Friday, December 15, 2017

Thank you, Procter

April 2012 with Carole; waist size - 30
Sometime in 2010, I sat in a car with Deji Adesina as we made our way along Road One. Bordered by tall trees, Road One invites you into the Obafemi Awolowo University campus, twisting and turning through large expanses of grassland before spitting you out in front of the Student Union Building. I had asked him what it was like to work at P&G, and after talking about how awesome the company was – he said the words that have rung in my head all week.

Isé P&G o kín tán. My work never ends. If I stayed in the office all day, it would not end. I pick what is really important, and focus on that”.

As I walk into the office today, seven years later, I find that I cannot stop thinking about the many things I have not done: the tasks I did not yet get to, the projects I have not closed. It is with great effort that I put my mind to remembering other – beautiful – memories.

From 2007 to 2011, there were few things I wanted more than to work at P&G. I always wanted to start work right after university and P&G offered that. I was not sure what type of work I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to work at a company whose products or services touched everyday life and made it a little easier. I got all that and more after I joined P&G in March 2012. I always felt respected and well-paid for the work I did. I loved the culture and the many efforts the company made to support me. (I wrote the most-viewed answer on Quora to the “What is it like to work at P&G” question). My colleagues were mostly smart and good people, and I found many friends here.

April 2015 with Francis; waist size - 32
I have been fortunate to have amazing managers. Carole, ‘Nosen, Hassaan, Francis, and Shereen were sweet people who knew the work and demanded excellence, but also connected with me personally. Carole welcomed me into P&G, set the “managerial bar” high, and became the standard by which I have evaluated subsequent managers. Hassaan challenged me to improve my critical reasoning and analytical skills. Francis’ measured and deliberate approach will stay with me for a long time – hopefully forever. ‘Nosen’s sharp mind and eye for detail kept me rooted in reality. Shereen insisted sweetly and with several hugs and kisses that everything had to be done with quality.

I have also been fortunate to have extraordinary mentors. Ehis quickly became more than a workplace mentor; also becoming Counselor and active supporter of my dreams. My world is a better place because of her. Tope Ogunfayo (Pastor T) brought a sense of direction and Godly calm into our conversations. I was surprised at how much he trusted me, sharing his experiences in our many discussions. I have been fortunate to have these people who believe in me, sometimes more than I believe in myself.

I have also had many senior managers who cared for me and helped develop my capabilities. Manoj and George Nassar always had kind words, wanted to know what I was working on, and encouraged me often. Tolu Adedeji’s work ethic had me sneaking out of the office in the evenings as an intern, and blows me away even now! How does she do it? Tania Z filled every meeting with warmth and clarity, and was such a joy to work for. Pierre M hired me after I told him I knew nothing about Purchasing but would learn quickly. Folake Okunubi, Uche Ajo, Kunle Akinpelu, Segun Olujimi, Aunt Moks, Seyi Siffre, Suraj, and Foluso Ilevbare all believed in my potential and looked out for me. While I actually cannot list everyone’s names, I am grateful for the support and coaching I got from these fine people.

These are a few of my favorite people

They showed up for their guy at #TheKBWedding. March 2017; waist size - 34
My favorite thing about working at P&G is the people. I found and was adopted into many tribes. My Purchasing team was a supportive and warm group that helped me feel at home. Thank you, Fayoke, Ibidun, Foluso, Lambert, Tola, Ayoola, Dapo, and Bidemi for the good work we did together, our connects, and all the memories. Thank you also for the nice send-off yesterday. Shout outs to my Gs: Seun Balogun, Marge, Emmanuel Okoh, Sola Olawoye, Abiodun Buari, and their families. These fine people were a constant support system, and I am glad we will continue to support each other for a long time to come.

My next few lunches will be weird without Nifemi and Oyebs, or Tolu H, Lola O, and Ik. I cannot wait for time to work its magic because I don’t want to imagine sitting to eat at midday without my darlings. Nifemi! Who will listen to my workplace stories for the umpteenth time with rapt attention? Tolu H! Who will disregard my busy façade and bug me until they have my attention? IK! My dear personality coach and big brother! Mary Osinowo! My friend from back in the day; we joined P&G weeks apart and have seen each other grow. Edeme hired and onboarded me. My calm and easygoing Dr. Odike. M. Anne. Moby. Ope Awolesi. Daddy Mo(s). Yeyo. DKB.

Bola and Chisom get their own paragraph. Anyone who has heard me talk about them knows I hold them in very high regard. From being clients in my Purchasing roles, they became my friends and confidants. We traveled together, planned company events together, prepared for intense reviews together (especially with Bola’s favorite person), and had lots of fun together. We even ‘binge-gamed’ together after Bola got me hooked on Limbo. I can confidently say we are going to be friends for a long time to come. Thank you for the conversations, our inside emails and side glances, and all your support.
My people, my people - some of my Purchasing people

Thank you, people. Photo credit: Busola.
I had a beautiful send-off dinner yesterday and got a gift that is dear to my heart. Thank you Roqeeb, Jonah, and Dupe, some fine people I already mentioned, and everyone who wanted to but could not make it, for taking time to celebrate me and Busola. I thank everyone for organizing, and for the nice things you said. I also thank Bola, Nifemi, and Oyebs for their special going-away gift; I will use it everyday, and my heart will pray for you.

I cannot possibly mention everyone who touched my life during my time here. It strikes me now that the most effective way to do this is to mention everyone in the P&G Nigeria office, a few people in other offices across the Europe and IMEA regions, and many amazing people who have left the company. I thank and appreciate you all. I am very fortunate to have you in my life, and I look forward to knowing you for a long time to come.

Working at P&G is a long-held dream that came true. I am fortunate to now be following another long-held dream, but I have found over the past few weeks that giving up one dream – even when it is to follow another – is difficult stuff. Thank you, P&G, for everything. Goodbye for the next few months, and see you all again soon!

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