Alumnus in Focus – Nkechi Ejesi


  1. Tell us about yourself
    Nkechi Ejesi

Let me start by thanking you for having me. I am a sustainability and communications professional working in the consumer goods industry, and currently leading the Corporate Communication and Sustainability function across Sub-Sahara Africa for Royal FrieslandCampina one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the world.

My childhood was mostly in the quiet, rustic Enugu state where I also studied through to my bachelor’s at the great University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I come from a small family of five with two siblings and my earliest memories are of the safe and exciting opportunity we had to play out in the open, which is something you don’t see often anymore.

I moved to Lagos for NYSC and then to start a career with FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC; I have been here since. About 10 years ago, following a Master’s in Management from the University of Lagos, and in line with my drive for continuous learning and improvement, I completed the Post-Graduate Diploma in Community Relations at the School of Media and Communication (SMC).

Away from work, I am passionate about how to develop policies that are inclusive and provide sustainable opportunities for people at scale. I also enjoy a bit of interior decoration and baking in my spare time.

I am married with three children that keep me super busy and happy.

  1. Tell us about your career path in Corporate Communications?

Communication has always been a passion for me. I grew up with news broadcasters as my heroes. That led me to study Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Following the compulsory Youth Service, I got a job at FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria PLC in the Public Relations department, essentially communicating on behalf of the business and its brands. Through the years, my roles have widened to include experience in Community Relations, Public Affairs, Stakeholder Engagement, and Sustainability. The common thread across these is communication, either internally with staff and other operating companies within FrieslandCampina; or externally, across our complex network of investors, and stakeholders; and on behalf of our brands.

  1. How did your time at SMC help to prepare/impact you for your current career?
    Best Graduating PgD student, also best in Community Relations

At the time, FrieslandCampina WAMCO was pioneering the Dairy Development initiative in Nigeria, and I was taking on additional responsibilities, managing Community Relations so I chose to deepen my knowledge in this area through a Postgraduate Diploma in Community Relations at the SMC. The program was ideal not just because the content was what I needed for my career at the time, but also, I could translate immediately my learning into action at work. It also provided me with a diverse perspective of ideas, and people, and a network that has contributed to my career success to date.

It also embedded a lot of intangible traits such as discipline that comes from combining work with intense studies, facilitated by lecturers that didn’t just come to class to lecture but with visible purpose to make an impact on us.


  1. What are you most proud of from your experience at SMC?

The standards at SMC are quite high, and the program was very demanding, so to be a part of the process, while earning recognition for academic performance is something I am proud of.

I am also very proud to have helped put together the Alumni network for my class and built it as a platform to support past and future Alumni.

I have been on other international post-graduate training, and I can really say, that the quality is comparable. I hope the SMC continues to build on its brand.


  1. What does a typical day look like for you in your role as Corporate Communications and Sustainability Lead at FrieslandCampina Sub-Sahara Cluster?

Very interesting. You need to be a hands-on person in this kind of role. I deal with critical business issues daily, ensuring stakeholders are aligned with the ultimate goal of delivering on commercial success.

Every day is different on the job, and if you are not careful, if you don’t run the day, the day will run you. So, I usually try to start the day with a list of things (not more than three) that I want to make sure to achieve.

The day usually starts with morning briefs, and then ‘must achieve tasks’. I leave sometime in the middle of the day for administrative work, and I try to end the day with dealing with people and team issues.


  1. This year, the theme for World Environment Day is ‘Only one Earth’. In what way (If any) are you or your organisation conserving the environment?

Royal FrieslandCampina has an ambitious sustainability strategy. For us, sustainability entails having a positive impact on farmers, societies and on our planet. It is about realising a better living for farmers, producing in balance with nature, and nourishing the world’s growing population with better and affordable nutrition. Our sustainability activities are guided by six priorities: Better nutrition: affordable for everyone; Better living for farmers; Better climate: carbon neutral future; Better nature: improving biodiversity; Better packaging: 100% circular; and Better sourcing: 100% responsible.

We have also adopted these priorities in the sub-Saharan Cluster under which we deploy various initiatives including tree planting at our Dairy Development communities in partnership with farmers on the initiative; sustainable sourcing of raw milk materials with over 10,000 dairy farmers on the Dairy Development across Nigeria; efficiency in operational energy and logistics, reduction in water consumption and very importantly, creating the right awareness with our employees, partners and communities.


  1. How do you keep up with your work and family life?

For me, I try to strive toward Work-Life integration.

By that, I mean blending work and family in a way that both are important but where appropriate and necessary, one takes priority. Obviously, this is easier said than done and I have to admit that I am still learning how to make this work seamlessly. But what’s important, I think, is to always strike the right balance and keep your values in focus.


  1. What are the qualities you seek in young people and those who would want to work with you?
    Nkechi and family

I think that whatever generation you fall in, you should always be open to learning and continuous improvement. Showing up is important, Discipline is key and hardwork will open doors for you, far beyond any talent can.

Underlying all these must be a firm knowledge of who you are as a person and what your values are.


  1. What three books would we find on your bookshelf at home?

I am not an avid reader, so you will mostly find academic literature on my shelf 😊. A few books that I have read over the past few years that may be interesting are:

The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey

– Leadership Presence  by Belle Halpern and Kathy Lubar

– The Secret by Rhonda Byrne