(Image from eater.com)
“What five words best describe your personality.”
“Loyal, honest, disciplined, friendly, lo….. Excuse me, courteous”.
Folake got a grip as she realized she was about to describe herself in four words instead of five. She has loyalty firmly planted in her soul that she struggled to find four different adjectives to describe herself. Everything centres around loyalty with her. She struggled to get her new job. It took her friends staging an intervention for her to submit a resignation to her former Human Resources Manager. Well, she did not apply for a job, one of her mentors did. Should Folakemi sustain a bruise, she would bleed loyalty.
There she was at dinner with the Executive Director for Corporate. Having scaled through the recruitment process brilliantly and secured a position as the Group Managing Director for Middle East, North Africa, and the Sub-Saharan African (MENA) regional operating unit (ROPU) for Ballard, it was time to host her to a family dinner. Ballard is an FMCG manufacturing group with two and a half centuries of success and expansion into 95 countries. The board of directors are considering the possibility of investing in telecommunications and software technologies, and being aware of the zestful creatives emerging from the tech hub of Sub-Saharan Africa, it was important to have one of them on board. Folakemi would operate from two offices :Lagos and Cairo, as well as a missionary office in South Africa. Her first initiation into the family-oriented culture of Ballard was her invitation to dine with him at the corporate office in Spain, after which she would be eligible to meet the GMDs of the other ROPUs and the Board.
It was no big deal for her. She has always dreamt big and achieved big. From her days as a class monitor in elementary school, she was known for her slogan: Impossible is Nothing. She is familiar with leadership, comfortable with business. She had no reason to not take the opportunity or deny the job, except for her loyalty that she “swore” to her former employer. She has had to sit through hours of exhortations and sermons from her friends, staging conference calls from different time zones in the world to admonish on her addictive loyalty.
“You’re either loyal or not. There are no in-betweens” Folakemi would protest.
“There are 50shades of grey.” Bimpe once interrupted her.
“There’s just a shade of white.” Folakemi retorted.
“There’s off-white” Sandra remarked.
“You’re right. Off-white you say. That’s off white. I said white”
“Ugh! One can’t win with you!”
That was the typical nature of such interventions till the girls had to change the night’s topic.
“We look forward to reinforced operations in MENA, particularly with Ballard Tech. You can count on our support from corporate. Africa is the next big thing, and we are fully vested in Africa. Here is my card, please note that you can put a call through at any time you need to reach me.”
“Thank you for your generosity, Mr. Smith. I’ll count on your support to reinforce Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa, but I will be meeting with the team on ground before our cycle meeting to establish plans to launch in Ghana, Angola, Mauritius, and Ethiopia before the end of Quarter 2, 2020. Ethiopia in particular is a hub many investors are not awake to. I will send a plan to your email before our meeting with the board next month. “
“Excellent! Fola, please extend my regards and utmost confidence to your team. I’ll endeavor to Skype into your management meeting, and will inform Mark to clear my schedule so I can attend your cycle meeting, if you do not mind having me.
“Absolutely! That’d be a pleasure. I’ll send a Skype invitation for the management meeting and you’ll get the briefing document for the ROPU cycle meeting subsequently.”
“Excellent. Permit me to walk you to the car please. The chauffeur is here.”
“Thank you for your warm hospitality, Mr. Smith. I’m delighted to be a part of this family.”
“The pleasure is mine, Fola. We’re glad to have you. Please call me John.”
(Image from hotelvillamagna.es)
Family? Did she just say family. Folake enjoyed the ride to Villa Magna at the heart of Madrid, and she tried not to compare the chauffeur to her driver in Lagos, but her mind could not help it. The Yuletide is a season to soak in some Madrid hospitality and immerse oneself in the romantic allure of Magna. She unbuckled her stilettos, took off her makeup, changed out of her dress into something comfortable as she made her way towards the elevator to allow herself be seduced by the skilled hands at The SPA.
To be continued…..