Nneka Offor is the founder of SkillBoox, an online and on-site learning marketplace. She is also the founder of CoFounder Africa, a platform that connects African entrepreneurs to partner and build high growth businesses in Africa. In 2018, she co-founded zuoora.com; a tech-enabled online service that matches customers with local professionals. With over 6 years experience in Business development, Nneka truly knows new ways to reach new markets and to better meet the needs of existing markets. Nneka Offor has been featured in Women Economic Forum (WEF), She Leads Africa, a community that helps young African women achieve their professional dreams and Women on Top in Tech, a global series of Women Founders, CEOs & Leaders in technology. Nneka holds a BS in Environmental Resource Management from Abia State University.
Why did you go into STEM?
It’s really an advantage to be in STEM because its expanding and changing so quickly with lots of opportunities. STEM is an intriguing field with a fast pace of change in technologies which means one will be challenged on a daily basis to think critically and be creative.
What do you consider your greatest achievements?
My greatest accomplishment is launching my startup from home while raising triplets. As a first time mum, I didn’t know what to expect and wasn’t sure how I would handle three babies with no prior experience but with the help, I got from my family, I was able to pull through. They are now four years old and thriving and I’ve acquired some skills during that time and ready for a new challenge!
What challenges have you faced as a woman in STEM and how did you overcome them?
Personally, I have not faced any challenge that most women in other fields haven’t faced. I think women in general face challenges due to reasons like gender stereotypes. Some other challenges would be women tend to be less assertive than men – and thus less likely to be taken seriously or even ask for a raise. In STEM, women are outnumbered by their male counterparts but just because you’re an exception in your workplace doesn’t mean you can’t contribute at the highest levels.
What is your advice to budding women in STEM?
I’d say women should be open to learning new skills. One can never acquire too many skills or know too much in STEM because the field rapidly evolves and develops new positions to meet the needs of the market. If you have the opportunity to learn new skills and stay on top of emergent technologies, you will set yourself up to take advantage of new opportunities available. It’s also very important for women to find a balance between work and personal life; know when you need help with minor things so you can focus on major things. There’s no doubt that the road to a STEM career is a challenging one and the learning curve can be steep but don’t lose sight of why you got into the field in the first place.