We had an interview with Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, Managing Director of Arise Television, where she shared the secrets to her successful career.
1.YOU STUDIED ACCOUNTING IN THE UNIVERSITY BUT PURSUED A CAREER IN MEDIA. WHAT WAS THE REASON FOR THIS SHIFT AND WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN A CAREER CHANGE?
It was providence. I started in the banking industry because of my academic background. I did my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Merchant Bank of Africa, after NYSC, I spent 5 years in the internal audit department of the bank.I left the bank, tried to start a business, but it was not successful. I was in between jobs and a friend told me This Day newspaper was starting. I decided to give it a shot, because I was not doing anything at the time. As a result of my background, I was placed in the business/finance section. As I got into it, I found out that, I had a passion for it. It was very exciting. Journalism is the most exciting profession in the world. It is a profession you don’t have to retire from, there is no age limit as long as you have your mental acuity, you can linger as long as you want to.
2. WHAT IS YOUR VIEW OF THE NIGERIAN BROADCAST/MEDIA INDUSTRY? DO YOU THINK THE INDUSTRY IS PERFORMING TO ITS CAPACITY?
It is okay but it could be better. One of the biggest challenges we have is manpower capacity which is very absentia. This problem is not peculiar to only the media industry, it cuts across so many industries in our society. There is also a challenge of capital, that is why you tend to hear about media houses starting up and failing.
We are also combating the latest challenge of fake news. Fake news has a major impact in our lives. It can lead to wars, serious misunderstanding and can cause a lot of havoc. There is also a need to deploy a lot of funding in investigative stories. We tend to focus a lot of energy on corruption.
Other than these challenges, I will say the media industry in Nigeria is quite vibrant. It is not afraid to challenge power and it will take on establishments, people in government and politicians who are found wanting.
3. NIGERIA IS A VERY PATRIARCHAL SOCIETY, HOW HAS IT BEEN AS A TOP WOMAN IN BUSINESS?
It comes with its challenges. As I always tell every woman, if you want to get to the top even when you have lots of men dominated in the sector of the organization you are working, you have to be the best, you have to know how to give your best. Unfortunately, whether you like it or not we have women who thrive by their hoops to get by.
I always tell women who do so that it will not get them far, the only way to get to the top of a career is to put in your best.
My industry is male dominated. We have very few women especially at the top level. Because of the long hours, a lot of women have made so many sacrifices both at the home front and in the professional world.
4. WHAT IS THE SECRET TO YOUR SUCCESS AND WHAT WILL YOU SAY AIDED YOUR GROWTH IN YOUR CAREER?
I think the most important secret that aided my career is reading. Reading is extremely important for self-improvement. I read everything under the sun.
One thing about this job is that you are exposed to so many things, you have to know everything from sports to politics to other sectors of the economy because at the end of the day, all the stories flood your desk and you have to take the right decision as the gate keeper of the newspaper and if you have no idea what is happening in these sectors, it will show in the kind of editorial decisions you take.
5. IF YOU WERE TO GO BACK IN TIME WHAT WILL YOU DO DIFFERENTLY IN YOUR CAREER?
Nothing really (laughs), I don’t think I will change anything. I think if I were to go back in time, I will focus more on changing some things I did in my personal life. I will spend more time with my children. In my career, nothing.
6. WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO THOSE ESPECIALLY THE YOUNGER WOMEN JUST STARTING OFF THEIR CAREER?
My advice to young women is to not just work hard, but to be the best at what they do. This cuts across all professions and is not limited to media. I have noticed that analytical rigor is absent in a lot of people and it is that analytical rigor that propels people to the top. A lot of people cannot think outside the box.