iMeet Ijeoma

In this edition of iMeet, we sat down with Ijeoma, our Head of People and Culture, to explore her journey, challenges, and aspirations.

iMeet Ijeoma

March is dedicated to celebrating women's achievements, and what better way to debut our iMeet series, where we spotlight superhumans at Shuttlers than by opening with one of our remarkable women at Shuttlers. The Head of People and Culture, Ijeoma. We had the privilege of sitting down with her to delve into her role, her journey, and the invaluable lessons she's learned along the way.

Can you share a brief overview of your role as the Head of People and Culture at Shuttlers?

As the Head of People and Culture at Shuttlers, my role revolves around “People” and ensuring that we create an environment for hardworking people to grow and thrive; ensuring that the work we do collectively aligns with our core values and drives the achievement of business goals. I lead the people initiatives that ensure that we are achieving business goals by attracting and hiring the right people. Working with leaders to implement strategies that support employee engagement, retention, and professional growth.

What initially drew you to a career in People and Culture, and how has your journey led you to your current position?

I wish I could say I was drawn to People and culture but sadly, I always wanted to be in Finance. I don’t think P&C was on my radar. I got posted to the HR department of Access Bank and one of my key skills is my ability to adapt. Also, it wasn’t Sales so I was happy to be there. As I worked through various roles within the HR department, I got to understand the value of HR; helping the organization gain a competitive advantage through people. I have also worked across multiple industries such as Banking, FMCG, Oil&Gas, and Agri-tech and now I am at a transport-tech company. Being able to work across multiple industries is something I am most grateful for in my career journey.

What are some key milestones or achievements in your professional career that you are particularly proud of?

This question is always difficult to answer because I like to put my name on things so I put my whole heart into getting my job done but I will pick a few. Putting structure into the HR departments for two companies I have worked at, being the first Head of People at Shuttlers, creating entry-level/graduate trainee programs for two companies I worked at, leading the Nigerian finalist to do better year on year at the RB global challenge are a few that I will like to mention.

How do you approach fostering a positive workplace culture, and what strategies have you implemented at Shuttlers?

For me, it starts with understanding the elements of what a positive workplace culture is. Those elements include having core values that resonate with people, finding people who understand those values, giving clarity to employees on their business expectations, empowering Line managers to be effective and rewarding employees. At Shuttlers, our core values are entrenched in everything we do and we have to recruit and retain people who believe in both our values and our mission. We have created a high-performing culture where people have clarity on their expectations and are rewarded for the value they add. We also create events and opportunities for people to bond with each other. Our line managers role model our values and are high-performers who can work with their teams to deliver on the business objectives.

Ijeoma with the former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Can you share a significant challenge you've faced in your career and how you navigated through it?

Burnout is a challenge that I personally face a lot because I do a number of things and I work in a fast-paced environment. How I have navigated this is by taking rests when I need to, meditation and long walks.

What are some valuable lessons you've learned along the way that have shaped your leadership style?

  • Be a person of value
  • Understand your abilities and calling
  • Play to your strengths and look for others whose strengths complement you.
  • Lead by example; Don’t ask the people you lead to do what you can’t do.
  • Planning is key to success. People can tell when you plan something well.

What "superhuman" qualities or skills do you believe contribute to your success in your role?

My ability to plan and execute. I am also adaptable to situations once I have a bit of a buy-in. I am also resilient; I can push through and get things done.

How do you encourage and recognize the unique strengths of individuals within your team?

I assign tasks based on strengths and I also give feedback with relevant examples to help my team members better understand my expectations and perform better in similar situations. I also provide guidance but not too much to stop you from thinking things through.

How do you champion diversity and inclusion in the workplace, both within your team and across the organization?

  • Generally, through education and awareness.
  • In interviews, leverage panel interviews to get a varied view of the candidates; one person cannot be the only member of the hiring committee.
  • In compensation, pay for skills, not gender.
  • In Performance management, implement an appraisal review committee and 360-degree feedback.
  • Always seek the opinions of others within the team and carefully explain your decisions to carry everyone along.

What advice do you have for creating an inclusive environment where all voices are heard and valued?

Understand your bias and solve for it per time. Find people to hold you accountable. Create awareness for inclusion. Educate others. Deliberately seek out people whose opinions differ from yours and practice inclusion. Create room for differences.

What message or advice would you like to share with aspiring women leaders within Shuttlers and beyond?

Be a person of Value. Make your time at any organization count. Doing the barest minimum never made anyone great. Be knowledgeable and build a community of other knowledgeable people that you can ask for help.

What are your goals and aspirations for the future, both in your role at Shuttlers and in your personal growth?

Promotion to Global Head of People & Business Operations; possibly COO, an amazing support system to my husband, an amazing mum to my kids, A recognized HR thought leader and the Minister of Labor or Education of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

How do you envision contributing to the ongoing success and development of Shuttlers in the years to come?

Driving the People strategy globally as we expand into other cities/countries; ensuring that we are delivering on Shuttlers’ goals and objectives.

If you could have 2 superpowers, what would they be?

Telepathy because I like to know things and Money (Batman said it was his superpower).

Who is your office best friend?

It’s tough to pick but it will probably be between Tomiwa and Ronnie.

As we wrap up this edition of our iMeet Series, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Ijeoma for sharing her story and wisdom. Her dedication, resilience, and commitment to driving positive change serve as an inspiration to us all.

Stay tuned for more insightful conversations with the remarkable individuals who make up our Shuttlers team.