By Henry Uche

Overcoming gender bias in tech leadership remains a hurdle, while balancing career and family in a demanding field requires prioritisation and self-compassion. This is the view of technology expert and Head of Innovations and Product Development at Coronation Registrars, Ekene Mgbechikwelu, who reveals in this interview, how she had to combat micro aggression in her career to champion diversity and inclusion in the field of tech. 

As a female leader in tech, what are the challenges you encountered and strategies deployed to overcome them?

As a woman in tech, I’ve encountered a variety of challenges on my journey, but each hurdle has only fueled my determination to drive innovation within my organisation.

One of the most prevalent challenges I’ve faced is breaking through the glass ceiling in a predominantly male-dominated field. Early in my career, I often found myself underestimated or overlooked simply because of my gender. However, I refused to let stereotypes define my capabilities. Instead, I embraced every opportunity to showcase my expertise, competence, and leadership skills. Through perseverance and unwavering confidence in my abilities, I gradually earned the respect and recognition of my peers and superiors.

One of the key challenges I’ve faced is navigating the gender dynamics prevalent in the tech world. Despite tremendous strides, the industry still grapples with gender bias and stereotypes. As a result, gaining credibility and earning respect as a female leader can sometimes be an uphill battle. Additionally, balancing the demands of a high-pressure career with the responsibilities of marriage and family life presents its own set of challenges, requiring careful prioritisation and time management. I’ve had to juggle competing priorities and overcome the guilt of not always being present in every aspect of my life. I have also been able to allow myself some grace and also to understand that I cannot be successful at all at the same time.

The truth is there is no such thing as balance. That is being a woman. If you are a working woman, you are often not there as much as you’d like to be. So if I spend all day (and sometimes night) brainstorming with my team, I am ultimately missing date night with my partner. If I spend all my time on video calls to my family then I am missing an important board meeting deliverable. That’s what happens. Those are the trade-offs. You must come to terms with the fact that you’re going to miss one thing and be good at another. I’ve always said if I’m winning at one thing, I’m failing at another and a lot of people say, ‘failure?’ And I say, ‘yes!’ I like to call it failure because it makes me feel better. However, I’ve come to realise that being a role model and paving the way for future generations of women in tech is a powerful motivator.

Another obstacle I’ve encountered is navigating the subtle biases and micro aggressions that can undermine women’s authority and credibility in the workplace. Whether it’s being interrupted in meetings or having my ideas dismissed, I’ve learned to assert myself assertively and unapologetically. By speaking up and advocating for myself and other women in the industry, I’m actively working to dismantle the barriers that hinder diversity and inclusion.

Ultimately, overcoming challenges as a female leader and wife has reinforced my commitment to driving innovation and positive change within my organisation. By embracing adversity as an oppourtunity for growth and leading with authenticity, empathy, and resilience, I’m paving the way for a more inclusive and innovative future in the tech industry.

Strategic goals and vision for the future

Our digital solutions streamline processes, automate tasks, and eliminates inefficiencies, ensuring the smooth sailing on our journey towards operational excellence. By digitizing workflows and harnessing the power of automation, we navigate through tasks with speed and precision, freeing up valuable resources to focus on strategic initiatives.

At the heart of our vision lies the desire to provide unparalleled service to our clients. Our digital solutions empower us to better understand and anticipate their needs, delivering personalised experiences that set us apart in the industry. Through intuitive platforms and seamless interactions, we strengthen relationships and build trust, laying the foundation for lasting partnerships.

Innovation is the wind in our sails, propelling us towards new horizons of possibility. Our digital solutions serve as the vessel through which we explore uncharted waters, pioneering new technologies and approaches that redefine industry standards. Whether it’s leveraging blockchain for secure transactions or harnessing AI for predictive analytics, we embrace innovation as a means to shape the future of registrar services.

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How we’re leveraging digitisation

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Coronation Registrars’ crowdfunding platform has revolutionised the fundraising landscape, empowering startups and SMEs to access capital in ways never before imagined. Through our secure and user-friendly platform, entrepreneurs can showcase their vision, attract backers, and bring their dreams to life. Whether it’s launching a new product, expanding operations, or driving social impact, our crowdfunding solution is leveling the playing field and catalyzing economic growth one campaign at a time.

At Coronation Registrars, safeguarding data security and privacy isn’t just a checkbox- it’s woven into the very fabric of our digital solutions, forming the bedrock of trust and integrity upon which we build our services. Here’s how we prioritize data security and privacy with creativity and unwavering commitment: Imagine our data security measures as a fortress, complete with layers of impenetrable defenses. From robust encryption protocols to multi-factor authentication, we leave no stone unturned in fortifying our systems against potential threats.

Role of innovation in shaping future of financial services in Africa

Innovation plays a pivotal role in transforming the financial services landscape in Africa. By embracing technology and innovative solutions, we can overcome traditional barriers to financial inclusion, drive economic growth, and empower individuals and businesses across the continent to achieve their financial goals. Innovation is the cornerstone of progress, and nowhere is its potential more transformative than in the realm of financial services, especially within the dynamic landscape of Africa. Here, innovation isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the driving force propelling economies forward, empowering individuals, and reshaping the very fabric of society.

In Africa, financial inclusion isn’t just a goal; it’s a necessity and innovation is the key to unlocking access to financial services for the millions who have been underserved or excluded by traditional banking systems. Look at what we at Coronation Registrars is doing with our capital management solutions.

From mobile money revolutionising payments to block chain technology transforming remittances and dividend payments, the African financial services sector is a hotbed of ingenuity and disruption. But innovation isn’t just about flashy technologies; it’s about solving real problems and meeting the unique needs of diverse communities.

In this context, the role of innovation is multifaceted. It’s about creating inclusive financial ecosystems that cater to the unbanked and underbanked, providing them with the tools and resources they need to thrive. It’s about leveraging data analytics and AI to drive financial literacy and empower individuals to make informed decisions about their money. It’s about fostering partnerships and collaboration across sectors to drive innovation at scale and amplify impact.

Collaboration in driving innovation

Collaboration is the heartbeat of innovation at Coronation Registrars, pulsating both internally and externally to fuel our journey towards pioneering solutions and transformative change. Internally, collaboration serves as the cornerstone of our innovation ecosystem. It’s the fusion of diverse minds, perspectives, and expertise that ignites the spark of creativity. Within our walls, collaboration isn’t just encouraged; it’s celebrated as the catalyst for groundbreaking ideas to flourish. Whether it’s cross-departmental brainstorming sessions, hackathons that bridge technical and business acumen, or collaborative workshops that blend data analytics with design thinking, every interaction is an opportunity to inspire innovation.

Externally, collaboration extends our reach beyond boundaries, forging strategic partnerships that amplify our impact and accelerate our progress. We believe that innovation knows no bounds, and by collaborating with industry experts, startups, academia, and even competitors, we unlock new avenues of possibility. From co-creating disruptive technologies to participating in industry consortia aimed at shaping regulatory frameworks, our external collaborations are a testament to our commitment to driving collective progress.