We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change. – Sheryl Sandberg
In this edition of #SpotOn, one of the very few Nigerian ladies who have been actively exploring and pushing the boundaries of tech in Nigeria Ebi Atawodi delivers profound insight into her corporate itinerary at Uber and the drive that keeps her going.
Ebi Atawodi comes with over a decade of marketing in the digital technology space. Ebi joined Uber as General Manager for Lagos and is now Uber’s General Manager for West Africa. She was previously Head of Corporate Communications and High Value Sponsorships at Etisalat – the fourth and fastest growing telecommunications company in Nigeria, 12th in the world. She created the Etisalat Prize for Literature – Africa’s most prestigious literary prize.
Prior to Etisalat she worked various roles/projects for Nokia, FirstBank, Booz & Company (now Strategy& Afren), GlaxoSmith Klein, Channel 4 and Bupa.
She holds a Bachelors with Honours in Electrical Electronics Engineering from the University of Nottingham and Masters in Computing Science from Imperial College London with a focus on Artificial Intelligence and Infographics. Ebi is a competitive Hobie Cat sailor and passionate scuba diver (PADI rescue diver).
Enjoy the chat but more importantly apply these truths to your life.
1. Having had over a decade experience in Marcomms, What can you say motivates you and keeps you thriving?
Being able to create things out of nothing has to be my biggest driver. I’m obsessed with a challenge – the bigger the better, and through that journey I learn more about myself, my strengths, weaknesses and uncover new adventures.
2. What are the fundamental lessons you’ve learnt working at Uber?
Some key things I’ve learned include being able to hustle, make magic and get things done. At Uber we need to ‘always be closing’, i.e. -always be hustling. This industry and company moves at an incredibly fast pace and we need to be ahead of the curve. I have also learnt to make magic happen – this includes going back to the basics, and that being said, the third fundamental lesson learnt would have to be that having something done, is better that it being perfect. Sometimes there just isn’t time to fuss over the details!
3. With your exposure to tech, what are the evolving trends you believe youths can leverage on particularly in Africa?
One of the areas we really have not fully maximized in Africa is the wealth of knowledge on the Internet. I really would like to see young people focus their efforts on self-development first from basics like grammar and literature to more complex topics like mathematics and logic. The depths of the Internet are limitless and communities like Andela and CCHub are championing the next frontier of education.
I believe the future of technology will be founded on some key things; Robotics, AI, Neuroscience, Biotech, 3D Printing
4. As a lady, how do you thrive in a male dominated environment?
I have read Lean In cover to cover 🙂
5. What are your most important quotes/nuggets?
- The only thing that can stop you is yourself
- ‘We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.’ – Aristotle
- It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. – Invictus by William Ernest Henley
- Je pense, donc je suis (I think, therefore I am) – René Descartes
6. What is the role of mentorship in achieving a dream?
I think the concept of mentorship has taken a different meaning. A mentor isn’t arranged or designed, these things just fall into place. I believe it is important to surround yourself with people – peers and other leaders – who inspire you, challenge you, call you out/keep you in line and most important strive to see the very best version of yourself.
7. Your top three most inspiring books would be?
I have an endless list of fiction books from Pride and Prejudice to A Fine Balance. For non-fiction
- Persuasion: The Art of Influencing People
- The Four Hour Work Week
- Lean In (Of course)
8. Is there any gap or divide you have observed amongst the present youths and what do proffer as a solution to it?
One of the things I have noticed the world over is a tendency to look for shortcuts. We are in a generation of instant gratification largely fueled by the Internet. Believe it is important to remind our generation that nothing easy is worth it and nothing worth it is easy.
Watch Out for the next edition of #SpotOn!