Chidiebere- Assistant Network Director

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What is your Igbo name? Chidiebere

What is the meaning of your Igbo name? “God is Merciful”

What State are you from? Imo State (Aboh-Mbaise)

How long have you been a member of ICSN? 2 years

How did you first hear about ICSN and why did you decide to come? It was recommended to me by my older cousin and at first, I thought it would be similar to the meeting my parents attend but to my surprise it was completely different.

What has been your favourite meeting, event or experience to date at ICSN and why? Honestly it would be all the GHM’s especially the cultural and historical themed ones, and more specifically seeing just how passionate our members can be around certain topics of conversation.

What Executive position do you hold and what does your role involve? I am this year’s Assistant Network Director and my role is really about supporting the vision and direction of the Network Director, but it also involves supporting each role, as well as delivering on roles that have yet to be filled this tenure such as Admin and Website executive.

What do you plan to do within your role in the over the next year? I feel that this year it is important certain roles are redefined in helping add more awareness and credibility as well as to make them aspirational positions once again. With regards to being Assistant Network Director I plan to use my position to bridge the gap between ICSN and other Igbo Communities and Associations within the UK, which means physically putting myself and the ICSN brand out there in person. Now this will require a lot of time and energy to raise the bar but I believe with the support and contributions for this year’s team the sky will be our benchmark.

What are you looking forward to most being in the exec? As a professional trainer my passion comes from unlocking the potential within people and helping them become better, brighter and more driven versions of themselves. So what I look forward to the most this year is not only developing members of my team but also developing our members and helping them not only achieve more but to challenge them to be more.

What motivated you to run to be part of the exec? I once had a line manager who told me the art of stakeholder management when she said “stakeholder management isn’t what you can get from people, but what people can get from you”. From the very moment I joined ICSN I saw opportunities for growth and development, and as a young professional I believe that it is my social and cultural responsibility to develop Igbo organisations to the same degree that I do for companies that I work for professionally. ICSN can only be as good at the team running it each year, and I honestly feel extremely excited about the team I get to work with this year.

What position did you hold before and when? In the 2015-16 tenure I was Public Relations Executive and in the 2016-17 tenure I was Website Executive

Why did you decide to run again? Because I believe there was and is still so much untapped potential and instead of pointing it out and making suggestions, I thought it would be better for me to show people what I visualised and acted on my ideas and solutions.

What new/different will you bring to your role this time? Now that I am Assistant Network Director and having two consecutive years running as an executive I have a much stronger understanding of what it takes to inspire, motivate, drive and support a team of volunteers that are trying to do their best and give back to their Igbo community. I will continue to bring a higher level of organisation, creativity, accountability, enthusiasm and energy.

What do you do for work? I am a Senior Learning and Development Trainer for Vodafone

How did you get into this line of work? I literally worked my way up from working part time in retail. I was fortunate that I had line managers that saw my raw talent for public speaking and passion for developing people way before I was even being paid for it, so they encouraged me to development my natural skill set and almost 7 years later here I am responsible for the training and development of over 4,500 people nationwide.

Any advice to anyone wanting to get into your field? Hard work really does pay off, and also make it known that you are looking to progress, as some managers don’t feel comfortable pushing you unless you have given them the green light.

What are your plans for the future career wise? Ultimately I would like to take my skill set and experience back to Nigeria and make sure that we are seen as serious contenders internationally, as there is so much potential.

What is your favourite dish (pick one Nigerian and one non Nigerian)? Okra Soup and Slow Cooked Jerk Chicken

Can you make either of them? YES YES  – both!!

Please tell us about one of your favourite pastimes/hobbies? What do you like about it? How often?

If you know me you know I love to dance (sometimes I just dance around in my house with a glass of wine on a Friday night after a long working week) – that is my cardio.

Surprise me with an unusual random fact about yourself? I love to drive fast cars. I have two older brothers and am the first daughter, so grew up very much like a tomboy.

Do you speak Igbo? If yes, how would you describe your skill level? If not, do you plan to learn? No, but I am passionate to learn, not only for myself but so that in future I can support and encourage siblings and younger cousins to start so they know that it is never too late to learn.

If you were to have a dinner party and could invite three people to join you, who would they be and why (can be people you know or famous people both dead / alive)? My Grandfather, Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey.