Business Matters spent time with Business and Management Consultant Amina Oyagbola and found out who, and what her inspirations are.
What do you currently do at AKMS Consulting Ltd?
AKMS Consulting Ltd is a business and management consulting firm. We provide professional and business solutions to address the concerns of our clients and to improve the performance of their businesses.
Our solutions are knowledge and experience based, and tailored to meet the needs and objectives of our clients. After graduating from Ahmadu Bello University in your home country of Nigeria, you earned master’s degrees from both the University of Cambridge and Lancaster University.
Why did you choose to pursue higher education in the United Kingdom? Trinity College Cambridge, a leading college in one of the finest universities in the world, presented to me an opportunity to refine and hone my legal knowledge, to specialise in selected fields of the law, and to distinguish myself in the field.An MBA at Lancaster was motivated by my strong desire to broaden my career horizons and acquire general management and business skills.
That way, I was able to avoid professional limitations and to advance a career in industry and corporate management. I went to Lancaster as a Chevening scholar and consequently, I was able to draw on the informed advice of the British Council in choosing it. The modules it presented to me as well as the excellent networking opportunities were excellent platforms for me to launch a career in business, management, Human Resources and consulting.
The location of these enviable institutions was, for me, a boon as it was like going back home – my early education, up to my time at Ahmadu Bello University, was in the UK.
What was the inspiration behind your foundation, WISCAR?
The need to build and develop the next generation of female professionals and business leaders.
By this, I seek to pass on the baton handed to my generation by the select few exemplars that went before. WISCAR has, in my opinion, picked the ideal mechanism for achieving the generational passion on of leadership, skills and development initiatives. I refer of course to mentorship as a tool for enabling and enhancing women.
At a critical stage in my professional life, I was identified and selected to be part of the Aspen Global leadership network. The name Aspen speaks for itself. But it is important to note that ALIWA (Africa Leadership Initiative-West Africa), broadened my analytical and public service horizons.
It revealed to me the great potential of public-facing private initiatives for enhancing the well being of society. That special perception helped me to conceive WISCAR.
Who do you admire?
I admire two amazing women who have shown staying power in very complex and challenging pursuits. I say pursuits because these are women in leadership who were forced to contend with issues from diverse fields of human endeavour.
Angela Merkel, over the course of more than 14 years, has shown grace, grit, savvy, humility, and wisdom in the way she has handled the German state. Like every political leader, she has had mud thrown at her, but she has shown an unusual deftness in warding off the dirt whilst at the same time keeping the thrust of her political friends and followers.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf went through truly trying times in her political journey. She has navigated her troubles astutely and managed to transform her country from one with a seemingly hopeless future into one with hopes of total redemption. It must be noted as well, that she is the first female Head of State in Africa, which is certainly a landmark achievement.
Looking back on your career, is there anything you would have done differently?
I would not change anything in my career track. I, however, exhort women to deliberately focus on building relationships and a strong network to advance their careers and achieve success. I would also encourage women to speak up in pursuit of their goals and to be bold in seizing opportunities presented.
What defines your way of doing business?
Hard work, integrity, ethics, industry, drive, value delivery, knowledge, and expertise form the cornerstones of my professional engagements and consultancy practice. I keep my promises and put in the desired hard work to deliver value to my clients. I ensure that I only accept briefs and assignments that I am qualified and competent to deliver on. I thrive on challenges and strive for the delivery of creative and practical solutions. I am result driven and focus on positive outcomes and client satisfaction.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in your career?
Be honest, hardworking and humble, and focus on creating value. Ensure you have the educational base, knowledge and expertise to work in your chosen field. Ensure that you continue to learn (be a learning individual and run a learning-organisation).
Ensure you are principled and ethical, and that you give of yourself in the interest of the public. Take courses and read books that add value to you and attend webinars, conferences and seminars.
Finally, deliberately and intentionally build your network of friends, colleagues and associates. Ensure that you continuously initiate, plug into, and grow networks and that you involve yourself in the development and education of others in your professional life. In sum, create and nurture professional value chains.
You were recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award at the HR People Magazine Awards. What does an award like this mean to you?
Being a recognition of my professional value and worth within the industry, I was thrilled and felt enhanced by the award. Thrilled because of the accolade it represented; accolades paid by my predecessors and peers. Enhanced, because it represented due recognition of all the pain, hard work, and sometimes even soul-searching that went into my work.
I have always felt the need for total immersion in my professional engagements and pursuits. There were times, however, that I would question the sheer effort and dedication that I invested in my work.
This award has validated my values and the ‘all-in’ approach to my work.I hope and trust that it will inspire other HR practitioners to achieve, add value to organisations, and excel in strategic human resource management.
For me, the award is a call to re-dedicate myself towards the provision of leadership and support in the HR profession and use my rich and varied knowledge and expertise to address the business and management needs, and concerns of my clients through my consultancy practice.
How do you continue to grow professionally?
I attend conferences, workshops and seminars. I read relevant books and learn continuously from research in the course of executing briefs and assignments, and from several chat groups and professional bodies, I belong to. I strongly believe in continuous learning, improvement and development.