Ibukun Awosika 7 important lessons on mentorship from First Bank’s first female chairman

Mrs Awosika is passionate about mentoring young men and women and encouraging them to live their lives with passion and purpose.

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Business magnate and CEO Chair Centre; Ibukun Awosika at TFD Series in Lagos

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The first female Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), Mrs Ibukun Awosika is as inspirational as they come.  

Mrs Awosika started her own furniture manufacturing company, Quebees Ltd, (now known as the The Chair Centre Ltd) at the age of 25.

She sits on several boards and is a former President of Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ).

Mrs Awosika is passionate about mentoring young men and women and encouraging them to live their lives with passion and purpose.

She spoke about mentorship during the Tara Fela-Durotoye (TFD) conference on Thursday, March 9, and below are seven important things she said:

  1. Learn relationship management: It’s important to manage your relationship with your mentor properly. Endear people to you with your character. You will get more from a mentor who feels personally connected to you.

  2. Don’t abuse access: Have respect for the access your mentor gives you. Respect the boundaries laid down by your mentor.

  3. Listen: You must listen to your mentor. Listen and apply the advice you are given or their efforts will seem wasted. Give value for the time spent on you.

  4. Look for opportunities to give back: Your mentor might not need money from you, but there’s always a way to make yourself useful to them. Don’t just be a taker, aim to contribute too.

  5. Be prepared: Prepare yourself to be acceptable to a likely mentor. Make sure your attitude, language and comportment appeal to the person who you would like to be mentored by.

  6. Lay down boundaries: It’s okay to have a mentor of the opposite sex, but boundaries must be set. Don’t allow the relationship to become a casual one, keep it official by meeting in public and formal settings. If a session has to be held in your mentor’s home, his/her family must be present. In this case, it is also wise to develop a relationship with your mentor’s spouse.

  7. Learn from books: It’s not always possible to be directly mentored by the person you look up to, but you can learn from books. Reading people’s stories and learning from them also counts as mentorship.

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