My Pivot Journal is a Ventures Africa weekly series documenting people’s career transitions from one industry to another, especially to tech.

Wamide Animashaun’s journey from computer engineering to driving growth at tech startups is anything but conventional. It’s a story of multiple transitions and a series of epiphanies that have led her to where she is today, at the helm of ecosystem and partnerships at Propel.

 How it started

I graduated with a first-class degree in computer engineering from Covenant University in 2012. At the time, I was at a crossroad, unsure where my career would lead me. The tech space was brimming with possibilities, and I felt drawn to various fields, from software engineering to project management.

After university, I served at Adeleke University, where I helped in redesigning their website and creating graphics for their promotional materials. On completing my NYSC, I got a job as a frontend developer. It entailed designing and developing newsletter content using HTML code. It seemed like a great start, but as time passed, I yearned for more. The monotony and lack of challenges pushed me to explore further.

In November 2014, I took a leap and joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). I had hoped to land in the advisory unit, but I got placed in the audit unit. Within six months, I switched to the advisory unit, a dynamic space where I delved into project management and data analytics. It spurred my desire for continuous growth.

My stint at PwC extended to three years, and it provided a solid foundation in the business domain. But I still yearned for more. I decided to broaden my horizons by pursuing an MBA. I received a full scholarship to a school in Greece. I was hoping to combine my engineering expertise with management skills. During this time, I sought job opportunities that aligned with my interests but faced repeated disappointments.

While in Greece, I attended an event where I met an acquaintance who told me about the position of an operations manager in a supply chain startup in Nigeria. Here, I dabbled in strategy, operations, and partnership management, learning valuable skills that would later shape my career. However, three years later, I felt the restlessness creeping in again. I recognized my interests in partnerships and business development, so I took a step back from my role to explore new opportunities. It was during this hiatus that I discovered Propel, where I now lead partnerships.

Epiphany

Looking back on my journey, I’ve never held the same job title twice. While it may seem fragmented, I’ve realized that my skills are highly transferable across these diverse roles. My experiences have equipped me with a unique perspective that allows me to thrive in this ever-evolving tech space.

I realized my future is in the business side of tech during my time at PwC. As I sat in meetings with top executives, grappling with high-level discussions, I saw a goldmine of opportunities. I knew that to make meaningful contributions to these discussions, I needed to understand the intricacies of running a business.

My MBA application also hinted at my aspiration to bridge the gap between technology and business. Moreover, my personal life and community involvement played a key role. The flexibility of the tech field, my husband’s influence as a software engineer, and the STEM community I founded, CAWSTEM, led me towards my current path.

Transition

My transition has been quite a journey, one defined by introspection and a relentless pursuit of my true calling. Aside from getting an MBA, I’ve always been particular about listening to myself, especially when I start to feel uneasy, uncertain, unfulfilled, or unsure. I make a conscious effort to understand my feelings.

It wasn’t always easy, especially when I didn’t even know where to start. However, what changed along the way was the career audit I did. I began asking myself important questions: What did I enjoy? What didn’t I enjoy? To help others on a similar journey, I created a workbook to prompt them to think through these questions. Introspection helped me define my career trajectory.

How it’s going

The challenges I faced during my transition were quite common. I grappled with the fear of the unknown, uncertain about my abilities in a new field. I often wondered if I had enough knowledge and experience to contribute effectively. Moreover, I was struggling to find my true passion. Transitioning so many times was my way of searching for my purpose and what truly resonated with me. It took some time for the ideal path to reveal itself, as I had yet to discover all my skills and potential.

Currently at Propel, I’m responsible for building partnerships with tech communities. It involves identifying these communities, onboarding them to our platform’s ecosystem, and connecting their members to global jobs and opportunities.

Additionally, I work with various service providers to secure valuable discounts and perks. This ensures that our users can access resources like co-working spaces and gym memberships at a reduced cost. One of my key tasks is to ensure that our platform is user-friendly and that we acquire, engage, and retain users effectively.

Career hack

Find yourself, and don’t ever underestimate yourself. I think we question and overthink what we think we can do. But, don’t let what you think you cannot do interfere with what you can actually do.

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