With over 23 years proven record of career excellence, Mrs Folashade Ambrose-Medebem still proves to the world that success can be achieved at its peak using one’s skills effectively. Having worked with reputable multinationals across different industries and still stands tall, she shares with EM’S DAMILOLA SHOTE on the secret to overcoming prejudice from a personal experience:
- PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF BRIEFLY TO EM…
My name is Folashade Ambrose-Medebem. I am the Director Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainable Development at Lafarge Africa Plc. I’ve been married almost 25 years, a mum of three, and an avid lover of classical music. I enjoy coaching and mentoring teenagers and women.
- YOU HAVE BEEN IN YOUR FIELD FOR HOW LONG?
I have been in the field of ‘work’ for 23 years.
- WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO INTO THIS FIELD
The challenge and opportunity to make a significant difference within and outside the organization appealed to me. With each role I take, I always seek personal growth in addition to challenge and opportunity.
- TIPS ON HOW YOU STARTED?
I started my career in management accounts. However, I soon realized I wanted to do something I enjoyed intrinsically without losing my work experience, which I believed would give me an edge. So I asked myself, ‘Fola what would you enjoy doing’? The answer was working with people from different disciplines while learning. My next role was a financial systems project manager, then change manager, then head of strategy and so on.
- YOU ARE A FORCE TO RECKON WITH IN THE SOCIETY, HOW DID YOU GROW TO THIS LEVEL?
By always seeking constant feedback, leveraging lessons learned, having unwavering self-belief and fundamentally applying good old grit crucially leading to results
- EVERY BUSINESS MINDED SUCCESSFUL PERSON HAS A STORY, WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE?
Having spent the majority of my life and career in the UK, a huge challenge I faced was stereotyping. It was hard dealing with prejudice at work, as more often than not I was the only black woman in meetings and sometimes functions. I quickly learnt the best way to respond to criticism is to simply perform and deliver, always the best effective way to silence your critics. Simply let the facts speak for themselves.
- WHAT SETS YOU APART?
My values, purpose, resilience and courage. I am always clear on my values; which is to treat others the way I would like to be treated.
- YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO MANY, WHO/WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My parents inspire me. They gave me and my two siblings the best education they could afford underpinned by invaluable values. I vividly remember leaving home at 19 and my mother saying to me – “Fola remember the home you come from” (ranti eni ti iwo se). This still resonates with me.
- WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
Fulfilling my purpose motivates me. My purpose is – to inspire best in myself and others.
I am also passionate about helping women succeed in the workplace. My primary mission is to drive opportunities for impact, by encouraging women to speak up in the workplace and by sharing how to implement career winning strategies. This is why I have established Womens’ Inspiring Impact network (WiiN). To Learn more about WIIN visit www.folaambrosemedebem.com and follow IamFola_AM on instagram and twitter
- PLEASE KINDLY SHARE SOME OF YOUR SECRETS TO BECOMING SUCCESSFUL WITH EM?
Clarify expectations at the onset – ask your boss or key stakeholders – what is your definition of success? Then seek to exceed it. Try not to reinvent the wheel if you can, there are many best practices out there, instead seek to improve best practice.
- WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO MODERN DAY LADIES AND YOUTHS WITH THE ZEAL TO GROW?
First, be clear on what you stand for and why – ask yourself who am I? what do I care about and enjoy doing? Then self evaluate – where you are versus where you need to be? And then begin to take actions to close the gap. Seek a mentor and/or sponsor. Speak up as often as you can and encourage colleagues to do the same. Finally seek feedback always remember we all have blind spots so ask, seek and close your gaps purposefully.