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Oke Umurhohwo: Charting A Multifaceted Journey On Philanthropy, And Community Leadership

By Guardian Life
03 December 2023   |   11:32 am
Oke Umurhohwo is an experienced professional in the marketing industry, and he has received recognition as one of Brandcom's 35 under 35 marketing executives. In addition to his professional work, Oke is actively involved in advocating for climate change and environmental sustainability through community engagement. He is also engaged in with a focus on improving…

Oke Umurhohwo is an experienced professional in the marketing industry, and he has received recognition as one of Brandcom’s 35 under 35 marketing executives.

In addition to his professional work, Oke is actively involved in advocating for climate change and environmental sustainability through community engagement. He is also engaged in with a focus on improving education, infrastructure, and empowering the youth.

Can you tell our readers more about your role as the Marketing Manager for itel in West Africa and the key responsibilities that come with it?
In my capacity as the Marketing Manager for itel in West Africa 1, my primary responsibility is to chart the course for our brand’s marketing activities in the region. This entails a multifaceted approach, from strategizing product launches and executing advertising campaigns to conducting in-depth market research. Our goal is to ensure that our brand and product message effectively resonates with our target audience in this diverse and dynamic market. I also handle all government relations and strategic partnerships for the itel brand.

Beyond your professional career, you’re also an advocate for climate change and environmental sustainability. How did your passion for this cause develop, and what initiatives are you currently involved in?
My passion for climate change and environmental sustainability is deeply rooted in my realization of the urgent need for global action. It’s not just about acknowledging the problems; it’s about driving practical solutions. I actively engage in initiatives aimed at educating my community on the impact of climate change and other environmental issues. We organize tree-planting events, school seminars, and workshops to raise awareness about the environment’s fragility and what we can do to protect it. We see how floods have become rampant on our coastlines and how people are losing their ancestral homes. I firmly believe that educating the public is a vital step toward meaningful change.

We understand you’ve been actively engaged in politics in Delta State, Nigeria. What motivated you to enter politics, and what changes or improvements will you bring about in your community?
My journey into politics was driven by my strong desire to contribute directly to the development and progress of my immediate community and the broader state and country at large. I firmly believe that effective representation can be a catalyst for positive change. Key areas of focus in my political endeavors include improving education standards, enhancing infrastructure, and empowering the youth to become active participants in building a better future.

Could you elaborate on the various developmental and empowerment programs you’ve initiated through the Foundation and their impact on the community?
The Foundation is a vehicle through which we channel our commitment to community development. Our initiatives span various sectors, including healthcare, education, and skill acquisition.
Notably, our free medical outreach programs have provided essential healthcare services to underserved communities.
We’ve also initiated scholarships and educational aid programs, which have enabled bright young minds to access quality education, setting them on the path to success.
The Foundation’s impact extends to skills acquisition programs, helping individuals acquire valuable skills for self-sufficiency.

Tell us more about the Oke Umurhohwo Football Cup. How did this initiative come about, and what successes have you achieved through this project?
This is a project close to my heart, as it combines my passion for sports with my commitment to empowering youths. The Oke Umurhohwo Football Cup offers a platform for local talent to shine. It goes beyond sports; it’s about fostering discipline, and teamwork, and providing opportunities for aspiring athletes. The tournament has garnered recognition and has been instrumental in identifying and nurturing young talents in Delta State and Ughelli in particular.

Balancing a career, political involvement, personal businesses and philanthropic efforts can be challenging. How do you manage your time effectively to juggle these different roles and responsibilities?
To be honest, balancing my roles in marketing, politics, my businesses, and philanthropy can indeed be challenging, but it’s also immensely rewarding. Effective time management is key. Prioritization allows me to allocate time and resources efficiently. Additionally, having a dedicated and supportive team enables me to delegate responsibilities and collaborate effectively. This way, I can juggle these diverse roles and ensure that each receives the attention it deserves.

Swimming and supporting Chelsea Football Club are among your leisure activities. How do these hobbies contribute to your work-life balance, and why are they important to you?
When it comes to leisure, swimming provides me with a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation. It’s a physical and mental escape from the demands of my busy schedule. As for supporting Chelsea FC, it’s a passion that allows me to unwind and connect with fellow fans, sharing the excitement of the beautiful game.

Could you share some insights into the significance of effective communication in your professional life and how it has contributed to your success?
Effective communication forms the cornerstone of my professional life. In marketing, it’s about crafting messages that resonate with our target audience, influencing their choices and perceptions. In philanthropy, communication is essential for articulating the goals and impact of our initiatives, garnering support, and inspiring others to join our cause.

As a strategic thinker, what are some of the key strategies or approaches you’ve employed in your marketing career that have yielded positive results?
Strategic thinking in marketing involves a deep understanding of market dynamics, consumer behaviour, and emerging trends. It’s about staying adaptable and open to innovation in a rapidly evolving field. We analyze market data to identify opportunities and align our product offerings with evolving consumer needs.

What advice would you give young professionals aspiring to make a difference in their communities, similar to your involvement in the Oke Umurhohwo Foundation?
To young professionals aspiring to make a difference, I would advise starting small and staying committed. Identify a cause that resonates with you and collaborate with like-minded individuals and organizations. Change often happens incrementally, and persistence is key. Remember that even the smallest actions can contribute to significant positive change.

How can individuals and businesses play a role in addressing climate change and promoting environmental sustainability on a broader scale?
Addressing climate change is a collective responsibility that extends to individuals and businesses alike. At the individual level, adopting sustainable practices such as reducing, reusing, and recycling can significantly reduce our carbon footprint. Conserving energy by using energy-efficient appliances and supporting renewable energy sources like solar and wind power are practical steps. Advocacy is another crucial avenue for impact. By supporting and advocating for environmental policies at local and national levels, we can contribute to systemic change.

Considering your diverse experiences, how do you see the future of brand management and marketing evolving in West Africa, and what challenges and opportunities lie ahead?
The future of brand management in West Africa is promising and dynamic. Digital marketing continues to evolve, presenting exciting opportunities to engage with consumers through various online platforms. E-commerce is on the rise, and brands need to adapt to the changing retail landscape. Data-driven insights will play a pivotal role in understanding consumer behaviour and preferences. However, the challenge lies in staying ahead of rapidly changing consumer trends and maintaining brand relevance in a competitive market.

What do you believe are the essential qualities that make a successful leader, both in the corporate world and in community-driven initiatives?
A successful leader should possess a combination of qualities that foster growth and inspire others. Visionary leadership means having a clear sense of purpose and direction. Adaptability is crucial in navigating an ever-changing landscape. Empathy and the ability to understand and connect with team members on a personal level foster a positive work environment. Furthermore, a successful leader should be skilled in empowering and motivating their team, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability.

Could you share some memorable moments or achievements from your career or philanthropic work that have had a profound impact on you?
There have been many memorable moments in the last 10 years but I would mention three.
One of the most memorable moments was when the Oke Umurhohwo Foundation provided more than 2,000 primary school pupils with school uniforms, books, bags, and school accessories. Witnessing the genuine happiness on their faces as they received these essential items was truly heartwarming. What made it even more special was receiving calls and messages from parents days after to express their sincere thanks. Knowing that we had made a meaningful impact on the education and well-being of these children and their families was an incredibly rewarding experience.

Another unforgettable moment was planning, organizing, and executing the itel 10th-anniversary event. It was my biggest event back then, and the pressure was immense, especially since we had our bosses and colleagues from HQ China in attendance. Every detail had to be perfect, and there was no room for error. Seeing the event come together seamlessly, with everyone enjoying the celebration and the positive feedback we received, was incredibly gratifying. It was a testament to the power of teamwork and meticulous planning, and it remains a standout moment in my career.

One other moment would be during the challenging COVID lockdown period. When many brands faced limitations and uncertainty, my team and I embarked on an ambitious endeavour—an itel product online launch aired live on Channels TV and major television stations. This project was fraught with challenges, from planning logistics to executing under tight COVID regulations. However, against all odds, we achieved the seemingly impossible. We successfully executed the online product launch, opening doors for other brands to see that it was possible to remain active and innovative even in the face of adversity. It was a testament to our team’s resilience and creativity, and it felt like a dream come true.

In your journey so far, what have been the most valuable lessons you’ve learned that you would like to pass on to others seeking to excel in various aspects of life?
Two valuable lessons I’ve learned in my journey are resilience and the power of collaboration. In any endeavour, challenges and setbacks are inevitable. Resilience means having the determination to persevere through difficulties, learning from failures, and using them as stepping stones to success. Collaboration is a cornerstone of creating meaningful change. No significant transformation occurs in isolation. By working together with diverse perspectives and skill sets, we amplify our impact and achieve more than we could individually. These lessons continue to guide my approach to both professional and community-driven initiatives.

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