Victoria Nkong puts the E in efficiency. Her multiple strengths as a Talent Manager, Events Producer and Mother, amidst others, dazzle us. Enjoy our interview with the Lady Boss.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
My name is Victoria Remi Nkong, I am completely made in Nigeria. I am multilingual, I love adventures, I love putting a smile on other people’s faces and I love to be happy. I earn a living from helping other people achieve their dreams: I am a Talent Manager, a Line Producer, an author and a Mother.
I currently run a Talent Management, Events Production and PR Company called Qtaby Events and Entertainment; and I also run a charity foundation and I am the mother to the children at Life Fountain Orphanage Home. I refer to myself as the best thing that happened to the world…don’t hate me, it’s how I feel…
What is it like being a female entrepreneur, and why did you choose to be one?
Being a female entrepreneur is both exciting and challenging at the same time. I love it each time I’m misjudged or underestimated by my male counterparts because of my sex, and I get satisfaction each time I beat their expectations by being the best at what I do and hearing the surprise in their voice each time they meet me and are like “oh are you the one?” or “oh I thought you were much bigger”.
On the sour side, it actually gets frustrating when you arrive a meeting as a female entrepreneur and the person on the other end will rather spend time teasing you and trying to flirt with you instead of talking business. However, on the brighter side, we get soft-landing and easy access on some projects, when you are dealing with a gentleman who would rather not bother a woman.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?
My team and I have introduced several new innovations. For example, in talent management, we ensure that all our talents are compelled to make investments. So right from the signing of contracts, we add a clause that permits us to open investment accounts for all our talents, this is done to avoid the new recurrent trend where stars go bankrupt and beg for money to sort out health issues etc. after living lavish lifestyles. My brand vision is to recreate the perception of entertainment and females in the entertainment world, the world needs to know that you could be an entertainer and have high moral standards and be taken seriously and so I have been consistent in passing that across on all projects that we get involved in. We also ensure that we over deliver and we leave a mark of excellence and professionalism against all odds.
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
God’s blessings have brought me this far, determination and dedication; hard work, more hard work and hard work. I have come to realise that there is no shortcut to success.
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face?
Of course, there are. Like I mentioned earlier, it takes a lot of grace to keep sane at times as a focused female entrepreneur because most of the men out there prefer to see you first as a woman, before seeing you either as a business partner or a colleague. I have had to give up several projects in the past after realising that the people in charge were too chauvinist to accept the purpose without considering unearned “benefits”. It also gets a bit tasking managing some personal duties especially as the mother of 23 children, and matching it up with responsibilities as an entrepreneur but hey…the blessings and fulfilment knowing that you are making a difference are more than the challenges.
1) Strict professional work ethics and standards set for my team and myself 2) Delivery before excuses 3) Attention to the most minute details. 4) Strict supervision for my team 5) Ensuring customer satisfaction. I never mix work with pleasure, there’s time for everything.
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business?
I will rather say that my current business chose me and not the other way round. While in the university, I was that student that will be called to handle socials activities, I remember anchoring my HODs book launch and even our final year awards night where I had to change outfits each time I needed to receive my award because I was anchoring and “producing” the event at the same time.
I finished school and my first job came, it was entertainment inclined even though my entire family wanted me to be a lawyer. I was two months into the first job when I got the call from the prestigious KORA All Africa Music Awards.
I spent my early years on earth studying so hard to please my parents who were majorly educationists and my family as a whole so now I have decided to make the rest of my life one big holiday hence my adventure into entertainment so that I can earn a living from having fun.
Entertainment for me is a passion; I am basically doing what I love to do so it doesn’t feel like work in the end. Also, I realised early enough that there was a vacuum in the field and I had been trained to fit this field from my early days working with KORA Awards through different roles; first as a bilingual phone operator, PA to the KORA President, Presenter, a Talent Manager with KORA and finally as a Presenter. When I relocated back to Nigeria, I was quick to know in what areas my services will be appreciated.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going?
Finance is a challenge at times. Finding the right manpower could be tasking as well in Nigeria as there are very many unemployed youth but very few of them want to think or work. They prefer to seat idle in the office but expect salaries at the end of the month, they mostly lack dedication and loyalty. I have also come to realise that a lot of clients prefer mediocre work in order to save money. However, with determination and a clear vision, we keep pushing. When I started Qtaby, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I was determined to help create employment for young people who may not have access to the same contacts that I have but are talented and willing to work. I know I am making a difference in my society and that is all that matters.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
We will be diversifying into a few other aspects that are related to what we do already, we will start up some large scale annual projects and take up new investment.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
I advise other female entrepreneurs to be focused and dedicated, no matter what business or career path you choose, take it like a professional and make the difference in that field. Quitting should never be an option and every obstacle should be seen as an opportunity to push them to the next level. Never settle for less, wear your smile and confidence before you wear your perfume and let your brain and attitude be your biggest tool rather than your body.
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes women empowerment and gender inclusion for women of African descent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to [email protected] and we just might feature her.