Yvonne is a Project Controls Manager by day and a Positive Change Influencer by night. Below she shares nuggets on how she developed and grew her career in Project Management. Enjoy.
When did you relocate and what made you relocate?
I came over to the UK in 2006 to pursue a master’s degree. I had graduated with a B.Eng in Electrical Electronic Engineering from a prestigious Nigerian university, served my country as was required and had a brief stint in finance. After that, I worked in the manufacturing sector for a French multinational.
As time went by, I became restless, I wanted more and my passion had always been about effective and robust project delivery, bringing projects in on budget, effective change management and planning. I was not exactly engaged in that so it was time to make a move.
My focus was clear and having grown up with a father who was an engineer, project management was always a topic of discussion at the dinner table. We would often discuss projects being carried out in Nigeria and the challenges experienced.
In 2006, the quest for knowledge acquisition led me to studying Engineering Project Management at the University of Leeds. I put in my level best and graduated with a distinction. It was an amazing one year at Leeds as I also got to make friends from all over the world. The exposure and knowledge garnered from this program is unquantifiable. Shortly after graduation, I was snapped up by a multinational in the oil and gas sector and worked on huge capital intensive projects world-wide with amazing people doing exactly what I loved. Developing and bringing in projects to budget and plan! In 2015, I was head hunted to join a multinational in the renewable energy industry working in the offshore arena. It has been a roller coaster but a fulfilling experience so far.
Any regrets in life?
I think I could have made more time for friends and family. For a while, I put my job and career first. However work life balance is so important and something I still work on every day. I am not there yet, but I am getting better. Also as a way to give back to society, I set up You & Me Roundtable (youandmeroundtable.com). This is a social platform to help promote self confidence in young women thus enabling them chase after their dreams and aspirations with the right attitude. The platform also aims to influence and challenge our way of thinking as women. It is still in its infancy but watch this space!!!!
Secrets to my success?
Hard work, sheer tenacity and possibly a lot of luck lol.
Advice for anyone in a diaspora?
Be approachable and friendly. Make friends with people of different nationalities and engage with the local community. Show genuine interest in people and they will reciprocate. People can very easily tell the difference between genuine interest and forced interest that is based solely on what you think you can get out of them, so be warned. Finally, remember that you are not solely responsible for where you are in life. Your successes are based on community support (friends, family, colleagues etc.) and every single person who believed in you and gave you an opportunity.
It’s ok to secretly dream of cream tea on a lovely summer’s day. In summary, life is not a race. Enjoy and cherish every moment because it will be gone before you know it.