Toni Anne Uwaifo studied linguistics and African languages at the University of Benin and is currently the internal communications and employee engagement manager at Guinness Nig Plc (a Diageo company).
CN: What were you doing prior to this? Prior to this time, I was the internal communication specialist at Dangote Group.
CN: What are your primary responsibilities at work? My primary responsibilities are internal communication and employee engagement. This simply means I’m responsible for preparing and sharing information within the business. It is a weighty responsibility because you are responsible for shaping and guiding the thought process of employees, motivating and engaging them. Employee engagement involves getting employees to be emotionally connected to their jobs, such that they are willing to go the extra mile at work, to align with the company’s goals and vision, and to see the company not just as where they work, but as one where they are joint owners.
CN: What do you consider to be the best career decision you’ve ever made? Choosing to focus on internal communication. I served in a business development and strategy role in a commercial bank. I didn’t enjoy it, I knew it was not what I wanted. So, I walked up to the head of the communication department and told him I could bring value to his team. He gave me several projects to work on to see if I was a fit for his team. Well, I was.
CN: What do you like most about your job? It is an exciting and very fun job, no two days are the same. This job challenges me to share in a fun, creative and engaging way so, I am never bored.
CN: What do you like least about it? The fact that it puts me in the spotlight. I prefer to be ‘heard’ and not ‘seen’. That is impossible in this role, all employees will know you! If you make any mistake in your spelling, punctuation or tense, it is glaring for everyone to see. No one cares if it was a typo. There’s no room for error. Period.
CN: What is your personal philosophy? There’s a better way to do it, find it!
CN: What advice do you wish someone had given you as an undergraduate? Focus on courses that hone your strength and skills.
CN: Who are your role models? My parents. There are a number of writers I admire too.
CN: Which books have really made a difference in the way you think and live? The Bible, and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
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