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Neya Uzor-Kalu: I spent many years in the background learning publishing business

By Esther Ijewere
06 August 2022   |   3:57 am
I believe my childhood influenced what I do now, which is to lead several businesses, the most recent being my appointment as Publisher and Chairman of The Sun Nigeria.

Neya Kalu is the Chairman and Publisher of The Sun Nigeria, a reputable Nigerian news outlet. She is also the founder and CEO of Basecoat Nigeria, a nail salon chain changing the face of the Nail Industry in Nigeria.
Neya has a degree in Law and an MSc. in Finance from the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom. She has 12 years experience crafting and implementing business initiatives across industries. The amazing businesswoman had previously worked in the banking sector for five years as Human Resource Manager before her appointment as Chairman/Publisher of the Sun Nigeria. She leads the Board on strategic matters, establishes high governance, and oversees the company’s business.
She is also the Vice-Chairman of Sun Heavens Hotels and Resorts. With a strong interest in social issues and a desire to empower women, Neya works with the OUK Foundation to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs one through six. She shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this interview.

Childhood Influence
I believe my childhood influenced what I do now, which is to lead several businesses, the most recent being my appointment as Publisher and Chairman of The Sun Nigeria. My upbringing was fairly isolated, and I had plenty of time to daydream about a lot of things, including becoming an entrepreneur, just like my father.

Inspiration Behind Basecoat
I left my job in banking after the birth of my son in search of something that would allow me to spend more time with him. I’ve always been very passionate about nails; I believe I was the only person in high school/college with acrylics and nail designs, so opening my own salon, Basecoat, was a no-brainer for me. Basecoat has been around for a few years now, and I’m pleased with how far we’ve come.

The Journey So Far
It’s been nothing short of incredible. I never intend to brag, but I believe Basecoat is providing a completely unique experience in the Nigerian nail industry. Building and nurturing our vision at Basecoat has not been without challenges, but this has not stopped us from providing excellent service to our customers. A standard we intend to maintain, regardless of the current economic climate.

How I Became Chairman And Publisher Of The Sun Nigeria
Through perseverance and hard work. I’ve spent so many years in the background, observing, learning, and collaborating with the team. I suppose the time had come for me to take over as chairman and publisher.

Lessons I Have Learned As The Publisher Of A Newspaper Outlet
It’s only been a few months since I took over as chairman and publisher, but the lessons I’ve learned so far are that hard work pays off, no matter where you are in life; that your team is just as important, if not more important than you.

My Thoughts On Fake News And The Importance Of Fact Checking
We’ve seen the damage that fake news can cause in any society. As a result, it’s critical that people get their information from reliable sources, such as news outlets or reputable bloggers. Consumers should also be cautious about where they turn for reliable news.

With social media at everyone’s fingertips, it’s easy for fake news to spread, and while we, the publishers, ensure that due diligence is done and that any information published on our platform(s) is credible, the general public also has a role to play, which means that any news source they get information from online must be credible.

My Work With OUK Foundation, And Passion For SDG Goal Six
While working with the OUK Foundation, I like to think of myself as a secret Santa, because I am very passionate about the work we do – providing health benefits, education, access to clean water and food, job opportunities, and so on. We are currently working on providing viable resources for children in some schools across the country.

One Thing I Wish To Change In The Media Sector
The perception that all journalists want to smear everyone’s reputation. A good journalist’s job is to report the news as accurately and transparently as possible.

How Career Women Can Create Work-Life Balance
I think it’s important to prioritise what is truly important to you, so it will be easy to navigate and balance out the work-life combination.

Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
Bella Disu – Her age hasn’t stopped her from attaining her goals.
The Late Dora Akunyili – For her strength and tenacity (May her soul continue to Rest in Peace).
Amina Mohammed – For the global impact she’s making through her position as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group.

Importance Of Women Supporting Women
Supporting women is something that I take very seriously and it looks to me like women being the sisters’ keeper. The word ‘empowerment’ is frequently misused. I believe that encouraging women to be better in order to do better for themselves is more motivating, because there are some brilliant women out there who just need a little push.

Being The Daughter Of A Notable Politician And Founder Of Sun Nigeria, And The Lessons He Taught Me
To be honest, I believe it is simply being yourself. One of the most useful lessons my father has taught me, and it has truly helped me navigate my career path, because hearing a lot of ‘NOs’ along the way, especially as a female, can derail you and force you to be someone you are not. But you must learn to stay the course and be yourself, because there is no other you, there is no more authentic you than you; people just have to accept that.

Being A Woman Of Rubies
The fact that I am one of one makes me more valuable than rubies or any other gemstone on the planet.

To Young Women Who Are At A Crossroad And Trying To Find Their Purpose
The will to dream becomes the purpose for the vision. It is really a choice that we have to make. As I’ve always said, if you love something, nurture it and fight. 

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