Ranked by Forbes as the richest woman in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion, Folorunsho Alakija has proven to be a successful woman both career and business-wise.
Alakija who is the managing director of The Rose of Sharon Group, executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited, founder of Supreme Stitches and a host of other businesses has shown that she has what it takes to be a powerful woman.
Here are 6 Life lessons every woman can learn from her.
1. Go The Extra Mile
The first lesson you can learn is if you are currently in a position or a job that is not your dream job, do not let that stop you from learning as much as you can from that role. Alakija was once a company secretary. She began her secretarial career at Sijuade Enterprises in Lagos for 18 months. Soon after she heard of an American bank opening in Nigeria. She applied and was hired as an Executive Secretary to the Managing Director of The First National Bank of Chicago.
She worked there for 12 years and using the extra mile principle rose through the ranks. She moved from a secretary, to heading the corporate affairs department, to working in the treasury department trading the bank’s money.
2.Have a Personal Relationship With God
Alakija doesn’t joke with her Christian faith. She is a keen believer in the power of God and attributes her success today to him.
3. Take Advantage Of Opportunities
If you intend to start your own business someday you should read a lot about that industry, attend events, and talk to people who are doing what you are currently interested in. If you find an opportunity that is not currently being addressed, you should dive into it before the opportunity passes you by.
After 12 years at the bank, she knew it was time for a new challenge. Alakija ventured into the Nigerian fashion industry at a time when things were beginning to grow. According to her, “It was a time when Nigerians were very proud of display African fashion.
Fashion was her passion and she felt it was the right time to capitalize. But she wanted to do it right. So with the support of her husband, she quit her job, moved back to England, and studied fashion for a little over a year.
After that, she returned to Nigeria to start Supreme Stitches, a premium fashion line catering to high-end Nigerian women.
4. Make An Impact Regardless Of Your Position
Regardless of your position, there is something you can share with people looking up to you as a mentor. Make an impact in your immediate community, neighborhood.
Alakija has a foundation named Rose of Sharon Foundation, a non-governmental organization that supports widows and orphan children through programs and educational grants.
She also organises free annual events and conferences which seek to empower people.
Even before she became a philanthropist, Alakija was involved in community programs and shared her expertise with others through speaking engagements and attending volunteer events.
5. Don’t Give Up
One key lesson to learn from her is persistence. For instance, when she ventured into the oil business many doors were shut in her face.She kept knocking.
When she looked into securing some kind of contract in the industry she was told her suggestions were not needed. She kept investigating.
She applied for a license to get an oil bloc, her application was put to the side. She kept applying.
After three years her application was approved and she was given an oil bloc that no other company wanted.
6. Be Enterprising
Every lady shouldn’t always rely on her salary alone, you must have other legitimate sources of income. Learn to do business on the side. But ensure it won’t affect your major work schedule. Alakija’s primary sources of wealth are rooted in oil and fashion. Currently, She is the Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil, managing director of The Rose of Sharon Group and the founder of Supreme Stitches, a fashion label that catered to an upscale clientele.