• Monday, April 15, 2024
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NABOU FALL, leading transformational communication, brand strategy in Africa

NABOU FALL, leading transformational communication, brand strategy in Africa

Nabou Fall is the founder of Nabou Fall Akademy – an academy of leadership coaching and transformational communication. She is also the CEO of Vizeo, a strategic communications agency operating in sub-Saharan Africa since 2007 with clients such as Orange, Airtel, Canal , Western Union and so on.

She spent the essential of her career as an executive at several telecommunications companies such as MTN in Côte d’Ivoire and Congo Republic for 15 years. Fall started as Marketing Manager then moved to Sales and Marketing Director, Deputy General Manager and General Manager .

These experiences have allowed her to develop critical leadership skills such as efficient communication, team management and empathy. Her cross cultural experience has fostered strong adaptability and agility in the way she handles professional issues.

Nabou Fall is a sought-after public speaker as well as a renowned personal development coach, TEDx speaker, author and mentor in various women’s empowerment NGOs. She collaborates with several magazines due to her commitment to the empowerment of her African sisters.

Fall leads Wimnet, a network aiming at building digital skills for African women, and she is the past president WIC Cote d’Ivoire (Women Investment Club) . She is one of the co-founders of Impact Hub Cote-d’Ivoire.

She holds a master’s degree in Finance and Management from the ISG Paris and is also an Engineer specialised in information systems and networks from the École Supérieure de Génie Informatique de Paris.

She also obtained a leadership certificate from Harvard Business School, a Boardroom Africa certificate from IOD London, as well as a Women Investors certificate from idep and CEA.

Nabou is a Certified Personal Branding Strategist (CPBS), a Certified Digital Branding Strategist (CDBS), an ICF coach and a certified certified Emotional Intelligence & DISC practitioner.

Nabou Fall is passionate and committed to the emergence of women’s leadership in Africa. This has led her to be chosen by the Gates’ foundation as one of the goalkeepers comitted to SDG 5 .

Nabou ‘s mission is to use the power of personal branding as a tool to change positively the perception of the African continent. Her motto is ‘Empowered Women Empower the World’, and her passion for reading and writing has led her to publishing novels in french.

Take a trip down memory lane and share your childhood experiences with us

I grew up as an only and lonely child and I was very sick and until the age of 9, I was spending most of my school years in hospital. Having lost my father when I was 4, I believe I learnt to heal through loving other people and caring in some ways about human beings generally. As a teenager, I was buried in books and writing. I didn’t have many friends and I was very secretive without being shy, however, I became an open adult with the need to connect and understand others in order to better know myself .

Why Engineering?

I was very good in Maths and I was fascinated by computers and the way they evolved quickly, as well as the endless possibilities they were allowing just after a few lines of codes. So, I engaged in Engineering with passion for computer sciences, programming and technology. When you code, you feel powerful because you are creating something that impacts the way people do things. It was a very exciting adventure however, my career was a total shift as I stayed in telecommunications but did most of my corporate career in sales and marketing.

Tell us about founding Nabou Fall Akademy and its impact so far. Any reason behind choosing to use ‘Akademy’?

I chose to use ‘akademy’ rather than ‘academy’ because I wanted to be distinct, I wanted to create that as part of my brand. On founding NFA, I was coaching, facilitating and training long before I launched the Nabou Fall Akademy, but dedicating a whole company to living my purpose of transforming people through coaching and training them mostly in leadership and transformational communication is one of the most fulfilling actions in my life so far. I see men and women who after our programmes send me testimonies about how they “Dare to shine” and “Show up” as leaders in their organisations, and how it helps them reach the next level in their career, and that is what I live for, transforming people and allowing them to exercise their full potentials as leaders. I have developed specific programmes for companies addressed to women executives who self censor themselves due to limiting beliefs as a result of our African education, and I can affirm that the impact is equal to the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly. They own their power and blossom into their true self freed from all the layers of shame and blockage built by culture and education.

Read also: Charlotte Ashamu – Director of International Programs at Yale Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (IPCH)

Tell us about being CEO of Vizeo and how you have been able to attract the calibre of clients that you have?

As a former telecoms executive, my first clients were my former employer. But to maintain the client flow, it is service delivery and strong networks that have helped with business development. However, what we do know at Vizeo is more strategic advisory in communications and consultancy. We rely on a vast network of professionals in various countries for implementation. I believe that relationships building and maintaining is a core success factor for us.

15 years in the telecoms sector with MTN and Vodacom, what was your experience and what will you always remember them for?

I was lucky to be part of two start-up operations of MTN both in Côte d’Ivoire and in Congo Republic. These experiences have shaped my entrepreneurial mindset and I learnt how to manage people and move around cultures without losing myself. I was lucky to do an internship at MTN in South Africa in the early years of my career and I strongly believe that corporate life is the best school of life. You learn to navigate through people’s emotions and your own, and manage the diversity of educational backgrounds in order to reach a common target. It wasn’t always easy, I was a very young director without leadership skills and tools, but I learnt by doing and interacting with others. I was managing people older than me as the only female director in Congo Republic, and I had to step up without being too aggressive, but was also mindful of the cultural biases of men in the corporate world. However, my greatest pride has been to really create equal opportunities for women who are now heads of departments and directors in various companies.

Tell us more about leading Wimnet, what you do and success story so far

Wimnet is more like a capacity building entity aiming at bridging the digital gap of women . Wimnet is a platform of over 3000 women from 29 citizenship living in 43 countries. They have been trained on digital skills and we are soon launching an exciting training program with a partner in Nigeria aimed at Nigerian women entrepreneurs who want to do business in the Francophone ECOWAS region.

What is the Women Investment Club (WIC) about? What were you able to achieve as President?

The Women Investment Club was initially launched by four women in Senegal in 2016. Later, myself and a group of women launched the Cote-d’Ivoire Chapter end 2018.

The WIC is a group of women who invest together an equal amount of money in order to invest in women’s projects.

We are 100 women in Senegal and about 20 women in Cote d’Ivoire, and we have an investment fund based in Dakar called Wic Capital, currently raising money and independently managed aiming at investing in Women’s companies based in Cote-d’Ivoire and Senegal.

As banks hardly lend money to women, the Women Investment Club is a way of involving ourselves as women investors and catering for our needs.

Share all there is to know about Impact Hub with us

With 3 other amazing women, we founded an incubator in 2018 called I-Hub. We applied for Impact Hub license in 2020 and we are part of a network of hundreds of incubator worldwide. We have incubated and accelerated 300 entrepreneurs since we started. We implement the program Academy for Women Entrepreneurs in Cote-d’Ivoire financed by USAID. We have also developed many other programmes financed by multilateral and bilateral cooperation partners and private partners.

We won the title of best African accelerator in 2022. We also have a co-working space, meeting rooms and offices that we rent at affordable prices to entrepreneurs.

As a Certified Personal Branding Strategist (CPBS) and Certified Digital Branding Strategist (CDBS), how important is branding? Secondly, how does CPBS and CDBS intertwine especially in today’s world?

In 2020, we were all locked in our homes and all we had to communicate was the digital space. During that period, it was crucial to find a way to stand out and personal branding found its purpose in a very noisy world wide web. As a communications specialist who has had a very strong brand, I believe that it was part of my mission to help others show up and shine to develop their businesses. In 2023, people need to know who you are, what you do, how you do it, what values you stand for, which experiences you have and what expertise you developed. They connect with you through your mission and your vision. The way to dig these information and articulate them in a compelling story that can be shared offline during networking events or online on professional platforms, is what coaching in personal branding does. I have noticed that too many brilliant people are not showing up to be known or to even inspire others, just because they lack the knowledge to do it in a strategic, relevant way.

We are in a world where your talent must be shown to be known and the diversity of digital platforms and networking events are here to showcase them accurately in order to get a return on investment.

Do you concur that digital branding is the new frontier? Why must everyone (individuals and companies) tap into this quickly?

We live in a digital age where we are all interconnected and if one wants to reach their target, they must have a proper online branding strategy. Digital allows a real time communication and a multi audiences target with the diversity of platforms available. Digital is a cheaper and cost effective way to connect with your audience without breaking the bank.