Celebrating International Women’s Day with Two Lumos Women

March 8, 2022

Every 8th March, we celebrate International Women’s Day, a day to reflect upon women’s rights, achievements, strengths and roles in the world. At Lumos, we’re proud to have an organisation filled with strong women that guide the teams and help them shine.

This year, we spoke to two inspirational women, Renée Comoë Seka, CEO of Lumos Côte d’Ivoire and Kathryn Edionseri, Senior Vice President Services at Lumos Nigeria. We discussed a range of topics including their background, why celebrating International Women’s Day is important to them, and how they learn and live their lives as strong independent women.

  1. What is your background at Lumos and what did you do before?

Renée: I started working at Lumos Côte d’Ivoire as the CEO in April 2018. Before that, I was the CEO of DHL Global Forwarding for 7 years, and I worked at DHL Express where I was the Area Marketing Manager for 5 years and the Head of Marketing and Sales for 10 years. 

Kathryn: I’ve been at Lumos for over 5 years and working at Lumos empowers me to oversee the Service experience for our esteemed customers. Prior to Lumos, I was responsible for shaping the service experience in the telecommunications sector.

  1. Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

Renée: It’s so important to celebrate International Women’s Day! When we look at evolution in the world today and women’s rights, we see so much progress. It’s important to set some time in the year to reflect upon women’s rights and to think about those who don’t have them yet.

Kathryn: It’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day, as women have come a long way in proving they belong in the workforce and in leadership at all levels. This helps pave the way and give the younger generation of women a visual of what they can aspire to, and encourage them to do and be better. 

  1. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias, what does this mean to you in your work life?

Renée: It’s a theme that goes hand-in-hand with women’s rights as being biassed towards women happens every day and at every minute. We become more and more aware of this during our careers and we need women to have the same opportunities as men. For example, people might think that a young woman is not as physically strong as a man, or as intelligent, and will be absent from work to raise children. However, women are perfectly capable of furthering their education, having children, being present at work and at home, all at the same time. The misconceptions and judgement of women must end. 

Kathryn: Pre-judge no one! 

  1. Why should women take up more leadership positions in the near future?

Renée: It’s unacceptable that there aren’t enough currently! Women are leaders within their families and can give this same energy to their careers. They are capable of multitasking, prioritising and have the aptitude to juggle their family and work life without dropping any balls. With such a strong sense of responsibility, we need to trust women to get to leadership positions and allow them to make more impactful decisions in the world.

Kathryn: For a well-rounded perspective on issues impacting both sexes, there simply must be gender balance at all levels.

  1. Which women inspire you the most in your life and why?

Renée: There are so many aspects in a lifetime and so many battles. What inspires me most is courage. Women like Nina Simone and Tina Turner faced so many battles, challenges and struggles yet they were courageous and made the most of it to produce incredible music and create legacies. It’s very brave for women to come out of their circumstances to fight against bias and make the most of their lives.

Kathryn:  Women who get dealt a bad hand in life and yet overcome and come out on top. Resilience in the face of obstacles is something that blows my mind. 

  1. What is your biggest achievement so far?

Renée: My children, my family, what I created. When I talk to my children, it’s incredible!

Kathryn: I made a pledge towards an important cause that seemed insurmountable at the time. Since then, I’ve been able to redeem it! It brought along such joy!

  1. What advice would you give to other girls and women thinking about their careers?  

Renée: It takes a lot of courage and organisation to have a career and it’s important to make decisions that we won’t regret later. If you want to work and have a family, find a balance that suits you, everyone has a different one.  

Kathryn: Believe that you can become anything you want to be. On the journey: stand out and accept responsibilities, listen, and speak up and be heard!
Secondly, bite off more than you can chew and do not be afraid to ask for help: this has kept me grounded, though I understand this may not apply to all situations