Ini Akpan is a remarkable young lady from a humble background. Thanks to the amazing parents who nurtured her and instilled in her the values of perseverance and resilience.
Ini’s dreams were huge. Most times, she felt her imagination was going wild because of how big her dreams were. Nevertheless, she made up her mind she was going to rise from grass to grace in the corporate world.
Ini had just graduated and began her professional journey with optimism and desire to know and be taught. Her first job was in a privately owned financial institution, and she was excited about the promises the job held, even as she was eager to show her employees that they did not make a mistake employing her. As determined and focused as she was, her journey to success was not without its challenges.
Right from her first day on the job, she had all the doses of the challenges you can think of. From office politics to cutthroat competition, and occasional instances of bullying, everything was served to Ini.
It was quite bad because she was treated unfairly. Sometimes, her abilities were discredited, and her contributions were dismissed. At a point, she almost began doubting her competence. The initial setbacks were distracting but Ini’s optimism was all she needed to scale through these seemingly never-ending hurdles.
She made up her mind to redirect her frustrations into self-motivation. She was determined to show that she was chosen for the job because she qualified and works hard.
One beautiful trait with Ini is her humility. Despite being brainy, she knew she needed guidance and she looked keenly to get the right mentors at work. Interestingly, because of her warm behaviour and willingness to learn, she got good mentors who saw her potential, drawn to her personality and encouraged her to keep on keeping on.
Beyond the encouragements, she was also determined to upgrade herself through attending development programmes and acquiring new skills.
Sometimes, the setbacks would come like a rushing wind, but every time it came, it fueled her strength. She learnt how to gracefully navigate office politics, concentrating on growing purposeful relationships and joining forces with colleagues with similar goals.
One other distinct characteristic of Ini is that she is an encourager. Sometimes, even when going through her own challenges, she would still ensure to be there for anyone who needed her moral support. This fostered teamwork and mutual growth.
Overtime, Ini’s consistency began to pay off. The evidence was there that she knew her onions, it wasn’t a face value thing, it was beyond the surface, it was deep, she carried value, and the proof could not be ignored.
Surely, she began to rise through the ranks. The intimidation didn’t end abruptly, but the results she showed was sufficient to answer them. Her integrity and values never left her.
She began to speak up against injustice, she didn’t let their negativity block her positivity. She became bold and started advocating even for those in similar situation. She became the voice of the voiceless in the office. She wasn’t just talking to get sympathy, she was already doing excellently well at work, it was just important to her that the office should be a place fostering a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture.
After years of hard work and consistent proof of efficiency, a pivotal moment came for her in her career. She was promoted to the position of an executive director.
When she was given the letter, she burst into tears. What she had dreamt of was coming to fruition. This achievement was not only a personal victory for her, but it also showed her that barriers can be broken if you do not quit.
As the executive director, Ini used her position to promote positive changes in the organisation. She created and implemented policies for the growth of the company.
Under Ini’s leadership, the company thrived. Her journey and story inspired many, so greatly that the young women and men saw her as their mentor.
Her life showed that regardless of one’s background or the challenges experienced, with hard work, a positive spirit, doggedness and integrity, you can rise from grass to grace.