BusinessDay

Your career is really in your hands – Damola Andah, talent manager

Damola Andah is a seasoned talent manager with almost a decade in hiring top talents for innovative and successful businesses within the country. She holds an M.A. in Human Resource Management from the University of Leeds Business School, Leeds, United Kingdom (2010) and a BSc. in Mass Communication from Babcock University, Ilishan, Nigeria (2004). She started her career in 2005 as an Operations Officer with Diamond Bank. In 2012, she joined First City Monument Bank on the Management Development Programme. She held various roles, including Human Resources Project Officer, Performance and Talent Management Officer, Senior Talent Management Officer, Human Resource Business Partner, Lagos, & Southwest Regions and Head, Talent & Succession Programme Management (2019). In this interview with the editor, Lehle Balde, she talks about her career in HR and provides advice for young women.

Who inspires you?

a) My Parents- they taught me to be unlimited, fair, and compassionate
b) A mentor Temi Dalley- she was (still is) undeterred in changing the face of HR in Nigeria
c) Jumoke Adenowo for her resolve to change Nigeria by raising transformational leaders.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your career, and how have you overcome it?

I was changing a career in the middle of a seemingly growing career. I changed careers and was out of a job despite several attempts to volunteer without pay. Having my mindset on the new career while also keeping abreast of developments in that field helped me overcome, and I eventually got a job in my new career line!

What have you learned about people and career management over the years as an HR professional?
From my experience, I would say career management is not static, and your career is really in your hands. The sky is not the limit – you can attain any height you want irrespective of where you start; the sky is big enough for everyone – there is no limit to what can be achieved. Know what you want, strive towards it by getting the relevant skills and certifications, especially with the world being a global village. Anyone can reach the highest level of their chosen career.

What advice do you have for young women on career management and progression?
Have a plan, set your target, run with it. Be focused determined. With gender-dominated roles that might seem to have the odds stacked against you, don’t give up, pursue the progression, give it your best shot, strive harder, be surprised at how you can, and be astonished at how you can open previously shut doors.

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How do we encourage women to negotiate higher salaries?

I don’t think there is pay discrimination, especially in structured institutions where job roles already have defined salary ranges; it doesn’t matter whether the office occupants are male or female. However, where such discrimination exists, women need to consider the value they bring to the table with confidence when negotiating.

What advice do you have for your women looking to work in HR?
HR is generally seen as a female forte, and some primary female in-built makes it easier for women. Skills like Interpersonal relationships, emotional intelligence, and management have distinguished women in this field. However, with the constant change in workplace dynamics, the skillsets required to perform in HR are also transforming. Qualities like being empathetic remain crucial, but more than before, HR professionals need to be well-versed with capabilities like business partnering, understanding the business, and using data to make informed decisions while still caring for the employees.

If you say something to your 16-year-old self-something, what would you say?

If you can dream it, achieve it; the future is loaded with more! Life is a phase, so enjoy and seize every moment while it lasts! Cherish the times and memories!

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