19 April 2022
She is a dynamic and performance-driven professional with 25+ years of versatile, multi-industry functional and leadership experience, she has distinguished herself professionally with a proven track record of success in product and marketing innovation, with deep experience spanning FMCG (alcoholic beverages), telecommunications, fast-moving consumer healthcare and most recently fintech/e-payments across key African markets.
She holds an honours degree in Biological sciences Education from the University of Benin and has attended executive functional, leadership and management programs from Cranfield School of Management, Columbia Business School, Wharton Business School, Kellogg Business School (Northwestern University) as well as the Oxford Fintech Program at Said Business School.
She has demonstrated a consistent ability to deliver exceptional results when crossing into new terrains and is reputed as having contributed significantly to the changing face of marketing in Nigeria, recognized in 2015 as Marketing Personality of the Year in Nigeria by Marketing Edge and more recently, as one of the top 50 Marketing Professionals in West Africa at the 7th edition of the annual Marketing World Awards in Accra, Ghana (2019). In 2020, she was also awarded the Most Outstanding Marketing Professional of the Year award (Financial Technology Category) at Women in Marketing & Communications Conference/Awards (WIMCA).
She is deeply passionate about individual social responsibility as a means of making impact on one’s immediate and expanded communities, being extensively involved in mentoring and finding ways to give back through charitable causes. Cherry is particularly enthused about female empowerment and girl child development and advocacy.
She was also recently recognised as one of the #100 Most Inspiring Women in Nigeria by ‘Leading Ladies Africa’, a compendium honouring phenomenal Nigerian women (both home and abroad) making a difference and bringing value to their respective spheres of influence and to the wider world.
WiM Africa: What gives you energy and drives you forward when you are not feeling at the top of your game?
CE: Even the best of us experience lethargy from time to time. And it is important that we listen to our bodies in those times and allow ourselves to pause and take a breather. However, it is imperative that you know when to put that pep back in our steps and get back in the game. And this ‘pep’ is a phenomenon that varies from person to person. I should also point out that sometimes, there just isn’t the time to take a break and get a breather. One must hunker down and do the needful.
For me, I have realized that when I am not feeling at the top of my game and I don’t have time to take a break, I take charge of how I feel, refocus my mind, and just start doing, like Nike says, ‘Just do it’. For example, I don’t always look forward to my workout, but once I start, I find my flow, and there’s no stopping me… Haha!
More seriously, at work, I have realized that once I have started on a project, it becomes easier to keep at it, to tweak, update, revise, to deliver. So, I just start. Another approach I adopt is collaboration. I find allies that are strong in areas of the project where I am not the strongest. I find that one person’s painful task, is another’s pleasure. Pair up with people who complement your skill. A great team will help you keep going even when you don’t feel on top of your game.
WiM Africa: Which advertising campaign, from any brand, has been the most memorable for you and why?
CE: Over the past 20 years, in my career, I have been blessed to have been a critical part of many brilliant campaigns… Countless campaigns across various industries: FMCG, Teleco, and now, Technology. And it is only natural that some of my most memorable ones would be one of the ones I created, having been a part of the brainstorming, ideation, strategy, and execution stages.
Hmmm, I have a few memorable ones, but I’ll tell you about a recent one: ‘Everything is Possible’. This was a thematic campaign for one of our brands at Interswitch, Quickteller. This campaign stands out because it was one of those campaigns we didn’t ‘overthink’. Sometime in 2019, before Covid-19, during one of our weekly team meetings, we started a conversation about the kinds of people we built Quickteller for. The conservation quickly intensified and became a full-blown brainstorming session. After that meeting, we collaborated with relevant stakeholders and in no time, we were shooting one of our most relatable and impactful ads – it gave voice to the core needs of our primary target market and showcased an apt solution for them. The video shoot experience was also one adventure I will not forget in a while.
WiM Africa: What three pieces of advice would you give to a woman marketer aspiring to a senior position about getting to and staying at the top of their profession?
CE: I am grateful for the opportunities I have had during the course of my career, it has been an amazing journey, some phases were fun, and others, not-so-fun, but I have no regrets at all. So, if I had to advise my younger friends, I would say: first, be intentional about relationships in your life and career. You never know who will become instrumental to your success. Treat people well, whether they are junior, or senior to you. Be relatable. You see, no matter how qualified you are, people will always be the single most powerful resource you need in your career. People will speak up for in rooms that matter, even when you are absent.
Second, be principled, objective and firm, but empathetic and relatable. You need to be grounded, have values that you live by.
Finally, be excellent at your work. Your output should be consistently excellent. Don’t allow anyone be able to poke holes in your work. Yes, we all make mistakes, but make mistakes and learn from them. Constantly work on improving your competence. Get coaching and mentorship, if need be, but be known as someone your managers can count on.
WiM Africa: Which one person, dead or alive, would you say inspires you the most and why?
CE: My mum inspires me the most. She is a resilient, relentless, woman with great strength, a woman of character. Focuses on the endgame.
WiM Africa: If you were stuck on a desert island what three things, excluding electronics, what could you not do without?
That’s a tough question, can I take a truck? *Laughs…
Well, if I were stuck on a dessert, I think I will take a lot of drinkable water, it is important to always stay hydrated; a knife to cut up some food I might find and to also serve as a defense tool, and finally, most definitely my Bible!
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