Extraordinary women: Celebrating Doris Chibeze.

Life can be daunting when you finish school and are thrown into a sea of job seekers in the multitudinous population that prevails in big cities. This brave woman named Doris Chibeze tells the story of how she dived head long into the job market, fresh out of school, naïve and unsure, but slowly made her way up in life and into a successful career.

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Doris is the kind of girl you’d love to have as your next door neighbour. She’s always willing to help a person in need(she will lend you some sugar). She’s thoughtful, she’s pro-active and always has a solution up her sleeve. She’s totally dependable in a crisis, loyal and best of all she’s always happy, has a big warm smile and a positive mind. When she enters a room it literally brightens up and when you’re having a bad day you’ll certainly want someone like her around.

NEKITA:   Who are you?

DORIS:     My name is Doris Anwurika Chibeze-Agboire. I am a sister, wife and friend.

NEKITA:   Describe yourself in two words?

DORIS:      Beautiful and Kind.

NEKITA:   What’s your best quality?

DORIS:      My best quality I would say is that, I genuinely care about people, I am tenacious, creative and elegant.

NEKITA:   What’s your worst quality?

‎DORIS:      OMG!! Okay that’s complicated, let’s see. I can be hypersensitive. I tend to take things to heart.

NEKITA:   What do you do, and what do you hope to be doing in the next 5 years?

DORIS:      Currently I work on a management level as a stock controller of a retail outfit of a telecommunications company.

In the next five years I would like to have harnessed all the skills and knowledge I’ve gathered in all my working years with telecoms and channel them into my own business outfit. I have always felt this creative part of me that I haven’t really been able to harness yet, and recently I have felt a pull towards that.

NEKITA:    What has been your major career milestone?

DORIS:      I think it was a year after I resumed work at my current position, and that’s not just because of the post. I got to do something I’m really great at, which involves organizing and managing variables,and being able to have some form of control over how my task is carried out from one day to another, and the outcome too. The most interesting part is that I meet different people every single day, so it’s a continuous learning process and helps me build character, charisma, and I’m better for it… plus my pay check most importantly increased – the bills get paid. Lol.

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NEKITA:   Was there ever a time in your life when you thought you were not going to make it? When you thought ‘the bills might not get paid?’Lol.

DORIS:       There have definitely been some shaky times. Especially when I was fresh out of school and newly thrust into the job market.

Thinking back  it all seems bizarre ‎now. I had just concluded my 1 year compulsory  NYSC  service ,it was in 2002. I had this huge and unstoppable idea of the type of job I wanted to build a great career with. Lol. I met up with a friend’s elder sister who then was working with Chevron, she promised to hook me up with job gig, said I should stick around, come over to the office often to familiarize with people and the environment ,and put my papers together in top shape. ‘What better way to start!’  I thought to myself.

I would wake up very early every day and go over to Chevron with my friend’s elder sister – I would join the staff bus @ Costain‎, have lunch at the Chevron staff restaurant during lunch, close with them and join the bus ride home. I think I did that for 3 weeks while I wrote test upon test, adjusted my CV a couple of times and waited patiently in faith for a call to a job at Chevron.

One day my mom called my attention to my foolishness, and told me to get a proper job. She said there was no shame in dignified labor,even if it means starting small.

To cut a long story short, I got a job with a one room apartment security outfit‎,where I was the Administrative / public relations officer. It was a hell of a job, my salary was the same as my corper allowance (less than the minimum wage), my boss was asking me out and paying me peanuts. I spurned his advances, and he altogether forgets to pay my salary till middle of the next month, after a series of attempts and my last rebuff . I almost walked out on the job but later decided to hang on and secure a better one before walking the walk. I managed that job for the next 6 months .

As fortune would have it, I was able to secure another job.  This time the job paid N3,000 less than the minimum wage back then. It was a better, bigger and more organized environment. I was an executive marketer for an Iron mongery company, a male dominated industry in a team of 4 very competitive ladies. As the least experienced employee, I had to learn from every single person, cleaner and engineer that had worked there for more than 2 decades. ‎They wouldn’t teach me anything, I would roll off in the day with my team and we would close with nothing significant to show for all our efforts and driving around Lagos.

One morning I got so frustrated that I decided to take a walk outside to cool off before our regular Monday morning meeting. As I was walking towards the showroom, I ran into a man who was looking for our company showroom. I walked up to the man, introduced myself and volunteered to show him around. He pleasantly agreed, after which he promised to come by with his architect later in the day. We exchanged numbers and I went back upstairs for our meeting with the GM. Just as the meeting commenced the GM informed us that the MD would be joining us as well. A few minutes later a man walked into the boardroom, and it was the same customer I had bumped into, shown around and exchanged contacts with a few minutes ago. I was blown away. But the man didn’t even give me a second look. He was introduced to each person and when it was my turn (as the newest addition I was the last to be introduced), he asked for my marketing strategy opinion. Imagine my shock, which I quickly recovered from by the way.  I suggested the team be divided into 2, because maybe the overwhelming effects of 4 young ladies in one space is working against us. I suggested we rotate teams and see how it works out. Surprisingly, my request was granted and I was also given the privilege to choose who I would like to work with for the first trial week. It was a huge success, and I stood out. Gradually I gained respect and earned my place at table. I learnt more about the products, services and the vision of the company. That was the day I learnt this valuable lesson –

“that sometimes you may never get a second chance to make the right impression, and everyday is an opportunity, we just need to see it,and seize it”.

I rose to the position of a manager in that company and eventually had a corner office in Ikoyi ,and through that I job met a lot of influential people who have helped shape my career and some aspects of my life. Eventually I resigned after 5 years and got a job with a telecommunication company from a customer service executive, and I got promoted  to a retail stock controller.

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This is still not the end of the journey for me. As a woman and a beautiful one, I have had to face a lot of challenges.

I am not afraid to roll up my sleeves and get down to work. I am not a ‘go do it’ boss, I show you how it’s done.

I am one of those who believe in dignity in labour: be smart, be reliable, don’t be afraid to be different, have self worth, honesty, confidence, and even when it seems like it’s not working, don’t stop. Keep pushing and don’t stop hoping. Even if you’re a beautiful lady, try to combine your beauty with brains.‎

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NEKITA:   Which female inspires you the most?

DORIS:      I have a couple of them,some I will probably never meet in person, but the most will be my Mom, she’s an Amazon, she’s strong, amazing, and yet still very emotional. I am just so blessed to have her in my life.

NEKITA:    What is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt in life?

DORIS:      We only have a shot at LIFE, so while you’re alive,you might as well LIVE, no one has control over your life unless you hand it over to them. ‎Fear is like a thief in the dark, so don’t let it take charge of your life. If you never knew pain, and hate, you can’t recognize or appreciate Happiness and Love.

Being soulful is not a flaw, it’s a gift. Keep good friends – they are like seasonings to the heart and life. No matter what you have accomplished or acquired in life, if you have no one to share them with, you are just empty and broken. Love your family, and care about your friends.

NEKITA:    What has been your biggest accomplishment in life?

DORIS:      Without doubt that will be my family. My husband, my Mom and my siblings.

NEKITA:   What has been the most trying obstacle that you’ve overcome in life, and how did you overcome this?

DORIS:      My Dad’s death and my younger brother’s ghastly car accident that both occurred in the same year, exactly 6 months apart. It ripped my heart into pieces. I was so broken, angry, confused, let’s just say I was a wreck .

My husband and my family helped me through this terrible time. I saw the reflection of my pain in their eyes and I realised that I had to snap out of it before I caused even more pain.

Grief is a terrible thing, but we all (my family and husband) sort of cried together, prayed together, raised finances, talked about our emotions and it kind of helped. We gradually helped one another heal, at each individual pace at a time, and still healing.

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NEKITA:    What is unique about you?

DORIS:       I take pride in all that I do, I am supportive and reliable. ‎I am fun and chic. I have poise and I am very cultured. I am very comfortable in my own skin.

NEKITA:     Tell us a secret about yourself that no other person knows.

DORIS:        Fear of failure.

NEKITA:     Everyone has a sense of fashion and personal style. What’s yours?

DORIS:       My personal fashion style is the combination of clothing and accessories that define my personality, accentuate my figure and complexion. Trendy not trashy, depending on the occasion, weather, time of the day and my mood.

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NEKITA:     Tell us in two sentences what you think of sex, love and marriage.

DORIS:       Those three words can actually exist without the other, when each is void of commitment.

A Marriage with Love and good sex is mind blowing.

NEKITA:    Which movie has inspired you the most?

DORIS:      300 (Spartans).

It’s an Epic movie, it just has this drive. It was so invigorating – the energy,the personalities. I was thrilled from the beginning to the end of the movie. It left me glued to my seat. It got me so bad that I had to go see it again at the cinema.You find out that sometimes all you need is to believe in yourself in order to fight for what you believe in. Some things in life are worth dying for, and no one is going to fight your war.  Change starts with one man who is willing to even dare….I can go on and on.

NEKITA:    Which popular personality inspires you the most?

DORIS:      Oprah Winfrey.

Billionaire Oprah Winfrey is best known for hosting her own internationally popular talk show from 1986 to 2011. She is also an actress, philanthropist, ‎a girl from a home in a small farming community that started with a troubled childhood. What other inspiration does one need?

You can be anything in Life,don’t stop believing in yourself, no matter what life throws at one.

NEKITA:   Your words cut so deep and are so inspirational Doris. Can you give us one last word of encouragement for all the young school leavers and job seekers out there?

DORIS:      God has given us the power and potential to achieve whatever we put our mind to.

The strength and courage of a woman is inestimable.

So I encourage women young, old and educated alike, to embrace self empowerment and self worth. We are the embodiment of CHANGE. It starts with us as individuals and then it spreads to our families, friends, communities and in turn to the world at large.

NEKITA:     Namaste Doris.

DORIS:       Namaste.

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In order to find out more about what Doris Chibeze is up to you can add her on Linked in where she goes by the same name – Doris Chibeze or follow her on Twitter as DorisDavid-Chi@D_dor

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