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Nnenna Uboma: We created Beyond Math to help children develop problem-solving skills

By Esther Ijewere
22 October 2022   |   4:04 am
When a woman is determined to win in life, nothing can stop her. Nnenna Uboma is a woman who understands the power of consistency and the importance of living intentionally. She is the Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) of Beyond Math, an initiative she started during the COVID-19 lockdown...

When a woman is determined to win in life, nothing can stop her. Nnenna Uboma is a woman who understands the power of consistency and the importance of living intentionally. She is the Chief Strategic Officer (CSO) of Beyond Math, an initiative she started during the COVID-19 lockdown, alongside her teenage children, Jasmine and Jami. Beyond Math helps kids to develop and retain in-depth analytical, complex problem-solving skills required to succeed. The Canada-based initiative provides a strong STEM based capability to excel in mathematical and quantitative discipline.

Nnenna is also an Analytics Senior leader with over 20 years of experience leading high performing analytical teams to develop industry edge solutions in one of the leading financial institutions in Canada. Her passion for tutoring and coaching analytical professionals over the past decade made her a sought-after speaker at different conferences across the globe. She has mentored many successful professionals in Analytics.

The amazon whose teenage daughter is the CEO of Beyond Math spends her spare time nurturing high school kids in leadership and entrepreneurship skills. She was recently recognised as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women. She shares her inspiring story with ESTHER IJEWERE.

Childhood Influence
My father was a successful lawyer, Barrister AT Udechukwu. He wanted me to be a lawyer basically, because he thought I could put my perspectives rightly on the table; he marvelled at my ability to ideate quickly. I did not pursue law profession, as I wanted a career in STEM. However, my childhood, which included visiting many legal courtrooms, enhanced my logical thinking, which I find very beneficial as a data analytics professional.

I call myself a data solicitor, which basically means I present my perspectives in a business courtroom instead of a legal courtroom. In my perspective, I am living the childhood dream of my father as a (data) solicitor.

Inspiration Behind Beyond Math
During COVID-19, we were locked down at home and I wanted something worthwhile that will keep us all motivated at home. Beyond Math was birthed by my daughter Jasmine Uboma who is a second-year student.

Beyond math kept me and my two teenage children (Jasmine and Jami) connected during COVID. Three of us authored Beyond Math workbooks. I led the project and managed through the cycle to ensure it got birthed. Math was something we had in common.

My Role As A Senior Analytics Leader
I work in one of the leading financial institutions in Canada as a Director. It has been a journey in the analytics field; a career I pivoted into when I arrived in Canada. I remember analyzing the job listing on indeed.ca at the time and noticed SAS being mentioned in many of the analyst roles. Building a career in analytics involves knowing how to code in tools like SQL and use visualisation tools like PowerBI.

Challenges
The technology field is always evolving, and new applications are introduced into the market continuously. I built a niche for myself in Business IT as a Business Data Analyst, which simply identifies me as an end user and removes the burden of learning the configuration of every new tool in the market. It is a very stable career path.

Why I made My Daughter The CEO Of Beyond Math, And How I Discovered Her Talent 
Yes, Jasmine Uboma is the CEO of Beyond Math. I am only playing the role of a mother and nurturing what you see or do not see is one great role of mothers. I see the best in people and with the methodology of ‘make believe,’ we achieve a lot.

Jasmine is a very shy lady and introvert by personality, but I think I have succeeded in making her a talk of town. She recently got appointed as the Executive Director of External Affairs for Women in STEM, Western Ontario. She is one to watch out for.

My Thoughts On Kidpreneurs
From the production of Beyondmath, kids need a role model and a mentor to look up to as they take on very challenging tasks, such as being a kidpreneur. One thing I did at the time Beyondmath was being authored was to roll my sleeves and carry the blocks as well.

Jasmine and Jami authored the 256 pages of Beyondmath while I did the editing and publishing as well as marketing. We raised over $5000 from Kickstarter pre-launch. They could see my real involvement and not just dishing out tasks. This kept the motivation going; with kids playing at their level makes a great difference.

How I am Using My Organization To Create Room For Women In The Community
I participate in many immigrant platforms in Canada and have volunteered as a guest speaker or panelist in many of the community functions. I have also mentored many young women like Jasmine, who are playing in their respective careers today. It’s been very fulfilling seeing my mentees grow. I also support immigrants who want to play in any data field with coaching and mentoring.

One Thing I Wish To Change In The Education Sector In Canada
I think that the classroom does not represent today’s digital environment. Students have still been taught with curriculum developed many decades ago. I think that subjects like quantitative reasoning should be introduced early to kids which is one of the reasons I love Beyondmath workbooks.

Three Women Who Inspire Me and Why
One woman that inspires me is Michelle Obama; I took a picture mimicking her pose. It is all about ‘Becoming’. It is either you own your story and write it or others write it for you. One fact is we are all becoming. It is not a matter of where you come from but where you are going. We are all becoming!

As a child, I was very playful but quite intelligent. It took someone to get me focused and forced me to have dreams. My mum put in a lot to get me where I am. The dining table, study time, her tears when I don’t get the first position and many more. She remains my inspiration.

At 80years, she proofread and edited my books; she is an English graduate. Mrs Uzoamaka Udechukwu is a lady I admire her strength and passion to see those she loves to succeed.

I admire Jasmine a lot. She is my daughter, but a very respectful and responsible young girl. There is a saying that one can only be a shepherd when you have a sheep. I am so excited to see how she has grown, especially as we worked on the establishment of Beyond Math. I am happy to have the privilege to build with her what my mom built with me.

Other Projects And activities
I am authoring another Lessons to my younger self, which is currently with the publisher. The book is designed to colorfully attract young adults. It will also be published as a journal, which will allow readers to write their experiences as we go through my lessons.

Currently I am doing my Phd. and hoping to celebrate my graduation soon. I am also a leader in church, and in everything that I do, spreading the word of Jesus is at my core.
My Work-Life Balance Routine, How Manage It All As A Mom, Wife and Business Woman

This is a question I get very often. How do you do it? It is mainly about delegation. Appreciating, trusting, and accepting what others do for you knowing you can’t do everything by yourself. It must not be perfect; it’s all in perspective.

Give opportunities for coaching and growth. I am also good with prioritisation. I focus on things that are critical and spread the projects out. Giving myself sufficient time has helped me mentally not to be in a race with anything.

Being A Woman Of Rubies
I see myself as a role model for my younger self. I have had my own rough journey of which one that comes to heart was being told in my early career that I could not climb the professional ladder, because of my Igbo accent. It was hurtful, but at the same time great motivation to be my better self. My story is an inspiration to many like me as they try to navigate corporate Canada.

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