This Mother’s Day we are celebrating with some influential mums. Read our series of interviews with uber mums Simi Esiri, Arese Ugwu and Lanre da Silva.
Arese Ugwu, Instagram @smartmoneyarese.
1) How to effectively pitch a business, stress management, how to enhance your work, money talk, were on of the subjects of some workshops this month. Do you think these are problems affect women more?
Yes I do, I think women tend to second-guess themselves a bit more than men and to achieve success in business or life, whether its pitching a business idea, taking control of our money or selling a product we need a healthy amount of confidence, a belief that our dreams and goals are valid and that we have what it takes to make them happen. Plus, I think when you are a mother and or a wife and you’ve decided to have a career as well, you end up juggling much more than a man because, you have to constantly worry about being great at work and being great at home and that’s a difficult balance to find.
2) In today’s society the modern woman falls into one of the four categories: The juggler, the risk taker, the delegator, and the woman that puts her dream on hold to focus on family life. What category do you belong to?
I would say I’m definitely a blend between the juggler and the delegator. Some days I feel like superwoman because I’ve effectively done it all! Run a succession of great meetings, picked my daughter up from school, helped her with homework, bonded with her on an activity but other days I forgive myself for having to delegate pick up to my best friend, my mother or siblings so I can focus on acing a speaking engagement or crucial client meeting, which sometimes means I get home after bedtime. On those days I feel guilty for putting my career first and not effectively juggling everything myself but I’ve learned to forgive myself everyday, just focus on doing my best on a daily basis and leave the rest to God. However, I find that having a routine and a fantastic support system helps a lot.
3) Zikora, your lovely daughter frequently appears on your Instagram page. You seem to have a good relationship with her, what do you think is the secret to maintaining a close relationship with children?
We have a great relationship and she is honestly my best friend. I think like any other relationship, the key is good communication. We talk about everything, from her friends, school, food, cartoons, puzzles, party packs… and I try to stay in tune with the things that make her happy and she does the same. Zikora is the most affectionate child. She literally wakes me up with smiles and kisses every day. 8 out of 10 times the first words out of her mouth in the morning are ‘mummy, I love you good morning’. How do you not fall in love with that?
I encourage her to be inquisitive and ask questions, so she never just accepts anything as fact; she is constantly questioning me.
Her: ’ where are you going?’
Her: why? * Followed by a rant about how I’m always going out and its not fair*
Me: do you like your new school? This house? Skittles and ice cream?
Me: they cost money, so mummy has to work so she can make money.
Her: does that mean I have to work too when I’m a mummy?
Me: *blank stare*
Basically we have a great relationship because we talk and bond over even the smallest things.
4) If you had to think of one thing, what would you say is the most important value you want to pass on to your daughter?
Fearlessness, the innate belief that regardless of the obstacles that may come her way, she can achieve absolutely anything she wants to if she works hard and has a laser like focus on executing the vision she has for her life. Faith over fear!
5) If you were asked to choose an outfit for your child what would you choose and why?
She is such a girly girl, so anything playful and girly. To be honest I probably don’t have to choose for her because as she gets older, she’s very in tune with what she likes. I can’t tell you how many times she dictates to me and overrides my decisions on what she should wear to a party or play date. The girl is only 4 and a half but has her own sense of style already.
More about Arese…
Arese is the founder of a personal finance blog (www.smartmoneyafrica.org). A platform that provides high quality content and action tools tailored to Africans. Her main objective is to help change the African narrative of poverty by educating her generation and the next via financial literacy content that breaks down the very complex issue of money. Arese’s articles have also been published in several media outlets and she often speaks about financial literacy and entrepreneurship at various conferences, workshops, universities and radio.
She sits on the boards of Partnership Securities Ltd (a subsidiary of the group), House of Tara International Ltd and The Nigeria Higher Education Foundation as a non-executive director and is an associate member of WIMBIZ (Women in Management Business & Public Service).
Arese holds an M.Sc. in Economic Development from University College London (UCL) and a B.Sc. in Business and Management from Aston Business School, Birmingham. She is also an alumna of the of the Lagos Business School, INSEAD Abu Dhabi and The London School of Business executive education programs.
Arese was a finalist and nominee for the Access Bank W Award for Young Professional of the year 2015.