By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Mr Rotimi Odusola, Company Secretary/Corporate Relations Director, Guinness Nigeria has urged Company Secretaries and General Counsels to maximise potentialities in the corporate ecosystem.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Odusola made the call at a virtual session held on Thursday entitled: Career Talk for Company Secretaries inhouse and General Counsels; Breaking the Glass Ceiling.
Odusola said that due to the emerging and evolving roles of general counsels globally, there was absolute need for lawyers to position themselves for inherent opportunities.
“The Onus is on lawyers to position themselves to get the opportunities that the corporate world offers.
“We have to ditch the ‘victim mentality’ as lawyers and take our seat at the corporate table by empowering ourselves to be favourably considered for the highest possible opportunities.
“Lawyers are seen mainly as technical experts that helps the business to stay on the right track,” he said.
Odusla also highlighted some of the Skills that general secretaries require to succeed in the Corporate World as Commercial and Financial Acumen, People Management Skills, Stakeholder Engagement skills.
Mrs Abimbola Lawson, Chief Operating Officer, Allianz Nigeria, said that lawyers must be jack of all trade and having broad understanding across the business to record the growth you desire.
She said: “Be approachable as a lawyer and counsel. You need to be brave, audacious, ambitions in dealing with the board, countering where necessary and advising the firm as well.
“If you want to grow and you are in the corporate world, you need to have understanding of maths, there is no way about it, even in your day to day lives.
“You know, you use math for your business, your budgets, everything and you need to have financial understanding, to be able to grow to be a CEO to be an executive director, you will be reading financial reports, you will be making projections, you’ll be coming up for your budget, so you need to have that in terms of soft skills,”she noted.
Mrs Mercy Edukugho-Amina, Managing Director, Fiduciary Services Ltd., said that lawyers should be familiar with ESG, climate change, international best practices, and other dynamics that drive organisation success.
She said it was no longer necessary for Company Secretaries and general counsels to remain at the background without being heard when necessary, align, familiarise and be proactive with company’s growth trajectory, and others to beat competition and stay on top of the game.
Ms Gbemoniyi Shoda, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Structure HQ Ltd., said that as a lawyer, one should not put a ceiling over oneself.
Shoda said that for lawyers not to be tagged as ‘baby lawyers’: “you need to be able to embrace new things. You need to be able to embrace diverse knowledge base.
“You need to come into the organisation understand what the risk management team is doing. Understand what the production cycles are, understand the different the different critical sectors of that company, what makes it thrives.
“I think that the role of AGC or economy Secretary is very key and integral to the success of any organisation,” she said.
Mr Ugochukwu Ndubuisi, Executive Director/Legal and Corporate Services, Mixta Africa Group said that there was need to be much more strategic in how lawyers present their views.
“We also need to start adding in how we give opinions and advice the business. The issue is, some lawyers do not prepare ourselves for these opportunities as they come,” he added.