Folake Soetan: Woman with midas touch at Ikeja Electric

Omolara Ojekunle

The climate and atmosphere of business in Nigeria has changed considerably for the better, and the credit for this goes to the involvement of more women in the top echelons of the economy at different levels.

One of such women responsible for this change in climate is Folake Soetan, Chief Executive officer of the Ikeja  Electric.

This amiable lady of outstanding qualities is one of the leading women responsible for gender balancing in energy sector, business and economy, and together, they have  brought vibrancy and positive ideas to areas where they have been entrusted with leadership positions.

It is no mean feat for women, yet quite a number of them have displayed exceptional qualities and outstanding competence, traversing the delicate borders between motherhood and involvement in business and in some cases, the commanding heights of the economy.

As the saying goes, those who wear shoes know where the pinches come from, women are more concerned with the need to have regular power supply, since at the home level, they are also in charge.

This may have explained the exceptional zeal Soetan has been displaying to get Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company working to deliver optimal electricity to its customers.

As one of the women in the front-line of the energy sector  Soetan, has put in her best to reinvigorate and rejig the company in a way that will deliver value to customers and maximise profit to the largest private distribution company in the sub-sahara Africa.

Soetan bagged a  Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance from University of Lagos Akoka Yaba in 1998, armed with this, she thus started her journey into the corporate world in 2000.

Folake Soetan, an outstanding mentor in business and  management to many, is also an alumnus of Harvard Business school in Boston, where she earned certification in Advance Management and Organization in 2018.

She has had  over 21 years professional experience in the management of start-ups, sales & marketing management, and over 13 years in leadership roles in business.

She was at the British Airways in 2001 as a Tele-Sales Agent, where she was responsible for managing repeat purchase and generating calls for potential customers.

She subsequently moved to the position of Sales Executive and later,  Sales Account Manager with the task of planning, implementing, managing company’s overall sales and developing strong relationship with customers and connecting with key business executives .

Then she moved her services to Virgins Nigeria after four- year stint at British airways.

At  Virgin Nigeria Airways,  she moved up the ladder and became a manager within a short period due to her hard work. She was the Sales Account Manager for a year, then Regional Sales Manager for 18 months, National Sales Manager for two years and Head of Sales briefly.

At  Virgin Nigeria, she was solely responsible for developing and implementing sales strategy for improved revenue optimization for the sales department and the direct training, supervision of the three regional sales managers and the independent sales channel.

Soetan , an expert in business management and strategy, felt it was time to shuffle her feet again as moved  to Sahara Group as Head Sales and Marketing in June 2009, where she led and drove the company’s transformation, turnaround,  re-branding  its aviation arm, Air and Land Services Limited.

She  also took the initiative to reposition stock acquisition, development, relationship, sales strategy and other related activities aligning with the company’s objectives.

In no time, she  became the Vice President of Downstream West Africa in 2012, where she displayed high level of tenacity. The turn around of Sahara’s Ghana’s downstream company and strategic development, planning and growth of the business became a reality due to her unquenchable taste for success and team work.

She also led the team that started two new companies in Ghana PWSL and SO Aviation with a turnover to the tune of 86.7m dollars. She was active in  identifying and exploring export business opportunities for the group in other West African countries.

Her journey into Ikeja Electricity began when she was appointed as the Chief Commercial Officer in 2015, where she was tasked with the job of improving the revenue of the company, reducing its commercial losses while improving customer satisfaction, developing and implementing strategies to increase customer revenue growth through service delivery, reduce energy losses associated with power distribution increase revenue and strengthen the overall performance of the business.

She was responsible for leading a team that ended the plague of irregular power supply, when she delivered the Bilateral Power initiative. This innovation gave some residents the respite from incessant power outages; leading to improved  power supply with minimum of 20 hours for the first time under its network, a rare feat in the Nigerian power industry.

Folake together with her team introduced several initiatives that generated the improvement of the quality of power supply in the Ikeja franchise area.

This amazing personality has since march 2020 worked with Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company, as the Chief Executive Officer contributing immensely to the growth of the organization in various areas.

The beautiful and sophisticated mother of twin boys enjoys mentoring young people especially the female professionals, on what is required to successfully juggle between career and marriage.

She has a track record of successful transformation of struggling businesses into growing, competitive and profitable companies with her managerial skill at its peak.

She is the Vice President and Board member of the Women in Energy Network (WIEN), an association established to provide a platform for Women that work across the Energy industry value chain. She is a member of African Aviation Professional Network, Africa Oil and Gas Industry and other reputable groups aligning with her career path.

 

SOETAN’S QUOTE

Being a CEO in a male dominated industry, shows that greatness has no gender. It is about skills and character.

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