BusinessDay
Nigeria's leading finance and market intelligence news report.

Precious Michael, a legal expert, business leader in diverse sectors

Precious Ogun-Michael is a seasoned business leader, legal practitioner, and entrepreneur with hands-on experience across different economic sectors including finance and investment management, energy, project management and most importantly, real estate management.

She has strong and result-driven experience in corporate management, business strategy, growth and expansion.

She has also acquired experience and developed professional capacity across Real Estate Portfolio Management, Finance and Investment Portfolio Advisory, Customer Relationship Management, Start-up Growth Advisory, Asset Management and Legal Advisory.

Before joining the Oxford Group, Precious worked with Adekunle Ojo Chambers as a Junior Counsel from 2015-2016, and then with AO Williams Chambers, from 2016-2018, before joining Oxford Commercial Services International in 2018 as the Head Human Resources and Legal Officer. As a result of her impressive performance, she was first appointed Group Managing Director, and then in 2020, she was made the Group Chief Executive Officer.

Precious has indeed been adept in utilising her acquired business skills in recording impressive achievements through the course of her career, which includes growing the capital base of Oxford International Group from N1 billion to N15 billion within 6 months through innovative market-driven approach, while overseeing the expansion from two states – Lagos and Ogun states, to twelve other states in Nigeria and two other African countries including Benin Republic and Rwanda, overhauling and repositioning the human resources department of Oxford Group by implementing modern processes of recruitment, training, staff engagement and welfare, leading the growth and expansion of the Oxford Partners into a sub-group under the organisation, while building a team of smart entrepreneurs and associates to become one the fastest growing sub-groups under the conglomerate, and also delivering the Institute of Credit Administrator’s Webinar for June 2021 on Managing a “Conglomerate for Success”.

Precious earned her BL from the Nigerian Law School in 2016. She is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School, Senior Management Programme (SMP) 2021. In addition, she is also a recipient of a Honorary Doctorate Degree in Leadership and Management from the Alliance International University, Dutch Caribbean. She is currently pursuing an LLM International Business Law from the University of Cumbria.

Real Estate and entrepreneurship do not only come across as business to Precious, but are actually one of the many things she is strongly passionate about. Her other interests include; Human Capacity Development, Public Speaking and Gender Equity Advocacy.

Read Also: LCCI signs MOU with Oxford Business Group

Starting off in life

I grew up in a semi-urban part of Lagos, Ilasamaja to be precise, where I attended primary school, St. Stephens School, and Apata Memorial High school for my secondary school education. I’m the second of four girls. My father, Ilesanmi, is from Ode Irele, Ondo state, and my mother is from Ijebu, Ogun state, both in South West, Nigeria. My parents are Pentecostal Christians. Faith plays a key role in my life. Discipline and moral values were essential to my upbringing which has combined to shape my overall perception and outlook towards life.

Looking back today, I’m sincerely happy and grateful for the strict but firm upbringing I had; it helped me develop a strong sense of personal responsibility. One thing I can’t forget about my parents is that they are supporters of dreams. They hardly impose their choices on you but support and guide you to make the right decisions and follow through on them.

In summary, family, faith, and community were key essentials of my growing years.

Developing professional capacity across the areas that you do

One important value I learned in my growing up years is taking personal responsibility; this became a strong asset for me in my adult life. I push myself hard to get things done – to learn new skills, develop new competencies, take courses, and generally become better than the previous day.

One reality that dawned on me recently is that, what it takes to stay at the top is more demanding than what it takes to get to the top, and so, I never take personal development lightly. I’m a business leader sitting atop a fast-growing business conglomerate; I cannot afford not to be on top of my game day-in, day-out. So, at any point in time, I’m reading a new book, learning something new, or taking a professional course. For me, growing and learning never stops.

However, finding that balance with my current work schedule can be quite a challenge but then, “If you really want to, you would find a way, if not, you would find an excuse.” So, I created a system that allows for me to integrate learning into my day, every day. Having a driver has been helpful, such that, transit times are a golden opportunity to watch a video, read a few pages and so on.

Oxford Group

One important value I learnt in my growing up years is taking personal responsibility; this became a strong asset for me in my adult life. I push myself hard to get things done – to learn new skills, develop new competencies, take courses, and generally become better than the previous day.
One reality that dawned on me recently is that, what it takes to stay at the top is more demanding than what it takes to get to the top, and so, I never take personal development lightly. I’m a business leader sitting atop a fast-growing business conglomerate; I cannot afford not to be on top of my game day-in, day-out. So, at any point in time, I’m reading a new book, learning something new, or taking a professional course. For me, growing and learning never stops.

However, finding that balance with my current work schedule can be quite a challenge but then, “If you really want to, you would find a way, if not, you would find an excuse.” So, I created a system that allows for me to integrate learning into my day, every day. Having a driver has been helpful, such that, transit times are a golden opportunity to watch a video, read a few pages and so on.

Why the choice of Oxford Group?

The vision of the organisation is one that aligns with my personal vision. So, I see it as a melting point for my personal vision and a corporate one. It was an easy decision.

More importantly, Oxford gives a platform where everyone can achieve their dreams; anyone can rise to the pinnacle of their career. My story is a testament to that. We are losing count of the number of millionaires that Oxford has raised through different innovative channels of the organisation.

Again to your question – why oxford? It is that platform that enables you to align your personal dreams to the corporate vision and achieving both.

I look back to see the lives we’ve touched, directly and indirectly, over the last few years, and I know I made the right decision on career joining Oxford Group.

Rising from group managing director to group chief executive officer

I realised something very significant in the last two years of my career. It is that, some experiences or situations we go through were preparing us for something bigger in life that we may never be aware of at the time. A combination of different personal and professional experiences over the years was preparing for my position today, which I never knew.

When I look back, I can draw a straight line between my short but rich legal experience and my corporate career in business today. It is true as it is said, that no knowledge is a waste. The experience gained in my few years of practice helped me hone critical skills that have positively impacted my career, like negotiation skills, human relations, the legal knowledge of the business environment among others.

My role was a bit challenging in the beginning. The realities, the responsibilities, and expectations were at an all-time high. The organisation was at a pivotal point at the time, which needed strong, steady, and innovative leadership. So, my job was clearly cut out from inception. But I’m grateful for my team; they have been immense contributors in making my job easier.
More importantly, I’m grateful to the executive leadership of the organisation for taking a chance with me at the time.

Growing capital base of Oxford International Group from N1bn to N15bn within 6 months
First, I must say it was an organisation-wide effort that delivered that result in that time-space. Simply put, it was team efforts and tenacity. We had a mission to deliver, and everyone from top to bottom upped their game to ensure we deliver on the mission.

Second was the clarity of business goals. As an organisation, we know what we want to do, the type of results we want, and how to get it done. At the leadership level, we don’t just come up with big ambitions; we also try to articulate the best strategies to actualise them. We understand our target market and how to reach them.

I had gone through the organisation at different levels before becoming the GCE, so, I understand the business in and out, the culture and our mission. As a junior level management staff, I had ideas of how best we can deliver on our big goals, and when the opportunity came to lead from the top, it was easy to implement.

What we did was simple, we looked through the different pain points of our target market, in relation to investments, and we decided to address those pain points. We understood that people want high-yield; safe investment options and we designed different investment options for the market – short term, mid-term and long term. Our process is straightforward without unnecessary bottlenecks; you get a post-dated cheque immediately after confirmation of your investments. The instant impact on our capital base as an organisation was a validation of our strategy.

Passion for real estate and entrepreneurship

Real Estate is by far, one of the best investment pathways to financial freedom in the world today. Data backs this up. It’s hard not to be passionate about this business. What’s even sweeter is how we make it easier for people to acquire lands through various and easily affordable payment options.

As for entrepreneurship, there’s a freedom that comes with it, and we encourage our associates, staff, and partners to approach the business with an entrepreneurial mind-set.

How important is it for women to be empowered and have their own?

Financially empowered women build better families, and ultimately better societies. Empowering women should therefore not be negotiable. Women have shown repeatedly to be better managers of resources (scarce or abundant). Women empowerment is important for so many reasons, but especially for the family units.

Also, some domestic abuses can be traced to the dependency of women on their male providers. So many women stay in abusive relationships or situations for lack of financial independence. Society must consciously find ways to ensure the empowerment of women. It’s really an investment with a high Return On Investment (ROI).

What is your take on gender equity?

Honestly, I’m happy to see that the conversation around gender equity is taking the centre stage globally now, which means the current realities will start improving. I’m usually very careful talking about these issues, more often than not, it could be taken out of context and so, I choose my words carefully.

There is a popular line in the American Declaration of Independence that I love and like to reference. “All men (and women) are created equal.” When we grasp the full meaning of this line, we would realise that there should never have been inequality to start with, which now necessitates conversations around “gender equity”.

I am a Woman! I deserve a fair chance just like any other woman or man. Men and women were created equal; no gender should be discriminated against whatsoever, under any circumstances. Everyone should have equal opportunities, as long as they have the skills and the right qualifications for them. In March 2018, Actress Frances McDormand made a very powerful statement in her Oscar acceptance speech, she said: “Women have ideas and, to put those ideas into action, they need a seat at the table.”

It is generally known that nations, institutions and organisations led or managed by women are generally better and there are evidences to back this up.

Advice to women who desire to rise in their career

The odds are stacked against us – whether we like it or not, it is just the reality of our society. If getting to the peak is tough, it is extra tough for women. When you as a lady understand this reality, you would know you have to push yourself harder, be twice as good, up your game, raise the bar and double up on your expertise. You can turn the odds in your favour.

Do not cut corners; the consequences are often heavier than the sweat of following the right pathway. Get mentors, women who have walked the path that you seek to walk, and have the experience in navigating tough terrains. It will make the journey a bit easier for you.

What are your personal and professional challenges? How are you rising above them?

Challenges are a part of life; they make you stronger and better. So, for me, I hardly place so much emphasis on challenges, rather on the lessons that I can learn from them.

It is a reality that life would always throw challenges at us; no one is exempted from that. But these challenges are meant to test our resolve, and make us better, stronger humans. There are inner strengths we have that only certain obstacles can bring them out.

For me, when I face any challenge, I ask myself some questions – what led to this? How can I go pass this? What lessons can I learn from it? But most importantly, I go on my knees to pray to my God.

Beyond advocating for gender inclusion, how important is it for women to be readily qualified for the position they desire?

This cannot be overstated. We are up against a system rigged against us, we can’t come to the battlefield unprepared. Be qualified; in fact, “over-qualified” like a friend of mine would call it.

Be good. Be very good. Leave everyone in the room without a doubt to your competence or capacity of the role. Ask for the bar limit, then raise it. Is this fair to us women? No. But it is what it is.

When I sit at an interview panel and see a woman, I like to hear her out through and through, and give her the benefit of doubt to prove herself. It can’t be overemphasised, Dear Women, we need to up our game, very well.

What every C-suite female executive must know

Power is taken, not given. Have a presence that carries respect and influence whenever you step into the room. Build competence and capacity, and be extremely good at what you do. That is what will command that respect for you. Develop more than just business skills, develop leadership skills. At that level of your career, you are not just a business leader, you are a people’s leader as well.

Also importantly, build a strong network of like-minded professionals.

Day in your life you can never forget and why?

It’s hard to pin one day as an extraordinary day in my life because every day comes with its twists, turns, and dramas. But if I’m pressed to pick one or two, I would pick the day I met my husband, Michael Ogun, and the day I was appointed GCE, Oxford Group.

For the former, I can boldly say he is the best thing that has happened to me. And for the latter, I can say, it was a turning point for my career.

What are you looking forward to?

Career wise, I’m looking forward to more wins personally and for the organisation that I lead. Bigger projects and expansion plans are in the works, I look forward to the actualisation of all these, and more.

I have often said that where I am today, is just the beginning for me. I am still young, and my career is just blooming. No matter what height I attain today, I know I’m just getting started, and there are many more mountains to climb.

For Nigeria, I’d say better living conditions. As a nation, we are far from our potentials, and we can be much more than we currently are. We need better and visionary leadership to take us to the Promised Land.

Final words

You’ve probably heard it a million times that to succeed in life, you need to believe in yourself – it’s the truth! Self-belief is powerful. It triggers many things inside of you that pushes you to chase your biggest dreams. You need to strive to be better than the next person – competence and capacity wise, at all times.

Have strong moral values, and never trade them for anything. After all said and done, don’t forget the place of the divine in the affairs of our lives, believe in God.

Whatsapp mobile

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.