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Dr Busola Tejumola: Telling Authentic African Stories at MultiChoice

By Njideka Agbo
28 November 2021   |   5:30 am
It doesn’t take long before one knows that Dr Busola Tejumola’s values and who she is today were shaped by the learnings from her family. Born into a family of an educationist grandmother and her parents, education enthusiasts themselves, the life lessons instilled in her have now shaped her worldview and how she responds to…

It doesn’t take long before one knows that Dr Busola Tejumola’s values and who she is today were shaped by the learnings from her family. Born into a family of an educationist grandmother and her parents, education enthusiasts themselves, the life lessons instilled in her have now shaped her worldview and how she responds to them. She opines that if one observes how experiences in each stage of life affect them, they will find that they “certainly sharpen your analytical and critical thinking skills, develop resilience and a solution-oriented mindset.”

From converting insights into winning strategies and establishing key genres that directly increase Customer Value Management, Acquisitions and Customer Experience, Busola has proven to be a resourceful and result-driven team player in MultiChoice.

Before assuming her new role, she rose from Head of Strategy and Insights in 2014 to General Manager Production in 2017, where she alongside her team re-birthed Big Brother Naija and produced AMVCA, Ajoche among others. With her knack for solutions, it is not a surprise that Dr Tejumola has now been appointed Head of Content and Channels West Africa for MultiChoice.

For the Love of Content

Amidst the avalanche of content competing for an individual’s time, it has been proven over time that what captures the attention and loyalty of an audience is the ability to create content that appeals to the needs of the audience. DStv doesn’t just satisfy the diverse needs of the audience it has, it continues to provide content that the audience didn’t realise that they needed. To appeal and move with the tides of human needs is no small task. As human needs keep changing, so do their taste. As a result, each change influences content consumption. Yet, satisfying these needs is one of MultiChoice’s recorded successes.

Given her years of experience in MultiChoice as an expert in content generation, she notes that a part of their recorded success lies in knowing that “content is an interactive and future-focused field.”

Although many would consider this attainment a peak level, she says that MultiChoice is not done. With the expanded role, she will continue to stay curious, be open to learning, anticipate content needs, understand global patterns, and apply them locally. “I believe that humans are very intelligent beings, so to provide value-adding solutions, I engage with them to gain extraordinary insights that help me succeed at work. I am constantly asking questions and listening to people of all ages in a bid to understand what kind of content grabs their attention,” she tells Guardian Life.

One important factor that has been able to help with appealing to this diversity is travel. Dr Tejumola believes that travel is the “shortcut” that has fueled her interests, and this reflects in the content the audience sees. “Travel opens my mind, expands my circle, gives me a fresh perspective to issues and makes me a more-rounded person. I meet diverse people, engage in new and rich cultures and just enjoy having great conversations with the people I meet, because those conversations always have fresh perspectives to them,” she says.

Another interesting influence on her perspective has been children and teenagers. With imaginations running wild and the radical belief that their thoughts can be made manifest in reality, there is little or no limitation to what their minds can conceive. Dr Tejumola opines that engaging them never fails to be refreshing and fuels her creative juices.

Telling our African Stories

Speaking on how MultiChoice Nigeria plans to tell African stories through content creation, she noted that Africa Magic, since its birth in 2003, has grown from one channel to seven channels catering to different genres.

“As Nigeria’s most loved storyteller, our focus is on acquiring, commissioning and producing the very best local content in line with our hyper-local content strategy. This will be my focus as Executive Head, Content and Channels West Africa.”

Shattering ceilings

Globally, there has been a rise in the advocacy for gender balance and it is refreshing to see that in Nigeria, that advocacy is yielding results. Apart from the wider talent pool that this brings and enables organisations to draw from, it also enhances the diversity of perspectives and intelligence, which in turn breeds innovation, increased growth and productivity, among many other good things.

At MultiChoice, gender balance is entrenched in their culture because inclusivity forms a huge part of their DNA. As a result, they have a 60:40 ratio in the general workplace and 50:50 at the management level, where 60% and 50% are female. The slight skew is not because they are intentionally working to favour any gender, it simply is because employment here is based on merit, irrespective of gender, and with Dr Tejumola’s appointment, they have seen that this blend has, and will continue to help them thrive much better as an organisation.

Speaking on how she has been able to get a seat at the table, she says that her family’s orientation helped because she “was never told there were heights we [her and her siblings] could not attain because of our gender. My parents only sold us a vision of possibilities. We saw their dedication to being their very best, and it inspired us to be our very best as well. As an adult, I am fortunate to be married to one of the best gender balance advocates one can possibly find. My husband continuously provides the support and enabling environment for me to follow my dreams and be as ambitious as I dare”

As a senior female executive, she is extending this grace by taking the initiative to mentor other women in the organisation through the MultiChoice Women’s Forum (MWF)- a platform that grooms women to leadership and executive positions through mentorship, deep learning, secondments and sponsorship. Its aim is to build an inclusive environment that advances all women across MultiChoice. She also extends this mentorship to university and secondary school women with the hope that they will remain focused and pursue rewarding careers.

A home called MultiChoice

Working in MultiChoice, which upholds the values imbibed in her from childhood has also contributed to her growth. Full of praise for MultiChoice, she says that the organisation “has a great culture as embedded in our values of mutual respect, innovation, integrity and teamwork. These are not just words that we use to decorate our hallways; they are values that we live, values we breathe.”

Besides working with people who share the same ideologies, she also notes that the energy is contagious. “We are constantly thinking of new, creative and engaging ways to make our customers happy and this sense of purpose fuels us. The energy is palpable.”

She muses when we ask her about how she is able to balance her work-life. “Is there really such a thing as work-life balance?”, she quips. “Okay, seriously now, I prefer to use ‘harmony’. This is because I enjoy the support of my family, learn and apply the art of delegating, and practice placing priority on what is truly important. It certainly is not as easy as it sounds, but it is the fusion of these three areas that have helped in my journey to harmony.”

Interestingly, she also remains busy at a charity organisation that facilitates the education of underprivileged children as a volunteer.

Clear on the homefront, the workplace with its structure can easily become overwhelming, affecting the mental health of workers. She notes that MultiChoice has an open-door policy and encourages a close-knit culture. To ensure that workers get the help they need, they employ the professional services of the Independent Counselling and Advisory Service (ICAS), an international organisation that provides wholesome employee wellness programs and intervention as a service to other organisations.

“Just to buttress this, recently, we lost a very dear colleague – Martin Mabutho, who until the time of his passing was the Chief Customer Officer for the business. To help staff members through the grieving process, ICAS organised grief sessions for us. The sessions were safe spaces to share our feelings and thoughts to help deal with our grief following Martin’s passing.”

Final Words

Speaking to Guardian Life, Dr Busola noted that she couldn’t have got to where she is without dreaming big.

“Dream big, there is nothing you cannot achieve if you put your mind to it. Cultivate the right relationships. To succeed in your career, you need the right mentors, sponsors, coaches and mentees. Please choose people whose vision to excel and values align with yours.

“Never stop learning. Successful people never stop learning because they know that life is constantly evolving. Don’t ever be complacent about learning and apply what you learn immediately. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is part of the process, so never take failure personally; take it as feedback. Mine the lessons and move on.”