“Talent will get you to the door, but the right attitude will get you inside” – Victoria Nkong
Victoria Nkong (C.E.O Qtaby Events) is a multilingual Entertainment consultant, An Events Producer, Talent Manager, Public Speaker, PR strategist with a strong interest in supporting less privilege children and youth, she has been involved in events production and entertainment for over ten years and has been running charity projects for about five years now. Her break into entertainment was through the prestigious KORA All Africa Music Awards as bilingual presenter. As a talent Manager and PR strategist, Victoria has worked with most of the big artists and personalities around Africa and the world like.Besides KORA, she has also successfully produced a number of world-class events like the Opening Ceremony of the International African Athletic Competition, Headies and several others.As a Philantropist, She is on the board of trustee of Jegede Paul Foundation, she is the Administrator and mother to the children at Life Fountain Orphanage Home. She is also the brain behind the annual “Slum Invasion” outreach to slums and Share your closet for widows.
Yes, partly my childhood prepared me for the charity work that I do now, my parents operated an open door policy and at every point in time we had relatives living with us, as a matter of fact, my mum was a school principal and back then even at moments when she did not have a lot because my dad and her were separated for a while and she had to carry all our bills over, she was still the mother to all the youth corps members in her school and she will ensure that all of them are fed on a daily basis in our house. In our family house there was always an average of 20 people, my parents went the extra mile to touch lives and that naturally became part of me.
On another note, I realised at a very young age that fixing peoples problems and putting a smile on people’s faces gave me a lot of Joy.For entertainment and media, I was a part of a dance group in secondary school, I was always the one getting everyone together. I realised that I was entertainment inclined while I was in the university.
The Victoria Nkong story
My name is Victoria Nkong, I am a Nigerian from Cross River State, I am the CEO of Qtaby Events, we are into Events Production/Content Production, Talent management and PR. I am also a writer and I just unveiled my first book: DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN” it is actually my memoire. My life is so full of drama that I sometimes wonder how anyone could live like I do; constantly running between changing diapers and playing loving mother to 23 children on the average, and trying to keep up with the glamour involved in strutting the red-carpet while trying to be the modest Christian woman…no stop button at all. My core objective is to help as many people as possible to find themselves and make a meaning out of their lives
Inspiration behind my foundation
I grew up to a family where all my sisters sang in the choir and I was the only one who did not have a good enough voice to sing, I prayed to know what I could do for Gods kingdom and I realised that I derived fulfilment from putting a smile on people’s faces. I set a goal to start an open kitchen where street children and homeless people will be guaranteed 2 free meals daily, I was working towards that plan before the saddest event of my life took place: I lost my elder sister to a violent marriage, domestic violence and her husband eloped with the kids. That was what finally pushed me to stop work for a period and start the Foundation and Orphanage Home, I needed to heal, I needed to reach out to people, I needed to convert my pain by turning other peoples pain to joy.
I found someone with like-passion who was a lot older and financially stable and we got it going. I am glad I did because it has been very rewarding, my children at the orphanage have been my real source of joy and the reason life really has a meaning. Wealth for me is measured by the number of lives a person touched rather than how much money a person has.
Running my events company successfully
Getting Qtaby Events to where it is has been a journey of several phases; rough, tough, exciting, challenging and fulfilling. Being a woman in the industry is not easy, you get to deal with a lot. Firstly there are still a lot of men who do not believe that women should be front liners in the society career wise. Also, for a male dominated industry like ours, I have had to deal with continuous sexual advances, harassment and in some cases refusal of contracts e.t.c due to not giving into some of these advances. If I say all these and not add the brighter side, it will be wrong. So on the brighter side, I get to meet a lot of people, impact lives and earn a living from having fun.
Through it all, I am happy to say that we have been part of some of the biggest Events ever produced in Nigeria. We have produced the Headies Awards twice, Co-produced the AMVCA with uncle Eddie Lawani, the last AFRIMA Awards e.t.c, corporate events like SCB Road show, Bidvest Chairmanship Awards in South Africa. In all, making and maintaining relationships is very important.
My big break in the music industry as a bilingual presenter for Kora awards
For me, my break into KORA All African Music Awards was like my dream job finding me. I was very young when I joined KORA, about 19years old. Initially I was recruited as a bilingual phone operator taking enquiries from artistes from all over the world speaking English, French and Spanish, I remember receiving a call from 2face Idibia, just after African Queen…Lord, I felt I had arrived. I was later trained to present the prestigious Red Carpet for KORA Awards, it was like a dream come through. It was a lot for me at that age as I was quickly introduced to the crème-de-la-crème of the society and the industry. It quickly became life on the fast lane flying from one country to another, flying business class, keeping up appearances, trying to live up to public expectations e.t.c. Of course it was very exciting at the beginning, we were received by presidents in some countries and my official. In all KORA gave me a lot of exposure to the entertainment industry, talent management, events production and most of what I do now.
First and foremost being a woman, a lot of people already do not give you a chance, being a woman with high moral standards and principles also worsens the matter, 98% of the men that I have met in the course of work actually made sex the first and most important topic of discussion, I will arrive for meetings and have to waste the first 30mins talking about looks and trying to steer the conversation away from “the other room”..lol. The fact that I am also young and get to look younger than my age is a challenge sometimes though I overcome that as soon as we get into a conversation because you quickly realise that you are not speaking with a child. it is also a challenge when you don’t belong to certain “caucus”, I tried to join initially but my personality doesn’t allow me to keep up appearances or make certain compromises, I don’t mean this in a rigid way but since I lost my sister I have had to look at life from a different angle. Finding the right manpower is also quite challenging as a lot of young people do not understand the concept of “work” & dedication. The biggest challenge in all these however is finance, there is a lot that one can do but it is easy to get crippled midway because of finance.
Other Projects and Activities
I manage talents and we have worked with quite a wide range of artistes around Africa. We also do PR and marketing for brands and SMEs. We produce content for TV, we have a TV show currently running on African Magic, we shot the last GOTV commercial, we just finished producing an educative TV show for children which we are looking to sell to a TV station and we are currently in pre-production for another kiddies reality show. Also, I just unveiled my book Diary of A Mad Black woman and the book will be launched next month.. I also write a series on Talent Management on 360nobs and I am working on starting it on my own website mentioned above.For charity, I have an annual slum outreach project called Slum Invasion, we take celebrities with inspiring stories to the slum to celebrate with them and motivate them to strive for a better life.
Managing the “Olajumoke” brand successfully
Yes, when Olajumoke approached me to work with her, I gladly took up the project and informed my team. I knew it will be a challenging project but I had a clear picture of the vision I wanted us to attain with her project, at the time the initial buzz following her discovery had died down totally and my fear was that the society was about to create a problem; take a lady who was harmlessly earning her humble living from selling bread, expose her to a better life, make her popular and unable to continue hawking bread then leave her to her devices. I was glad to be able to attempt to help as I could identify with the attributes that TY Bello saw in her, Ty Bello had done her part alongside her former managers in a bid to change a life, however she now needed a grounded team and the right attitude to move things forward.
As long as Olajumoke is under our management there will always be something new coming from her direction. She is currently shooting her reality show, we plan for her to start a hairline soon since she is skilled in that domain, we also did some work collaborations with some very big brands during our trip to South Africa in June and we will be showing it to the world soon
I plan for Olajumoke to learn as many skills as possible and continue to be a better version of herself.
My greatest reward is actually seeing lives change positively. Money will come and go but a life touched is a seed sown that will outlive you because that life is now armed to touch other lives as well and create a positive chain. My entire work is centred on changing lives and turning lives around, be it through the Foundation, the Orphanage Home, Managing Talents and helping them build a career out of their talents or helping brands get better visibility through PR. I also feel fulfilled when I see my work getting appreciated somewhere, for example, long after we shot the GOTV commercial, a senior friend who I never told we shot the commercial was seating out with some of his friends who are top executives in Multichoice and the commercial aired, they all started talking about how good the production was and how the lady who produced from Nigeria was very professional and did a fantastic job. In the course of the conversation he found out that it was me and he mentioned it to me later, this for me is worth more than the money paid for the job.
Opinion on Celebrities supporting advocacy causes
Sincerely I do not think so, they try from time to time but as a matter of fact I think that a lot of them are only drawn to causes that give them some sort of financial reward, or rewards them in other ways. I feel that we could do a lot more, the commitment and dedication that we show when it is a business deal that brings in money is different from the lackadaisical attitude that we put up towards causes at times. I am guilty as well even as an advocate I think I could be doing a lot more.
I would only appeal to celebrities to make more effort in using their platforms and the voice that they have been given to speak more and make more positive changes. It is okay to have controversial conversations about butt enhancing surgeries and private jet acquisition, we know that is partly what keeps their social media popularity going, but if they can give the same energy and attention when advocating for causes, then there will be a balance and the world will be a better place.
Yes there has been several moments when I have wanted to throw in the socks. There was a particular time I invested in several projects and while waiting for returns on investment, one of my projects crashed. It was a very tough period for us. Scheduled cash inflows were delayed and operatios became very tough. I gradually fell into depression but still had to show up daily at work seeming confident, with prayers and proper strategy, overhauling my system and pushing forward, things stabilised and business picked up.
Who and what inspire me to be better
Myself in the mirror and my endless list of responsibilities..lol.. My family and my children in the orphanage who believe so much in me and think that I am a heroine or some sort of super human; everyone who has ever believed in me at one time or the other, and the thought of failure.
What makes you a woman of Rubies
I will rather leave this question for you and your readers to decide if I had my way. I think my ability to be sincere with myself about who I am and make an effort to be better while helping other people become better versions of themselves maybe a plus
Advice for young women who want to go into the advocacy and development sector
They must be well armed psychologically and spiritually. They must never compromise their principles for material things, your integrity is pretty much all you have got as an advocate, and even more as a woman we are role models and supposed to set the pace for the rest of the world to follow, do not ruin it. Finally, create time for yourself to relax and exhale because passionate advocacy could be very demanding and it is easy to get drowned in your passion and forget to live a little.
In the development sector on the other hand, you need to learn to give up yourself to develop others and this is usually very time demanding. You will be misjudged, trampled, disregarded; your magnanimity will be mistaken for stupidity and you will meet with a high level of ingratitude: through all of these, keep your eyes on the goal because when things begin to fall in place, you will realise that it was worth it all.
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