Isi Igenegba is the co-founder of Strom Global Services Ltd., an ISO-certified indigenous oil and gas service company renowned for its exceptional upstream services, spanning manpower solutions, marine support, procurement strategies, flowline maintenance, and environmentally conscious clean-up services, with operations in Nigeria, Texas and Canada.
As the Lead of People of Influence Network and the visionary behind the Mantle of Deborah movement, Isi Igenegba has emerged as a prominent figure in the apostolic and prophetic landscape. Her divine assignment involves raising a generation of people who are catalysts for change, influencers in their respective fields, and manifesting the Life of God.
The Influence Academy is a focal point, offering a holistic learning experience that intertwines biblical wisdom with practical application, fostering personal growth and societal change.
The Children of Influence initiative nurtures the younger generations in the values of truth and righteousness, teaching them to accept responsibility to effective positive change, while the Prison Ministry extends compassion and healing to incarcerated hearts.
The Influence Hub stands as the administrative hub of People of Influence Network, coordinating her various activities and initiatives.
The Mantle of Deborah movement, birthed through divine inspiration, has gained tremendous momentum. Under her visionary leadership, the Mantle of Deborah movement has impacted people in nations across Africa, including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Botswana, and, most recently, with the just concluded Mantle of Deborah conference in Houston, Texas.
As the Lead Trainer at Isi Benedicta Institute, Isi Igenegba is setting the course for individuals and businesses to thrive.
What experiences have shaped you to who you are today?
I am the last of seven children from Tony and Benedicta Agbonkhese, from Uromi in Edo state, Nigeria. I grew up under the mentorship of 6 intelligent siblings and two parents who spared nothing in cultivating godly values in me that indelibly shaped my character and continue to propel me forward.
The domestic duties of being a last child ingrained in me the concept of service and the willingness to dedicate my time, skills, and resources to support others. This ethos of contributing selflessly laid the foundation for my commitment to the nonprofit sector, where I constantly seek opportunities to make meaningful impacts.
My elder sister played a crucial role in shaping my life by introducing me to Christianity and guiding me during my formative years. Her influence laid the foundation for my unwavering faith, which now drives all aspects of my life. This early guidance continues to inspire my mission to impact lives and create transformative systems. Her act of introducing me to Christ has become a legacy that reminds me of the profound impact small acts can have on shaping destinies.
Raised in a close-knit family, accountability was another vital lesson I learnt. Upholding accountability to my parents and siblings and the institutions I was a part of equipped me with the ability to manage responsibilities effectively. This foundation translated into my capacity to work with diverse stakeholders, from executive boards to committees, with a dedication to meeting objectives and ensuring transparency.
My mother served in the Nigerian Police and in her role was transferred around Nigeria. We moved around with her and this exposed me to different cultures and backgrounds as we traversed the country. This experience heightened my adaptability and comfort in engaging with people from various walks of life. Having attended around 10 schools due to our frequent relocations, I developed the skill of integrating seamlessly into new environments. This early exposure laid the groundwork for my proficiency in connecting with diverse audiences, a skill crucial in my work today.
Our nomadic lifestyle also cultivated in me a spirit of fearlessness in new situations. This courage bolstered my belief that I can navigate any territory and emerge successful. This mindset has been instrumental as I travel globally to spread my vision and message.
During my teenage years as a student of Mayflower Secondary school Ikenne, I actively participated and at some point led the Literary and Debate Society; representing the school and state in competitions. This honed my communication skills and narrative crafting abilities. Little did I know that these talents would be pivotal in my present role as a speaker, communicator, and coach, engaging audiences on themes of transformation and nation-building.
I have a BSc in Geology from the University of Ghana where I also led a university church. This demanded a unique brand of tenacity, where juggling education, administration, and mentorship was the norm. This experience illuminated the possibility of managing diverse initiatives and systems simultaneously. It underscored the importance of creating robust structures and processes to enable efficient operation, a principle I apply to all aspects of my work.
Over the years I have had the privilege of orchestrating large and diverse teams, during which I gained profound insights into managing people—both volunteers and paid staff. The distinctions between these roles are critical, and my understanding of these dynamics has empowered me to inspire, guide, and motivate a vast volunteer base that spans the globe.
All these life chapters—family, school, and experiences—have woven together the tapestry of who I am today. My ability to thrive on a global scale isn’t solely derived from formal training, but from the invaluable lessons I imbibed from my dynamic journey.
What inspired birthing ‘People of Influence Network’ and ‘Mantle of Deborah’ movement?
My journey towards founding People of Influence Network and birthing the Mantle of Deborah movement has been a testament to the transformative power of faith and purpose-driven action. From my formative years as a leader in a church in Ghana to my role as Resident Pastor at This Present House in Lagos, my experiences have shaped my commitment to empowerment and change leadership.
During my time as Resident Pastor, I navigated the challenges of leading a diverse congregation, including captains of industries and political figures, while still in my 20s into my 30s. These experiences underscore the significance of personal growth and resilience in leadership. I elaborate on this in detail in my book “From Here to There: Making Successful Transitions”,
The journey took a profound turn in 2017, when I received the vision to raise a generation of people who would drive positive change through influence and purpose. This calling gave birth to People of Influence Network. What began as a platform to amplify God’s word soon blossomed into a movement that impacts lives across nations. We are training and empowering change catalysts, delivering sustainable solutions in their respective fields. The ministry stands as a hub for change, embarking on a mission of empowerment and societal transformation through purpose-driven initiatives.
The inception of the Mantle of Deborah conferences in 2017 marked a significant chapter. Named after the biblical Deborah, these conferences aimed to awaken women to their potential as change-makers. The prophetic release of the Mantle of Deborah coincided with the birth of my second son, Judah, symbolizing a new season of empowerment for me.
In 2022, we saw the need to expand the Mantle of Deborah movement globally, hosting conferences in Lagos, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Botswana and the United States of America. In 2023, our focus shifted beyond conferences to empowering women through Deborah’s School of Influence (DSI). This platform provides training across governance, leadership, wealth creation, social impact, relationship stewardship, propelling women towards societal transformation. At DSI, I work with a team of women from different works of life with skill, experience and a heart for positively transforming their nations.
We are poised to take the movement a step further with the launch of Deborah’s Impact Project Africa (DIPA). DIPA aims to uplift African women through education, healthcare, and psychosocial support. Our ongoing efforts in Kenya and plans for a transformative hub in Malindi (where we currently have 10 acres of land and an active volunteer base of over 100 people) reflect our commitment to bridging gaps and catalysing change.
Through these initiatives, we are committed to reshaping mindsets, creating opportunities, and facilitating transformative growth. The journey continues, as we work towards redefining the narrative of women in Africa and empowering them to be active contributors to their communities’ development.
Why are you passionate about equipping women for impact?
My passion for equipping women for impact stems from a profound understanding of the untapped potential and transformative power that women hold within them. This understanding which is foundationally steered by the teachings in God’s word. As I travel across the global landscape and engage with diverse communities, a consistent narrative emerges: the underutilisation of women’s capabilities and the need to reshape this narrative.
It is disheartening that discussions on women’s empowerment often center around quotas and concessions, overshadowing the intrinsic value women bring to the table. I firmly believe that empowering women isn’t about merely meeting a requirement; rather it should be about unlocking a force for change that can drive progress in all sectors.
Yet, challenges persist. Many women remain confined by the limitations of their environments, inhibiting their capacity to dream and pursue their aspirations. This has led me to a resolute conviction: the transformative potential of women should never be stifled. Instead, through thought-provoking, inspiring contents and empowering initiatives, I’ll do my part to enable women transcend limitations and carve out purpose-driven paths for themselves.
My philosophy, ‘The Office of Woman,’ underscores that ‘woman’ transcends mere gender—it’s an esteemed position. Each woman possesses a unique endowment to nurture and cultivate ideas, systems, and communities to full fruition. Whether leading a family, managing a company, or spearheading societal change, women are engineered for remarkable impact.
Yet, potential alone doesn’t suffice. Without proper training and empowerment, women may settle for mediocrity. This drives my commitment to empower women through training, mentorship, and skill development. I firmly believe that by fostering a mindset shift and equipping women with practical skills, we pave the way for enhanced peace, stability, and societal progress.
My dedication to honoring women’s contributions fuels my global journeys to inspire and train women. By investing in women’s empowerment, we contribute not only to their individual growth but also to the broader fabric of society.
In an ever-changing world, where innovation and inclusion are paramount, the transformational power of women should be harnessed. Through equipping women with tools for success, we reshape narratives, drive sustainable development, and create a legacy of change.
As co-founder of Strom Global Services, share the story of its establishment and success
My journey as a co-founder of Strom Global Services Ltd reflects my commitment to fostering innovation and excellence within the oil and gas sector. With a degree in Geology from the University of Ghana, I embarked on a career that eventually led me to co-create a company poised to redefine industry standards.
As I entered the field, I gained valuable hands-on experience in a mining company in Ghana before venturing into the oil and gas division at BG Group. However, it was when I met my husband Adolphus Bobby Igenegba, an excellent visionary, that the vision for Strom Global Services Ltd began to take shape.
Drawing from our collective expertise and industry insights, we established Strom Global Services—a multifaceted EPC company focused on delivering top-tier products and cutting-edge services to both local and international oil companies. Our offerings range from bulk product importation and distribution to marine support services, skilled manpower provision, procurement solutions, and field services.
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In our leadership roles, my husband serves as Managing Director, harnessing his profound industry knowledge and relationships. Complementing this, I steer the ship as Director of Human Resource Management and Administration, ensuring our operations are built on a foundation of strong human capital and efficient administration.
Our journey has been characterised by strategic expansion. Recognising the need to transcend product trading, we ventured into Canada and the United States, forging partnerships with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). This enabled us to provide cutting-edge technical solutions to our expanding client base.
Our commitment to excellence extends beyond profit. We’ve established home offices in these regions to foster relationships, enhance our technical capabilities, and provide a platform for skilled technical manpower support to our clients.
A defining moment came when we extended our operations beyond transactions to transformative environmental services. Collaborating with federal agencies and stakeholders, we are leading efforts in remediating and restoring communities impacted by pollution. Our vision is rooted in community upliftment and eco-conscious practices. Currently, consultations are ongoing with our partners in Canada, to commence operations, as part of our contribution to national development, and we are hopeful that, together, we can make our communities more habitable for our people and create opportunities for them to thrive.
Our company’s growth story is reflected in our impressive annual turnover, exceeding $5 million—a testament to our vision and dedication. As we move forward, our aspirations remain steadfast. Under my husband’s visionary leadership, and with a focus on people-centric solutions, we are poised for remarkable strides.
Our journey doesn’t end within the realm of oil and gas. Our sights are set on broader horizons, aiming to diversify our impact and extend our innovative approach to other sectors.
Through Strom Global Services Ltd, we are pioneering change and setting new benchmarks. Our journey is a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to national and global advancement.
How do you efficiently manage service operations across Nigeria, Texas, and Canada?
Navigating the complexities of diverse global operations demands a strategic approach that aligns with our commitment to excellence and impactful service delivery.
Our expansion into Texas and Canada wasn’t just a geographical leap; it was a strategic decision driven by our vision for cutting-edge technical solutions and global partnerships. Spearheaded by our MD, Bobby Igenegba, these home offices were established as dynamic hubs for nurturing collaborations with skilled professionals and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). These partnerships play a pivotal role in enhancing our procurement services, thereby augmenting the technical solutions landscape of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
Despite operating across continents, our operational integrity remains unwavering. Central to our success is a shared services model that fosters seamless coordination. Our cross-functional teams, spanning HR, administration, and finance, are interconnected to ensure synchronized efforts. This interconnectedness guarantees operational efficiency and enables us to maintain consistent standards throughout our operations.
A key aspect of our shared services model is centralised management, anchored in our Nigerian home office. This centralised hub serves as the nucleus of our global operations, overseeing and harmonizsing our teams and processes across multiple continents.
In essence, our approach isn’t just about managing operations, it’s about orchestrating a symphony of expertise and collaboration. Through this, we ensure that our promise of cutting-edge solutions, forged through global partnerships, resonates across borders.
Elaborate on your company’s evolution, including downstream retail operations, bulk petroleum product importation, and specialised expertise in well testing and oil field services
Our journey as an EPC company has been marked by a strategic evolution that mirrors our commitment to excellence and industry leadership.
Commencing with the trading of downstream petroleum products, notably diesel, we carved a niche for ourselves by sourcing products from depots and tank farms nationwide, then skillfully distributing them to our clientele. Our success in this endeavor served as a stepping stone, propelling us to explore new horizons within the oil and gas sector.
Transitioning from product trading, we expanded our reach to provide vital marine support services to International Oil Companies (IOCs). This included the supply of barges that significantly bolstered their upstream operations. This marked our entry into the realm of upstream services, marking a significant milestone in our trajectory.
As our capabilities grew, we secured the necessary permits and licenses to engage in the bulk importation of petroleum products. This move amplified our distribution network, allowing us to accommodate the surge in our operational capacity. In tandem with our Nigerian operations, we strategically established offices in Canada and Texas. These strategic outposts serve as pivotal nodes, facilitating direct engagement with partners and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Through these connections, we have ventured into the energy sector, exemplified by METSCO Africa.
A definitive highlight of our journey was the attainment of ISO certification in 2023, a testament to our unwavering dedication to operational excellence and international best practices.
This evolution has not only solidified our position in the industry but also underscores our unyielding commitment to pioneering innovative solutions and setting high standards in the energy sector.
What key insights can you offer to businesses navigating the evolution process?
Navigating the dynamic landscape of evolution demands a resolute commitment to certain principles that serve as guiding lights for any organisation. As we have learnt through our own journey at STROM Global Services and METSCO Africa, allow me to share these pivotal insights:
VISION IS PARAMOUNT
Every endeavour, whether a business or social initiative, is akin to a seed entrusted to our care by God. This seed holds the potential to bless the world, and it’s our duty to nurture it. Like a seed planted in a garden, your journey starts in a specific context. Recognise that evolution is a natural phase but what truly matters is your perspective. When we had a challenge with our partners at METSCO Africa, it would have been easier to close up operations and stick with oil and gas because we were used to it, but we did something else. We made the company an indigenous electrical engineering company and ventured out to look for new partners because we are determined to solve the energy problems we have identified. These hurdles come to every business, but it takes being sold out to the vision to overcome them. Choose to view it as an opportunity for growth, not a threat to your existence.
SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES MATTER
The mechanisms that fuel your initial success may not sustain the journey ahead. Adaptation is essential. As you grow, meticulously craft new systems and processes. Tailor them to accommodate expansion, ensuring seamless scalability. Understand that your ascent isn’t limited to your aspirations; it’s tethered to your systems. To quote experts, “You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
SHARED LEADERSHIP AND DELEGATION
Founders often wear numerous hats, initially managing nearly every facet of their venture. Yet, growth requires relinquishing a degree of control. Cultivate a culture of training and mentorship, nurturing a cadre of leaders who can shoulder responsibilities. Empower your team to carry the vision forward, freeing you to focus on the strategic direction and expansion moves. For example, as we are growing, one thing I am intentional about is setting up leadership and teams in each nation, to drive our initiatives there. I hold regular meetings and training with the leaders, and they go on to plan and implement their plans in the locale. We only ensure that the operations in all our expressions align with our mission as an organisation, but the leadership in each nation implements this mission based on the peculiarity of their locale. You must learn to build men that can run the system, to fulfill the vision.
FORGE STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS
Collaboration is a cornerstone of success. The road to greatness is rarely walked alone. Harness the collective expertise and resources of kindred spirits who share your vision. Carefully choose partners who align with your values and mission. Be prepared to walk away if a partnership veers from your course. Strom Global Services’ partnership strategy has led us to establish offices in Texas and Canada, fortifying our global network.
EMBRACE THE SPECTRUM OF WINS AND LOSSES
Success isn’t a linear path; it’s a mosaic of victories and setbacks. Understand this duality and prepare accordingly. Build buffers – spiritual, psychological, emotional, and financial – that can absorb the impact of losses. Diversify your investments, including personal development and relationships, to withstand challenging times without losing your equilibrium.
In essence, evolution is an odyssey of growth, expansion, and transformation. Embrace it with a visionary mindset, fortified systems, collaborative leadership, strategic partnerships, and a resilient spirit primed for both triumphs and tribulations.
How has the removal of the subsidy impacted your business, and what are your expectations moving forward?
The recent removal of the petrol subsidy has ushered in a complex phase for industry players, including ourselves at STROM Global Services. The implications are both challenging and filled with promise, much like a double-edged sword.
Previously, premium motor spirit (PMS) or petrol was a regulated commodity, with pricing under the federal government’s control due to subsidies. Moreover, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPC) held a predominant role as the sole importer of PMS, accounting for over 100% of our nation’s demand. As a result, entities like STROM Global Services primarily focused on the importation of other deregulated products like diesel.
However, the subsidy’s withdrawal has reshaped this landscape. PMS has transformed into a deregulated product, allowing private sector engagement in its importation, given the acquisition of necessary permits, licenses, and financial capacity.
This transition presents us with a window to diversify our downstream operations beyond diesel importation. While this offers opportunities, it simultaneously intensifies the business environment’s complexity, leading to narrower profit margins.
The entrance into PMS importation requires substantial capital, magnifying financial challenges. Moreover, business financing costs have grown burdensome, even as high as over 20% interest rate, due to these changes. These shifts compelled us to reevaluate our annual budget, prompting a 100% augmentation. Salary adjustments approaching 50% were implemented, and an adaptable hybrid work model was introduced to alleviate staff burdens.
The external factor of foreign exchange market volatility adds another layer of complexity to our operations, impacting our partnerships with global stakeholders.
Despite these challenges, our optimism remains unshaken. We’re hopeful that President Bola Tinubu’s new administration will pioneer policy reforms and implement supportive measures for individuals and businesses alike, thereby cushioning the effects of the subsidy’s removal.
In essence, while this juncture is marked by intricacies and adaptability, we are steadfast in our belief that strategic policy interventions can mitigate the present challenges and steer the sector towards a resilient and prosperous future.
Why was METSCO Africa set up and how are you already revolutionalising and hoping to revolutionise the energy landscape across the African continent?
The energy challenge in Nigeria is no secret; it is a pressing issue that calls for innovative solutions. Recognising a critical deficiency in technical expertise within the power sector, METSCO Africa was conceived to address this gap and revolutionise Nigeria’s energy landscape.
Our journey commenced with the aspiration to extend our impact beyond the oil and gas industry. We identified a dire need for advanced technology and skilled manpower in the power sector, a realm where expertise was scarce. Embracing this challenge, we embarked on a quest for knowledge and collaboration, traversing nations like Canada to study and learn from established operations.
METSCO Africa stands as the manifestation of this vision – a vessel of high-level technological infusion into Nigeria’s electrical engineering sphere. Our collaboration with Canadian partners initially held immense promise, a testament to their belief in Nigeria’s energy potential. However, the inconsistent policy framework and changing directions of past administrations led to their unfortunate withdrawal, leaving us grappling with both financial debts and unfulfilled potential.
Undeterred by this setback, we restructured METSCO Africa as an indigenous powerhouse, poised to surmount our challenges independently. Our resilience remains unwavering; we’ve invested nearly $1 million to address these setbacks and forge ahead. Currently, we are spearheading an essential electrical engineering contract for the Federal Government, achieving significant milestones and showcasing our capabilities.
Our dedication goes beyond projects; it extends to policy advocacy. We’re in active engagement with the Nigerian Energy Regulatory Commission, working collaboratively to craft a robust policy framework that provides a clear direction and objectives for Nigeria’s energy sector. This aligns with our vision to drive sustainable and impactful change.
As a testament to our commitment, we are also exploring partnerships with Indian companies, fostering collaboration that could potentially amplify our role in transforming Nigeria’s energy space.
In our quest to reshape the energy narrative, we have encountered hurdles, but they have only strengthened our resolve. METSCO Africa stands firm in its mission, ready to champion innovation, excellence, and sustainable growth in Nigeria’s energy sector.
Tell us about your passion for human resource management, project management, business development and relationship management
My journey in managing teams began in my secondary school days and carried through my undergraduate years, where I led ministries and guided groups. Even during my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Exercise, I served as a Platoon leader, naturally gravitating towards orchestrating processes and fostering efficiency.
While I didn’t initially label it as ‘Human Resource Management’, the aptitude for this role seemed almost inherent. In every sphere, I found myself called upon to spearhead and optimise systems.
Transitioning from informal leadership into corporate environments illuminated the need for industry-specific knowledge in Human Resource Management. I recognised that to achieve impactful results, I must supplement my instinct with formal expertise.
My tenure at This Present House provided invaluable in-house training opportunities that propelled my growth.
What fuels my passion for Human Resource Management is the quest for sustainable development. Amidst the grandeur of vision statements and objectives, I’ve discovered that at the heart of it all lies the people driving these aspirations.
It’s a universally acknowledged truth that the quality of individuals, the organisational culture, and growth opportunities are the cornerstone of any vision’s success. Through Human Resource Management, I am empowered to craft strategies that fortify organisations at this foundational level.
As I delved into systems, it became apparent that a company’s vision finds expression through its projects and initiatives. My affinity for process-oriented approaches shines here. I’m drawn to understanding each facet of a process, how they interconnect, and how they culminate in our objectives, complete with timelines for implementation.
This comprehension guides me in assigning the right personnel to specific tasks, ensuring project progression remains in focus.
Whether it’s extending our operations into petroleum product importation or orchestrating a Mantle of Deborah conference in a distant land, I insist on dissecting everyone’s contribution. This scrutiny aids me in managing people, streamlining processes, and steering outcomes. It facilitates tracking, reevaluation, accountability, and the refinement of processes to amplify efficiency.
In our multifaceted endeavors, maintaining standards across diverse teams in various nations is paramount. This, in turn, sustains the integrity of our vision, shunning compromise.
Ultimately, these efforts are devoted to translating ideas into action, continually refining our approach along the path to achievement.
Admittedly, HR is not the most jovial domain, but I endeavour to construct a system where tasks are executed seamlessly without jeopardiising my relationships. Recognsing that we are collectively building something remarkable, I make it a point to extend appreciation, offer genuine feedback, and seek optimal methodologies.
In essence, we’re collaboratively shaping a future, and this collaborative spirit is at the core of my approach. Through shared endeavors, we’re forging a legacy of efficiency, growth, and fulfillment.
Why did you set up Isi Benedicta Institute? What are the results and your projections?
In the midst of the global lockdown in 2020, while grappling with post-partum depression in Canada after the birth of my second son, life felt like an uphill battle. Isolated and uncertain, I yearned for support and a sense of purpose.
During this challenging time, I received a divine directive, to lead a training session for women, helping them ignite their purpose. This seemed paradoxical – in my personal struggle, I was being called to guide others toward their calling. Despite the odds, I obeyed the call, preparing diligently and delivering the training online.
The experience was transformative, not just for the participants but also for me. This endeavor became a catalyst for establishing Isi Benedicta Institute, dedicated to “retraining minds and rebuilding kings”.
In the past three years, we’ve conducted numerous courses, touching the lives of more than 500 individuals. Our offerings span a wide spectrum – from recognising seasons and mastering transitions to constructing influential systems, awakening purpose, and harnessing personal influence. The Institute’s unique teaching model, incorporating interactive live sessions, guided materials, and collaborative learning spaces, ensures comprehensive growth for participants.
Our vision transcends individual empowerment. We’re poised to expand our reach by cultivating a network of skilled course facilitators across diverse domains. Our ambition is for Isi Benedicta Institute to emerge as a premiere platform for personal and corporate growth, a one-stop resource for transformation.
By 2025, we envisage a significant surge in enrollment, over 200%, creating an avenue for an even broader spectrum of individuals to access our trainings. Furthermore, we’re actively crafting tailored offerings for organisations, corporations, and governments. This collaborative approach aims to equip staff across all levels with vital skills, tools, and strategies for fostering growth, impact, and lasting legacies.
In essence, the Institute’s journey mirrors my personal transformation – navigating challenges, discovering purpose, and channeling these experiences to empower others. It’s a testament to the profound impact of embracing adversity and steering it towards the greater good. Through Isi Benedicta Institute, we’re sowing the seeds of resilience, growth, and enduring transformation.
Why Deborah’s Impact Projects Africa? Why now? What is the future of it?
In our extensive journeys across Africa, facilitating the Mantle of Deborah Conferences and connecting with diverse women, we’ve been confronted with the stark realities they confront. From educational disparities to economic limitations, African women grapple with formidable barriers impeding their progress and potential. In response, we’ve assumed the mantle of change. This led us to launch Deborah’s Impact Projects Africa (DIPA), a nonprofit entity singularly focused on engineering transformative change for women throughout the continent.
As a natural extension of the Mantle of Deborah, DIPA serves as the active agent, infiltrating territories and nations to implement tangible projects that transcend challenges. Our tri-pronged approach addresses the core issues faced by African women:
1. Livelihood & Economic Empowerment: We recognise that economic freedom is foundational for personal growth and societal advancement. DIPA designs initiatives to impart vital skills, provide access to resources, and foster entrepreneurial endeavours.
2. Education & Career Advancement: Education is the bedrock of progress. DIPA is committed to ensuring that women are not denied this fundamental right. Through scholarships, vocational training, and mentorship programs, we strive to elevate education’s role in women’s lives.
3. Psychosocial Support: Mental well-being is often overlooked but profoundly crucial. DIPA recognises the significance of holistic support systems, offering counseling, emotional aid, and safe spaces for women to thrive.
Our journey has already yielded promising results, particularly in Kenya. With an enthusiastic team of 100 individuals and seven dedicated administrative units, supported by a robust Executive Council, DIPA is poised for impactful endeavors. The acquisition of 10 acres of land in Malindi signals a transformative shift for the local community. This space is primed to house:
– A transformative hub including a refuge for girls facing early marriages.
– A vocational training school, a critical asset in a region where education opportunities are limited.
– A level-2 outpatient hospital to address crucial maternity care needs.
– A borehole, addressing the community’s dire need for clean water.
This comprehensive project holds the potential to significantly diminish maternal mortality rates in the Gurubo area, which currently stands at a staggering 324 deaths per 100,000 live births. Additionally, it aims to alleviate challenges related to clean water accessibility and sanitation, emblematic of the progress we’re facilitating.
Our horizon extends far beyond Kenya. DIPA envisions establishing transformation hubs across the continent, uniquely tailored to each region’s specific needs. We’re committed to forging partnerships with governments, corporations, NGOs, and stakeholders who share our vision. This collaboration will fuel our expansion and elevate our impact, ensuring DIPA’s transformative initiatives reach far and wide.
Has the ‘Academy of the Builders’ lived up to desired expectations in personal and corporate terrains?
The Academy of the Builders stands as a testament to the principles that underpin my approach to nurturing leaders and constructing impactful systems. These principles have transcended borders, leaving an indelible mark on personal and corporate landscapes, both locally and globally.
The power of these principles is evident in the thriving systems we’ve cultivated across diverse regions. From Nigeria to Kenya, the United States to the United Kingdom, and Ghana, the programme’s strategies have been a guiding light. This success story is not merely limited to geographical expansion; it extends to the transformation of individuals across different spheres of influence.
In my multifaceted role as a leader, I’ve harnessed the Academy’s strategies to empower a diverse array of individuals. From religious leaders to corporate executives, captains of industries, founders, and political figures, these principles have unlocked pathways to their success. The impact is unmistakable; they are now driving remarkable advancements within their respective domains.
In a stride towards deeper impact, this year marked a significant development. We’ve meticulously curated resources within the Academy of the Builders, and we’re on the verge of launching a private coaching program. This programme is designed for individuals who are devoted to constructing systems that transcend borders and stand the test of time.
Our commitment to these strategies’ success is unwavering, borne out by the accomplishments of those who’ve embraced them. The resonance of these principles within different contexts reaffirms their universal applicability and transformative potential.
Tell us about being a mentor and transformative coach and why the passion for it?
My dedication to the instruction to “be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28) has fueled my passion for mentorship and transformative coaching. This principle isn’t just a verse; it’s a foundational philosophy that drives my interaction with people and my dual roles as a Minister and a business leader.
The crux of this belief lies in the realisation that, while I received the vision, its continuity hinges on multiplying its impact through others. If the vision doesn’t burn in the hearts of others as fervently as it grips mine, its future could be compromised.
As a Minister and a business executive, nurturing leaders who are not only aligned with the vision but also poised to carry it forward is essential. For me, this process of multiplication is a litmus test of my mandate for dominion.
Genesis 1:28 paints a picture of how replication is intertwined with the dominion mandate. Establishing the vision demands a system of propagation, and mentorship is the key to constructing this system.
True mentorship isn’t about duplicating one’s self, it is about recognising each individual’s unique gifts and potential. It involves refining those gifts in harmony with the vision’s essence, acknowledging the value they bring to its realisation.
One misconception is that mentorship breeds clones. My belief is different; it’s about nurturing individuality while aligning it with the greater vision. After all, true legacy isn’t bound by a name; it lives on through the continued impact of the vision.
The path to genuine legacy lies in recognising the greatness latent in others, investing in their growth, and ushering them into the vision. This necessitates patience, love, and a commitment to transformation.
As a transformative coach, my role transcends merely imparting skills. It is about immersing individuals in the vision, so deeply that they don’t require supervision to execute tasks. I channel my time, skills, resources, and network to cultivate a mindset of triumph, legacy, and nation-building.
This passion is rooted in the understanding that a person’s vision of the future shapes their reality. By empowering others to see their potential, I help them grasp opportunities and translate concepts into tangible accomplishments.
In the end, mentorship isn’t about my identity imprinting on others; it’s about nurturing their distinctive qualities, so they can imprint their unique mark on the world. This philosophy echoes in both my ministry and business endeavors, forming the bedrock of my commitment to lasting impact.
What is the story of Sprouts Natural Foods and Lifestyle Products?
In 2015, a crucial conversation ignited a vision that has since transformed into Sprouts Natural Foods and Lifestyle Products. My brother, Ben Agbonkhese, and I delved into a reflection on the impact of diet on our holistic well-being. It struck us that the repetitive dietary norms of rice, beans, garri, yam, and pasta in Nigeria could be subtly affecting our health.
Seeking solutions, we embarked on a journey to Canada, holding a strategic session to explore the nutrition and diet landscape abroad. This expedition opened our eyes to the potential of introducing healthier alternatives and nourishing products to the Nigerian market.
With newfound inspiration, we imported these wellness-focused offerings to Nigeria. However, navigating the intricate regulatory environment was not without its challenges. Though we have successfully overcome initial regulatory hurdles, the dynamic nature of the Nigerian market, driven by factors like exchange rates, awareness, and purchasing power, presented formidable obstacles.
Despite these trials, Sprouts Natural Foods and Lifestyle Products remains close to my heart. Every meal served ignites my passion for building a comprehensive wellness brand centered around food. Our goal is clear: to deliver products, services, and partnerships that prioritise the well-being of our customers.
Undeterred by past setbacks, we are amidst a profound transformation. A rebranding and restructuring journey is underway, reflecting our dedication to refining our model. This involves strategic recruitment, forging impactful partnerships, sourcing novel products, and crafting comprehensive strategies to guide our resurgence.
In the upcoming months, we envision collaborating closely with local farmers and brands, cultivating our products and designing indigenous wellness solutions for our clientele. Our evolution transcends mere retail; it envisions the ascension of Sprouts Natural Foods and Lifestyle Products into a wellness powerhouse.
Amidst the complexities, my commitment to this journey remains resolute. The vision of nourishing Nigeria’s well-being through wholesome products drives us forward, and I’m eagerly anticipating the dawn of our revitalised chapter.
How are you able to balance your functions in all the caps you wear professionally and personally, to include family? How and where do you strike the balance?
Achieving balance is more than a mere juggling act; it’s about a profound understanding of each role I embrace, both professionally and personally. Over time, I’ve come to realize that balance is rooted in understanding—understanding of what works and how it works.
In my world, life can be likened to a multifaceted project. It’s a grand project where my purpose and vision constitute the ultimate goal. The journey towards this goal is paved with objectives, processes, and systems, all integral steps to achieving my aspirations. Drawing from my expertise in Human Resources, I’ve grasped a fundamental truth, these systems and processes don’t unfurl themselves, they require the human touch, the touch of relationships.
Project Life, as I see it, revolves around the people who join forces with me to actualise my vision. Like any project, diverse teams play distinct roles. While some may hold pivotal responsibilities, no team can be underestimated, for every contribution is indispensable to the larger vision. This perspective underscores my life’s composition: my family, my ministry, and my professional endeavors are each unique teams harmonizing within the symphony of Project Isi.
However, I acknowledge that the core of Project Isi is built around my family, second only to my relationship with God.
We have family traditions that ensure the peace, stability and progress of the family because we know that if something isn’t right in the family, it will affect our work (my husband and I both work in the company, and he is a pillar in the ministry, also).
For example, I have regular devotion with my family, where we study the bible and pray together. We travel together, take note and be a part of each other’s special days and milestones, and make sure we create time out of our busy schedules to be together.
It is important to add that having to do life, business and ministry with my husband makes the job much easier.
It’s not just my family, though. I have friends with whom I’m neither ‘Apostle’ nor ‘Coach’ Isi. I have amazing people whom I laugh, play, travel, pray, dance and cry with… without the protocol of being the ‘Global Lead’ of anything.
These friendships provide solid support and inspiration for me, and they are major contributors to Project Isi.
The major thing about how I balance my engagements is that I understand the role everything plays and how they fit into the big picture of my life.
There are times when I fail at striking the balance, over-prioritising or under-prioritising certain areas. When this happens, my commitment to who I am (wife, mother, minister, builder) and what I have been called to do always keep me in check.
To that woman who is afraid to try again, who has lost hope and is about giving up, what do you want to say to her?
I want you to know that you are not alone in your struggles and fears. Life has a way of throwing challenges our way, making us question our worth and capabilities. But let me assure you, your potential is greater than any setback you’ve faced. It’s not the end of your journey, it’s a pivotal point from which you can rise stronger and wiser.
Here are four steps you can take to thrive beyond your current experience:
1. Embrace Your Strength: Remember the moments when you overcame adversity in the past. These are proof of the strength within you. Believe in your ability to rise again. Embracing your strength will help you rebuild your confidence and face new challenges head-on.
2. Reframe Your Mindset: It’s natural to feel defeated after setbacks, but how you perceive these challenges determines your future. Shift your perspective from seeing failures as endpoints to viewing them as stepping stones. Every setback is an opportunity to learn, grow, and refine your path.
3. Set Attainable Goals: Break down your larger goals into smaller, achievable steps. This approach prevents overwhelm and allows you to celebrate your progress along the way. As you accomplish each step, your confidence will grow, and you’ll realize that you’re moving forward, even if it’s one small step at a time.
4. Seek Support and Inspiration: Surround yourself with positive influences. Connect with people who have faced similar challenges and emerged stronger. Seek guidance from mentors or coaches who can provide valuable insights and accountability. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this journey alone.
If you can, get my book ‘From Here to There: Making Successful Transitions’ on Amazon. There, I share more strategies you can use, and even my personal experiences that you can learn from.
Your story is still being written, and every setback is just a plot twist leading to your triumph. Hold onto hope, cultivate resilience, and never underestimate the power within you. You have the ability to thrive beyond your experiences and create a future filled with purpose and success.
In the tapestry of life, we are all weavers, crafting our unique stories through the threads of experience, courage, and determination. As I reflect on my journey and the visions I’m nurturing into reality, it is clear that life is not about avoiding challenges, but about embracing them as opportunities for growth and transformation.
From my roots as a visionary leader and an oil and gas expert to my expanding role in driving change through METSCO Africa, Deborah’s Impact Projects Africa, and the Academy of the Builders, each step has been a testament to the power of tenacity and purpose. I have learnt that evolution is not a threat but a chance to paint broader strokes on the canvas of impact.
Through my journey, I have come to see that success is not just about personal achievement, but about lifting others as we rise. It is about creating systems, inspiring minds, and fostering partnerships that birth real change. Whether it is nurturing the potential of African women, revolutionising the energy landscape, or fostering wellness through Sprouts Natural Foods, my vision remains rooted in transformative progress and nation-building.
As I stand at the intersection of diverse roles, from minister to mentor, business executive to family nurturer, I’m reminded that balance is a symphony we conduct with intention and love. Each facet of my life contributes to a bigger melody, harmonising work, family, and purpose into a cohesive symphony of impact.
As we move forward, I look to the possibilities that await. I envision a future where my voice, work and way of life continue to amplify positive change, where my efforts inspire countless others to rise above adversity, and where my legacy reverberates through generations. I invite you to join me on this journey of creating ripples of transformation that touch lives, communities, and nations.
Thank you for sharing in my story and for being part of the movement to reshape lives and communities.