Classes from Titi Fakuade, the engineer making a mark at MTN since 2006

Lessons from Titi Fakuade, the engineer making a mark at MTN since 2006

Titi Fakuade has undoubtedly paid her dues within the African tech {industry}. With over 20 years of expertise as a telecommunications professional, she has held each technical and management roles at native and worldwide corporations. 

Titi is presently the Chief Expertise and Info officer at MTN Benin. Earlier than her present function, she spent over 13 years at MTN Nigeria, managing Clever Community and Worth Added Providers, and nearly 4 years at Lonestar Cell, Liberia, a subsidiary of MTN Group. Her expertise and experience have earned her recognition as an award-winning tech professional and creator. 

To encourage others, she journaled her development, experiences, and productiveness recipes in a ebook titled Limitless: 11 Methods to Grasp Life and Profession. On this episode of Knowledgeable and African, we dive into her journey, her insights on being a lady in a male-dominated discipline, and her recommendation for younger people aspiring to succeed and obtain profession development within the tech {industry}.

Titi Fakuade, Chief Expertise and Info Officer, MTN Benin. Supply: Equipped

Oluwanifemi Kolawole: You began your profession as a techniques engineer in Nigeria when the nation simply started its cellular telecommunications journey; how was it getting right into a male-dominated {industry} at a time when not everybody would”ve been interested by it on the continent?

Titi Fakuade: I began in 2001 with Resourcery restricted, a number one ICT agency in Victoria Island, for shut to 5 years engaged on PABXs, that are small telecom techniques, however majorly for small enterprises, company companies, and the likes.

I bought uncovered to completely different components of the enterprise: end-user units, putting in home windows, land switching, and fibre cabling. We needed to help completely different organisations like Cellular, British American Tobacco, British Airway, and a whole lot of banks. Then in 2006, I joined MTN Nigeria and have since moved throughout the board. 

It was robust at that stage, particularly within the core technical half; you hardly discover a whole lot of females, however I did not let that deter me. It’s completely completely different from how it’s now, and likewise I’ve advanced within the {industry}.

OK: What does it imply to be the Chief Info Officer of a telecommunications firm? 

TF: As Chief Info Officer, I’m in command of the expertise technique, purely from an info expertise perspective. I oversee the data expertise division by way of technique, driving the roadmap, and executing enterprise plans to be sure that something that we have to do as a enterprise is fulfilled. And likewise, I’ve a staff that I work with.

OK: Are you able to share your expertise of transferring from a technical function to a management function? 

TF: The expertise expertise, the experience, may be very key as a result of, in main folks, you even have to have the ability to outline the imaginative and prescient, drive that technique, and be sure that by way of execution, it’s achieved nicely. When transitioning, there’s a tendency to need to return and nonetheless do the work as a substitute of ready for someone else to do it. However it’s a must to give alternatives for folks to shine and be taught.

I began the transition with my new job at MTN, the place I wanted to work inside the interconnect house. I used to be on the planning facet, not within the operations. In planning, I needed to conceptualise. Having a technical understanding, I might design and plan as to how issues ought to be, after which ship it out for execution and be sure that it’s executed in accordance with the plan. This has been over 16 years since I did that transition and the expertise remains to be residual in my mind.

OK: What are the challenges that include these duties?

TF: One, technical, by way of techniques performing as they need to be. The opposite half is the folks. You must work with folks, not solely with techniques so it’s worthwhile to perceive folks, encourage and convey out the very best in them. Over the course of my profession, I have been uncovered to completely different experiences and coaching which have helped a lot in figuring out these challenges and on the lookout for artistic methods to unravel them.

A side view of Titi Fakuade
Titi Fakuade, Chief Expertise and Info Officer, MTN Benin. Supply: Equipped

OK: Wanting again at how far you’ve got come, did you think about your present profession stage could be like this?

TF: If somebody had stated, I will likely be working overseas, I am going to say, “no, I am unable to depart my household.” Nevertheless it’s about being adaptable. Additionally, your view of the world modifications as you evolve. And also you additionally discover artistic methods to steadiness issues out. 

OK: You’ve spent a cumulative 16 years with MTN. In case you’d agree with me, you hardly discover consultants and professionals staying at an organization for that lengthy. Why did you try this? Or is it a factor together with your era?

TF:  I will not say that it is with the era. Once I left my first place of business after 4 years, I had a mindset of working for 2 years within the subsequent place I went. However on attending to MTN, my thoughts modified. MTN is a superb place to work. You are uncovered to many experiences and coaching, then you definately work with an amazing staff.

The truth that I used to be in an organisation for 16 years, I used to be not in a single function. I used to be transferring roles. I even did a lateral transfer in some unspecified time in the future. I used to be in a position to see issues from a special perspective, and that was a turning level.

I believe everyone’s path is completely different. How are you having fun with your present job? How is it difficult you? That you must set your expectation. And should you really feel it is not being met the place you’re, you can also make a call. The truth that you’ve gotten stayed lengthy in a single organisation versus going into a number of organisations does not likely matter so long as you develop as a person.

And we also needs to perceive that there’s the ready part the place you will be taught, acquire expertise, after which perceive the time to maneuver, which can include various things. 

Gathering expertise in an organisation or multi-industry can repay in the long term as a result of while you’re a specialist and also you go into a special {industry}, you get uncovered to completely different processes, and you may then apply your expertise to these organisations.

OK: Let’s speak about your transition to Liberia. What was it like? 

TF: I transitioned from Nigeria, the place I had an enormous staff, to Liberia because the Head of Expertise, which was fairly completely different.

New tradition, new folks, leaving my household transitioning, and altering my private life. So it was robust; it took a whole lot of braveness. It is like dealing with your fears and doing issues afraid. However I would made up my thoughts that I used to be going for this, and I put in plans. It has been an amazing expertise. I do not remorse the transfer in any respect. It has challenged me to find extra about myself. As a result of I’ve confronted that worry, I am not afraid to face the following problem.

OK: Are you able to share a few of your achievements?

TF: It is a mixture of many issues. One factor I really like concerning the work is that with expertise, we’re in a position to present options. You are assembly the wants of consumers.

A picture of Titi Fakuade smiling
Titi Fakuade, Chief Expertise and Info Officer, MTN Benin. Supply: Equipped

So after we conceptualise expertise supply and it involves life, and also you see folks utilizing it, and it’s including worth, that is a satisfying second for me. Aside from offering worth, there’s the validation that comes externally. After which additionally the household bits, combining every thing and nonetheless with the ability to develop the household and bond collectively.

OK: For somebody that has performed roles within the telecommunications {industry} within the 2000s and remains to be within the {industry} within the 2020s, what are the traits that you’ve got observed between then and now? What traits ought to we glance out for within the telecommunications {industry}?

TF: Lots of issues have advanced. We have gone past 2G, 3G to 4G, and 5G is right here. Issues have actually advanced, and prospects’ behaviours have advanced. Now, large information and analytics are very key. Cybersecurity is one other factor; there’s additionally Synthetic Intelligence. There are such a lot of issues. 

OK: What recommendation would you give to somebody interested by telecoms?

TF: For anybody trying to enter telecoms, it is broad.  it is good to get publicity to a broad view of telecoms. As soon as that publicity is there, you can begin utilizing that to determine area of interest areas or areas of curiosity after which regularly focus and begin constructing a profession path from coaching, publicity, work expertise, and likewise studying on the job. 

A lot of the areas have specialised coaching and specialised programs that you just do with the tools producers that will allow you to to develop alongside the journey.

OK: How do you keep productive?

TF: Most instances, I set targets and observe them. They assist me with clear instructions. Additionally, empowering and delegating are crucial. Reflection is vital. Reflection helps you take a look at what has labored nicely, what hasn’t labored nicely, and what wants to maneuver on. 

There are a whole lot of different issues that I do. A few of them I’ve documented in my ebook, Limitless:11 Methods to Grasp Life and Profession. The life ability I’d need to stress is that the thoughts is essential. Every little thing begins out of your thoughts. 

Graphic designs of the book authored by Titi Fakuade
E book authored by Titi Fakuade, Limitless: 11 Methods to Grasp Life and Profession. Supply: Equipped

And likewise, as you develop in your profession, perceive that you just’re constructing a model. Folks know you for what you ship and what you do not ship. You additionally need to nurture relationships, not burn bridges as a lot as doable.

OK: Do you consider in work-life violence? In case you do, how will we obtain it? If not, what’s the best way out?

TF: Work-life steadiness is a delusion. I believe I’d somewhat speak about integration. Most instances, we combine all components of life into no matter we do. I am undecided if we will say it is a steadiness. As a result of, in some unspecified time in the future, we’re specializing in household, at one other time, it’s work, private, health or various things. So, by way of steadiness, one simply must be artistic in on the lookout for methods to combine all of them collectively, relying on what is going on per time.


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