Nena Nwachukwu is the Nigeria Regional Manager at Paxful, a peer-to-peer financial platform. Nena is overlooking the company’s localization processes, new partnerships, and recruitment efforts, all while facilitating the business- and revenue growth in the region.
Nena is a seasoned FinTech professional, starting her journey six years ago at Jumia where she resolved disputes in the e-commerce sector. She then moved onto Aza Finance, where she remotely supervised a team-based across Africa and Europe. On top of overlooking the company’s most valuable clients and business operations, she assisted with the development of new products and the enhancement of services.
In less than a year, she was promoted to the Head of Crypto-Sales where she actively created and implemented revenue growth strategies. Striving to expand her expertise, Nena moved onto an Operations Manager role with Huobi, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Dubai, where she led the Middle East and North Africa operations.
An expert in the FinTech space, Nena is also an avid reader, enjoys Yoga, and taking long walks by the beaches that surround Lagos where she was born and bred. She graduated, with excellence, from the renowned University of Nigeria, Nsukka with a Bachelor of Arts.
March 8 has been set aside to mark International Women’s Day every year; why is this so important?
International Women’s Day is important because it gives us an opportunity to celebrate our collective achievements as a gender. These are achievements we should be celebrating every day of the year. International Women’s Day is set aside to celebrate our social, political, economic, and social achievements in our roles, in our respective families and cultures across the globe. This year’s edition is particularly important as it celebrates women’s leadership role amid a global pandemic.
This year’s IWD is themed #ChooseToChallenge; what does it mean to you?
We all have an individual duty to challenge the status quo and this is how collectively we will create a better world. It is important for all of us to speak out when we see injustice, and it’s just as important to speak out and celebrate women’s achievements.
On a personal note, how has it been carrying out your role as the Regional Manager? What are the challenges and what has been most rewarding?
As Paxful’s Country Lead for Nigeria, I take responsibility for our business in my country. That can feel like a lot sometimes! I have a wonderful team, both here in Nigeria and globally, and that support no matter what is happening means a lot and makes the job easier. The most rewarding thing is hearing our customers’ stories about how Paxful helps them and their families through the power of cryptocurrency.
A particularly interesting story is that of Alakanani Itireleng (BitcoinLady on Twitter) who started trading on Paxful to raise funds for her ill child, and now she’s one of the most prominent voices in Africa’s Crypto industry. We are also giving back to our community through the Built with Bitcoin Foundation. We have already built one school in Nigeria – in Ankara Nandu Village, Kaduna State. The fact that we are giving back in this way and helping to provide access to education for all children especially in an environment where the female gender is not encouraged to be literate, is encouraging and hugely rewarding.
For that young woman aspiring to build her career in your industry, what is your advice?
Be curious. The cryptocurrency sector is just starting, there is so much potential and opportunity for us too. There is a plethora of information on the internet, it all starts with a simple Google search.
What do you have to say to that girl child that feels limited by her circumstance or background and does not think her dreams are achievable?
As a child growing up, my dad used to say to me, “I am raising you a man, not a woman. You need to learn how to think your own thoughts”. “Study & work hard and you will achieve whatever you want”. I think these words made me curious about the world, made me question why things are the way they are, so when I hear, too often, that as women something is not for us, or that we can’t do something. I ask, why? I remind myself of my dad’s words. And I go for it. So, to that young woman or girl child, I would say do not let your thoughts or physical circumstances limit you. You think those things because you had been told it by other people.
You are not the limitations that other people, circumstances, or your background put on you. When you dream, dream big. It will be tough, there are days you will feel sad, depressed, or knocked down. It is okay to feel that way, but do not stay down for too long. Get up, try again, and keep going, knowing that you can do anything you set your mind to.
On a final note, how does our individual and collective actions, as well as conversations and mindset impact on advancing the cause of women?
Everyone can speak up- whether it is at home, in the classroom, or in the workplace. A cultural shift is needed and that can only happen when enough of us take responsibility. If you are a woman, how will you speak out and celebrate yourself and your sisters? And if you are a man, how will you become an ally for your mother, or sister, or daughter?