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Women in Business: Odunayo Sanya

Odunayo is a versatile professional with 20+ years of postgraduate work experience in the education, financial services and telecommunication sectors of which 15 years have been in management positions. She is currently a General Manager in MTN Nigeria, Africa’s leading Telecommunication Company, with an active base of 57million subscribers (April 2016) – where she leads the Planning and Customer Management team.

She is knowledgeable in customer experience management, business process outsourcing, customer intelligence (analytics), contact center management, billing services, retail management, collections and credit management. She is adept at conceptualizing and implementing innovative customer –centric practices and procedures to improve efficiency in an organisation.

An Alumni of the Lagos Business School (SMP 27) and IMD with executive trainings from the Harvard Business School and Cornell University, she is a certified Professional Forecaster (CPF) and a member of the Institute of Business Forecasting & Planning (New York).

An international speaker, Odunayo has presented papers at the IIR Telecoms loyalty &Churn in Berlin (2009) and Nice, France (2010). A conference advisor at Fleming Gulf’s ‘Win Your Customer’ conference in South Africa (2011). She is also a volunteer mentor on the platform of WISCAR (Women in Successful Careers). Odunayo is a John Maxwell certified Coach, Speaker and Trainer.

MTN Foundation was incorporated in 2004 to drive the various CSR initiatives of MTN Nigeria Communication PLC. It was commissioned in May 2005 with MTN Nigeria Communication PLC committing up to 1% of its Profit after Tax (PAT) as its main source of funding for projects.

Drug abuse, especially among the youths is worrisome and as such, MTN Foundation through the Anti-Substance Abuse Program (ASAP), from 2018-2019, implemented a multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder focus intervention with the aim to contribute to a significant reduction in the rate of first time and habitual use of drugs and narcotic substances amongst youths in Nigeria specifically, those within 10-25 years.

For Odunayo, Nigeria has a young population (70% under 24), which demands that we pay attention to this demography. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released a report in 2019 which states that the number of drug users in Nigeria is estimated at 14.3 million. “From that report, we can deduce that substance abuse in Nigeria is dire indeed. Prior to the UNODC report, BBC in 2018 highlighted the burden of the substance abuse in Nigeria particularly codeine and tramadol among Nigeria Youths. Self-medication and easy access to drugs over the counter is rife and tends to compound the substance abuse problem.” She said.

The year has been a tough one for many but Sanya advises you to do the following in the remaining part of 2020 and beyond. She says you have been resourced with all you need, always find strength to look inside, practice forgiveness, it is a life skill; Be kind, it is always an opportunity to be blessed; Enable, empower, encourage and elevate others; Be authentic, you are called to be you; Legendary only happens outside our comfort zones; Love is the highest virtue, embrace and radiate it; All change is difficult at first, messy in the middle and beautiful in the end, keep at it; Be more, sweat in practice so you don’t bleed in war (spartan creedo) always prepare; Don’t just win, win by a wide margin; Be adventurous, it unlocks your creativity; Live your legacy don’t just leave it behind; Love yourself, that is the measure by which you can love others; Take care of your body, it is where you live; Take care of your spirit, it is who you are; Your fortune follows your fearlessness; Potential that is unexpressed turns into pain; Fear is a valid emotion and like energy, you need to convert it into a usable state of Faith; and finally, Life is urgent, remember you are finite and mortal

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