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‘Legal profession affords one the opportunity to learn about different businesses in diverse economic sectors’

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Dolapo Onah

Go, Girl! is an event that empowers women with diverse backgrounds and stories by bringing them together in a relaxed environment to sit, listen and learn from each other’s experiences, challenges, mistakes, and victories. Created and put together by Workstation in partnership with Guardian Woman, Dalberg, The 9-To-5 Chick and Zuri Westbrook, this event holds monthly at Workstation Bar Beach.

Every month, a successful woman making strides in her career and everyday life is selected and celebrated to share her experiences and journey. In September, we featured Dolapo Onah. She’s the Head of Wholesale and Carrier Business at MainOne West Africa. We had a great interacting session with her on her experiences working at MainOne for almost 10 years now amongst other things. It was a delight to hear her success story and gain some knowledge from her.

TELL us briefly about your career journey I studied law at the University of Lagos and the initial path was to pursue a career in the legal field. Therefore, the early days of my career journey started as an associate counsel for Templars law firm in Lagos. My primary job responsibility was to work with senior associates in reviewing production sharing contracts and rendering opinions to exploration and production companies on various Oil & Gas issues.

With a drive to diversify my knowledge base, I moved to DVCF Oil and Gas Plc, a venture capital company, where I worked closely with the company secretary in filing annual returns, maintaining corporate governance standards, liaising with Board of Directors to plan the strategic direction of the company.

The exposure to the complexities of business incubation, financial planning and compliance/regulatory implementation gave me the necessary foundational knowledge to take on additional responsibilities as an Acting Company Secretary within the organisation. In the quest to continue my career growth and curiosity of the burgeoning ICT industry led me to explore the telecommunications sector. The wonderful thing about the legal profession is that it affords one the opportunity to learn about different businesses in diverse economic sectors. An opportunity was given to me at 21st Century Technologies as Contract Administrator responsible for drafting and maintaining the contract terms between the company and its various clients.

In the course of engaging customers, I observed firsthand, the benefit technology offered in efficiency and improvement of different businesses and was able to inculcate that into my customer engagement to improve overall customer satisfaction. The CEO identified my strengths with customer engagement and added strategic sales to my job responsibilities. This was my foray into ICT and it’s safe to say I that I have never looked back.

My journey in this industry opened my eyes to the technical aspect of connectivity and the Main One cable company, the first privately-owned submarine cable company. With my knowledge of connectivity, the opportunity that the submarine cable presented to Africa in connecting the continent to the rest of the world was exciting and filled with immense potential to change the landscape of the Internet in West Africa.

How do you strike the perfect work-life balance?
Wow! ‘Perfection’ in work-life balance is elusive. This is one aspect I’m constantly trying to achieve, but right now I’ll say that I find that in the church because my faith is very important to me, spending time in church and earnest worship truly relaxes me. It also works that purposefully carving out work-free family time on the weekends to watch movies and go on new adventures in Lagos in search of awesome hangout spots for food, goes a long way in helping strike that balance. They remind me that God, family, friends and investing in people are life’s top priorities.

What would you say has been the most challenging moment in your career?
After two weeks of joining Main One, I was given the opportunity to take on an added responsibility of setting up and coordinating the service delivery process for all customers connected on the Main One network. At the time, it felt like I was given a herculean task. However, to achieve this task, I had to consider that as a pioneer company there were no established process standards. Therefore, I had to take an umbrella view of the business space and identify the different variables that I needed to unify to formulate unique processes to drive customer satisfaction.

What did you like most about the Go, Girl! Event?
I love the people, the relaxed atmosphere and the opportunity to motivate an inquisitive and engaging audience.

What do you do to unwind in Lagos?
Going to the spa for relaxing treatment, watching movies with my family at the cinema, Dining with family and friends in new hangout spots and spending time in fellowship with my BTS sisters every Tuesday.

Are there any quotes you live by?
“If you don’t work, you don’t eat”. It might be an age-old cliché, but I strongly believe that there is a reward for hard work. Let that hunger drive you to realise your full potential. The more you apply yourself, the greater the reward.


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