooled in Nigeria before Law School and honestly after that experience it dawned on me the level of academic brilliance one needs to naturally possess to gain a 1st class from any federal institution in Nigeria. Yet, we have many such students.

I have always believed education is the way to achieve the breakthrough Nigeria needs; special focus needs to be placed on the Nigerian educational sector as the majority of the issues we face as a nation stems from some level of illiteracy.

Also what is the experience like practicing in London as a foreigner? Are there some setbacks?

London for me never felt like home, we all have British passports but deep down know we are not British, we simply have a right of occupancy.

The British people are very polite and welcoming, so I never really faced any real challenges nor was I openly made to feel like an outcast.

But I always knew there was a cap to the level of achievement possible in another man’s country, we are mammals first and the doctrine of “survival of the fittest” has established that we all have a natural predisposition to favour our own. I also knew that no matter how big someone gets in the Rat Race, you will always remain a mere Rat in a Race with many others.

Are there challenges you have faced owning an advisory firm in Nigeria and how were you able to navigate these challenges?

Any business owner in Nigeria needs a hug right now. This is regardless of the size of the business as the challenges are real and ever present. But in all honesty, the truth is running a business anywhere in the world has it challenges, our challenges are simply slightly different to the ones faced in other jurisdictions.

Unfortunately asides from the general issues being faced by all businesses in Nigeria right now, as a woman “hustling in heels” there are also some intrinsic issues that come with the territory.

Fortunately for me I have been trained to always see the glass as half full. Every obstacle I have ever faced in my life was a blessing in disguise and I now take it as Gods redirection.

When I am hit with an obstacle I do not sit around feeling sorry for myself or allow negative thoughts to enter my head, I try to focus on thinking out of the box and finding an efficient solution that does not compromise my values; this has worked well for me.

Are there challenges you face practicing as a female in the country, especially those that you feel could be a walk-over for the male counterparts?

Fortunately for me, I am a 6ft tall Benin woman who is educated and very articulate. As a group we do not tend to see a lot of bad behaviour. When I meet people for the first time, what comes to most of their minds is ‘intimidation’ so I find myself making concerted efforts to be personable and relatable.

Nigeria is a patriarchal society and this is entrenched in the cultures of the various tribes that make up the country. There is no equality between the two genders and there never will be. I believe understanding this is key to navigating the Nigerian terrain.

I am big on respect but at the same time I will hold my ground where I believe I am right. I am also a devout Christian and so will never allow myself to be involved in any conversation that goes against what I believe in. One thing I would advise anyone is to remain true to who you are and where you know what you are doing is the right thing stick to it, eventually it will pay off.

Prior to setting up Skye Advisory, you have garnered considerable professional experience working with Obaseki Solicitors, Akintola Williams Deloitte, Babalakin &Co, and most recently Templars Law Firm. How have these experiences helped in your profession and business?

Working with some amazing leaders has shaped me to be who I am today. Without these experiences I would not be me. I was fortunate to have people who others aspire to be mentors integrated into my day to day life and model their excellence in front of me.

Mentoring is ‘nice’, however I would rather Role Models integrated into my life. I can learn certain things from someone of note mentoring me but I am more apt to become what you have modelled in front of me.

For every positive character trait I currently have, I can literally show you who and where I learnt it from. I am fortunate to now call a lot of my seniors in the various places I have worked Big brothers who I know have my back and who I can call on in times of need.

Could you share your best and worst experience in this profession?

Best experiences always has to be when I get my client the desired results. It’s funny how sometimes we take for granted certain abilities and information we possess not knowing that these skills are really not common and has been the bane of contention for many others. Client satisfaction is an entrepreneur’s ultimate goal so when I get the results I desire from an interaction, it gives me a lot of joy.

I can honestly say I cannot remember a worst experience. I have been trained to view any obstacles as blessings in disguise. I’m sure there have been things that I have gone through that in hindsight I was surprised I was not more scared in the moment than I was, but I do not believe in sitting around feeling sorry for myself; I will always immediately start to think of effective solutions to the issue presented to me. I truly believe every problem is a blessing in disguise.