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Chekwube Uchea epitomizes versatility and resilience in the professional arena. With over a decade of experience across Finance, Media, Tech, and Sustainability, she has forged a distinctive path in HR, Tech, and Sustainability, making a lasting impact at every turn.

Professional Ventures

Currently serving as the Founder and Lead Career and Transition Coach at CLUDIVE, a tech-enabled company facilitating professionals’ transition into the Tech industry, Chekwube also holds the role of Founder and Product Manager at GEMMA CLEANS. This sustainable development company operates in Nigeria and the UK, providing innovative cleaning solutions.

On January 1, 2024, Chekwube initiated The Career Path Mentor (TCPM) community, dedicated to inspiring and assisting career professionals facing challenges in their current paths, fostering growth for those feeling stuck or unfulfilled.

Professional Journey

Her professional journey includes a stint as the former Senior HR Manager at VerifyMe Nigeria, a tech company offering digital identity and verification services. Academically, she holds a second-class upper degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in industrial Sociology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Additionally, she earned a master’s in human resource management from the University of Liverpool, UK.

Chekwube Uchea

Thought Leadership

A thought leader in Human Resource Management, Chekwube shares insights and expertise through LinkedIn, boasting a substantial following (28K+ on her profile and 78K+ on her business page). She advocates for Mental Health, Vulnerability, Empathy, and Sustainable Development Goals while championing Diversity and Inclusion.

Personal Triumphs

Beyond her professional achievements lies a compelling personal story. In 2020, Chekwube faced a setback with her Canadian visa application. Despite the initial disappointment, she redirected her focus to relocating to the UK. The journey was challenging, involving survival jobs ranging from cleaning to caregiving in various roles. Yet, this adversity shaped her perspective and fueled her determination.

Lessons Learned

Chekwube’s relocation story serves as a beacon for those planning similar journeys, highlighting the importance of preparation, resilience, and the understanding that each path is unique. Her experiences underscore the challenges of finding employment in a new country and offer valuable tips for those navigating similar landscapes.

Through networking, building confidence, and embracing rejection as redirection, Chekwube emerged stronger. Her story, a testament to the transformative power of determination, serves as an inspiration for those seeking to navigate career transitions, overcome obstacles, and achieve personal and professional growth.

Chekwube Uchea

As Chekwube Uchea continues to empower careers and enrich lives, her journey stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of resilience and the pursuit of excellence.

My girls and I were having dinner, and after laughing about everything from fashion to family, the subject of career transitioning came up.

Fola raised the topic—not for the first time—and this time she desperately needed answers from us. We honestly thought she would follow her passion for baking, and “give daddy his law degree” as she had always said she would. Imagine our shock when she told us four years ago that she had decided to work at her uncle’s law firm. I’ll never forget how loudly we laughed when she joked that her child couldn’t live on cookies alone.

Our other friend, Bimpe, had successfully transitioned from owning and running her fashion business for years to becoming one of the best business strategists in the country. Bimpe’s voice was the loudest during this conversation, as it had every right to be. We all watched her handle her transition gracefully, how she sometimes had to delete comments by entitled people who had heard rumours about why she closed down her business. But she was soaring in her career, and that’s all that mattered.

Here are a few lessons on career transitioning that Bimpe shared with us, and will be helpful if you’re in a similar stage in your life.

Keep an open mind
This is a crucial season for you and your loved ones. Before you take that leap into a new career path, be open to the opinion of others, especially those who have transitioned before, or currently work in the industry you seek to join. Be open to asking and answering very tough questions. We didn’t spare Bimpe or Fola these questions, so I doubt your loved ones will. When people give you answers to your questions, ensure you’re not defensive.

Enhance your skills
A career transition can be one of the most humbling experiences ever. You’ll most likely find that some of the skills you have will not come in handy in the future. In order to be very effective in your new industry, ensure that you take a break to enhance all needed skills. Do it at your own pace; there is no rush. You may want to start out with a quick online search, a course, or take on a whole degree if that is needed in your new field. You should also consider an internship position to learn for a few months. Just ensure that you’ve evaluated your past experiences and measured it with what you now seek. Mentorship can also not be over-emphasized. Get a mentor or friend in this field who can help guide you.

Be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons
A career transition is a big deal. It’s important that you do not limit yourself, but it’s also important that the big decisions you take in life are well thought out. You have to look inward and question your motive. Why am I changing careers? Will I look back in five years and regret this decision? Should I seek counsel? The biggest reason for your career change should be fulfillment. Although I understand there are times where life just happens, still, always be fuelled by other desires that are not monetary.

Don’t hold back
Sounds like a contradiction, right? But life is too short to be doing anything that doesn’t give you fulfilment. You just have to take the jump. Do it afraid. There’s only so much analyzing you can do, at some point, you’ll have to just try it and see if it’ll work out. You’ll never know if you don’t try, and if you do try and it doesn’t work out, then at least you can tell the world that you’re great and trying new things and experiences.

About Debbie

Debbie Larry-Izamoje also known as The Entrepreneur’s Best-Friend is a Nigerian Entrepreneur. With Certificates in Innovation and strategy from Harvard University and user innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Debbie is passionate about assisting entrepreneurs which is why she founded Image Boosters , a digital agency that specializes in Digital Marketing, Social Media Management, PR & Communications. She is an author of 2 business books and was for 25 under 25 SME and recently recognized as by Trek Africa as outstanding entrepreneurship personality of the year. www.debbielarrryizamoje.com www.imageboosters.com.ng Twitter and Instagram: @dee_larry @imageboosters_ Email: contactus@imageboosters.com.ng

Prepare your minds for whatever life throws at you. You may want to be a medical doctor, but life can give you fishery and animal husbandry to test you. Don’t fret, if it is possible for you to change, change. If not, put everything into it and become the best.

The moral of this story is that even if the course of your life changes, you can still end up becoming a success

Growing up, all of us had big dreams. Some of us grew up to become what we actually dreamt to be; on the other hand, after jamb jammed some of us twice, we had to switch lanes with immediate effect.

Like everyone else, I was once young with wild imaginations and grand aspirations. (I am still young, and my imaginations are still crazy: I always imagine myself beating someone, especially when I am driving.) I wasn’t one of those people who just knew exactly what they wanted to be and set their minds to it. Over the years, my aspirations kept changing. I was neither here nor there. I would wake up one day and be one thing, and the next day another thing. This was influenced by the fact I loved the arts and my parents were hellbent on sciences.

Back to the koko like Khloe, growing up, I had many career choices and they included the following:

A Medical Doctor
If you know me, you will know I am such a daddy’s girl. This career choice was influenced by my dad and godmother. I just wanted to be a doctor because of them; the things involved in the practice no too concern me. Me that I can’t stand seeing a chicken killed, imagine me in a theatre operating someone. This dream followed me until I finished secondary school. I passed my JAMB and post-UTME in the University of Port Harcourt, but some unfortunate people and villagers did a lot of malpractice and the results got cancelled, and, to be honest I didn’t bother going back to retake the exam. Don’t blame me o, I didn’t really send that year. That was how I found myself studying Applied Physics in ESUT. Nobody told me to leave that school and course. Phy-gini?

A Reverend Sister
My brothers and sisters, join me in laughing. Who dash me reverend sister?  Who will wear all these fine clothes 3ambyalex makes? All these fine boys walking around, who will marry them? Who will ‘Platiii’ with Adanganga and Kosy? That dream didn’t get to my 10th birthday. It’s not like I am a child of the world like that shaaa. Imagining myself in a convent just sent chills down my spine. I remember one long vacation we went camping and we had to spend one night in a convent. I didn’t find it funny at all. It is too quiet for me, and that their dress is a no-no. Forgive me, Lord, I will find other ways to serve you.

A Marine Engineer
Too many novels no too good oo. I don’t remember where I read about submarines, I just became obsessed. The problem was that I didn’t know jack in math. I am so bad in that subject that I don’t have any moral justification to punish my child for failing it. The second problem was that even if knew math, where in this country can I study such a grand course? I laugh in Ebonyi State University. The third problem was that the only marine anything that I know that even thrives in this country is marine spirits, and these pastors won’t let them be. So that one was a dead choice. The problems of this country quickly delivered me from the spirit of submarines. I still can’t believe I thought about becoming a marine engineer. No be only marine engineer, na mamiwater.

A Lawyer
This one is my one true calling. But back then, art was a taboo in my house. The disadvantage of being the first child, aka guinea pig. Less than four years later, art was now acceptable for children of scientists. My mother apologized to me after my novel came out. I forgive you people. In their defence, there weren’t so many big lawyers to look up to around us then. Or maybe they were consciously showing me the charge and bail ones to discourage me. Now I am upset again. I would have made a damn great lawyer. Maybe if laziness lets me, I will consider going back to study Law. Harvey Specter, I am coming for you!

A Poet
I won’t really call it a career choice, but I was actively writing poems. I was so passionate that I had notebooks filled with poems. The dream died when I gave someone one of my poem books to read and he published it as his. I am coming for you, dear thief. I think God already came for you, because you no blow after all the stealing.

Today I am a writer and a food scientist. Best of both worlds, right? The moral of this story is that even if the course of your life changes, you can still end up becoming a success. Also, you can achieve anything with hard work and dedication. I remember how people used to yab (not openly o because a girl’s mouth is like caustic soda) me in secondary school and university because I wasn’t really doing well in science subjects. In my 300 level, I let go of that “I am not supposed to be a science student” mentality and put my head down and did the work. I am sure I even did better than some people who felt they were part of Einstein’s lineage.

Many people in this country didn’t study what they wanted to study, and that doesn’t make them failures. There are people who stopped in class six and are doing amazing. The course of your life can change and destiny can be delayed but not denied. To be honest, when I conceived the idea of this article, it was just for laughs. But right now, I am even learning from it. So, for the young ones who are going to be graduating from secondary school this month, it is important for you to know life can go either way. Prepare your minds for whatever life throws at you. You may want to be a medical doctor, but life can give you fishery and animal husbandry to test you. Don’t fret, if it is possible for you to change, change. If not, put everything into it and become the best.

Even if you finished secondary school since 1900 and JAMB has jammed you so many times and you have no other option than to study Igbo Igbo bk (go and ask my mum what this means) instead of Marine Engineering, don’t lose hope, just keep at it. One day, lines will fall in pleasant places for you. Maybe you were one of the lucky ones who ended up studying what you always wanted to study but Nigeria is showing you pepper. No job after years of going for interviews like Frank Donga. It is time for you to change your course yourself. Learn a skill, take courses, intern. You can even mess around and write a book like me. Yes, I was unemployed and bored and I started writing fiction. Everything is an illusion, so pick one that is empowering. If you think this isn’t true, use social media as a case study.

Don’t forget to hit me up on @adee_elechi on IG and twitter so I can direct you properly to where you can get my book The Cover. (You can check OkadaBooks). The reviews have been amazing and I want all of you to get in my head through it. You can always just say hi. I love reading from you guys.

Source: Bellanaija

The ability to work effectively with others on a task involves learning to listen well, respecting the opinions of others, communicating effectively and embracing each other’s strength to accomplish a goal.

The ability to work effectively with others on a task involves learning to listen well, respecting the opinions of others, communicating effectively and embracing each other’s strength to accomplish a goal.

So you just got a new job and you’re wondering what to do to be successful on the job? This article seeks to address necessary skills you would need to be successful on a job regardless of the level of your role.

Ability to handle pressure

If you work in a fast paced environment, you’re most likely to work under extreme pressure. This means having to deal with constraints out of your control. Unexpected events or problems are bound to come up in the workplace, you should learn how to work well in these circumstances, so you don’t panic or lose sight of the job.

Collaboration/Team work

Most workplace environment involves relating to different kinds of people. The ability to work effectively with others on a task involves learning to listen well, respecting the opinions of others, communicating effectively and embracing each other’s strength to accomplish a goal.

Self-Management/Motivation

The ability to manage yourself to accomplish the required task is important for success on the role. No manager would like to manage someone that would need frequent hand holding. You need to take the initiative and be accountable for every success or failure.  In a workplace where most employees are dissatisfied for various reasons which tend to affect productivity, self-motivation is an important skill to develop which gives you the strength to perform exceptionally.

Flexibility

The workplace is constantly changing and only people who are flexible enough to the changes will thrive. You have to be willing and able to adapt in order to meet individual and business needs.

Ability to accept criticism

Nobody is totally perfect, so there would be instances were colleagues and bosses would be direct with you and tell you as it is. Some may be emotionally intelligent to make it constructive while some may not be. Learn to take corrections and avoid justifying or making excuses. Learn from the mistakes and move on. Don’t weep over spilled milk.

Emotional intelligence

Fundamental aspects of emotional intelligence include empathy, self-awareness, social skills, self-regulation and motivation. Being emotionally intelligent helps you to understand your emotions, manage your emotions as well as manage other emotions.

Time management

This is an important skill to have, especially when there are numerous tasks within a limited time frame. One thing that has helped me is having a To-Do list. This helps me ensure that I am deliberate in all my activities. Google Calendar is a lifesaver, but most people think it’s too much stress to use it.

Every morning, I write down my tasks, set a timeline for myself, fix some on my calendar, leave some allowance for distractions and stick with it.

Also, learn to say no to things. Learn to prioritize; and most importantly, avoid unnecessary distractions that eat into your time.

Problem solving

Problems will definitely arise in the workplace and you were employed to solve a problem if not, you won’t be hired. For me, a star employee is someone that sees a solution in every problem. Have the mindset that nothing is impossible and work towards it. If you’re the kind of person that always goes back to their boss for issues when they arise, you may have a problem. Go with possible solutions and steps you have taken to address an issue.

Source: Bellanaija

Crystal Chigbu was devastated when the doctor told her, amputation will be the available option for her daughter. It felt like her life had come to an end, she was distraught and discouraged. She and her husband decided to reframe the situation and make the best of it.This birthed The Irede Foundation, is an NGO focused on lending a hand of love, joy and hope to children living with limb loss knowing there are no limits to their potential.

The Beginning

My name is Crystal Chigbu, Founder and Executive director of The Irede Foundation. I am married to a gentle man fondly called Zubby. We are blessed with two children Beulah (girl) and Eden (boy). I am a “crazy “passionate person, believing there is nothing you set your mind to do that you cannot achieve I like to stand out from the crowd. I know disability is a mind game so I see more abilities in disabilities. I worked for a leading multi-national Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) company for over 12years and just recently resigned to work in the social space.I have interests in sustainable development with strong emphasis on economic and social empowerment of persons (specifically Children) with limb disabilities in Africa .My interests have led me to become actively involved in a number of NGOs as well as CSR initiatives focused on children and women.

The birth of Irede Foundation

My personal experience, birthing and raising a daughter with a missing tibia and knee cap inspired the creation of The IREDE Foundation. In addition to this was a desire to pour out my heart by writing out my daily frustrations and concerns as I managed my daughter. I wanted to share the comfort I had with other parents and the abilities in disabilities. The need to reach out with a message of hope to child amputees and families continually spurs me to action. We are out to educate and create awareness on amputation and limb loss reducing stigmatization to the barest minimum. We also have a support group to reach out to the families and the amputees. Thirdly, we empower amputees via provision of prostheses and mentoring.

My reaction

When the doctor told me my daughter’s leg would be amputated I was devastated. After a few minutes, I thought he must be out of his mind and then I became confused.I started asking questions. To say the least, it was indeed very devastating

Deciding to amputate her legs

The decision took about 2 years and 3 months to make. We (My husband and I) just could not come to terms with making the decision. We has to research and hoped that it didn’t have to come to amputation. I will leave you to imagine how difficult it was.

My daughter is amazing!

Beulah, my daughter is one of the strongest and determined human beings I know in my life. She is bold, daring competitive, loving and just so amazing. Let me tell you a little about our charming beauty, she gets to do everything she has determined to do. She is very active with sports and academics, within six months she learnt to swim excellently. She was once told by an older amputee that she wouldn’t look good without her prosthesis. Her response to her is with or without my prosthesis I am beautiful. Her energy is contagious, should you come in contact with her, you will literally love her.

Beulah and Irede Foundation

In trying to get a solution for Beulah, we realized that there was not much information around in Nigeria on this form of disability. We sought for support and it was literally unavailable. As we saw her transform daily into a child that does all things it became apparent that someone else can learn from us.

This contributed to the establishment of The Irede Foundation. This formed the basis of our day to day process which is to educate, to encourage and to empower. We wanted to create awareness on amputation for the society at large. A self-sufficient child despite the disability, is what I see daily in Beulah .This vision was translated into empowering others. We focus on mentoring the children and providing them with mobility aid. I want to see other children swim, dance, climb without any limitations of limb loss. These are the things I see daily in my daughter. At the Foundation, we offer the same hop

Challenges of running Irede Foundation

A number of challenges show up from time to time and by God’s grace we resolve and come to a place of learning as we fix them .One of the challenges we face is sourcing for the prostheses at an affordable price. Depending on the type of amputation, we do spend about one million naira (and with current exchange rate it’s even gone higher) on a prosthesis. We are working at sourcing locally for the materials used in fabrication of the prostheses as this will help us reach more children.

In order to reach more children and families with this message of hope, we need more sponsorships and collaborations.

Giving it all up?

Couple of times I felt like giving up. Sometimes it gets quite hectic and overwhelming that I do feel like packing it all up and doing something else. One example of when I’ve felt this way, was when I saw many children on queue to get prosthesis and we were not able to reach out to them immediately. In situations like this though, I remind myself of the 28 limbs and over 60 families that we have touched and the community. This encourages me and reminds me that I can’t give up now as we have gone too far from where we started from and we can and will make it.

Creating a balance between career and family

I am still learning balance every day and hope to continually get better at it as my children get older. My balance scheme is prioritization and support systems. I have learnt to prioritize my life, for me it’s my God, family, career and so on. When I am faced with any decisions or daily life’s challenges, I go in that order. Then I also take advantage of my support groups. My support group is my family, friends and the assistance I get from people. Each time I get overwhelmed, I re- evaluate my priorities and reach out to my support group again. That has worked for me from time to time.

Greatest reward

Hope renewed in the lives of our children is our greatest reward. When I hear the good news of how the children (Champions) are doing in school, see their smiles, families call in and just pray for me, it encourages me to do more. This is like receiving an award. Knowing that daily these children and their families’ lives are touched and improved daily makes me refreshed. I met a 16 year old amputee in January 2016, she had never walked all her life and she was quite a sad, depressed and unhappy teen. As I talked to her and got her to smile for the first time I felt good. The next time she came into the Irede office, she was all smiling as she fitted her first prosthesis ever. When I came in saw her, all I could do was give praise to God for the opportunity to touch lives.

My counsel to mothers

For mothers going through a similar ordeal, this is my advice, its okay to cry but after crying move on. Today, I want you to know there is hope for your child and for you. A distinguishing factor for children is the motherly support they get and also recognizing that fathers do play a major role too. I am encouraging you to be strong, get information about your child’s ordeal then get help. Often times you do not need to come up with fresh solutions. Someone somewhere has been through a similar ordeal and you can learn from them.

Final words

Being a woman is not a reason to be mediocre and dependent. Let’s stand up and join all the other women doing amazing things. Improve yourself, add value to your family, business, community and the nation at large. Women are blessed with multiple abilities. Do not accept the weaker vessel mentality. Get up and impact your immediate environment. See you at the top