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Nora Agbakhamen: The best way to impart moral instruction is through storytelling

By Esther Ijewere
19 November 2022   |   4:10 am
A woman who can multitask successfully has mastered her craft and knows how to navigate her chosen career path. Nora Agbakhamen is not just a woman who wears many hats; she has equally recorded successes.

Nora

A woman who can multitask successfully has mastered her craft and knows how to navigate her chosen career path. Nora Agbakhamen is not just a woman who wears many hats; she has equally recorded successes.

As one of the most influential Nigerians on LinkedIn who is making the motherland proud, Nora helps businesses get seen and paid through content and storytelling. With over 10 years experience as a content creator and writer, she knows how to help brands increase their credibility, visibility and profitability.

A graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Maiduguri, she also holds a certificate in Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking from Harvard University (HarvardX), a certificate in Investigative Journalism from BBC MacArthur Foundation, and several certifications in storytelling.

In this interview with ESTHER IJEWERE, she shares her inspiring journey and her passion for storytelling and branding.

Childhood Influence
As a little girl growing up in North-Eastern Nigeria, I loved to listen to beautiful narratives, and my dad was a powerhouse of tribal lore. While my mum believed in instant corporal punishment, my dad had a unique and memorable way of instilling discipline. He would tell us stories from the Bible about people who acted up and the high price they paid. He would also share accounts of those whose conduct was above reproach and the beautiful rewards they earned. That profoundly affected me, and those stories played a significant role in molding me.

So, very early, I learned that the best way to impart moral instruction is through storytelling, because you remember the lessons long after they cease to be told.

Why I Pitched My Tent In Content Creation And Media sector
Almost every adult had a transistor radio in the North where I grew up. My dad had one, and most evenings, I’d sit with him while he listened to the news. This piqued my interest in journalism, and I became intentional in watching the news. I particularly loved listening to Eugenia Abu, Ruth Benamaisia-Opia, Fatima Abass Hassan, and Hauwa Baba-Ahmed on NTA news those days. So, when it was time to go to the university, my choice of Mass Communication was a no-brainer.

For content creation, I’ve always loved to educate and share value. Back in my university days, my classmates would come together and ask that I summarise our notes for them before exams. I would explain what we’d been taught, but use relatable examples to help the point stick. They lived for those moments, and it was a privilege to see how those explanations helped all of us ace our exams. The more I taught, the more the points stuck with me.

So, I took the same love for teaching into the storytelling aspect of content creation. I went into it with the one aim of serving. I wanted to share whatever knowledge I had with my audience.

The Journey So Far
When I started as a brand storyteller on LinkedIn in October of last year, I had 90 followers. One year later, I’ve built an over 100,000-strong community who come together to enrich each other by consuming my content and sharing heartfelt comments, tips, and suggestions for the benefit of others.

Challenges 
You know LinkedIn is a global platform. I’ve had folks send me private messages with a dose of racism. I’ve also had people drop comments like, ‘this is not Facebook; this is LinkedIn, where you share your career wins.’ Were it not for the overwhelmingly positive feedback I got from others on the platform, who knows if I’d have thrown in the towel by now?

Thankfully, I persevered, and today, I can tell you that among my clients are bank executives, Architects, Accountants, Founders, CEOs, etc. I work with them to increase their reputation in their various fields so they can become more visible and profitable. It’s a win-win for us, and I shudder to think that there was a time I gave up.

How My Work Has Inspired Other Women Around Me 
I’ve mentored women, particularly undergraduates on LinkedIn, and the regular thank-you emails I get from these ladies are like the icing on the cake. I’ve had female undergraduates email me to say they started content as a side hustle, because of the daily tips I drop on LinkedIn. That, for me, is the ultimate reward.

Other Projects And Activities
I am currently running a 7-Day Personal Branding Email Challenge for entrepreneurs and 9-5 workers on LinkedIn. Many are busy folks with little time to listen to or read long courses, but want to build a sparkling brand online. So, I created these daily email challenges to help them lay the foundation for a rock-solid brand, so that they can become visible, trusted, and profitable.

Everyday, for one week, they receive emails explaining a brand-building activity. Then I give them tiny tasks they can do immediately to increase their reputation on LinkedIn. I’ve also worked as a brand influencer with local and international brands on LinkedIn.

I do my due diligence before recommending any brand to my community. So, any brand I feature on my page is vetted.

I’m also coaching ambitious women who want to monetise their knowledge on LinkedIn. This coaching is a 1:1 tailored for each client. So, once every week, I go on a Zoom call with them. We review our wins and work on further steps to take them closer to their goals.

How I Became A Top LinkedIn Influencer and Marketable Brand
My watchword has always been to deliver top-notch service. I didn’t start content creation with profit as the drive; I was happy to share what I’d learned over the years with my community. I stayed consistent and built a niche around storytelling. Those who loved what they were learning tagged others to my page, and before long, I had a reputation as a ‘brand storyteller,’ and my following grew exponentially.

Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
My mum (now late) Rose Ubek – She taught me early on the value of service and hard work. She never believed in giving you fish, because she was one to teach you where and how to get the best fish.

Amanda Cryer – This woman is a compassionate social impact influencer on LinkedIn who looks for ways to support other women’s businesses.

Every other woman who lives a life of service – Women who mentor other women and hold their hands so that we can shatter glass ceilings together.

To Ambitious Women Constantly Judged By Society
Don’t listen to people who want to pull you back. To every woman out there, there’s nothing more inspiring than a woman who knows what she wants and dares to pursue it. So, get up, take back your power and lead your tribe.
To Women Who Can’t Market Their Brands And Business Properly

Firstly, if you’re not on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to market your brand. LinkedIn boasts over 850 million members in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide. So, whether or not you have a job or business, you have an incredible opportunity to place yourself front and center and attract the opportunities you crave.

For other creators out there, please don’t just sell your offers. Instead, share values your readers can run with and use to better themselves. Take a genuine interest in your followers; sometimes, it takes a good word of motivation to help someone be the best version of them. Pay attention to that young lady that reaches out to you via private message to ask for tips, suggestions, and recommendations.

Being A Woman Of Rubies
My God-given desire is to see other women thrive both personally and professionally. If every woman lives a life of service together, we will succeed and leave no one behind.

To A Young Person On The Verge Of Giving Up
Please don’t give up. We, your sisters, love you and can’t wait to see you thrive.

My Work-Life Balance Routine
I’ve implemented systems and processes that help me maintain a work-life balance. For example, even on lazy days, I have planned my content to auto-post at a particular hour, so my audience is not starved. This helps me have time for my family and loved ones.