Cima Sholotan; How to Achieve Your Goals with Innovation.
Cima Sholotan, her spark in Corporate sustainability is a corporate and sustainability professional. She currently works as the Director of Sustainability and Corporate Communications at IHS Nigeria. She is passionate about creating social impact, and she has impacted people’s lives, working in the Sustainability industry.
I considered myself fortunate. From the beginning of my career, I had clarity of purpose and a job that aligned with my purpose, which is creating solutions to social problems. I began my career in a super-fast-paced environment where excellence was a core element, which taught me resilience, persistence, and collaboration.
I have an unwavering faith that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to do, and I created ambitious goals with a healthy dose of reality for myself. When things got tough, my motivation is written in the book of the Bible, Luke 1:37, which says, “For with God, nothing is impossible.”
My Driving Force
The force that drives my career is excellence and the desire to create a positive impact. The realization that I could influence certain things and my work could have a significant impact on the lives of people kept me grounded and focused.
The kind of memorable milestones that I love to look back on are the ones that mirrored me as a change agent. I had the opportunity to be a part of the Strategic Sustainability Working Group within the first five years of my career, which was responsible for setting up the Nigerian sustainable banking principles.
Another milestone for me was at the stock exchange. I initiated the sustainability reporting and disclosure guidelines for listed companies in Nigeria currently in operation. I am an ardent believer in collaboration at all levels and I have been recognized as one of the 100 women creating a better Africa, especially for my role within the SDG 17. There are several others, but I would say these are my most memorable milestones. I love how I have used my position to create a lasting impact.
Lessons I learned
As a career-oriented person, a few lessons come to mind. First and foremost, you must have a clear vision, principles, and core values. When I started working, I had a new colleague who later became my mentor, and he said, “You need to have a clear vision regarding your career; if not, people will use you to achieve their own goals.” I have never forgotten those words.
Secondly, a career is like a business or company, and I treat it as a business decision. My core values have helped me retain my essence amid various changes.
My third lesson is ‘don’t limit yourself. Work towards what you want. Get the skills and knowledge and be persistent. I have observed that you do not have to be fully ready to take on a higher career move; we are all learning on the Job. After all, we create Personal Developmental Plans every year. But remember that it’s not going to be an easy road. There are times when you will question your ability. But be ready to put in the work, it will give you great fulfillment when you see it.
I have also learned to build trust because we all need people. You need to build your network. You need to build credibility. This network of people needs to be able to trust you and depend on you, so you have to create excellence in what you constantly do. It’s also important to be willing to share knowledge and invest in others to help them succeed. You can never go wrong teaching others.
Ensure that you are innovative and always looking for better ways to achieve your goals. Innovation requires experimentation, going above and taking a calculated risk to achieve your goals while having fun along the way.
On Women Empowerment
There are still several distinct hindrances and limiting stereotypes of what women can and cannot do. Women face many challenges, one of which is leadership bias. Women are often judged as being too hard, too soft, and never just right. They are sometimes seen as too emotional rather than passionate why most male colleagues are seen as having the “default” style and this means that women have to work harder and constantly watch their leadership style.
As a result of many challenges faced by women, I volunteered my time to educate different women in underserved communities, sharing my story to inspire them and help them become great achievers. I also provide the right opportunities for women to help them maximize their potential. I believe that everyone has the innate ability as humans, to navigate all of the challenges we face daily.
If I had the power to close the gender inequality gap, I would create the right policies to support gender parity at the Federal Government level. I understand that there are a number of policies in place at the moment, but we need the right systems and mindset to enforce those policies. We need to have great enforcement systems that will take Nigeria to the next level. When we have the right systems in place, we can cascade at various levels; the Federal, State, and Local Government levels.