On this edition of Inside SMC, our alumnus in focus is Mr. Meksley Nwagboh who recently assumed a new position with Fidelity Bank Pls as the Chief Marketing Officer. During this interview, he attributed the major changes he experienced in his career to the knowledge acquired while in SMC and how one should embrace new beginnings. Read more from the text below
Tell us about yourself.
Hi, my name is Meksley Nwagboh. I am a father to three lovely kids
and married to an amazing woman. I can be very driven and committed when I set my heart on doing anything. Over the years, I have had to learn how to manage that drive and commitment so that it is not perceived as being overly aggressive. I am all about setting goals, trying new things, learning something about everything and always making oneself available to serve whenever called upon. I think if you stay close to me, you will probably notice my penchant for detail, orderliness, discipline and handwork. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a boring person. Many who know me will tell you I am often the life of the party, your perfect blend of sunshine yellow and fiery red temperaments
I started out at MTN Nigeria in 2007 and joined Guaranty Trust Bank plc in 2008 and was posted to the commercial banking division. While there, I established and managed several of the key relationships in the Ikeja region. This helped my development as it helped me in improving my skills in public speaking and relationship management. Over the course of my career at GTBank, I worked in several other branches and got the chance to manage several key relationships in the bank, and to this day, I have a relationship with almost all of them. In 2015, I took the giant leap from core sales to the marketing and communications unit of the bank. While working there, I was in charge of public relations and crisis communications and eventually became the Head of Corporate Communications and the bank’s spokesperson. To this day, I am forever grateful to my bosses for the opportunity they gave me to learn despite coming from a core sales background. Mind you, my core academic background was in Industrial chemistry. In 2018, having worked in a “big bank” across several units like events, CSR, product marketing, online infrastructure management, internal comms, media relations etc., I resigned from the bank and joined Coronation Merchant Bank. In terms of career decisions, looking back, that was probably the best decision I had ever made. You see, Coronation was a breath of fresh air and presented a totally different challenge. At GTBank, most of the primary marketing functions were already established, and you then built on them. At Coronation, I was tasked with setting up the marketing function and developing a brand strategy covering brand positioning, social media, CSR, corporate identity, marketing policies etc. Let me just add that it was fun from the very first day to my very last day, and I learnt so much while at Coronation. In a way, it prepared me for my next and hopefully, final career move to Fidelity Bank in January 2022 as the Chief Marketing Officer of the Bank.
Embrace them. First, I pray and get God’s leading to proceed. I have received several offers in the past to lead the marketing & communications functions of some banks, but when I prayed, God said NO, and so, I rejected the offers. Once you have the clarity in your spirit (which you will know by the peace you feel in your mind), my advice is that you embrace every new beginning that life throws at you. If you look around, you will observe that even life is designed to function on the principle of new beginnings and seasons. There is a new day, new week, new month, New Year, new decade, new parents, new baby, new job, etc. So we really can’t run from it. As regards my new beginning at Fidelity, these are still very early days, but I can tell you for a fact that I have loved every single day spent here.
Truth is, most major changes I have had in my career came as I was just completing a programme at SMC. In 2013, I started my Master’s programme at the school. I resigned from GTBank in 2014 to allow me sufficient time to focus on my studies. As I was concluding my studies at SMC, I rejoined GTBank to oversee public relations, communications and crisis management. The same thing happened in 2021. I enrolled for my PhD in 2016, and just as I was about to finish, Fidelity came calling. While we can attribute the 2015 encounter to chance, the 2021 event definitely became a pattern. Who knows what will happen next if I undertake another major program at the school. [He laughs.]
First is the system the school has built. SMC is simply world-class.
Everyone knows their job and does their job without requiring any form of third-party inducement. They have built a system that is efficient, and I am proud we have such a school in Nigeria. Second are the people (facilitators and students). You will often find managing directors and corporate executives of big execs in your class. The most beautiful part is that chances are that your classmates move on to become top officials in large corporations and public parastatals. So the relationship you build there is priceless and will serve you a lifetime.
I love what I do, and my advice to anyone in paid employment is to ensure that whatever role or function you have in an organization must be one that gives expression to your God-given talent. If you are analytical, do something that helps you analyse all day. If you are gifted with your hands, do something that gives your hands the liberty to express themselves. If you do this, you will be happy at your job, and every typical day in the office will be exciting, engaging, informing and passion-filled for you, and that’s how my typical day as CMO is.
I think it’s unrealistic for anyone to expect a balance in their work and family life. It simply doesn’t work that way. Rather the goal should be to have work-life equilibrium. You see, life is not measured in absolutes but in averages. There will be days when the job will demand more, and there will be days when the family will demand more. However, over time, when we add all the averages for work and family, there must be a balance. I think that is a more realistic goal, and that’s what I have had. Also, it helps to have a very understanding spouse who knows that you are committed to the family even when you are not there and that the only reason why you aren’t present is that you have tried everything to make it but simply couldn’t. This is where family communication plays a key role. If you don’t communicate this level of commitment to your family members, they will interpret your absence as not being committed to them.
Three things really and these three things guide my life. Number one is
effort. Don’t kid yourself or be fooled by peer pressure; to get ahead in life, you must put in the due work. There are no short-cuts or free meals anymore. Even the government is removing subsidies. [He laughs.] It is the effort you put in today that pays off tomorrow. Think about a farmer that plants a seed. He waters it every day and continues to water it even though he doesn’t see anything. Today, science has taught us that even though the farmer sees nothing happening above the soil, something is happening inside the soil and in time will produce a sprout if the farmer remains consistent in watering the ground. What you find today is people expecting success without putting in work.
The second is numbers. It is one thing to apply effort to one thing and expect one thing in return, but imagine what would happen if you applied effort in five different things, your expectation will increase 5-fold. Successful people may not know everything, but they definitely know something about everything. Simply put, you are measured by the “number” of results you produce. The Bible echoes this when Jesus taught us about the parable of talents or what I call the parable of numbers. The good servant was the one that increased the number of talents he was given while the bad servant maintained the talent as he/she received it. So, if you want to get my attention, I must see you learning new things, trying new ventures, acquiring new skills etc. Lastly, and most importantly, is creativity. This is the glue that holds the other two principles. There is always a better way to get things done, and the most successful people find that way. They are always finding new and better ways to do things, and this for me, really, is where the magic lies. So, I look for three qualities – effort, numbers and creativity – when accessing people
You’d probably find Aig Imokhuedo’s Leaving the Tarmac, What would Google do by Jeff Jarvis, and my book titled Building The Nigerian Dream, which I published in 2013.