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Wednesday, 22 June 2022 10:44

“I didn’t join the Nigerian Gas Association to become its ‘cute’ president; but to solve some problems in the industry”- Audrey Joe-Ezigbo

We have all heard how important it is as an entrepreneur to bring change and transformation in our area of business endeavour and, by extension, the nation. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, our WCW for this week, shares this same belief as she rightly states that it is important that you situate yourself in the national developmental agenda. According to her, she had to be part of the solution to the problems in the oil and gas industry.

Her foray into the energy industry started with a sincere concern for making an impact in the industry. She was concerned about how gas flaring had a negative impact on people’s health and the attendant loss of billions of dollars to the nation’s economy. Audrey and her husband, Dr. Joe Ezigbo went on that path to situate themselves as part of the solution. With her husband, Audrey co-founded Falcon Petroleum Limited in 1994, where she currently serves as the organisation’s deputy managing director. The company is the industry leader in midstream and downstream energy, gas distribution, and trade.

She was on the Executive Council of the Nigerian Gas Association, the organisation that represents enterprises and individuals involved in the Nigerian gas industry, for a number of years in a variety of capacities. Until 2021, Audrey served as the president of the Nigerian Gas Association (NGA), where she became the association’s first female president. She is also a chartered member of the International Gas Union, which serves as the voice and umbrella organisation for firms and individuals working in the Nigerian Gas industry.

Foray into the Oil and Gas industry

“You have to be part of the solution. So I got into the gas business because I came in contact with a gas plant. I had never heard of any such thing in my life and I knew there was oil but had no clue. I was worried about gas flaring and the impact it had on people’s health and the loss of billions of dollars to the nation’s economy. My husband and I were then able to situate ourselves in the solution”.

This led to the formation of Falcon Group which became one of the three licensed Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) operating in Nigeria’s domestic gas sector.

She currently holds the position of Executive Director, Commercial Operations, with primary responsibility for finance, business development, and commercial strategy at Falcon Petroleum. Falcon Petroleum Limited has won numerous accolades and honours over the years in appreciation of its significant contributions to the gas sector and its role in facilitating the commercial and industrial use of Nigeria’s rich natural gas reserves. In addition to the Falcon Group, she and her husband also co-founded Falcongaz Limited, founded in 2003, where she serves as the company’s managing director and chief strategist.

In addition to serving on the boards of many corporations, Audrey Joe-Ezigbo serves as their chair. Audrey is a Fellow of the Energy Institute (FEI), a professional membership organisation for energy experts from around the world. She is also a founding member of the Women in Energy Network, and an international role model for the Nigerian chapter of Women in LPG. She participates in the Nigeria Content Development & Monitoring Board’s NCCF Diversity Sectoral Working Group (NCDMB).

Academic life

In addition to executive certifications in management, leadership, and governance from Harvard Business School, IE Business School, and IESE Business School, Audrey is an accomplished professional. She has earned several Masters degrees in finance, marketing, and business administration from the Lagos Business School, University of Nigeria, and Nnamdi Azikiwe University.

Businesswoman, speaker, and facilitator

With over 19 years of commercial and entrepreneurial expertise, Audrey Joe-Ezigbo has been a serial entrepreneur. A supporter of education and a firm believer in growth, she has extensive expertise as a very effective trainer, facilitator, and speaker on various management, entrepreneurship, and company strategy areas of focus.

Audrey, a giver and encourager

Audrey contributes to society, humanity, and women through various roles as co-founder, member, programs secretary, and board of advisor to various nonprofit and socio-philanthropic organisations dedicated to improving women’s lives. These are some of the organisations: Woman Act Now (WAN) Nigeria Chapter, International Women’s Society (IWS) and Women in Management, Business, and Public Service (WIMBIZ).

Her mission is to add value to the lives of everyone she meets. She is incredibly passionate about mentoring early-stage and growth-stage entrepreneurs to help them take their lives and businesses to new heights. As a result, she volunteers her time as a mentor in various nonprofit organisations she belongs to. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo is also a successful author with two books to her name: “Uniquely Woman” and “Double Impact.” She was the host of the Parenting section of Today’s Woman (TW), a well-known lifestyle publication in Nigeria.

Win first in the mind

According to her, “So whether we like it or not, most of us are willing victims of what is called confirmation bias…which is you trying to find a balance between justifying yourself and seducing others to your opinion. So it’s very comfortable for us to just go around complaining about Nigeria; however, in this same country, we are seeing unicorns being birthed in the same context. So I submit to you that those who are going to win are going to win first in their minds. For instance, my company is still here after almost 28 years and this is because you know we had a global outlook from the beginning…”

Constantly upskilling as an entrepreneur

A firm believer in situating oneself in the National Development Agenda, she says, “Look at the problems and see how you can be part of the solution; believe me, that solution will demand you to be brave in the face of the odds. We have too many people who succeed at some seeming level of success they have attained, and are satisfied. The country is breaking down and bleeding so we must develop capacity by constantly up skilling as entrepreneurs and building capacity even if it is knowledge and information- which is the adoption of technology, and building of relationships that can facilitate the growth of your industry”.

Not compromising on ethics and integrity is a heart/mind issue

Speaking to business owners and entrepreneurs, she speaks about the importance of adopting an ethical mindset if anyone wants to think globally. Hear her: “How tenacious are you to refuse to compromise on ethics and integrity?… You’re not going to go about complaining on why the government wants you to pay taxes- which is not the language of the global thinker. So we have to be very careful with these things…. and while we’re talking about it, a global outlook is also a heart and mind issue for those who are already fixed on doing things the right way, and who have a commitment to excellence and best practices and integrity, a global outlook is not a difficult sell”.

[Nairametrics]

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