BAO talks to Sneha Bose, Chief Information Officer for Fashion For Charity Africa, on the impact this scheme is having on Nigerian society.
Tell us about Fashion For Charity Africa. What do you do exactly?
Fashion For Charity Africa is a social entrepreneurship project initiative to help the Internally Displaced People in Nigeria. I have been the Chief Information Officer for fashion For Charity Africa, and my role has been to develop a communication system for the company. I was also responsible for the content development, social media marketing, negotiating with the stakeholders and sponsors like the BBC Africa, La Liga and finally aligning the business’ strategic plans.
What was the idea behind or influenced the setting up of this organisation?
The main idea behind the social entrepreneurship project viz. Fashion For Charity Africa was making a difference in the society. Due to the insurgencies in the Northern Nigeria a lot of people are separated from their family with little or no scope of building back their lives. So our main objective was to support these vulnerable communities of people or as we commonly know them as the Internally Displaced People, by collaborating with the other Non-Governmental Organizations thus raising sensitization across the society.
What are the key indicators by which you measure your organisation’s impact in Nigeria?
The three major key performance indicators for our organization and its impact in Nigeria are – Fundraising Metrics, Donor Retention Metrics and Social Media Metrics.
Under Fundraising metrics, we have further subdivided it into 3 more categories into – gifts secured, donation growth, and donor growth rate.
Under Donor Retention Metrics, we measure it based on the outreach rate.
And finally, under the Social Media Metrics, we have sub-divided it into two major categories – amplification rates (based on re-tweets, reposts and shares on the various media channels) and fundraiser participation rates.
We are slowly but steadily progressing, and hope to create more buzz as we grow bigger.
What are the challenges faced by your organisation? How are you overcoming them?
The main challenge that we had to face was in terms of professionalism from the agencies we were partnering with. I have had the chance of working in various places around the globe and experiencing the Nigerian work culture did come with its own set of challenges. However, once you know the way around and figure out the gaps; our work became a lot easier.
How do you get funding in order to achieve your objectives?
In order to achieve our objectives, we would craft out events that has the potential of raising funds from interested bodies, mainly the international and local NGO’s and the various international embassies, and not to forget the Nigerian entertainment sector. Till date our main sponsors and partners have been very helpful and supportive of our cause.
Finally, what is your message to our readers?
Don’t let your passion die and if you have the resources to help make a difference in our society or the community, then let us all put our hands and heads together to share knowledge and education thus removing any signs of illiteracy, discrimination and nurturing the youth brigade to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Sneha has 5+ years’ of work experience in the field of Information Technology, Project Management, Business Development, Marketing & Media Strategies and Retail Operations. She is a successful orator and has conducted corporate trainings for various organizations. She is also a part of the international public speaking community of Toastmasters International. She has been nominated for the award of the Social Impact Maker in Nigeria, and has been interviewed by the BBC Africa and other popular Nigerian FM Stations. She believes strongly for education and youth empowerment and dreams to have her own organization that will suffice the needs of all these youth who do not have the amenities for free education.
2021 Workplace Superpowers – The Must-haves
If I was asked what my special skills were a year ago, it would definitely differ from now. You will agree with me that 2020 came with a twist and remote work forced each and every one of us to learn how to Do It Yourself (I don’t just mean cooking). In this article, I will be sharing with you some of the must-have skills for 2021 that would make you more sellable to recruiters.
I have divided these skills into hard and soft skills and you can find the complete lists of these most in-demand skills globally below:
1. Data Analytics: The workplace today requires us to think in data. This requires us to do a bit more research, crunch those numbers, understand raw data and drive business growth based on concrete analysis.
2. Content Creation: Your ability to produce entertaining or educational material that not only caters to the interests and challenges of a target audience but increases engagement and conversions definitely sets you aside from others in your field. The content you produce can take many forms, including blog posts, videos, graphic designs and newsletters.
3. Marketing: Businesses worldwide need analytical people who understand what sort of tools are available in the growing digital toolbox, and know-how to dig in’ through trusted channels.
4. Sales: This can pass for both a hard skill and a soft skill as sales involves persuasion, but for a specific commercial end in mind. Your ability to convert leads to revenue would give you a spot in any business.
5. Video production: The average person watches 25 hours of video each day. Video content is quickly becoming the dominant form of all communication and companies are fighting to create effective digital video assets.
6. Product Development: This involves managing the process of developing a product or enhancing existing products in order to meet customer expectations effectively. If you haven’t noticed, times are changing and the direction of products being developed is too.
1. Creativity: Developing new ideas, applying new solutions to address existing problems. Some people are naturally creative on their own, but a lot of us need to bounce ideas off others to get the creative juices flowing. An ability to learn continuously and a willingness to adapt to change.
2. Communication skills: Interpreting information through speaking, listening and observing. Organizing thoughts and data points into a comprehensive and holistic narrative.
3. Collaboration: Collaboration suffers when roles and goals are not defined. The next time you take on a group project, strike up a conversation about what success looks like, and who’s doing what. Just this simple act can get everyone rowing together faster and more effectively.
4. Adaptability: Manage your mindset. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances starts with a mindset that’s willing to adapt to changing circumstances. If you tend to balk at change, reflect on the reasons why — and then see if there are any reframings you haven’t explored.
5. Emotional intelligence: Practicing control, knowing when to push, expressing yourself and observation of interpersonal relationships among people in a workplace is very important when working with people.
6. Leadership: Leadership in the 21st century is much more about influence than authority, learning to appreciate and adapt to people with different perspectives, priorities, and personalities is a key skill to develop.
Having a difficult time figuring out your superpowers?
Here are three questions you can answer to guide you:
- What unique contribution do you bring to projects, conversations, and meetings you attend?
- Why do team members come to you for help?
- What would be missing if you were to leave your current place of work?
If you are unable to answer these questions yourself, ask a colleague or friend. If your answers do not reflect the skills listed above, don’t relent or give up. The internet is packed with so much information, take some short courses, seek guidance from a work buddy, mentor or your boss.
A superpower isn’t just a skill but a perspective, a mindset and a way of working that enhances everything you touch.
The Education System is Broken. Covid-19 may be the cure (Pt. 1)
Studying From Home (SFH) due to Covid may transform the entire education system (image: 123RF.com)
Institutional procrastination has kept the education sector globally from making long overdue changes to keep up with the ways of our evolving world. However, just like the first minor heart attach that doesn’t kill a person but forces them to finally take their cholesterol level and exercise seriously, Covid-19 might just be the disrupting force to permanently reshape formal education as we know it.
I believe there will be two distinct changes to the system, one that is bound to happen, and one that needs to happen.
In this first article of my two part series on education reform, I’ll discuss the first big change, and the one that we need to get started on right away: a complete revision of the educational curricula writ large.
Consider my daughter Maya. She is 13 years old and in 7th grade, and has 5 more years of school left. Let’s assume that she goes to a 4 year undergrad (ed:she better!) and then maybe takes a gap year before starting her first job. I know from my own experience, that most of us are pretty useless in our first 2–3 years in the workforce. At that time we are just learning the ropes, building the habits of showing up, navigating office politics and developing some sort of competence in our chosen career path. So, even excluding a master’s degree, etc. we’re talking about 12–15 years before she is really contributing to society.
For just a moment, now look back 15 years ago. In 2006: the very first iPhone had not been released. Netflix was still mailing out DVD’s in red envelopes. In that year. Twitter was founded and Facebook was still only for students on college campuses. The EV-1 electric cars had just been destroyed, and the space shuttle Columbia had just blown up upon re-entry. The world was a very different place 15 years ago, and the pace of innovation is still accelerating. That means that look forward to 15 years from now, will be like going 25 years back.
The cost of solar energy has dropped by 97% in the last 25 years. Between abundant solar, and massive projects in geothermal, our kids are going to live in a world biased towards renewable resources for the first time ever. Autonomous cars and trucks will wipe out a huge portion of driving careers, which are currently the no.1 job category 29 of the 50 States in the USA. Even software engineering is significantly changing as the world moves from bottom-of-the-stack system coding, to no-code applications through assembly of existing open-source modules and libraries.
Today’s schools are preparing our kids for a world which will not exist by the time they get there.
Forrester and Mckinsey estimate that almost 40 million clerical and location based jobs will be wiped out in the USA by 2030 due to automation. That is 25% of the total workforce. The Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that 43% of the total workforce in the USA in 2020 are what we now call “gig workers”, self-employed doing short-term task based jobs (like driving an Uber, tutoring online or freelancing).
Of course, new jobs will be created, just as today there are over eight hundred thousand technology jobs in Silicon Valley which did not exist before the digital revolution. However, these new jobs will be in new areas that we can’t currently foresee. As a (depressing) example, there are over 15,000 content moderators whose job it is to just review potentially awful & inappropriate posts on Facebook everyday, a dystopian career choice that was unimaginable 25 years ago.
What is certain though, is that this next generation of today’s students have zero chance of holding a single “cradle to grave” career. They will inevitably exist in a world of uncertainty and change.
Resilience, adaptability, and lifelong learning are the three most important traits we need to be teaching them.
There is little point in teaching “facts”, in a post-Google world. We have externalized knowledge such that any fact, or skill can instantly be learned by watching a few YouTube videos, or reading a collection of articles on Google. What needs to be taught are: curiosity, a passion for learning, and a dedication to cognitive reflection – the practice of thinking beyond an intuitive answer/media message, and considering a potentially less comfortable/intuitive correct answer.
Homeschooling interest peaked with Covid-19 (source: Google Trends)
At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Google searches for the term “homeschooling” shot up 400% compared to the previous 5 years. Inquiries to the National Homeschool Association jumped from 5 calls a day before Covid, to 3,400 per day in August. My own family formed a “microschool” taking the choices of teachers and curriculum into our own hands. While health and safety are undoubtedly the primary motivation for this trend, the genie is out of the bottle. Covid has shown us that the same Internet platforms that connect us with a global talent pool of employees, can also connect us with a global pool of amazing educators. My daughter’s Spanish teacher is in Puebla, Mexico. She’s taking a music technology course from the University of Adelaide. My son’s physics teacher is a NASA engineer working on the Mars rover. Thanks to Covid, “School” has transformed from a place where they go, to a thing that they do.
Given the slow bureaucratic nature of most ministries of education, making sweeping changes to the national curricula in “traditional schools” is going to be a 5 to 10 year process. If we are to adapt our systems of learning in time to not waste a generation of students with the wrong lessons, then these changes need to start now.
In part 2 of this series, I’ll discuss the second major coming change: the explosion of the education bundle.
Author: Jay Shapiro, Co-founder & CEO of Usiku Games
How to Spot and Manage Employee Types
Employees (Source: The Grossman Group)
We all say that we want to be leaders but many times we forget that to be a successful manager you must learn how to shift your leadership style to work effectively with different types of employees. Employees have a range of behaviors ranging from normal to extreme. When confronted with these different personalities, managers sometimes aren’t quite sure how to manage this. In this article, we look at seven types of employee personalities and how best to manage them.
What Are These Employee Personalities
They can be found lingering in the break room, openly surfing the net, or parked in someone’s cubicle for a lengthy chat (which proves that slacking off can be contagious). They may find legitimate reasons to leave the office, then take time to run lengthy errands. This personality may be as a result of an under-developed work ethic and lack of good role models or they don’t just like their jobs so have trouble bringing any energy to it.
The Space Cadets
Space Cadets frequently seem to be lost, thinking of something else except the subject matter. They make seemingly off-the-wall comments in meetings and may start discussions in the middle of a thought. They may come up with ideas that, at least on the surface, seem rather impractical. They are usually abstract thinkers who are more focused on the future than the present.
The Power Takers
These employees tend to get into power struggles with their bosses.They often act like they’re managing you, instead of the other way around. They would naturally take over a meeting or quickly step into the lead role on a project, brag about their accomplishments, so titles, perks, and public recognition are important to them. A strong fear of failure often lies behind this bravado.
They are quite easy to spot. Look out for who prefers to spend the day working on the computer and talking to no one in a little corner they carved out for themselves. They never want to attend conferences, meetings or workshops, because they look for any excuse to duck out. They don’t dislike people – they just don’t find social interaction to be a very enjoyable activity.
The Drama Queens (or Kings)
The dramatic ones thrive on excitement and attention, so spotting them is easy. A calm, peaceful workday is just not very rewarding, so they try to spice things up with dramatic pronouncements, juicy gossip, ominous rumors, personal traumas, or emotional breakdowns. When talking with others, they are expressive and animated. More subdued coworkers find the dramatic employees exhausting and try to avoid them. They thrive on emotional stimulation, regardless of whether the emotions are positive or negative.
Challengers are programmed to be oppositional. When presented with a proposal, suggestion, directive, or idea, they automatically point out flaws, obstacles, and potential problems. In fact, they enjoy challenging management, because they feel it establishes their independence. They resent authority and never show respect just because the person has a title. Their focus is on winning arguments, not resolving the problem. Challengers have a high need for control.
The major quality of people with this personality is dependence. They like clear instructions, ongoing communication, and frequent positive reinforcement. Uncomfortable making independent decisions, because they are afraid of doing the wrong thing. Clingers are reluctant to express disagreement because they fear making others angry and losing their support. As a result, they sometimes withhold their opinions or harbor resentments that they never express. The Clinger’s main need is to feel safe.
Management may differ for each personality but here’s a brief summary of tips that may aid in effectively managing employees that fall in these categories listed above:
- Clearly define expectations in terms of results that must be accomplished
- Help the employee break down large projects into smaller implementation steps
- Set regular times for feedback and follow-up to ensure that work is on track
- Explain why more mundane or tedious tasks are important
- Provide regular feedback to encourage more concise verbal and written communications.
- Stress the importance of each team member to the overall organizational success
- Take time to understand individual ideas, as sometimes they often have benefits that are not immediately apparent.
- Provide opportunities to be creative.
It is important to note that in any organization or sector, asides from identifying the multiple personalities within you must first define the culture and type of leadership as a step to effectively manage for success. To be categorized as a Great leader, you must actively listen, build rapport, ask questions and give constructive feedback. Communication and flexibility are key.
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