I am Mary A.S Dickson currently working with Nalo Solutions Limited as the Marketing Team Lead, a role I took up about a year and a half ago. September 2022 will be my 10th year in Nalo as an employee where I started as a “greenhorn” in the corporate world. Throughout my life in University, I took on a number of internships which saw me moving through different organizations. I have worked with Faith Montessori School, interned with HFC bank now Republic bank, and had my national service with Precious Mineral Marketing Company. Everywhere I found myself I made it my aim to try and learn as much as possible within the short stay I had in the organization. Right after my National Service, I took a bold decision that had quite a number of people questioning me about it. I got the opportunity to work with Nalo Solutions. The company had been operating for just a year as I knew them from my last internship before completing University.
I was the Valedictorian for my year group graduating in 2012. Some of my family were not too happy about it because they felt that as a first-degree holder and Overall best student I could have gotten a better offer. A couple of people also thought, “what will a Valedictorian be doing with such a small company, there should be better offers she could look out for or get”. The truth is I received some offers along the way but I knew I was going to be with NALO Solutions for a while. After almost 10 years, post-first-degree graduation I have seen myself transform in many ways with the most important one being exposed to diverse skills. As young as I was at 22 years they gave me the opportunity to take up a lot of responsibilities which fast forward to today I believe has helped to groom me in many ways. I got the opportunity to pursue my Master’s degree with the support of the company and graduated KNUST with an MSc. Strategic Management and Leadership last year.
Alongside working in the early stages, I had to sometimes help care for my older sisters’ kids and through this I got the inspiration to start blogging on motherhood and entrepreneurship. I have been running the WeMompreneurs mom blog for over six years where I share useful resources and posts to inspire and encourage mothers on their journey through this have come into contact with amazing brands such as KidloLand, Frytol, Happy Milk with some of them sharing my content and collaborated with on a few partnerships. I also support some of these mom-owned businesses through consulting especially in marketing. Through the blog, my interaction with a couple of mothers, and my own personal journey of journaling, the inspiration came to launch the WOM Journal where we design and sell beautiful Made in Ghana journals and planners. I have created and customized over 6 journal designs for individuals and groups in Ghana and Nigeria since December 2020.
To our young ones hunting for job opportunities it’s important to;
1. Put that certificate aside and aim at getting more experience and developing your skills
2. Money is good, but don’t allow that to be the center of all your decisions.
3. Sometimes that small business you see may only be small for a short while. It could grow into something way bigger than you ever imagined.
4. Network, Network, Network. Your network is your NET WORTH.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?
My biggest initial hurdle was in University. Growing up I was an extremely shy person with terrible interpersonal skills to the extent that I didn’t even want to be on social media. I remember being nominated as Governor for my society in the University. I went for vetting and the panel looked at my grades and asked if I had a social life. My grades were very impressive but the panel talked me out of the position because some of them felt joining in could bring my grades down. Others thought I didn’t know anyone and was not a sociable person and as such I was not the right choice for a leadership position.
They managed to talk me out of the position and I continued to stay in my lane. One year later I graduated top of my class as the Overall Best Student of the 2012 batch. I graduated with a good certificate and just a few connections. I got to the corporate world and I realized to meet my targets and close some deals I needed to have a network and have good interpersonal skills. I started connecting with people whenever I attended an event and also tried to reach out to a couple of my schoolmates. Anytime I visited an office and realized there was someone I knew, I went all out to ask of the person and at least say hello (down the lane, most of these networks have contributed to at least 80% of the deals I have closed. I started engaging more with people, I set up a social media profile on Facebook as a starter and tried to find ways to help people starting out like me with the little experience I gained as my role exposed me to a lot in business and entrepreneurship. I have come to realize it is not about what you have and what you can do. It is about what you can give and how much you are willing to offer help to others.
What books are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Strategy Plain and Simple by Vaughan Evans and the Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne.
What advice would you give to upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?
My advice to the youth and budding entrepreneurs is that entrepreneurship is a journey that gets lonely sometimes. You need to be your biggest cheerleader and believe in what you are doing. Sometimes the picture may not be clear to your family, friends, and people you feel have to support you, but the truth is you can only get people to believe in what you are doing if you believe in It as well.
Be confident and willing to start. Sometimes we underestimate the abilities we have, especially when we look around and see what others are doing. If you do not try you would never know if it would have worked out. It’s better to try because the difference here is you have gained some experience, skill, or knowledge.
Also, networking is very key in the world we find ourselves in today. It’s played an integral role in my journey. Move with people who are knowledgeable and have more experience than you. Most of the time they help to coach you and correct you in some things they might have encountered in their journeys so you don’t repeat those mistakes.
If you are still in school, try to balance your school life with other healthy social activities. Most importantly Be you and always look your best! That is your game-changer, that is your weapon. As my good friend always used to tell me, “The sky is big enough for all of the birds to fly without hitting each other”.
Bring Source: hbeonline.com