They say everyone is a salesperson. Indeed, a school of thought argues that if you have a CV or have convinced anyone to do anything for you, then you are a salesperson. But we all know some are natural. For Joyce Adaobi Ojemudia, making sales comes as naturally as having breakfast.
Born in Ibadan to parents of Agbor origin in Delta State, Joyce, as she is fondly called, had her elementary and secondary education in Ibadan before proceeding to the University of Lagos to study Insurance for her Bachelor’s degree, and Risk management for her Master’s degree. An exquisite conversationalist, she started her career as a Marketing Executive at Healthcare International – a subsidiary of NICON Insurance before joining Linkage Assurance Plc as executive trainee in 2002.
At Linkage Assurance, her tenacity and can-do spirit saw her rise rapidly through the ranks and in five years, she was promoted Deputy Head, Marketing. “Linkage Assurance was my proper introduction to sales and marketing. While there, I gave my all to learning the ropes and sticking my neck out even where much-experienced seniors would not want to. The result was that I was entrusted with so much more above my experience but I never minded. I embraced everything and learnt fast enough to become a master of my trade,” she said recently.
Like the proverbial golden fish that cannot be hidden, Staco Insurance soon came for Joyce and she moved on for a chance to widen her network, grow her market and test herself on a different level. At Staco Insurance, she was made Regional Head, a senior position that saw her rub shoulders with established marketers and C-suite leaders. “Staco gave me a chance to spread my tentacles. Everything I had done at Linkage up until then became the launch pad for greatness at Staco. I helped build a strong marketing culture and advised management on various strategies to growing the business. Staco was where the managerial skills that Linkage had instilled in me got sharpened.”
After nine years at Staco Insurance, it was time for Joyce to return to where she calls home, Linkage Assurance, as General Manager, Marketing. “When Linkage called, I could not have said no. It was the ultimate next step for me as a marketer and an ambitious goal getter,” she continued. Her second stint at Linkage was the definitive point of her entire career. As General Manager, Marketing, her task was simply to grow the business. And grow, she did. Records confirm that she helped grow the company’s gross premium by over 80% from N4bn to N7.5bn over two years and improved Linkage’s market share from the 24th to 8th position. Indeed, her leadership ran through the gamut of the company as she instituted a virile and proactive marketing structure across the Marketing team.
When she was appointed the MD/CEO of African Alliance Insurance Plc, Nigeria’s oldest indigenous life insurer, in October 2020, only a few were surprised. African Alliance Insurance had been the legacy insurer that everyone looked up to. From pioneering various products and its leadership inspiring many industry standards, the company needed to boost her sales profile and retain market trust following a successful rebranding, the first-ever in the company’s 61-year-old history. “Assuming the mantle of leadership here at African Alliance was the natural chapter in my career,” she said. And truly, the elements aligned: a company with a strong heritage that needed to grow her market share appointing a renowned insurance sales guru as CEO. It was a masterstroke the Board of African Alliance led by the vibrant ex-banker and financial guru, Dr Anthony Okocha, pulled off.
“To say I am honoured to be the current CEO of this amazing company would be an understatement. The task is huge, but the heritage is bigger. I mean, apart from being the second female substantive CEO, I am the latest in line of the outstanding professionals who have managed this family before me. As you may know, Chief Talabi Braithwaite, our pioneer MD/CEO, is the first chartered insurer in Africa and the pioneer and longest serving President of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), the elite body of brokers I have worked closely with for years. So stepping into these shoes is both a great honour and a most welcome challenge.”
Already, her focus on claims payment as a veritable tool to growing sales is evident in the N967 Million claims she paid in the first 40 days of 2021 business year. This was in addition to the over N2bn paid in the last quarter of 2020. “For us at African Alliance, we are poised to continue our renewed commitment to fulfilling our stated obligations to our stakeholders. Paying claims as due is therefore non-negotiable,” she said in a statement released earlier in the year.
An Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Insurance, as well as the Chartered Institute of Economists; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Joyce is one that could be referred to as the Marketer of marketers. Though this is her first role as the MD/CEO of an insurance company, her wealth of experience in senior management, people leadership and team-building have aided her technical learning as she steers the ship of the legacy firm to safe harbour.
Joyce is an ardent believer of the gospel and it reflects in her interactions and her work. She leads the Professional Insurance Ladies Association (PILA) as its current President while she rounds up her Ph.D in Entrepreneurship at the Ayo Babalola University.
Originally published here.