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An Interview with Melissa Llarena

Sep 8, 2020

Meet Jane Egerton-Idehen, a Nigerian-Based STEM Advocate and IT Executive. Jane and I met by way of Bozoma Saint John’s virtual Badass Workshop. This week, Jane and I have a conversation about the advancement of women and gender equality in the workplace, both in the U.S. and Nigeria. Jane also brings to light how someone who was expected to survive herself being raised in a slum in Lagos she defiantly decided to thrive instead. Finally, we discuss why the single best thing anyone can do for their career is having a brand (a voice, your voice) not tied to that of your employer. 

Jane Egerton-Idehen is a telecommunication executive with over 17 years’ experience in the Nigerian, Liberian and Ghanaian telecommunications markets. She holds an Engineering degree from the University of Nigeria and an MBA from Warwick Business school, UK. and executive education from Harvard Business School and Yale’s School of Management. She worked as part of the Ericsson Ghana and Liberia executive leadership team. Where she managed the Account teams for Ericsson in Ghana and Liberia. In 2019 she received the 50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Nigeria Leadership award. Jane is currently the Country Manager Nigeria and Regional Sales Manager West Africa for Avanti Communications Ltd. 

She has a strong passion for promoting girls in STEM and ensuring women in STEM industries remain and grow their careers in the industry here in Africa. Meanwhile, she also is an author having recently written what she calls a letter to her daughter, a book entitled: Be Fearless: Give Yourself Permission To Be You. 

She has always envisioned herself playing a leading role in the introduction and adoption of advanced communication technologies and techniques and remains committed to this even today. Jane is married with a son and a daughter.  

Show Notes 

  • Jane describes her 20-year journey from engineering to sales in the telecom sector. (10:52) 
  • What led Jane to become an engineer despite being a little girl in Lagos, Nigeria. (12:13)
  • Some of her early regrets and when she realized her capability to become an engineer. And she recollects on a mentor who challenged her to graduate with first-class (a high-level classification in the Nigerian school system). (15:05)
  • The expectations of women in Nigeria, why we aren’t challenging women, and the micro messages we pass on to young women.  (19:49)
  • The belief systems meant to hold women back and how they differ based on where you reside.  (22:26)
  • Some of the sexist questions that exist during job interviews and other ways in which workplace doors close due to sexism. (27:02)
  • Gender equality in the home and workplace, and how Jane hopes her daughter does stand a chance, without gender being an issue. (40:07)
  • This was a Gutsy Move: Why Jane, a corporate Olympian, decided to write a book and how her daughter was her muse. (43:28)
  • Jane’s desire to be a model for her son and men, dispel the notion that women can’t succeed, and the knowledge that when women do well, men do well.  (49:00)
  • How to discover your voice and find your own platform that is not tied to your employer. (50:56) 

Follow Jane on Instagram  

Read Jane’s book: Be Fearless: Give Yourself Permission To Be You 

Learn more about Jane