Tolu Adeodun Okesanya‘s journey into tech as a product manager began after she got the news that she would be having an extra year in school. At the time, she studied English and worked a part-time job in Radio.
The pandemic had just begun; her friend was stuck in Nigeria and introduced her to his start-up. Before transitioning into a product management role, she started with a consumer relations role.
These days, Tolu is a product manager for a blockchain company and a freelance product developer who has always taken life as it comes and paved her path.
“I find that most of my job is relating with engineers and ensuring that deadlines are met. People skills have to be A1,” she says.
Tolu paints the picture of her arduous journey of moving from product management to Tech full time;
“There was so much to learn, and I took many courses. My journey to this point has been with difficulties, and one key one was finding the right people and opportunities while making a name for myself.”
While Tech accounts for almost 10% of Nigeria’s GDP, the sector has struggled with gender imbalance. In a recent survey by the ONE Campaign and the Center for Global Development, only about 30% of 93 firms reviewed were women-owned.
Tolu recalls experiences in the Nigerian Tech spacewhere on meeting clients and partners for the first time,they proceeded to wait for their meeting with someone they presumed was a man.
“This has happened more than once, and when you tell them what you have developed, they are genuinely shocked. I’ve been told no many times, but remain thankful for those who took a chance on me let me be unapologetically me,” she remembers.
How is she breaking the bias? Tolu says she takes opportunities as they come and goes for what she wants. “If you give me a chance, great, and if not, that’s fine.”