By Moses Nosike
Ini Onuk, is one of the gifted Nigerian women who believe women are the fragrance of life. She is a woman of many colours. A Lead Consultant/CEO, ThistlePraxis Consulting Limited; a prolific writer who has launched 2nd and 3rd books. In this interview with woman in her prime, she reveals how her company was able to introduce new innovation in 2013 which cut across every sector of the economy. She encourages women to go all out achieving and making impact in the society. Excerpts:
Last year, your management consultancy firm launched new innovations aimed at helping management of all sizes; as a woman how did you achieve that?
We studied the environment and industry and realised that our work is very fundamental to the success of all other sectors, however, the message seems alien to most professionals. Hence, we sought to utilise ICT and New Media to develop products that will appeal to individuals of all age groups – especially young people – and also simplify the content and dimensions of sustainability using climate change.
Our new media offerings include: a mobile application, Thistle Mobile App; a carbon emissions calculator, TPCalculator and a virtual testing platform offering IQ and knowledge tests on a range of sustainability topics, ThistleTest Café and an online TV Channel, which showcases interesting and educational videos on Sustainability, Sustainable Conversations TV.
To your question directly, it feels no different championing a cause or growing a consulting firm of repute from scratch. I do not feel it was extra difficult to achieve these or the many successes ThistlePraxis has recorded because I am a woman. I have always advocated from experience that when women want to get things done, nothing and/or nobody can stand in their way.
This year, what is your firm going to contribute to the economy of Nigeria through your newly launched innovations?
We plan to promote awareness about sustainability issues because information drives action. We believe that change happens after thought, action and impact have occurred. These products are designed to curb inimical lifestyles and attitudes and promote eco-friendly ones.
In your own view, how do you think we can develop our Nigerian women?
Now, there is a twist to the issue. Women development has stalled because we have mostly paid lip service. At ThistlePraxis, and personally; I try to do the best possible to work with women, support female vendors and provide an equal opportunity for employment at all times. Nevertheless, I am not willing to sacrifice any of these for merit. At the same time, I am convinced that there are competent women to fill any position of responsibility, commitment and excellence in this country.
What are those challenges you confront on a daily basis managing ThistlePraxis?
My challenges are same for every entrepreneur running a small business in Nigeria. We are fairly large because of our spread and affiliations but the core ThistlePraxis team is constantly working to ensure excellence and unparalleled client satisfaction and experiences.
Access to finance, steadily increasing running costs, traces of multiple taxation, finding quality talent to grow the business and de-marketing in the service sector make my work very interesting. We intend to champion a protectionist policy for our industry. I will share more on that when we are ready…
What is the importance of fulfilling one’s dream as a woman?
The questions should be – do you have a dream? Have you understood what your dreams are? Do you want to realise those dreams? Every woman has a divine assignment and this divine assignment is superior and totally different from just an ambition to get married and have children.
We were created for a purpose; you went to school for a reason. So, if women don’t fulfill their purpose because of cultural and social expectations and obligations, there will continue to be a crisis. So many of the world’s political leaders, business leaders, solution providers are tucked away in kitchens and homes. Absolutely nothing wrong with being a mother and wife but that shouldn’t be you sole life ambition.
How have you continually turned obstacles to stepping stones?
Obstacles for me are what they are – stepping stones to greatness. When things happen, I don’t dwell on them over and above, finding solutions to them. I have learnt that for every problem I’m able to overcome and deal with, I go a notch higher. I require very little to make me happy, so that also helps. I have little or no expectations from people because I hold the belief that it is expectations that hurt not their actions. So when people disappoint me, I don’t wait and cry over spilled milk, I move on very quickly. Otherwise, I leave it to God’s will. I try to be very open-minded.