Linda Obi’s goal is to create a sustainable platform that leverages technology to bridge the gap between doctors and patients and has taken a huge step in establishing AfriHealth, A telemedical service that brings healthcare right to your doorstep. Exquisite magazine is so pleased to have an interview with her, let’s read up on her story.
Please tell us about yourself and your brand.
Well, my journey began right here in Lagos, a city bursting with life and endless possibilities. Growing up here was a whirlwind of fun and discovery, and it’s where my innate passion for technology was first ignited. The bustling streets of Lagos served as my early inspiration, driving me to explore the ever-evolving world of tech.
Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to delve deep into the African tech ecosystem. I’ve had the privilege of working with numerous startups, guiding them on their path to growth, and ultimately orchestrating successful exits. It’s been an exhilarating ride, filled with challenges that have only made me stronger.
Currently, I’m on a remarkable journey with the incredible team at AfriHealth, where we are building Rigour+. Our goal is to create a sustainable platform that leverages technology to bridge the gap between doctors and patients. In a country like Nigeria, where the doctor-to-patient ratio stands at a staggering 1 to 15,000, the potential for transformation is immense. We’re not just building a telemedical service; we’re fostering a profound connection that brings healthcare right to your doorstep.
But that’s not all. My heart beats for new-age tech, and I’m on a mission to make a significant impact. I’m spearheading an educational DAO TechonomyAfrica that aspires to upskill a staggering 1,000,000 Africans for tech roles by 2030. It’s a vision that’s grand, but I believe in the power of dreams and their ability to reshape the world.
In all of this, my driving force is the unwavering belief that Africa’s future is intertwined with technology, and together, we can script a narrative of progress, innovation, and empowerment. So, the story of Linda I. A is one of a Lagos-born dreamer, a tech enthusiast, and a tireless advocate for a brighter, tech-infused Africa. It’s a journey where passion meets purpose, and the adventure continues to unfold.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS FIELD?
I’ve had the privilege of working in the dynamic field of technology for 11 years, with experiences spanning various cities and regions in Africa. It’s been an incredible journey, one that has allowed me to witness firsthand the evolving tech landscape on our continent.
But if we talk about my entire professional career, I’ve been at it for 21 years now. These years have been a tapestry of experiences, challenges, and growth, all leading me to this moment. And I can say with enthusiasm that the journey is far from over; there are many more chapters to write in the ever-evolving story of technology in Africa.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO THIS FIELD?
My decision to dive headfirst into the world of technology was, in essence, a response to the critical issues Africa was facing. It was a response to the teething and aching problems that our continent grapples with daily. I vividly remember the moment that solidified this path for me, a moment that forever changed my perspective. It was the loss of a close relative, someone, dear to my heart, to a disease that could have been treated with timely and quality medical care. This tragedy highlighted the stark reality: many people across Africa suffer due to the lack of access to quality healthcare. It was a painful awakening, a stark reminder of the challenges our people face.
But amidst the pain, I saw a glimmer of hope. I realized that technology had the power to bridge these gaps, to bring healthcare closer to those who needed it most. That realization ignited a fire within me. It was not just healthcare; financial inclusion was another pressing issue. Millions of Africans were excluded from the financial system, but fintech was beginning to change that narrative.
I knew I had to be a part of the solution. It was a calling to address real issues, to paint a picture of the struggles, and to offer a story of hope. It became my mission to leverage technology to make quality healthcare accessible to all and to bring financial services to the underserved. I embarked on this journey with a commitment to create a brighter, healthier, and more inclusive Africa, where no one has to suffer the way my relative did.
In the face of these challenges, I found inspiration and a sense of purpose. And today, it’s my unwavering dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of Africans that drives me forward in the world of technology.
TIPS ON HOW YOU STARTED?
Starting in the tech field, like any significant endeavour, required a blend of courage, vision, and resilience. It was about embarking on a path with no clear road map but unwavering determination to make a difference.
My first tip for anyone starting is to never underestimate the power of learning. Tech is an ever-evolving landscape, so staying curious and open to acquiring new knowledge is vital. I immersed myself in books, courses, and mentorship opportunities to understand the intricacies of technology and its applications in real-world problems.
The second tip is to network extensively. I reached out to experienced professionals, attended tech events, and joined communities where I could learn and collaborate. Building a network of like-minded individuals is essential; it’s a source of support, mentorship, and potential partnerships.
The third tip is to be fearless when it comes to embracing challenges. Tech is an industry where trial and error are common. Every obstacle is an opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to take risks; they often lead to breakthroughs.
Lastly, always keep your purpose in mind. My journey started with a clear vision of addressing critical issues in Africa using technology. Having a strong sense of purpose will guide your decisions and keep you motivated during both the highs and lows.
YOU ARE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH IN SOCIETY, HOW DID YOU GROW TO THIS LEVEL?
I truly appreciate the kind words, and I want to emphasize that reaching this point in my journey has been a result of a combination of factors and, most importantly, the unwavering support of countless individuals and my unrelenting commitment to my vision.
First and foremost, it’s about being relentless in my pursuit of excellence. I’ve never settled for mediocrity; I’ve constantly pushed the boundaries of what’s possible in the fields I’ve ventured into.
I’ve also had the privilege of learning from the best. I’ve sought mentorship from individuals who have blazed trails before me. Their guidance and wisdom have been invaluable in shaping my path.
Furthermore, my journey has been marked by a willingness to take calculated risks. Every time I stepped out of my comfort zone, I found new growth opportunities. I’ve never let the fear of failure hold me back.
The support of my incredible team at AfriHealth has been pivotal. Together, we share a common vision, and their dedication and hard work have been instrumental in our success.
Ultimately, I believe that my journey has been a blend of determination, learning from others, taking risks, and surrounding myself with a passionate team. It’s about constantly seeking growth and never losing sight of the purpose that drives me to make a positive impact in society.
Reaching this level is not the end; it’s a stepping stone to even greater achievements and more meaningful contributions to our world.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
Success, to me, is not merely a destination but a profound journey of fulfilment, impact, and purpose. It transcends personal accolades and material wealth; it’s about the positive imprint we leave on the world.
Success is when you’ve worked tirelessly to turn your vision into reality, when your efforts have uplifted the lives of others, and when you’ve contributed to making the world a better place. It’s the ability to look back and see a path marked by progress, growth, and positive change.
In essence, success is a harmonious blend of personal achievement and the betterment of society. It’s about reaching a point where your actions resonate beyond your own life, where you’ve inspired others to dream, to aspire, and to create their own success stories. It’s the unshakable belief that every step you take, every endeavour you pursue, can leave a lasting legacy that reverberates long after you’re gone.
Success isn’t defined by a singular moment but by a lifetime of meaningful contributions. It’s not a static target but a dynamic, ever-evolving journey where your impact knows no bounds.
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO START YOUR CAREER OVER AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
It’s a thought-provoking question, and while there might be moments I’d wish to revisit, I wouldn’t fundamentally change the essence of my journey. Each challenge, every twist and turn, has contributed to who I am today.
However, if I were to consider a different approach, it would be to embrace change even more wholeheartedly. I’d encourage my younger self to be bolder in venturing into uncharted territories and taking risks. Embracing new technologies and opportunities earlier on might have allowed me to make an impact sooner.
But the beauty of my journey lies in its uniqueness, the lessons learned through both successes and setbacks. So, while I might tweak some details, the core of my path remains a testament to the power of resilience, growth, and the pursuit of a purpose-driven life.
EVERY BUSINESS-MINDED SUCCESSFUL PERSON HAS A STORY, WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE?
Indeed, every success story is interwoven with challenges, and my journey has been no exception. As a woman, especially one with family responsibilities, I faced unique hurdles. Balancing the demands of a career, a family, and the societal expectations placed on women required a careful juggling act.
Being a woman of colour added another layer of complexity. The path was often less straightforward, and I encountered biases that I had to navigate. But these challenges, while formidable, became catalysts for growth and resilience.
Overcoming these obstacles reinforced my determination to make a meaningful impact in the world of technology. It’s a reminder that diversity is not a hindrance but an incredible source of strength. It’s an encouragement to inspire others, particularly women and minorities, to embrace their uniqueness and use it as a driving force for change.
in addition to the challenges associated with being a woman, a woman with family responsibilities, and a person of colour, my journey was marked by several other hurdles.
Financial constraints were a significant challenge, especially when it came to funding startup ventures and projects. Securing investments and resources required persistent effort and creative solutions.
Navigating the ever-evolving tech landscape, which can be intimidating and fast-paced, presented its own set of challenges. Staying updated, adapting to new technologies, and remaining competitive in a dynamic industry demanded continuous learning and adaptability.
Yet, these challenges, while formidable, were not insurmountable. They pushed me to become a problem solver, an innovator, and a resilient leader. They taught me to value diversity and the importance of empowering others who face similar challenges.
The beauty of these challenges is that they shaped me into the individual I am today and enriched my perspective. They reinforce my commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable world, where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, regardless of the challenges they face.
WHAT SETS YOU APART?
What sets me apart is the fusion of passion, purpose, and relentless determination. I’m not just a participant in the tech world; I’m a zealous advocate for change. My ability to seamlessly blend diverse experiences spanning FMCG, agri-tech, and the broader tech ecosystem has given me a holistic perspective that’s truly unique.
But what truly distinguishes me is my unwavering commitment to making a meaningful impact. I don’t just see challenges; I see opportunities to innovate. I’m not merely a leader; I’m a catalyst for transformation. My focus isn’t just on personal success; it’s on the success of those around me and the betterment of society.
My journey isn’t about following the conventional path; it’s about forging new trails that lead to progress. I am resolute in my dedication to addressing critical issues in Africa, such as healthcare accessibility and financial inclusion, using technology as a driving force.
What sets me apart is not just what I’ve accomplished but the future I’m actively shaping. I believe in a world where technology can be a force for good, where diversity is celebrated, and where innovation knows no bounds. I’m not just chasing success; I’m pioneering a legacy of empowerment, and that, I believe, is what truly sets me apart.
YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO MANY, WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Thank you for the kind words! I’m genuinely humbled by your encouragement. My journey has been a testament to the belief that when passion meets purpose, remarkable things can happen. It’s a continuous endeavour to harness the power of technology to drive positive change in Africa and beyond.
I’m here to inspire, to learn, and to share in the collective pursuit of a brighter future. The challenges we face are opportunities in disguise, and I’m dedicated to transforming them into stepping stones towards progress. Together, we can shape a world where innovation knows no bounds, where diversity is celebrated, and where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
Outside of rice and beans (and, of course, the occasional jollof rice feast), what truly motivates me is the irresistible allure of transforming challenges into triumphs. It’s like spicing up life with that perfect blend of innovation and determination, creating a recipe for success that’s as delicious as any West African dish.
I find immense joy in the idea that we can serve up a tech-infused future, garnished with empowerment, and seasoned with innovation. It’s a recipe for a world where opportunities are unlimited, and the only limits are the ones we set for ourselves.
So, whether it’s in the kitchen or the tech world, it’s all about crafting a future that’s as rich, diverse, and fulfilling as our favourite dishes. And who doesn’t love a side of inspiration with their meal?
IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT YOURSELF WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
If I were to pen the story of my journey, the title would be “From Code to Compassion: A Tech Odyssey in the Heart of Africa.” It encapsulates the transformational power of technology, the unwavering drive for change, and the deep-rooted compassion for making a difference. It’s a narrative that unfolds at the intersection of innovation, purpose, and the remarkable landscapes of Africa, revealing a story that’s as boundless and inspiring as the continent itself.
PLEASE KINDLY SHARE SOME OF YOUR SECRETS TO BECOMING SUCCESSFUL WITH EM.
Success is a journey with no shortcuts, but I can certainly share some guiding principles that have been instrumental in my own path
Passion and Purpose: Find what ignites your soul and channel it into a driving force. Let passion be your compass, and always ground your pursuits in a profound purpose that goes beyond personal gain.
Learning Never Ends: Be a lifelong learner. Embrace the thrill of acquiring new knowledge, whether it’s technology, leadership, or any field relevant to your goals. The more you know, the broader your horizons become.
Resilience is Key: Challenges are inevitable. What sets you apart is how you respond to them. Approach setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. Resilience is the bridge between obstacles and achievement.
Collaboration and Networking: Surround yourself with individuals who share your vision. Collaborate, learn from others, and seek mentorship from those who have trodden a similar path. Networking is a treasure trove of wisdom.
Embrace Diversity: Recognize the power of diversity, both in the people you collaborate with and in the solutions you create. Diverse perspectives lead to innovation and inclusive growth.
Stay Agile: In the tech world, adaptability is paramount. Embrace change, and be open to new technologies and trends. Agility is the cornerstone of remaining relevant and ahead of the curve.
Purpose-Driven Innovation: Let your innovations be driven by a purpose that extends beyond profit. Making a positive impact should be at the heart of what you do.
Time Management: Effectively manage your time, and prioritize tasks that align with your vision. Time is a valuable resource; invest it wisely.
Legacy Mindset: Think beyond personal success. Consider the legacy you want to leave behind. How will your work continue to benefit society long after you’re gone?
Never Stop Dreaming: Success is a journey, not a destination. Always dream bigger and set new goals. The pursuit of greatness knows no bounds.
These are just a few guiding stars that have illuminated my path.
WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO YOUTHS WITH THE ZEAL TO GROW?
For ambitious youth eager to grow, here’s a concise guide:
Dream Big: Fearlessly pursue your dreams; they light your path.
Learn and Adapt: Embrace lifelong learning, and see failure as a stepping stone.
Passion and Perseverance: Fuel your journey with passion, and stay committed even when it gets tough.
Diversity and Collaboration: Embrace diverse perspectives and collaborate for innovation.
Constant Progress: Never settle; keep setting new goals and invest time wisely.
Believe in Yourself: Trust in your abilities and silence self-doubt.
Resilience: Bounce back from setbacks with determination.
Impact Matters: Success is about the positive impact you create.
Community Support: Build a network of supporters and mentors.
Curiosity and Innovation: Stay curious and be open to change and innovation.
Celebrate Achievements: Don’t wait for big wins to celebrate; every step counts.
Pay It Forward: Uplift others and share your success.
PLEASE SHARE CONTACT DETAILS YOU WISH TO BE MADE PUBLIC
You can connect with me on the following platforms:
LinkedIn: Linda Obi
Feel free to reach out and connect. I’m always eager to engage with fellow enthusiasts and visionaries.