BusinessDay

Helen Majemite, social entrepreneur & COO at Ceeri Foods

Helen is a ‘socialpreneur’ and her unique value proposition as a business leader is that she is avid in enhancing the operational excellence of businesses, whilst amplifying the impact of such business by tying it to initiatives that drive women and youth empowerment and development.

She has a knack for languages as she comfortably speaks five Nigerian languages (Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ishan, and Urhobo) and has a fair conversational grasp of French. Her over 30 years’ post-graduation experience has been with indigenous and international corporates covering various industries such as: Agribusiness and manufacturing, Not-for-Profit, consulting services, engineering, construction, and the public sector respectively.

She wears many hats as a professional but she chooses to emphasise that she is currently the Chief Operations Officer of Ceeri Foods, a social enterprise in the agribusiness value chain, and the CEO of Oeetrot Concept Limited, an indigenous logistics and procurement firm based in Nigeria which is also a certified woman owned business by WEConnect International.

She has accepted invitations to mentor and contribute her perspective on women empowerment and building sustainable businesses in Africa, on some local and international platforms, such as: Cherie Blair Foundation, Commonwealth Business Women Network, Nigeria, EPI (Entrepreneur Platform Initiative 2019) and WIMBIZ (Women In Management, Business and Public Service) to mention a few.

Helen has her views on four possible ways women can thrive in a male-dominated field.

Firstly, she says you must speak up in meetings. According to her, if you have anything worth sharing, speak with confidence in meetings. In a study published in Harvard Business Review, women are much less likely than men to speak up in meetings. “Speaking up in meetings shows that you are knowledgeable and have something to contribute.” Helen said.

Secondly, Majemite says as a woman, you must not water down your achievements. She adds that you must accept credit for your work because many women find it hard to accept credit for their work. She insists that you must let others know that you worked for it and you deserve the praise, and that you must not try to attribute your achievements to luck.

Thirdly, she advises that you keep your eye on role models, because role models are the people that would make your career path clearer and easy to navigate. Helen says you must seek out for role models who know and understand what you are going through, because they will be your compass to navigate the male-dominated field.

Finally, she says you must be open to networking because if you really desire to advance in a male-dominated field, networking and closing business deals outside the office can help you achieve this.

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