Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu is a dual qualified lawyer with broad corporate and commercial experience in the financial services industry with key focus on corporate investment banking and asset management. She is an author, public speaker and Huffington Post contributor. Dr Shola is founder of the legal consultancy company, Legal Distinction, which provides strategic legal risk management to SMEs. Dr Shola is a women’s rights activist and was at the forefront of the January 2017 Women’s March in London with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Bonnie Greer and a number of notable figures. She is founder & editor of the Women in Leadership publication and driven to inspire personal leadership journeys of women. More about Shola’s work at www.drshola.com
Your work is wide ranging- law, diversity, leadership, gender equality, entrepreneurship etc. What drives your interest and engagement in these areas?
It is driven purely by a passion to be a solution to a problem, to be the key to unlocking potential and to be an answer to someone else’s prayers. This isn’t because I think I’m God-like but because I decided a long time ago to champion somebody else’s cause and be the help they need. Maybe, just maybe somebody will do the same for me.
As a self-acclaimed women’s rights champion, where would you say more focus by advocates would accelerate the prospects of women?
Shaping policy and driving change through legislation are always effective tools for accelerating prospects for women. However, more focus on the intangible would be helpful. For instance, building resilience, tapping into the wealth of experience and connections we have for the benefit of other women. Furthermore, tackling the root causes of challenges such as issues of financial insecurity, childcare, etc would increase the choices women have.
No doubt many women would see you as a role model. What are some of the key questions you get frequently asked and what might that suggest about what initiatives for advancing women should do more of?
Questions frequently asked are among those you have raised. I think it strongly suggests women want their voices heard more, their challenges and wins recognized. They also want more effective platforms to upscale their businesses and guaranteed equal opportunities.
Talking about initiatives, you have the women in leadership magazine. Which women typically read it magazine and how would say the content is helping them?
We’ve received incredible feedback on the impact of the Women in Leadership publication from women in different locations around the world for which we are eternally grateful. It’s very encouraging to hear and it motivates us to do more of what we do. Typically our readers range from entrepreneurs to intrapreneurs, community leaders, inspirational women who have achieved success as well as women who are aspiring to higher levels of success.
Your legal firm supports businesses and you’ve also written a book on doing business in Africa. What should women in business be doing in order to have a fair share of the available markets and opportunities?
I would encourage them to utilize their network potential and maximize opportunities as they rise. In business we must keep our ears to the ground and our fingers on the pulse. We must be ready to respond proactively to the changes in demand and supply. In the event that there are no opportunities, we must create some for ourselves. It’s imperative that we step outside our comfort zone so that we can access available opportunities.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that the young women coming up will face and how can they prepare to tackle it?
Lack of confidence is one of the biggest challenges. Young women must brace themselves for rejection and build their resilience. They shouldn’t accept rejection as a definition of themselves and to keep bouncing back until they get what they want. It’s part of the learning process. The perception that there are not enough female role models shaped out of circumstances similar to theirs can be discouraging. However, this perception stems from the fact that not enough women are sharing their personal leadership journeys to inspire the younger ones. Younger women should secure credible and trustworthy mentors. They should educate themselves, stretch outside their comfort zones and emulate the traits that align with their vision of who they want to be.
What would you suggest women stop doing so as not to shoot themselves in the foot?
Women should be unapologetically ambitious about what they want and go for it. They shouldn’t wait for permission, acquiesce or accept what comes to them. They should take others with them on their journey and not leave anyone who needs them behind.
You have this practice of doing a self-assessment on your birthday each year. Why is this self-led performance review important?
Doing a critical assessment of myself helps to keep me grounded and real. I must learn from both my mistakes and successes. Each year I assess what I did well and not so well, what worked and what didn’t. It’s critical activity for both my sustainable professional and personal growth.
How do you manage your time considering the many roles you play?
LOL! I don’t. My motto is ‘there’s plenty of time to sleep when I die. You have one life to live so make it count. I do have to prioritize and I’m learning to be better at that.
For more information on Vera Ng’oma’s work and resources in leadership, personal and career development and excellence building visit www.verangoma.com and www.excellicaleadershipgroup.com