Passion. Purpose. Work. Moving On.

Seni Sulyman
Apr 23, 2018 · 3 min read
Friends like Morgan & Kobbina at Harvard Business School helped solidify my decision to move back to Nigeria

Six years ago, I made a life-changing decision while listening intently to Harvard professor Clay Christensen delivering his infamous talk titled “How will you measure your life” at HBS’s Spangler auditorium. I decided to begin the journey of aligning my purpose, my passion and my work. I had invested enough in building the foundational skills I needed to pursue my purpose full-time; HBS was the final stop and sanity check on that route.

Shortly after making that decision, I turned down offers from Google and Box.net to pursue an internship in Nigeria. During the internship, I had an interview with the MBTN team, and began to verbalize my intent to return to Nigeria. I knew that I wanted to combine my passion — creating exemplary ethical businesses and leaders in Africa; my purpose — dramatically improving the lives of people and accelerating their journey to prosperity; and my work — a career at the intersection of technology and business. That was the dream. With assurances that some of my African friends at HBS would also be heading back to Africa, I booked a one-way ticket to Nigeria in 2014, declined an offer from Facebook, and hoped things would work out.

In 2016, I found my dream career at Andela, as Director of Operations for Nigeria, and then as the first Country Director of Andela in Nigeria. I was sold on Andela’s purpose to catalyze a wave of investment in people across Africa, enabled by technology. The overlap between my purpose and Andela’s was incredibly obvious, and still is.

Over the last two years, with absolute clarity that this is what I am meant to be doing with my life, I have fully immersed myself in my work. In just two years, we have quadrupled our team to almost 500 people, with our developers now working, right from our office in Ilupeju, as distributed team members with over 125 companies globally. We have encouraged thousands of Nigerians to pursue careers in the technology sector, and supported them through our free Andela Learning Community. We have built a wonderful culture here at Andela Nigeria, ranking #1 on Jobberman’s top 100 companies in Nigeria for 2018. We have introduced “world-class” as a concept that anyone across Nigeria can both identify with, and aspire to. We are proving every single day that top Engineers in cities across Nigeria, can work with and lead teams in San Francisco, Austin, New York, London or anywhere else.

Leading Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on a tour of Andela Nigeria’s EPIC Tower

This is just the beginning. A few weeks ago, my colleagues asked me to take on the challenge of leading Andela’s Global Operations, overseeing our talent recruitment and development, service delivery, and Africa operations across Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda. I accepted the challenge.

I am honored to serve as Andela’s first Vice President of Global Operations, a role that will provide me the opportunity to give even more to Andela’s mission, and in the process, strengthen the overlap between my purpose and my work. I am excited about creating an even stronger pipeline of talent into Andela through programs like the ALC, growing our organization and continuing to create technology leaders with high integrity, scaling Andela to support thousands of engineering teams globally in building world-class software, and supporting Andelans to create massive impact throughout the rest of their careers after completing our 4-year Technical Leadership Program.

Most importantly, I am incredibly grateful for the privilege of being able to dedicate my career to pursuing what matters the most to me: making the world more equitable and more prosperous by enabling opportunity to transcend gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, etc. My life is a lot more fulfilling now.

We are looking for Andela’s next Country Director for Nigeria, a business leader with a solid technical background, to scale our organization to thousands of new employees, move us into a permanent home (tech campus), develop our leadership team, and grow us into one of the largest and most effective companies in Nigeria. If you know someone who fits that description, please share this application link.

The Andela Way

A pool of thoughts from the brilliant people at Andela

Seni Sulyman

Written by

VP, Global Operations at Andela (aka BlackOps)

The Andela Way

A pool of thoughts from the brilliant people at Andela

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