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How Chioma Afe went from a ‘sour law dream’ to a successful career in marketing

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It’s been a storied career that began in marketing for fast-moving consumer goods, briefly veered into broadcast media with a leading pay-TV provider, and then into banking.

Chioma Afe is an accomplished marketing communications professional with over two decades of experience in FMCG, consulting (Andersen), direct marketing, telecommunications, broadcast media/content marketing and financial services.

Family and growing up

Afe was born into a family of 5 children in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. “I was a bit of a tomboy growing up, short hair, no earrings and best friends with my brothers and their friends,” she told Nairametrics in an interview.

His father worked at Shell for several years (he was a Shell Scholar in the 1960s) before starting his own business. His mother was a housewife, raised five children and ran a gas station. Afe’s mother remains her role model for being a strong-willed, God-fearing woman who took charge of the household when her father died in 1997.

Schooling

Over her 23-year career, Afe has helped build major Nigerian and African brands, as a marketing expert, taking products and brands from conception to launch to market dominance. But it all started with an unfulfilled dream – a dream of studying law.

Although she applied to study law, which was her mother’s dream profession for her, Chioma ended up studying English and educational management as a ‘fallback’ course at Port University. Harcourt. Expressing it in Nigerian slang, she said in an interview, “JAMB cornered me.”

After graduating in 1996, she served the mandatory National Youth Service Corps at The Quadrant Company, where she first became interested in marketing.

“I caught the ‘marketing bug’ during my youth service year at The Quadrant company PR; my interest was sparked to pursue communications and brand management. I saw it as the ideal career to combine my communication skills with strategy, creativity, a passion for clients while learning to be more efficient and decisive in a rapidly changing industry. I am extremely passionate about what I do and the products or brands I serve, and that has been my guiding principle and my mantra, if you will, in every organization I have worked in,” she said in an interview.

After the year of service, Afe was employed at the Pioneer BTL – Tequila Nigeria agency, and while there, she completed a degree in direct marketing with a UK-based direct marketing institute, between 1998 and 2000. She also frequented other directions. and management courses at Wharton University, Metropolitan Business School, Lagos Business School and completing an MBA from Imperial College Business School, London.

Career as a marketing professional

Early in her career as a marketing professional, she crossed various sectors – brands like British American Tobacco (BATN) and KPMG. Afe worked as Senior Brand Manager at Cocacola Nigeria Limited from 2006 to 2011, Senior Manager, Brand Assets and Activations at Airtel Nigeria from 2011 to 2012, then as Marketing Manager, Cadbury Nigeria Plc from 2012 to 2013.

In 2013, Chioma decided it was time to move on. She joined Multichoice as Marketing Manager and stayed until 2016 before making another move, this time to banking. All the experience she had gained in FMCG marketing and a broadcast media brand came in handy for her role as a key player in the Nigerian banking sector.

She joined Diamond Bank Plc as Head of Corporate Communications Division in 2016, and held that role until the 2019 merger, after which she became Group Head, Retail Marketing and Analytics with Access Bank .

His current role gives him ample room to leverage his passion for brands, marketing communications, retail product marketing, digital and data-driven marketing. Afe oversees a team of diverse creative talents comprising of content managers, brand strategists, PR and online email marketers and data analysts in Nigeria and 12 African countries. The job description is to use all of these elements to achieve product awareness, customer acquisition, engagement and retention goals for Access Bank.