In our Women in Leadership Q & A Series, AWLO talks to a Woman of Worth Annie Essienette. Annie Essienette is a private sector leader who displays exceptional leadership not only as a professional.

She has found herself playing key parts in other arenas, and brings to bear her leadership prowess. She is a member of African Women in Leadership Organisation Lagos Chapter.

Her passion is to see a new Nigeria materialize where well informed outstanding youths will take the fore.

ABOUT ANNIE ESSIENETTE

Annie Essienette is an outcome focused, career driven, innovative and strategic senior marketing and communication professional with over 15 years combined experience in Marketing Management.

Her marketing experience cuts across Market research and analysis, customer marketing, high-level customer engagement, data driven marketing, corporate communication, brand management, event management, and corporate social responsibility.

Mrs. Essienette holds a Masters Degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos and a B.sc in Information sciences from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She is a member of the Nigerian institute of Marketing chartered, and Nigerian Institute of Management.

She is also well-versed in internal communication across Media, Telecommunications, Information Technology, Security and Infrastructure industries. She loves playing chess, reading, volunteering, spending quality time with family and motivating young women in the areas of career and marriage. She is married and a proud mother of 3 lovely boys.

About some of the hurdles in leadership she has encountered over the years, and how constant engagement is key in people and expectation management

[Tweet “with leadership comes accountability to the people who first entrusted you… – @hailanny”]

I have always found myself in leadership be it at school, work or vocational service. It comes with a consistent display of commitment and a high sense of responsibility as well as going over and above the call of duty.

However it has not been without its challenges. With leadership comes responsibilities and accountability to the people that first entrusted you with such responsibilities, as well as the team in whom you have been entrusted.

Some of the hurdles I have encountered over the years includes people and expectation management. There is the constant pull between doing the right thing and pleasing constituted authority, in which case one has to find a landing that is both workable and acceptable while still getting the job done.

Another challenge is followership. To lead you need followers hence you also needs to ensure that all the stakeholders in your delivery value chain are carried along in the process as there can be no leadership without followers.

In my journey, what I have seen to work effectively is the act of constant engagement. For communication to be effective in leadership, it needs to be consistent and sustained across the various stakeholders to ensure everyone buys into the sense of responsibility especially in key decision making processes, that way the responsibility of winning or not is borne by all.

The sad truth however is that the bulk still stops at your table as a team leader or key action owner. As a leader, one should always be ready to take responsibility, feedback and learn from failures, while sharing the glory of winning with the team.  So I will say engage and keep engaging end to end to be effective as a leader.

As a leader she is willing to identify and raise other potential leaders. However she looks for markers.

Every good leader must replicate his or herself.  Like I said at the beginning, my leadership responsibility has cut across, work, school and vocation.

Take vocation for instance, as you lead, you are bound to identify some champions amongst your team members; champions are identified not just by skills, but by commitment, availability and teachability.

Once you identify individuals that are willing to learn regardless of their qualification, the natural tendency is to groom them to be able to carry the touch even if it is not in the immediate and you do that best by delegating certain key responsibilities to them and as they excel in one, you entrust them with another.

Case in point, as soon as you are inducted into my local chapter Rotary club, every new member is assigned a mentor. In the course of mentoring one of such, I have come to realize that often times, the mentee within the shortest possible time is fast becoming a mentor due to the level of commitment and assimilation. Once such talents are identified, nothing stops them from being elected into a leadership role regardless of the time they have spent in the organization.

Annie Essienette served as President of Rotary Club of Amuwo, and various coordinated activities in services to humanity

Every Leader Must Evolve and Grow, and how does Annie Essienette do this?

[Tweet “I have evolved my skills and knowledge firstly, through reading – @hailanny”]

Leaders they say are readers. I have evolved my skills and knowledge firstly, through  reading, and secondly by identifying good mentors.

On reading, I ensure I read up books both in my professional field and in leadership. I have also come to find out that there is nothing really new under the sun, most problems encountered in the call of duty have had existing research or guide written on them, as a leader all you need to do is look for and find such write-ups and adapt the solutions to whatever situation you may be facing at that moment.

On mentorship, for every leadership position or structure I find myself, I identify a mentor that has either been there, or understands the system more than I do.

Such mentors can be internal or external or a combination of both. What this does is that you learn at the feet of a master and are navigated from the onset so you avoid the usual leadership pitfalls.

An internal mentor is equally quite strategic as it also helps you understand the culture and character of the organization and more importantly navigates you through your path to career advancement.

Mrs. Annie at the IBM Cloud Innovation Forum 2017

She thinks there is more than one essential characteristic in Leadership. Her top three are: Integrity, consistency and reliability

You asked for one, but I think these three are key for me: Integrity, consistency and reliability. Everyone will trust someone with a high degree of transparency and integrity.

As a leader, you must also be consistent with your values, as a matter of fact it should be a strong character trait that you are not a flash in the pan, hence your delivery on excellence must be consistent as every leader is as good as their last laurel.

And lastly of course if you are consistent it just means you can be relied upon.

[Tweet “Leadership is not about a title or a designation…”]

A Few Mantras that She lives by

Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers. Robin S. Sharma, a Canadian writer and motivational speaker known for his The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari book series. Sharma worked as a litigation lawyer until age 25, when he self-published MegaLiving (1994), a book on stress management and spirituality.

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. John F. Kennedy

You must be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi.Jun 28, 2013- This applies even to leadership as a leader must lead by example.


Attend African Women in Leadership Conference for Building Capacity in Leadership & Creating International Networks from 19th -21st July 2018 at Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Center Abuja. Visit awlo.org/anniversary for details.