• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Dr Jane Kimemia, CEO, Optiva Capital Partners: “we are reducing maternal mortality in the country through provision of quality healthcare facilities”

Dr Jane Kimemia, CEO, Optiva Capital Partners: “we are reducing maternal mortality in the country through provision of quality healthcare facilities”

Making a difference in the world, driven by creativity, innovation, and guided by the pursuit of purpose, has become a top priority for women in leadership positions, with or without titles. Wherever they are – as professionals, business leaders, or entrepreneurs, they are audacious and driven by their innate passion to build institutions of value.

One of such transformative women of significance, Dr Jane Kimemia, Managing Director of Optiva Capital Partners, Nigeria’s leading Investment Immigration wealth management company, leads and lives by her cherished value of making true significance.

By constantly taking stock of her accomplishments, redefining significance and what it means to each person, she is establishing her name in the minds of many, who now look up to her as inspiration because she is pursuing her goals with a firm dedication to helping people to be the best versions of themselves.

Dr Jane Kimemia is an admirable woman who thrives in fulfilling her roles as a committed wife, a loving mother, and a responsible executive because she has a strong will to accomplish her goals and believes that solutions are always available.

Dr Jane Kimemia is a product of the Executive Education Programme of INSEAD Business School, France, with over 26 years of experience in financial services covering a broad spectrum of client segments including Consumer Banking, Commercial Banking, and specializing in propositions across transactional banking, lending, and Wealth Management.

She is an amazon who has managed the inspiring growth trajectory of Optiva Capital Partners, a wealth management company specializing in investment immigration, investment advisory and insurance services over the years.

In this interview to celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, Dr Jane Kimemia talks about the tremendous growth of Optiva Capital Partners and its impact on women in the country.
Excerpts…

A Burning Passion Driven By Goals

The common denominator of my passion is to serve. I’m driven by the need to serve, help, to make a difference. In every role that I have played in different organizations, the common denominator is that I serve. I exist to serve. To serve our clients, when you talk about serving the clients, our solutions at Optiva Capital Partners are service solutions. We are connections and bridges to opportunities for clients to have global access for trade, quality of life, for health, and for children’s education. And very importantly is for us to be able to serve our clients and to serve the staff of Optiva Capital Partners. So, the common denominator and the reason why I exist, and my career has been successful, is that I found a place to serve and I am very passionate about it.

Role of Women in the Society

Women are the bedrock of the society. If you look at the basic unit of society -the home, is run by women. That’s where it all starts. Women are seeking ways to educate, to empower, to contribute, and these start from the home. That is why we exist. To be able to educate, train our children and ourselves. To be empowered by the knowledge and experiences gathered, and to contribute to the growth and development of the society.

So, are women fully performing to their expectations?

Yes! Look at women across different walks of life; whether as traders or in the corporate circles, holding big positions in organizations, waking up every day to attend to daily activities has been a fantastic job and balancing so many different roles outside the home. We wear so many different hats as women, daughters, mothers, wives, friends and the trainers of our children and also the corporate people as well. And to balance it all, women are doing fantastic jobs across the different devices.

Achieving The Theme For This Year’s International Women’s Day

This is can be achievable. When you talk about the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day: Count Her In; Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress. How can we achieve this? Firstly, let’s start by focusing. Women started as girls. So, focus on the girl child. And what are the opportunities for girls to succeed? What are the initiatives? What efforts have been put in place to help the girl child succeed across the different states?

As Nigerians, we need to create opportunities and empowerment schemes to let them know that they can succeed and be everything they want to be. Do we do that enough? Absolutely no! I think we need to invest in the education of the girl child and put them in the right programmes for them to succeed. Also, looking at gender equality in the workplace, a lot still needs to be done. There is a need for inclusion, not only at the junior level. What is the inclusion of women across all the different strata of organizations; women in senior management, women in boards.

As we grow up, I am sure you do know that the number of women at the top continues to decrease. So, that is an area to address. Because women can do as well and even better than men. Give women an equal playing field, equal opportunities and very importantly, financial inclusion for women.

Right from the women selling at the market, what is the inclusion of such a huge population of women who are responsible for raising a family? What is the education for them to move from being a “petty trader” into expertise, into a cottage industry and to continue to grow? To provide for them financially, basically, whether it is lending for them to be able to scale up their operations.

There are a lot going on across the different divides, whether it is at the girl child level, at the business level or at the corporate level, there is a lot of need for conscientious efforts to provide equal opportunities for women and give them equal playing field.

Positive Discrimination Initiatives

A lot of Positive Discrimination Initiatives are called affirmative action, to me, it sounds like tokenism. Because I’m a woman, there are opportunities that I am going to be given so I’m not in support of Positive Discrimination Initiatives. What I advocate for is an equal playing field and a mindset that knows that basically, a woman can do the same roles and even have a better output than men. So, looking at some sensitive roles, how many are really given to women? Look at the boardroom, the real discrimination is in the boardroom that’s why the WIMBIZ initiative came up. There’s a whole agenda on women in the boardroom. How do you actually confirm, insist and make sure that it is legislated, that there’s a significant proportion of women who should be in the boardroom? It is not necessarily an affirmative action, it is inclusion.

We are not saying you should just pick a woman because she is a woman but pick a woman and give her the opportunity to compete because women are as competent as men or even better. So, when we talk about positive discrimination initiatives, there are mindset shifts that need to happen to give women equal opportunities as men without the bias of gender.

Women can be emotional but we bring everything we have to the workplace. That’s what makes the difference. That’s what authentic, genuine leadership is about. Look at banks that are led by women, Standard Chartered Bank for a long time was led by a woman. Others like Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, and recently, Access Bank. I’m so glad to see some of them with real development going on in their banks. There are a lot of really good examples of women who have excelled in what people called traditionally men’s roles. It’s really just about giving women the opportunity to be the best they can be. And I can tell you their output will be good if not better than what men will do.

Impact of Social Media on the Girl Child

Social media can be used positively, but unfortunately, there are lot of influences that is happening in the social media space. There’s a lot of positioning, glitz, glamour and make-believe lives. And so, many girls have been misled to think that’s what life is all about. That’s a real problem in Nigeria. There was a day I was having a business lunch in a restaurant, I could not help but see all these girls wearing little dresses. And all they were doing was taking pictures with their phones on a working day and a business lunch place; taking pictures and being on social media and portraying their lives on social media.
And the problem is people end up living for the show and they don’t take the time to build what is important, to build who they are. It’s like a rush for quick money. And whether it is just women or generally, there’s the whole get-rich-quick syndrome. This is my 27 years in corporate space, it takes time, and greatness comes at a cost. You are going to spend time, do the course and go through seasons. Some may not be easy but you will learn something. And that’s the difference. It is a generation that’s so instant, all they want is big money and to show off all they have, and they don’t even have. We need to change that narrative to women who are ready to do their time, to build their credentials, to build their experiences, to go through their season and to identify what they really want to do and really get good at it. So, I think when it comes to the impact of social media, that’s what it has introduced, real emptiness, promoting nothing. They are celebrities, but what do they have? What are you being celebrated for? Because I can tell you the true celebration is when you find your area of service. That’s the true significance of our lives and we need to be very intentional about redirecting and changing that mindset among the young people.

Optiva Capital Partners Partnership with Lagos State Government

We have a number of initiatives that are focused on women. And one of our many initiatives is on maternal health care. The area of maternal healthcare is a big concern, especially in Nigeria. According to the report, Nigeria contributes close to 10% of the global maternal death. And that is huge. If you look at the Nigerian population, the bulk of it is young, which means a lot of people are in childbearing age. Yet there is such a disparity between the provision of healthcare and what women are really doing.

Optiva Capital Partners is working with Lagos State Government in this regard and it’s one of the areas we are very passionate about. How do we reduce maternal mortality that’s avoidable? We are working with several primary healthcare facilities, starting with Ketu, and we have adopted a primary healthcare centre for a total refurbishment, transforming it into a maternal health centre with the right bed capacity to be able to serve the region, with the right equipment and right environment.

We are also looking at infrastructure, the provision in terms of the right medical equipment, ambulance and everything holistically. Everything has to do with how we create the right environment for women to be able to get help when it comes to delivery or if there will be a need for any referrals. That’s a really big initiative which is focused on women’s maternal health.

We have an initiative in the east specifically in Enugu state. And it is really working with families, offering palliative, especially to the disadvantaged people with no source of livelihood.
Every month, hundreds of families come there to benefit from the initiative. Also, we are working with an organization for women traders to be able to access credit.

In Optiva Capital Partners, over 70% of our workforce is women. And if you look at who we are, we are a lifelong learning institution. The empowerment and training of our staff over the years is to make a difference in society.

And very importantly, when you look at the bigger agenda of Optiva Capital Partners, we are a wealth management company. We are a vehicle or a bridge to investment opportunities. That’s another area of service. We serve women when we serve the community. When it comes to financial education, we do recognize financial health and it’s as good as physical health. And that’s an area that has been neglected for years. This is a space we have plugged in; this is a space of our expertise. This is what we do every single day.

Also, we work with families, when you work with families on how their children are going to school, on how they can go to Canada and they will be paying a tenth of what the international students will be paying, it is a service to women, a service to the family. Because we are enabling them, we are showing them opportunities on how they can actually access better services. Also, during International Women’s Day, we will have our women’s forum to celebrate who we are, to really just look into the theme of 2024 and there are a number of initiatives we are going to be launching in terms of mentorship at the workplace, peer mentorship.