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Life is easier when you learn from other people’s experiences -Bamigbaiye

Life is easier when you learn from other people’s experiences -Bamigbaiye

Omotola Bamigbaiye is a seasoned commercial and strategic planning business leader with significant experience (20+years) within the financial services and fast moving consumer goods sector across Middle East Markets, East and West African markets working in a highly matrix structure in leading organizations. She was Business Service Manager at Polaris Bank, Service Quality Manager at Wema Bank, Beverage Category Innovations Manager at Cadbury- Mondelez, Head Customer Marketing and pioneer Head of Trade Marketing at Unilever Nigeria and Arabia, Marketing Lead for West Africa at RB (Reckitt Benckiser) and Head of Marketing Innovations at Guinness (Diageo).

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She currently serves as Marketing Director, Sub Saharan Africa at pladis Global Limited. With a Doctorate in Marketing, focused on Consumer Behaviour, Omotola continues to compliment practical with theory sharing her marketing and brand management experiences across her lecturing and facilitation series as adjunct lecturer at University of Lagos Business School (ULBS), facilitator at Orange Academy, Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) including other local and regional seminars/speaking events. She is also a Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN).

In this interview, she speaks about how her new book, ‘Imperfectly Awesome,’ which reveals diverse stories on different phases of her life: career, relationships, transitions, self-love and boundaries, and other numerous and often hilarious happenstances. The book captures the power of resilience and hope.

Take us through your journey as a marketing professional?

My 20+ years in marketing started with a stint as a Retail Development executive in the financial services sector, and since then, I have loved the art of landing believability of proposition as I later transitioned into the FMCG sector. There is just always something new to consider which makes marketing dynamic, interesting and challenging through insights from consumer behavior. Most especially, finding new and exciting ways/platforms to build brand love and stay competitive. As marketers, we are constantly saddled with building the consumer’s desire through activities and communication elements and why they should part with their money in exchange for our brand as their choice.

With expertise in crafting and implementation of consumer-centric and resonant marketing strategies in global FMCG companies, how have you been able to hone your skills?

There’s no room to sit on the fence, hence every activity is laser focused, goal oriented and positioned to win at the point of purchase. I have mostly learnt on the job from my supervisors, tailored training programs, as well as through experience over time in deploying brand plans.

You are known to be a visionary leader, strong influencer with track record in portfolio management, how are you able to infuse these traits into your passion for writing?

The ‘Art of story Telling’ is critical to brand messaging and mastering this comes with crafting compelling brand stories that instigate trial and repeat purchase. Armed with this skill set, I passionately told stories of my becoming in an honest and relatable manner.

You wrote your first book, what informed this line of thought?

That there is no perfect life – Just when you think you have mapped out a perfect plan to shine and take over the world, there comes reality, smacking you really hard and letting you know that pitfalls exist and we’re all a little flawed and need more help than we sometimes admit. From career expectations to motherhood, relationships, and the nagging whispers of imposter syndrome, there is always something to grapple with in life, however, you can do so with razor-sharp wisdom and large doses of humour. The world may only play off-tune beats, but you can create your rhythm and dance to it gracefully or however else you please.

In a nutshell what is the book all about?

The Book ‘Imperfectly Awesome’ captures the power of resilience and hope. Written in an honest and relatable tone, Tola Bamigbaiye shares her stories of becoming to help you love yourself, reinvent, and bloom – just the way you were designed to.

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With so many books about personal life and experiences in the corporate world, why do you think anyone should be interested in yours?

Because everyone has a story in them, but not everyone gets to write it. We are all diverse and unique passing through different experiences in life. The challenge is not always that there will not be issues along the way, but how we react to it differs. This book is about building your own ladder, one rung at a time, with laughter, tears, and maybe a little lipstick smeared on the way. It’s embracing the unexpected and realising that you are ‘good enough’ even when the circumstances surrounding your life say otherwise, and ‘balance’ is a tricky act you get better at every day. It’s about learning to love yourself, flaws and all, and embracing the messy, beautiful chaos that is life.

Who is the book targeted at and how much of influence does the book have at this time in our society when the economy is filled with uncertainties?

As there would always be uncertainties, this book adds to the body of knowledge of navigating life through other people’s experiences. You gain wisdom, avoid pitfalls, are unapologetic about your existence, own your mistakes, and become equipped to run your life’s course better. That’s why I’ve written this book.

Throughout its pages, I have woven diverse stories on different phases of my life: career, relationships, transitions, self-love and boundaries, and other numerous and often hilarious happenstances. Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions to make your reading more engaging and actionable.

You are also a lecturer and now an author, how are you able to bring your many sides together and still be at your best?

I have learned not to push the pause button on happiness even as I try to excel in other areas of life. Time is life’s most precious resource. The world will never stand still for you to catch up. So, each day, I am learning to savour every moment I encounter, to smell my roses even as I climb the mountains. Additionally, I have experienced the warmth of a mother who was passionately committed to seeing me conquer life’s toughest battles and bask in the realm of fulfilled dreams by supporting me through every phase.

What drives you for success?

I never, ever stop dreaming big, life is not all sunshine and rainbows. So, yeah, there will be chapters filled with tears and tantrums, but there will also be chapters overflowing with laughter, love, and confidence. Embrace them all and live it to the fullest, owning your mistakes and learning from them.

What key lessons have you learnt over the years?

Someone else’s opinion shouldn’t matter. They are not going to determine my destiny and whatever doubts they had, were their problems not mine.

Building your resilience table is the most important. It should always be, Your Table, Your guests! Do what works for you and do away with anything that no longer serves you unapologetically.

There will always be lemons and more lemons – remember to add a bit of garnishing while making your Lemonade.

I learned to wear my disappointments like badges of honour. For me, it was proof that I was strong enough to keep going.

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From your book, what key learnings can women especially take on?

The challenge is not always that there will not be issues along the way, but how we react to it differs. This book is about building your own ladder, one rung at a time, with laughter, tears, and maybe a little lipstick smeared on the way. It’s embracing the unexpected and realizing that you are ‘good enough’ even when the circumstances surrounding your life say otherwise, and ‘balance’ is a tricky act you get better at every day. It’s about learning to love yourself, flaws and all, and embracing the messy, beautiful chaos that is life.

Your described your book as a manual, tool so to speak to help one bloom, reinvent oneself just the way one is designed. What do you think are some of the reasons one gets stuck in a rut, personally, socially and at the work place?

I have also learned that there’s no manual to teach you how to navigate the world of work or life in general. Most of us had to learn many things the hard way. However, I have observed that life is easier when you learn from other people’s experiences. You gain wisdom, avoid pitfalls, are unapologetic about your existence, own your mistakes, and become equipped to run your life’s course better. That’s why I’ve written this book.

Throughout its pages, I have woven diverse stories on different phases of my life: career, relationships, transitions, self-love and boundaries, and other numerous and often hilarious happenstances. Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions to make your reading more engaging and actionable.

What are some of the signs that suggests one is in a rut?

Life will throw curveballs, trust me. You’ll stumble, you’ll doubt, you might even trip on your shoelaces. But here’s the secret, every stumble is a lesson, every doubt a chance to dig deeper, and every shoelace mishap a hilarious story to tell later. So, my friend, pick up your tools, grab your shoes, on to the field of life, and start building your masterpiece. Don’t wait for someone to invite you to the table – build your table!

What is your life mantra?

I have an attitude of gratitude – and if I’m kind to people, then I know I’m living according to my value of kindness.

⁠Share with us your educational background.

First degree in Insurance, M.Sc Marketing and Phd in International Business Management.

You are so many things – a mother first and foremost, a lecturer, an entrepreneur, an expert in consumer marketing and now an author. How do you find time to handle your different roles without one of them suffering?

Even in the storm, I discovered something amazing: I wasn’t alone. I experienced the warmth of a mother who was passionately committed to seeing me conquer life’s toughest battles and bask in the realm of fulfilled dreams. I also learned to love myself more and choose me.

Would you consider yourself a fulfilled woman?

I have learned not to push the pause button on happiness even as I try to excel in other areas of life. Time is life’s most precious resource. The world will never stand still for you to catch up. So, each day, I am learning to savour every moment I encounter, to smell my roses even as I climb the mountains. It’s embracing the unexpected and realising that you are ‘good enough’ even when the circumstances surrounding your life say otherwise, and ‘balance’ is a tricky act you get better at every day. It’s about learning to love yourself, flaws and all, and embracing the messy, beautiful chaos that is life.

It has obviously not all been rosy. What are some of your greatest challenges and how were you able to overcome them? This book encapsulates some of my current experiences but I learned to navigate boardrooms with a baby strapped to my back, mastered the art of the ‘work-mom ponytail,’ though it was a chaotic one at first, and discovered that sometimes, the best career advice comes from the least expected persons in the most unlikely situations. I wrestled with imposter syndrome, and juggled work and motherhood. Then came the more horrible stuff. The job loss, career switches, unstable relationship experiences that toyed with my emotions. I learned the hard way but I learned anyway that work friends aren’t always your besties although you laugh, play, and seemingly share similar dreams. I’ve had to battle the feeling of inferiority complex just because I was the youngest in the room – or a woman – and my supposed colleagues didn’t think I deserved the role. But through it all, I discovered a secret weapon: ‘Resilience.’ You know, that magical inner power that lets you bounce back from a face plant with a ‘hold my bag’ and keep climbing.