Mayokun is the VP Commercial at Autochek. She has had experience working at OLX Nigeria and Cars45 as Head of Business Development and Strategy. She holds a BSc in Mathematics; an MSc in Applied Mathematics, and a PhD. in Business Analytics. She talks about her academic journey and how this has enabled her career growth.
I had a vision for the future but I wouldn’t say this was the exact future I envisaged. The one thing I knew I wanted, since college, was to climb the ladder to the top. At that time, I thought that meant getting a PhD. So, working right now in the e-commerce and auto industry wasn’t something I saw coming. But that journey of getting a PhD and applying mathematics to solving real-life problems is what has led me to where I am today.
The Love for Mathematics
The knowledge of applying mathematics came over time; it came from going through my Bachelors in Mathematics and Computer Science. I discovered I enjoyed maths and I wanted to do more. That led to pursuing another degree in Applied Mathematics which was more of theories behind mathematical laws and computations. I wanted more than that foundational knowledge, so I spoke to my mentors and professors, and I was opened up to the world of Data Analytics and Science. As expected, it took a little while to get accustomed to this new knowledge. You never have the full picture at the start of a journey, but it’s your curiosity to learn and grow that keeps you going. This also applies to business planning; it’s a plan, so you learn and apply all you have learnt.
My Driving Force
The sole driving force I have had all through my life is solving problems. Since the beginning of my career, the reason why I chose to pursue a Masters degree and a PhD is to solve problems. I have always wanted to make an impact and provide solutions for any challenge that I am facing.
One major milestone for me was when I had an unplanned presentation with clients for the first time. I started my career as a Statistical Analyst, and my functions were crunching the models and creating the slides that my boss will pitch to prospective clients, doing all the background checks and analysis which my boss will use during meetings.
Then during one meeting, I expected my boss to take the pitch as usual from start to finish,but to my surprise, after the introduction, my boss called on me to deliver the presentation to a room full of external stakeholders. We had no prior discussion on this, but for her, she wanted me to go beyond the background analysis and gain confidence with presenting my findings. That was the first time I presented to clients and it gave me the validation and belief that I can do anything I set my mind to. That was a milestone for me because it was the first of many presentations.
On Women Empowerment
“There’s no limit to what we as women can accomplish” – Michelle Obama. I love to personalize it and exclude the gender clause by saying to myself, “there’s no limit to what I can accomplish”. I say this to my younger colleagues and team members all the time. If you can start to break these barriers in your mind, then you can get there.
I am 101% passionate about creating a level playing field for women in diverse industries. I believe that the idea of a level playing field for women needs to be normalised in our society. If we want to make a change and close the gender gap , we need to start with education. Men and women should have equal opportunities in education, access to funding, leadership roles, equal pay, and promotion.
Truthfully, things are getting better with gender equality and inclusion, but we are not there yet. Whilst we wait for this change, we need more women to believe in themselves and know they can do what they want.
I believe female representation is very key. It is important for young women to see people like me hold executive positions in an organization most especially in a male-dominated industry; it starts to normalize the fact that a woman can break into the VP & C-suite levels. I am also very deliberate about the mentorship and sponsorship of younger women around me. However, it’s not only the young women that need this gender awareness, the young men also do, if not, they’ll just keep growing into stereotypes.
To mark International Women’s Day, we held an event at the Autochek office. The purpose was for both men and women to learn, and be aware of unconscious gender biases in the workplace, and how they can work together to create a better working environment for one another, reducing gender disparity. It goes back to what I was saying about normalising equality in our society; be it male or female, we all have a role to play.
My Spark is the tenacity – the belief in myself that there’s nothing I can’t take on, and there’s nothing beyond my reach. I’ll say I’m stubborn in a good way as I don’t back down from challenges. Instead, I’ll dig in, face the challenges, and take them on. These habits have grown with me over time ever since I embarked on my PhD journey.
Focus on being excellent at what you do and make no apologies for it. It’s okay to be selfish about your career and take ownership of your career growth. You have to find your “Why” because that’s what will ultimately guide the “How”.
Mayokun Fadeyibi is the VP commercial of Autochek. Prior to her current role, Mayokun served at Cars45 in the same capacity and at OLX Nigeria as Head of Business Development and Strategy. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, from Tusculum University. a Master Degree in Applied mathematics from Western Carolina University and a PhD in Business from Bentley University all in the USA. Her areas of expertise include project management, business intelligence, e-commerce, and marketing.