12 DAYS IN TEF
I have found that starting is always the hardest, just like I feel typing these first words right now. There are exceptions though, some people take a dive into the pool while some deep their feet first to test the waters. As for me, I dip a toe, and then a foot.
You can imagine how I felt when I received my second functional rotation posting to The Tony Elumelu Foundation, this meant a change of work environment, people and entirely new tasks, different from where I was coming from. Yes, I enjoy my comfort zone and I just want to remain where I’m most comfortable. But that will also mean I’m in the wrong place, I can’t belong here because this programme is designed for me to develop basic competencies in about 6 functional areas. This will take me to at least 5 companies, meaning experiencing diverse work environment, people and tasks. What remains the same is the culture of Excellence, Execution and Enterprise that cuts across all the group companies, at least I don’t get to experience any culture shock.
It’s day 12 here at the foundation and I will say I’m having a smooth transition, what seemed to have started as a slow transition only gets faster as the days go by. Heirs Holdings is a fast-paced work environment and TEF is not short of the same and so I have to equally go with the tide. I usually think to myself, ”I don’t know jack, and these people are experienced and grounded in this job, what can I possibly offer” but as much as I ought to add value to the team, I’m here to also learn. One thing that has helped me so far is the fact that I embarked on this journey having an open mind; to adapt, to learn and add value.
As someone who had no idea what to expect from a place like TEF, precisely the partnerships and policy unit, I had the opportunity to quickly catch up. My line manager, Oniye Okolo did well to welcome me aboard and talked me through the partnership and strategy roadmap document which gave me better sense of the partnerships and policy unit and the work it does.
I would say this has been a challenging experience. I remember swearing that I would never write again after my final exams as an English and Literature undergraduate. Apparently, fate was laughing me in the face. Now I have a task to write articles for #TEFAdvocacy and our Graduate Trainee blog posts.
African Entrepreneurs are the heart of the foundation, hence the #TEFAdvocacy column. We make research into the entrepreneurial policies of various African countries and how they affect entrepreneurs across the continent. We identify their challenges and make appropriate recommendations.
The Tony Elumelu Foundation has given me the opportunity to challenge my abilities and embrace change as it comes because that is a constant. Prior to this day, if I were given an option to join TEF, I probably would have been clueless. I would have loved to be part of an impactful philanthropic organisation like TEF, but clueless about what positive contribution to make. These 12 days have been impactful, I have seen the result of the hard work of every team in the foundation and that is enough inspiration and motivation for me.
The journey at TEF is not over yet. Cheers to more days of a jolly ride.
~ Author: Eniye Aduwari