Breaking Barriers: Amaka Okeke-Lawal’s Decade of Dedication and Distinction in Wealth Preservation

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Amaka Okeke has spent over a decade working as a Wealth Preservation Specialist providing tailored wealth management solutions for clients across different asset classes, currencies, and geographies globally to enhance and maximize their wealth. Today, Amaka has distinguished herself in Nigeria’s competitive corporate environment as Executive Director of Business Development at Optiva Capital Partners. With over a decade of dedicated service, she guides the ship of this thriving organization, overseeing 21 branches and leading expansion efforts.

As a key member of the Board and Executive Committee, her role extends beyond management to shaping the organizational culture and fostering excellence among the 1,000+ full-time employees. A graduate of Sociology from the University of Lagos, Amaka’s commitment to professional growth has led her to pursue certifications such as CCBA® and CBAP and is actively engaged in continuous learning through workshops and training provided by Optiva Capital Partners.

She takes pride in being a member of Women in Management, Business, and Public Service (WIMBIZ), recognized as one of the Top 20 Most Inspiring Women for 2023, and honored as a Future Shaper 2023 by GMTY Group.

Originally from Anambra state, Amaka finds joy in the blend of her cultural background and is now happily married to a Yoruba man from Ibadan. Her mantra is focused on being God-fearing, goal-oriented, hardworking, dedicated, beautiful, and intelligent—a corporate woman with an unyielding focus on excellence.

In September 2013, she crossed paths with the visionary Chairman of Optiva Capital Partners, Mr Franklin Nechi, nicknamed the “Odogwu of Optiva.”. Under his mentorship, she transformed from a young and directionless individual to a person of significance. Mr. Nechie recognized her potential, believed in her, and provided the necessary guidance to cultivate her strengths.

Today, she stands firm in her journey, driven by an extreme hunger for success and fortified by the invaluable lessons imparted by a mentor who saw her potential and transformed her into a resilient and accomplished professional.

She sits down with the editors of the Lekki Post Newspaper for this riveting interview.

What sets you apart in your industry?

I believe that my ability to inspire, motivate, and help others reach their full potential is what sets me apart.

Furthermore, I understand the importance of fostering trust and credibility with clients. This commitment to client satisfaction has resulted in a strong brand reputation and has attracted new customers and new business opportunities.

I have also honed critical leadership skills which have evolved over the years, from being a Relationship Management Executive with primary duties of establishing and maintaining relationships with clients, having deep knowledge of the company’s products and services, providing clients with comprehensive products/services, and guiding their decision-making process. These roles prepared me for my current responsibility as Executive Director of Business Development in charge of the implementation of business strategies, training, and development of over 1,000 full-paid employees.

How do you balance work and personal life, and what strategies have helped you maintain that balance?

One of the key strategies I have employed to achieve work-life balance is setting clear boundaries. It is imperative to establish specific guidelines that separate work time from personal time. I have learned to prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance. By utilizing various time management techniques such as the Eisenhower Matrix I have been able to allocate my time efficiently and complete tasks within designated time frames.

Additionally, delegating responsibilities and empowering team members reduces the workload and also fosters a collaborative work environment. By encouraging open communication and teamwork I have been able to create a supportive work culture that allows for a healthy work-life balance.

I also have a great support system; My Loving Husband Wale Lawal, the Chairman and CEO of Optiva Capital Partners, My family, Friends, and Colleagues. They have all provided me with the necessary emotional and practical support needed to navigate through challenging times.

What challenges did you face as a woman in your industry, and how did you overcome them?

On the contrary, I’m one of those who never faced a challenge in her industry as a woman. I have been opportune to meet liberal people who are not biased and only interested in the “value proposition”.

How do you stay motivated and continue to set and achieve goals in your career?

One of the key aspects of staying motivated and achieving my goal is setting clear and realistic objectives. I set both short-term and long-term goals that align with the overall organizational objectives. These goals, as many experts advise, are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART).

In my role as the Executive Director of Optiva Capital Partners, setting goals is important as it includes objectives that focus on my growth in profile, connections, finances, and endless possibilities.

Amaka Okeke Lawal and her husband

Can you please discuss a specific project or initiative that is ongoing or completed, that you’re particularly proud of and the impact it had on your career?  

One of the projects we are currently embarking on that I’m particularly proud of is a collaboration with the Lagos State Government to intervene in the cause of the alarming rate of maternal mortality. According to UNICEF, Nigeria represents 2.4% of the world’s population and currently contributes 10% of global deaths for pregnant mothers.

Our primary focus, particularly using Ketu Primary Healthcare, is to create better facilities and establish infrastructures that will significantly reduce maternal mortality. We also have welfare packages tagged “No One Is Left Behind” and “Now I Can See” programs to cater to our staff and family members at Optiva Capital Partners. Parents and grandparents are offered free eye treatment including surgeries and long-term care. Many parents have benefitted, and some were flown from their villages to Lagos for medical treatment with full hotel accommodation for the parents and accompanying aids till treatment is completed on an all-expense paid basis.

We have also partnered with Polaris Bank to serve clients with bespoke solutions that will exponentially protect, grow, enhance, and optimize their wealth.

Additionally, we are about to launch a groundbreaking product at Optiva Capital Partners called Diaspora Investor Direct Investment (DIDI) designed to attract diaspora funds and investments into the country. This innovative offering aims to attract approximately $5 billion diaspora investment into Nigeria.

Worth mentioning also, we were the platinum sponsors of the Eko Hotel ‘Tropical Christmas Wonderland’ in December where children and families were able to create fun and memorable times together.

Finally, Optiva Capital Partners sponsors “Be More” with ChinneyLove which is an empowerment program aimed at helping women become better versions of themselves by maximizing their full potential.

These partnerships and collaborations hold great significance for us, as it aligns with our commitment to excellence and service.

What advice would you give to other young women aspiring to succeed in your field?

For women, it is essential to lay a solid foundation for your career/ business. Be ready to work ‘HARD’ and ‘SMART’. Stay the cause; Success is not an accident. Failure is not an accident either. Success is predictable. It leaves tracks. Remember, Rome was not built in a day. It’s all a process and there’s time for everything. Equip yourself with knowledge and training opportunities. Be ready to learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Can you share your approach to continuous learning and staying updated in a rapidly changing business landscape?

My approach to continuous learning and staying updated in a rapidly changing business landscape is to adopt a growth mindset. Also, networking plays a vital role in continuous learning. By actively engaging with professionals from diverse backgrounds, industries, and expertise I can gain valuable insights, knowledge, and perspectives about the emerging market trends.

How has mentorship played a role in your career, and have you had any influential mentors?

One of the primary ways mentorship has played a role in my career is through the development of my essential skills and knowledge. From the moment I walked through the doors of Optiva Capital Partners, I didn’t know what the future held for me. I was nervous but determined to focus on my job description and set my target straight. My life has been a life of achievements and it’s evident from my growth. This is my 11th year working at Optiva Capital Partners and I can say for a fact that I’ve learnt from the best.

I learned to focus on ONE GOAL at a time and become a goal-oriented and result-driven person. Since then, It has been laurel after laurel. It’s been an interesting process and journey for me; I’ve been working hard and achieving milestone after milestone in my career. I have the recognition of being the top salesperson consistently, and this means a lot to me. The doors it has opened professionally have been mind-blowing.  I have grown in product knowledge, my profile has risen in society, opportunities knock on my door, and the responsibilities and accolades that my current role entails are both challenging and exciting.

Can you discuss a challenge you faced and overcame that showcased your resilience and determination

Optiva’s transition from a single location to 21 branches and from a staff strength of 15 employees to over 1,000 employees with me at the helm of affairs was initially a challenge. Being in charge of people, processes, partnerships/ sponsorships, and events all at the same time seemed onerous and almost poised a challenge. However, my determined and resilient attitude propelled me forward. With people relying on me for guidance, failure was not an option. I have always been driven to excel and mediocrity is not a part of my vocabulary.

 What does 2024 hold for you?

2024 is my year of SERVICE. My job as a Wealth Preservation Specialist is to provide tailored wealth management solutions to individuals and families to help them Grow and Optimize their wealth.

2024 is also the year to completely TAKEOVER. We have reinforced our foundational capabilities, structures have been put in place over the years and now, it’s finally time to take off. Our mission at Optiva Capital Partners is to improve lives by Protecting, Growing, Enhancing, and Optimizing wealth. As the Executive Director, I am here to ensure that the mission is accomplished.

Lastly, can you mention 5 women who inspire you?           

Dr. Jane Kimemia; Chief Executive Officer, Optiva Capital Partners. Miriam Olushola, Ibukun Awosika, Somchai Chris-Asoluka and Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe

 

Amaka Okeke Lawal was recognized as one of the Lekki Post Newspaper’s 20 most inspiring women of 2023.

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