Meet Jessica Uche, our Business Development Manager for Nigeria
Say hi to our Business Development Manager Jessica Uche, who’s passionate about HR, fintech and helping people work remotely with ease.
Read the whole interview below and get to know her a bit more!
Hi Jessica! We’re so excited to finally get to know you a bit better! How are you today?
Hi Barbara, I’m super pumped.
Who is Jessica and what is your role at Native Teams?
Okay, this one is simple (laughs).
I am a curious, daring, and adventurous lady. And at Native Teams, I handle business and partnership development for our Nigerian arm.
What do your daily tasks include?
Officially? Sourcing, engaging, and closing deals.
I also get to liaise with a couple other internal teams to ensure we are great on user/product experience for our Nigerian users.
What is your educational and professional background? How did you get into business development?
I have a B.A in Linguistics from the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). After I got my degree, I delved into Human Resource Management. Did this for a while until COVID-19 struck, and the world changed.
Getting into business development professionally was my way of adapting to the new normal during/shortly after COVID. HR roles weren’t exactly forthcoming, so I did in-depth research on what companies needed most at that time when it looked like the world was going to remain in the COVID state. I saw a couple of options, but business development struck me as more like me.
I naturally get along well with people, and it hasn’t really been a huge task to convince someone to get (please read as buy/purchase) something for themselve or for someone. I’ve always had this way of tweaking features of a project/product to appeal to whomever I was trying to get on board. So I thought to myself, in this COVID time, companies need BDMs who can still get people to use their products. I can. So, why not?!
As a soft-start (sort of), my first BDM role was for a HR/L&D company. A field I was coming from, so it was a tadbit easier to start from the known to the unknown.
What inspired you to pursue a career with Native Teams?
Frankly speaking, I have always been a fan of the Fintech industry. I always pictured myself working with one and addressing people’s financial problems leveraging technology. So I was super excited to see a company that combines the two fields I am passionate about. Fintech, and HR solutions. It was a no-brainer to send in my application immediately (laughs).
I have to add though, I loved that Native Teams was a global company and I would get the opportunity to work with colleagues around the world!
Nigeria is one of our best-performing countries of Native Teams. What problems of Nigerian freelancers, remote workers and employers does Native Teams solve?
Besides providing IBANs to enable freelancers and remote workers to get paid internationally, we also offer them the amazing Native Teams invoicing system. This way, Native Teams enables them to send out official and professional invoices to their clients for work done.
There’s of course the aspect of being able to also make payments to their international team right from their dashboard. Freelancers collaborate with other freelancers around the world, and one of the challenges for freelancers in Nigeria is being able to make payments globally if they run joint gigs with other freelancers across the globe. Native Team provides these freelancers and remote workers, the infrastructure to make global payments.
There is a big percentage of people working remotely or freelancing in Nigeria, and this number is supposed to increase even more over the next years. Why is that and how do you see it benefit the Nigerian economy?
Remote work has come to stay, and COVID made sure to solidify this. It is not news that the largest percentage of the Nigerian population which are the youths now prefer to take on remote roles as against on-site roles (whether as freelancers, contractors, or full-time). I mean, who wouldn’t?
Remote work gives you the flexibility of working from any state, and any country. The current boost in remote working has enabled even more Nigerians to conveniently work for international companies, hence giving them the leverage of earning in foreign currencies, which they in turn bring into the country and convert to our local currency (NGN) to make their usual purchases.
This has greatly benefited the Nigerian economy as we now have more inflow of FX, and these freelancers/remote workers get to remit their personal income taxes (PIT/PAYE), VAT, and other consumption taxes to the government.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself during your time working here?
That I can confidently operate and excel on a global level.
That my potential is way bigger and higher that I thought it was until I started working with a global team.
I see limitations, but I do not cower at them. I devise means to work around them and exceed expectations. I do not take a ‘NO’ if I need something to enable me to get the job done.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go and why?
If I can travel to anywhere in the world right now, it would be to the EU region. Native Teams is headquartered there and I would really love the opportunity to meet the bulk of my super-cool colleagues physically.
Your go-to song (or playlist) to get hyped!
I’m Unstoppable’ by Sia gets me pumped up no matter what is going on! Whoooop!!
If you could switch lives with any fictional character, who would it be and why?
That would be ‘Annalise Keating’ of ‘How to get away with murder’. I am forever thrilled at how she manoeuvred to win those complex and bizarre cases.
What would you recommend to anyone who wants to get into business development?
May sound cliché, but I’d advise them to start by taking free LinkedIn courses on Business Development. They helped me a lot in understanding the fundamentals. They also prepared me on what to expect at real-time pitches, demos, and negotiations.
Any additional motivational quotes from you for our readers?
The bulk of the limitation you feel is mostly in your head. Start first. You will find your way around.