Tanko Lami is the CEO and Team Lead of Lah Mi, a media innovative company in Abuja. She is a creative and social media sensation full of poise, charisma and intelligence. Her work has organically gained her over 70,000 followers on Facebook. In this interview by KANGMWA GOFWEN, she talks about how it all started for her and how she has stayed focused in building her career.
You recently made a post on your Facebook page about how you struggled to make it to this stage in your career, can you tell us how it all started?
It started in the village with my late grandmother, even as a child, my grandmother taught me hard work and contentment. We didn’t always have all we needed, whenever I need something like clothes for the seasons, books or anything at all, I either go to the farm, get some crops to sell or go and work in other people’s farm and I get paid in kind(raw crops) or cash. That was when I learnt financial responsibility.
When we relocated to Jos in 2004, I got my first mental awareness through books and movies. But it was hard for me to practice what I learned from the books and even harder was the fact that I had a burning zeal to learn further. I started borrowing books from friends and saving to buy books, I developed special interest in writing too. I spent my last card registering for courses, buying books and sleepless nights studying. I became a loner cause nobody around me really thought I was sane.
How did you manage to stay focused as a young lady starting from the scratch?
My lack was my major motivation and the home training my grandmother gave me in the village was my guide. I didn’t want to remain poor and in lack, I didn’t want to remain at the mercy of my oppressors for ever. I didn’t want to be like my father and mother… I wanted more, I wanted to be more, so, I bent my head down to it. How I managed to stay focused? I was contented and very much in touch with the principle of time and seasons. I knew my time would come, but it wouldn’t favour me if it didn’t meet me doing the right things.
In building your career and business what are some of the challenges you have come across as a lady?
Oh! I have lost deals because I didn’t give sex in exchange. I have been denied access to some business conference because they felt I was too young to be the CEO of a company, my company director has to replace and represent my brand at the conference. Just that, but graciously, other times, my works and recommendations always cover in for me.
You’re a media manager, do you think every business has a place on social media and how important is technology to businesses today?
Oh yes!! Every business and I mean EVERY Business have a place, a market, and an audience on social media. Whatever you have to sell, products, services or an idea, there are people it is targeted at, it is your responsibility to position yourself or business to appeal to them.
Technology makes business much easier and automated. It connects you to people far and near, people you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. It is left for you to maximize it’s advantage.
Why did you choose this career path?
I would say, I didn’t choose it, it chose me.
I am result driven and a problem solver. So media management, branding and communications chose me to manifest creative solutions for innovative brands.
You’re doing well in what you do tell us, how has the journey been for you?
Great! Not all rosy and sweet but I am learning and growing, day by day.
You mentioned in one of your posts that you represent Nigeria on global business level, tell us about it.
As young creative entrepreneur, I get selected to represent Nigeria in business seminars, the latest was in Lagos, this December. I was among creatives from other continents and African countries, I led the African team of creatives being the only Nigerian. If you know me too well, you will know I don’t like to mention my clients, and business associates publicly, but that information is detailed on my career and business profile.
What are some of the brands you have worked with and how was it like working with them?
If you know me too well, you will know I don’t like to mention my clients, and business associates publicly, but that information is detailed on my career and business profile. It’s a policy for me because my job deals with handling people’s privacies, it is also a privacy measure. But, experience so far has been really humbling.
Entrepreneurship is not easy, what can a young Nigerian person do to grow and succeed in the face of a troubled economy?
I would say; be committed, contented and patient with your process. It is not easy and you can’t have everything working perfectly for you at once… solve your problems, one at a time as you strategize on the next step to take.
You seem to have a lot on your table as you recently resumed work in Lagos while still having an office in Abuja, how do you joggle all of these and have time for yourself?
The beauty of being a media manager is that I can work remotely and I have a functional team. And I take planning seriously, for cases of emergency and urgency, my team handle some works on my behalf.
What advice do you have for young Nigerians particularly ladies who are struggling to make it in their career paths?
FOCUS!! know who you are, where you are and where you coming from. Mistakes and failures are part of the journey, do not expect perfection all the time. Do not expect smoothness all the time. Prepare for the worse, always think of worse-cases.
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