Lydia Okunsanya: growing through challenges, colleague support and hard work
When it came to joining Tsebo’s Rapid Nigeria family seven years ago, nothing could get in the way of Lydia Okunsanya’s ambition. She joined the team as an assistant facility manager, growing in her career to become an operations manager just a few years later. Her strong relationships within the team helped form a solid foundation for the years to come.
Growing alongside the business makes all the difference
When Lydia first joined Rapid in 2012, it was still relatively new and consisted of a small team. It then grew to become a more prominent facilities management contender in the local market, finally joining the Tsebo Group. Lydia joined the intimate team as an assistant facility manager, describing the atmosphere on her first day as “really cool”. The MD at the time also encouraged her to join meetings and get involved with the bidding process to deepen her knowledge and prepare for more ambitious future career advancements.
“There was lots of guidance and nurturing, specifically at the beginning. When you’re just getting the hang of everything, this is a great help,” said Lydia.
A year later, she went on to become a facility manager for a multinational information technology company in Nigeria and had to manage her own team. Soon, Lidia was in charge of managing multiple contracts as a roaming facility manager, and in 2017, when Rapid became part of Tsebo, she was introduced to even more clients.
Calm seas never made a skilled sailor
She remembers getting to the office one morning and having 15 missed calls. Rain had flooded the penthouse where management was meeting, and it was a disaster.
“The pressure was on, and all I wanted to do was get in my car and race to get there. But then I reminded myself to take a step back and think about it realistically. There’s traffic, but I do have people on the ground to manage the situation until I get there. You know, it’s all about remaining calm and level-headed,” said Lydia.
Fast forward a few years and she’s now able to handle any crisis with ease. When she looks back at her career development, she’s amazed at how much she has been able to achieve. And more importantly, how partnering with the right employer can make the world of difference.
The Tsebo difference
After joining Tsebo, the team managed to acquire one of the largest independent telecommunication companies in the world, as a client. When this happened, Lydia was appointed as the operations manager in this space. Lydia remembers that this milestone helped show other businesses just what partnering with Tsebo meant.
“It’s about more than just your capacity; it’s about having a big name behind the brand. This goes a long way in building a reputation and , reassuring clients that they can trust the brand. We have the global experience and standards of a multinational company, but with the local know-how and nuance needed to support clients on the ground” says Lydia.
Lydia felt supported and encouraged by Tsebo Human Recourses to develop her skills alongside the growing business in-country. She is currently on the brink of completing an internationally recognised Facility Management Professional (FMP) certification.
Pearls of wisdom
When you are starting your career, you need to be open to learning, and even once you’ve got the experience, you need to keep on learning. Often, change can be daunting and off-putting, but take it all in and find the opportunities.
“Tsebo is brave, and dares to cross boundaries – this is what has made them so successful. Your approach to your career should be the same. Don’t be afraid to take on the unknown,” Lydia concludes.
Lydia lives by this mantra as she plans to further her career by enrolling for a Masters in Operations Logistics and Supply Chain Management, either full- or part-time, next.