Being A Woman at the Table: A Chat with Vivien Shobo….

Concepts such as the glass ceiling, sticky floors, concrete walls, and career labyrinths have received significant attention in research and popular media but how far has the talk translated into real walk?

Women have from time immemorial made significant contribution to the society yet most times, their natural anatomy, traits and characteristics are used against them – giving rise to the feminist movement.

This piece is aimed at setting the records straight. It is a proof that women are so much more than being pregnant, mothers and house keepers. They can add value through their expertise in organization and lead with excellence like we’ve seen a few who are opportune to do so.

Let’s meet Vivien Shobo, a qualified chartered accountant with over 30 years of experience and CEO of Agusto and Co. Nigeria’s foremost credit rating agency. She is a woman in Finance with a seat at the table.

Image ref: Enase_Okonedo

IBIENE chats with her;

IBIENE: Congratulations on your appointment as an Infracredit’s Independent Non-Executive Director. Tell us about your journey towards becoming an astute financial sector expert?

Vivien: My background is in Finance. I have a first degree in accounting. I am a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria. Prior to joining Agusto & Co., I was a credit analyst at a bank. At Agusto & Co., our client base included a broad range of institutions such as Banks, insurance companies, corporates and state governments. We also rated different transaction types and structures.

So, I guess my work experience over the years as made me an “astute finance professional”.

IBIENE: Was there ever anytime you felt like the battle was lost and you needed to give up?

Many times. Anyone knows doing business in Nigeria is very challenging. You are always dealing with one major battle or the other. But actually, giving up was never an option.

IBIENE: From your experience so far, what is your assessment of women and wealth creation on the continent?

The major impediment remains access to “affordable credit”. With interest rates and inflation rates so high, and exchange rates soaring every day, these economic indices, which are outside the control of women working hard to create wealth, actually erode wealth.

IBIENE: What are some of the pit-fall habits career women exhibit and how can it be corrected?

Image ref: Vivien Shobo

When most of us were in school, there was an even number of girls and boys in class.

The problem usually arises when many women quit their jobs to raise children. They then drop off the corporate ladder.

This can be corrected in three ways. First, organisations must support women during this phase of their lives. Some organisations have crèches and other facilities in place to support women.

Secondly, the organisation that have cultures that expect you to work from 7am-9pm and even weekends are anti women. Very few women in such organisations will chose their careers over their families.

Lastly, career women must have solid support systems at home that allow them thrive at work.

IBIENE: What word(s) of advice do you have for that young schoolgirl, young professional admiring you and hoping she’ll get there someday?

Image ref: Vivien Shobo

Make sure you are pursuing a career that you are passionate about, otherwise you will hate getting up every day to go to work.

Develop yourself. Equip yourself with all the knowledge you need to thrive on the job. Ask questions.

Work hard and pray hard!

IBIENE: With the busy nature of your engagements, how do you enjoy the simple things of life?

Traveling and spending time with family and in the garden.

Let know what other tips you might have to share with the girl child and also importantly the boy child in the comment section.

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