LAUNCHING: TEMI MARCELLA AWOGBORO
The Abraaj Group
THE BIG QUESTIONS
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
As an investment professional, I operate across the full spectrum of the investment process. On any given day, I will be engaged in one or more aspects of the process ranging from originating and executing deals, monitoring existing partner companies to drive value creation and ultimately delivering exit opportunities. I have worked on transactions across a variety of sectors, geographies and strategies.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?
I had a wild imagination as a child. At one stage I wanted to be a lawyer, then an activist, a forensic detective and even a world wrestling champion. The one underlying theme was my desire to take on challenges much bigger than myself and live up to my nickname ‘small and mighty’. Following a programme at Goldman Sachs prior to university, I became fascinated by the power of financial capital to impact lives, and how this could be harnessed as force for good.
WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
Masters of Arts with Honours in Economics, Christ’s College, University of Cambridge; MBA, Stanford Graduate School of Business.
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
‘Stay hungry, stay foolish’ is one of the pieces of advice I take through with me in my daily life. It serves as a constant reminder for me to remain ambitious, to do more, to be more and to strive to live a limitless life.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?
I don’t have a single role model. I seek to draw inspiration and learn something from everyone I meet.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
The passion and drive of my team to achieve our collective objective. I am energised daily by the opportunity to work in a collaborative environment with a diverse group of colleagues from over 25 countries globally, all passionate about their role as change agents in growth markets, while delivering superior returns to our investors.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?
I would carve out more personal time first thing in the morning to meditate and exercise before heading to the office. This discipline helps get my mind focused for the day ahead.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
I am currently focused on implementing the firm’s healthcare strategy in West Africa, with responsibility for originating, executing and monitoring investments in the sector, in order to achieve the firm’s objectives of building sustainable healthcare ecosystems that deliver quality and affordable care to the low and middle income segments in our target markets. We have some extremely ambitious and transformational targets in healthcare which I intend to see materialise over the next 5 years.
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?
Absolutely. consistency for me is key, I spend far too many hours at work to not be my authentic self. In the words of Steve Jobs “your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life”.
WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?
We have female representation across all levels at the Firm including the Partnership level. Women are still under-represented in the industry. In order to address this, I mentor a number of young ambitious women aspiring to break into the industry and younger talent within the industry to help them successfully navigate what can often be an extremely challenging terrain both personally and professionally.
DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?
I embody and embrace diversity, it is an important reality in any business seeking to thrive in the 21st century. Given my focus on growth markets, a key part of being successful is being able to operate across borders by building bridges across race, culture, religion, age, and lifestyle across broad geographies.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?
As a working mother, it can be a challenge to maintain work life balance within the industry, especially where working long hours has historically been worn as a badge of honour. My firm is increasingly focused on dispelling this myth and changing the cultural norms. I am increasingly actively focused on integrating my responsibilities at home and at the workplace by leveraging family and broader networks to provide the necessary support.
WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?
Financial analysis and technical investments skills are critical foundational skills. Equally important, especially when investing in growth markets, is the ability to build institutions and drive operational efficiencies in the partner companies. Finally, people skills are central to inspiring and building partnerships based on mutual trust with Promoters.