X3M Ideas: Empowering Women Through Equal Opportunities

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By Jeremiah Agada

The modern workforce is fast-changing, competitive, and complex – a challenging environment for anyone to work in. For women working in traditionally male-dominated industries like advertising (an arguable, howbeit, unproven fact), these challenges can even be greater.

This is despite consistent evidence proving the connection between diverse and inclusive workplaces, profitability and performance. For years globally, the business world has been largely unsuccessful in leveling the gender equity playing field. 

In many cases, women make up half of the workforce, but they are significantly less likely to hold leadership positions within their organizations. A recent McKinsey study in the U.S revealed the disparity among executive teams: Women hold an average of 21% of all executive roles. But of that 21%, only 7% are in line roles (as opposed to staff roles, which tend to have less direct decision-making power within the business).

A diverse and inclusive work environment goes beyond equity in gender representation, but it’s a good place to start—especially since women-led teams and organizations are 17% more likely to feel confident about successfully creating an inclusive culture.A truly inclusive work culture ensures that every employee, regardless of their gender identity, feels supported and respected. In addition to this sense of belonging, a work culture focused on gender inclusion has the power to elevate previously unheard voices and value diverse experiences, fostering an environment of authentic respect and trust.

In the creative advertising space in Nigeria however, agencies who understand the importance of gender inclusion and its place in their general productivity do more than pay lip service to it. For X3M Ideas- Nigeria’s most creative agency according to the Lagos Advertising and Ideas Festival, LAIF, gender inclusion is paramount to its operations. This is evident from the make-up of workers in its employ.

Steve Babaeko, CEO/CCO, X3M Idea Group

According to Steve Babaeko, Chief Creative Officer/CEO of the agency, the agency has gone a step further beyond gender inclusion to become pro-family. “X3m Ideas is an equal opportunity employer, as we do not discriminate against any employee or job applicant because of gender, race, colour, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability or age. This philosophy drives everything we do in empowering all our employees, through continuous training and developmental programmes designed to provide learning opportunities, which will enable them to meet current skill requirements and also prepare them for the future.

“As an employer, we are pro-family and are thoughtful in regards to the needs of all our employees. We provide support (e.g maternity/paternity leave, casual leave for family commitments, grants for staff etc.) as required irrespective of gender.

“This however, is not to say we are oblivious of the challenges women face every day in our society. The ballerina statue on the fountain at our HQ was commissioned in honour of all the brilliant, resilient and hardworking women of X3M Ideas who have contributed immensely to our growth till date,” he explained.

As an equal opportunity employer, it is remarkable to note that several women hold key positions within the ranks of the agency that many may feel is the exclusive preserve of the male gender. The following p-aragraghs beam the spotlight on some of the agencies leading women:

Adenike Odutola

Adenike joined our Brand Management team as an Assistant Brand Manager in 2013 and has been blazing the trail since then. A graduate of Mass Communications from the Redeemer’s University, Ogun State, she has worked on several notable brands (local and international) throughout her years in the industry. Her grit has made her a force to be reckoned with, she served on the Grand Jury of the New York Advertising Festival in 2018.

Adenike moved to the Southern African region (covering Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana & Mozambique) in 2018 as the Regional Head to spearhead the Agency’s operations there. Currently, she is the General Manager, X3M Ideas Southern Africa.

Temitope Ayeni

Temitope is Group Head & Team Lead in our Brand Management Department with over 10 years experience in the industry. She has been pivotal in the launch of several successful campaigns for brands like Heineken, Nasco, Castrol, Cadbury, Pepsi; and managed notable local & global brands which include Seven-Up Bottling Company, Lafarge, Peak Milk, Nasco Cornflakes, Nigerian Breweries, Smile communications, Castrol Magnetec/GTX/Edge, FCMB, BAGCO, amongst others.

She earned a Diploma in Mass Communications from the Polytechnic of Ibadan, before proceeding to the University of Ibadan where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Language Arts.

Adefemi Taiwo

AdefemiTaiwo is a Marketing Communications Professional who in the last 15 years has built and managed award-winning brands including Peak Milk, Glo, DStv, BetKing. In the course of her career journey, she has worked on various brands including GSK, Nestle Milo, StallionMotors which won her, her first set of awards. Over the years, she has proven her worth and has risen through the ranks in the advertising industry, she is a Deputy Creative Director at X3M Ideas.

Adefemi has completed the Daystar Leadership Academy training (Basic and Advanced) and is currently pursuing her CIM UK certification. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and an MSc in Mass Communication both from Lagos State University. She enjoys reading novels, watching movies and sightseeing.

Asides promoting gender inclusion, the agency’s Corporate Social Responsibility in structured in a way that will enable both genders have a level playing field while aspiring for a better future. It is a no-brainer therefore that the agency chose to play actively in the educational sector.

Babaeko explains: “In giving back to the community, our Corporate Social Responsibility is focused on the development of the education sector and creating an enabling learning environment for School kids our future leaders, by providing resources in public Secondary Schools. We have been doing this yearly, for the past Seven years and we have handed over to the Lagos State Ministry of Education and the State Education Board, Six different projects in various Secondary Schools across the state.”

Last year, in line with that, the agency renovated a Block of 4 rooms in a building housing a new state-of-the-art library facility, Counseling Centre and Sick Bay of theAgidingbi Junior Grammar school Ikeja, Lagos. In August 2012 when X3M Ideas clocked one, the agency renovated and handed over a block of five classrooms (equipped with chairs, desks and chalk boards) to Opebi Junior High School, Opebi, Ikeja Lagos.

Following on the success of this move, the Oregun Senior High School, Oregun and Community High School Wasimi, Maryland, Lagos also benefitted from X3M goodness, afterwards. These schools’ IT labs were equipped with computer gadgets – two units of laptops, 2HP air-conditioners and 10 Units of UPS.

In a shift from the norm, X3M Ideas took its CSR project to new dimension in 2014 when it clocked 3. It visited the often-forgotten Lagos State Special Correctional Centre for Boys, popularly known as ‘welfare’ in Oregun, Lagos. The company constructed, equipped and donated to the centre, the two blocks of modern lavatories for the use of the students and staff of the home. Beyond the donations, as part of its 2014 CSR, Babaeko facilitated a mentorship session prepping these delinquent prone kids for a change in orientation and thinking.

To mark its 5th year business, the agency took the initiative out of Lagos for the first time.  It berthed at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Bornu State. The school ravaged by the dreaded Boko Haram bandit and displaced, was blessed with 317 units of tables and chairs for students and teachers at its new site. The donation delighted the hearts of the beneficiaries and Nigerians as it “bolstered confidence and renewed hope for a better tomorrow.”

The X3M’s unfailing project however returned to Lagos for its 6th edition still in the education sector reinforcing the notion that a business doesn’t exist just to make money but to impact the communities where it operates.

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