Amy Jadesimi, is the Managing Director of the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), Nigeria’s only indigenous-owned deep offshore logistics base. Dr. Jadesimi attended Oxford University Medical School, from which she graduated as a medical doctor (MD). After Oxford, Dr. Jadesimi joined Goldman Sachs International in London as part of the Investment Banking Division, specializing in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions. She then attended Stanford Business School, from which she earned her MBA in Business Administration. While at Stanford, Amy completed an internship with Brait Private Equity in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she worked as a transaction executive in Private Equity. After graduating from business school Amy moved to Nigeria where she set up a financial consultancy firm before joining LADOL (a company founded by her father) as Managing Director.
4 Practical Lessons we can learn from Amy Jadesimi
Give it a shot.
After finishing her medical degree and earning a Masters degree in Physiological Sciences from Oxford university, Amy Jadesimi never intended to pursue a career outside of medicine. Yet, soon after graduating from medical school in 1999, she found herself joining the Investment Banking division of Goldman Sachs in London, specialising in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions.
“I did not actually choose to go into business,” Jadesimi says, “but I was fortunate enough to be offered a job by Goldman Sachs while working with a firm [a group of doctors] under a female surgeon in Oxford. She encouraged me to go on and explore it, saying that it was a good opportunity to see what an alternative career would be like, and that I could come back to the hospital in another year. This made it easy for me to go and try something new – investment banking. I tried it out and I really enjoyed it.”
Jadesimi never returned to the hospital or her previous job. After three years at Goldman Sachs, she left to pursue an MBA at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. While at Stanford, she accepted an internship with Brait Private Equity in Johannesburg, South Africa, working as a transaction executive in private equity. Her next move was her last – joining her father, Oladipo Jadesimi, a former founding partner of Arthur Andersen Nigeria, at his company: the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base (LADOL), the only Nigerian owned deep offshore logistics base and the largest privately financed logistics base in Nigeria.
Like Sheryl Sandberg the COO of Facebook will always say; “Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder”. Explore new territories and take on new opportunities. You never know what you’ll discover in them. This is particularly applicable to young women who’s decisions have fairly less risk involved. When an opportunity pops in, ask yourself “why not?”
Ignore the Chatter
When asked how she feels being a woman in what many perceive to be a man’s business, Jadesimi is quick to dismiss the thought, saying that she has never felt this was a man’s business. However, she does agree that there are differences in the way that men and women approach business. “I think people more easily dismiss a woman in the workplace or try to put women down,” she says. “I have found that you have to set your mind to be 100-percent professional at all times. You must know what you are talking about before you open your mouth and do your work in such a way that you leave no excuse or doubt for people to derogate you or your work because you are a woman… I think you also have to be smart about how you come across to people as a woman.”
Don’t place limitations on yourself based on the beliefs of others.. Your gender is only a problem when you consider it one, indeed there are certain dynamics surrounding genders, but what we should focus on is working around them and doing what needs to be done. Remember, it’s only a problem when you consider it one.
Work HARD and while you’re at it develop a thick skin.
Amy, in an interview when asked the top reasons why she has been successful in business, she said “I think I am a grafter. I work really hard and that has really stood me in good stead. I have never thought of myself as being a smart person or not, I am just happy to kind of put my head down and work. Also, I’m not worried about what other people think – not in an arrogant way I hope, but from a sense that I set myself internal goals and I am focused on achieving them. And I try to make sure they aren’t influenced by the outside world, like the media… So I think hard work and being true to myself has been key. Although when I say it out loud it just sounds very sort of “Hollywood””
“Hard work is really essential. You have got to be prepared to roll your sleeves up, and don’t imagine that just because you hear fantastic stories about people who drop out of school and make a fortune, and do things the easy way, that this is typical. It is far from typical. If you work hard, even if you don’t get what you are aiming for, you will get something. You will never be empty-handed.And the experience of working hard opens up so many doors because in the process you’re educating yourself, you are learning about yourself, you are learning about other people, you are meeting people, and people can see your work and your passion – and it will lead to something.”
You can’t be working hard and not know you are; all your brain cells and muscles will testify to it. You can do more that you are currently doing, push yourself.
Think Deep and Futuristically
Amy Jadesimi is the Managing Director of a big organization and as such recruitment is something she does. According to her, her favorite interview question is “where do you see yourself in five years?”
According to her “ I know everybody hates that question, but it is actually really insightful… I don’t really care what the answer is, but what I am trying to get from them is two things. Firstly, I want to know that they actually have a vision for their future, that they have some plans and ambitions. Even though it is a question that everybody expects, you would be surprised by how many people just answer it in a way that shows they haven’t really thought through the next two minutes, let alone the next five years.”
I used to hate that question up until this moment. I hated it because it made me think deeply about my future and I hated the dire reality that I couldn’t adequately describe what it would be like. But hey, I choose not to hate it anymore because I need it, you should too. Take a moment right now and ask yourself, “Where will I be in 5 years”
Beyond LADOL, Dr Amy Jadesimi contributes to Forbes and recently joined the 2015 Advisory Board for the UN Development Programme’s “Africa Human Development Report”.
Amy has a number of accolades under her belt:
- In 2012, she was named an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellow
- In 2013, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum
- In 2013, a Rising Talent by the Women’s Forum for Economy and Society
- In 2014, Forbes included her in The 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa
- In July 2015, the Financial Times named her one of top 25 Africans To Watch.
The bar has been set higher yet again. Amy shows that the possibilities for you and I are endless. Let’s do this!
This post was culled from the Thresh woman WCW Column. The ThreshWoman WCW is a column I manage with the goal to celebrate and encourage the successes of women all around the world while inspiring other women to chase their dreams fiercely.