Passionate, dedicated, driven and an overachiever are words I use to describe the woman that is Bidemi Zakariyau. In a world where we have issues of professionalism, consumer service and management, Bidemi does all that she can to stand out not as an individual but as a CEO of the brand LSF|PR.
In this brief interview, she enlightens us on what it means to be a woman in business, her goals, her achievements and what it means to be a young entrepreneur in Nigeria.
Hi Bidemi, please introduce yourself.
I am the founder and CEO of LSF|PR – a full service public relations consultancy with a core focus on corporate communications and consumer brands. A few months ago, I also created a small business division, LSF|SME which is focused on growing small businesses, brands and emerging talents.
Why and how did you get into public relations?
This is a long story, so I would give an abridged version. I did a foundation programme in business, which included law, accounting and economics in college. At the end of the school period, I emerged as the best law student on the programme so I naturally applied to for law in University.
When I moved back to Nigeria at the end of 2011, I interned at Udo-Udoma and Bello-Osagie before enrolling at law school in 2012. While I interned at Udo-Udoma, I learnt so much about the Nigerian business environment. Although I learnt so much I knew that it was not what I wanted to do. At that point I started to think about what I was passionate about.
I always had an interest in media so I set up LSF|PR when I joined law school, working on small scale projects. After law school, I decided to do this full-time.
What inspires you as a woman in business?
As a business owner, I am inspired by stories and solutions. When the latter is well-intended, and the former properly communicated, a good job has been done and lives may be changed in the process. I am inspired by working with people who are deliberately working towards enriching all our lives through their products or services.
As a woman, I am inspired by the possibilities of chance and opportunity. Countless women before me paved the way so a twenty-something can run her own company, without limitation. I am inspired by the opportunity to pass the baton, hold the door open for other women, in the workplace.
Would you consider yourself successful?
Success means so many things to different people. For me success is constantly and consistently working towards achieving my own goals, setting new and challenging ones as I cancel out old ones. Success is a continuous, daily journey of small, big milestones, victories that reflect why I do this at all: impacting the lives of people.
If you weren’t doing P.R what would you be doing?
Although I have a legal background, I think I would most likely be working in business development or have some sort of life advisory service for young people. I’m very interested in anything that involves “problem-solving”.
Words you live by?
Know your values and value them. Building a business in this environment is a lot of work, and focusing on the vision for the business can feel like a waste of time. A lot of times you are likely to be pulled in different directions, losing focus of your core values. It’s important to be guided by principles and operate by those principles. I’ve learnt so much about this from Ray Dalio, the founder of the largest hedge fund in the world. He acknowledged the importance of being guided by principles saying “Principles are ways of successfully dealing with the laws of nature or the laws of life. Those who understand more of them and understand them well know how to interact with the world more effectively than those who know fewer of them”.
Long term goals
My long-term goal is to keep developing myself and growing in every aspect of my life. To build LSF|PR into a company that outlives me, focusing and bringing my other visions and business ideas to life.