Updated: Mar 20
Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Ivie Adidi, Ivie Adidi, CEO @ SIAGreen LTD
How could you describe your career path in few words?
To many on the outside, my career would probably seem straightforward. While I was finishing my Master’s degree, I landed an internship at the African Development Bank, where I am to date. However, my career has in fact been an uphill battle every step of the way. Looking back now, the resonating theme of my career has been perseverance. Although it was difficult and I faced many stumbling blocks every time I attempted to move to a new area of interest, I however persevered because I knew that I was aligned with my career purpose and I could not afford to give up.
Another word that would describe my career is passion. I am engaged in activities and causes that I care deeply about. Because I am very passionate about youth development and empowerment in the African context, I founded SIAGreen LTD when I took a break from the Bank in 2018. This company provides business development services to youth-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly regarding the creation of business plans and investor proposals. I have also been a keynote speaker at various youth-focused conferences, and regularly mentor a small group of young people in Cote d’Ivoire who are interested in working in the development space.
What was your most challenging experience and has it changed your mindset?
Working at a multinational institution as a young woman came with several challenges, particularly when working with older colleagues. I initially found it quite difficult to make my voice heard and to be respected. Today, I am grateful for the experience because it taught me to focus less on the opinions or validation of others and more on the quality of my work. When you ensure that your work is faultless, your reputation falls on your capabilities above any other thing. Excellence has indeed become my watchword, which has greatly increased my self-confidence in the market place.
Now, I am no longer timid when I enter new spaces or take on new projects. Regardless of whether the field is new or familiar to me, I approach every situation and challenge with confidence because I know that once I master the subject matter, I will ultimately excel at it.
When you get surprised by unusual or uncertain context, how do you respond?
When an unusual, uncomfortable, or difficult situation takes me unawares, I usually take a step back to reflect before acting. I am naturally quick to act, but over the years, I have learned the wisdom that comes with reflection, especially in the workplace. When possible, I also seek good counsel or consult with those with experience, as I believe in the power of mentorship and know that they could help me see things from another perspective. As humans, we tend to simply focus on the issue at hand and what can be done immediately to rectify it. However, taking a step back from the situation can give you a broader context to the problem and help you to discover a solution that you might not have initially seen. So, when such instances arise, I often tell people that I will respond to it in a day or two, which would have given me enough time to properly assess the situation and come up with the most appropriate response.
Based on your experience, what is the key success factor for a female leader / manager?
Never back down. Unfortunately, sexism still exists in many forms in the corporate world; therefore, a woman that asserts her intelligence can often be mislabeled as aggressive or intimidating. Female leaders must always remain confident in their abilities, especially in the face of those who try to make you second-guess yourself and your worth. Never forget that you deserve to be where you are, and do not focus on the opinion of others. You are not there by mistake.