University of Calabar - B.A. in Theatre Arts
Pan African University’s Enterprise Development Center - Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management
After graduation, all Ijeoma Okeagu dreamed of was the security of paid employment. But, it seemed the universe had greater plans for her. Fresh out of college with no dream job in sight, Ijeoma chose to develop the skills she had to create the type of job she wanted.
Armed with a bachelor's degree in theatre arts, Ijeoma tried her hand at a few projects, including publishing City Crawler, a lifestyle magazine, as well as running an upscale lounge called CODE. Then, she launched White Rabbit Nigeria, a firm located in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, that offers a wide range of services—from public relations to marketing communication, hospitality, media and more.
Every day Ijeoma finds herself closer to her goal of "running the biggest corporate events/marketing firm” with White Rabbit Concept, the marketing communications arm of her company that focuses on corporate events and hosts a monthly entrepreneurship development session for young people in business. Recently, White Rabbit Favours was introduced to cater to busy executives and anyone who wanted to creatively send a special gift to a special person.
To create a balance, you have to propose in your heart to make time.
What responsibilities do you have in your job?
As the principal executive of White Rabbit Concept, I am in charge of conceptualization and motivation. We are a dynamic company that runs on ideas, for us and for our clients. Our focus is not only on our core area—corporate events—because we also help businesses gain online visibility to drive sales and operate a special occasion delivery arm (WR FAVOURS).
My staff strength is very small for now, so the responsibility of developing ideas to grow the business starts with me. I also am in charge of networking and engaging first-time clients and creating high-level presentations.
Basically, I am responsible for keeping the engine of the company and staff running daily.
How did you decide a job in this career field was right for you?
The truth is I wanted a normal 9-to-5. A safe haven, civil service job with a steady promised salary like the average graduate seemed right. But at the time I finished my NYSC, a one-year compulsory service to the nation, and the job I wanted wasn’t readily available. I decided instead to use my flair for events and PR, as well as my growing network, to start something.
I have published an Abuja lifestyle magazine called City Crawler Magazine, and I own and run an upscale lounge called Code Lounge. Now, I’ve found my place in my current focus, which is marketing communication, motivation and entrepreneurship development, and I fit right in. It’s been great and rewarding so far.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Meeting people! The networking opportunities are immense, and it’s always amazing because with every new contact, there is always something to learn. Also, in the business session that we host monthly, we have many young, aspiring entrepreneurs who attend these free sessions. The fantastic feedback we get from them just makes my day.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
The high cost of doing business in Abuja keeps me awake at night, but we are finding a way around it by keeping our overhead as low as possible. Also, getting clients to agree to pay at par with the value of the service we provide can be tricky, but luckily, an understanding and appreciation is growing.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
I currently don’t have an issue with work/life balance, and maybe it’s because I am currently single. I always make time for my family (siblings) and church. I have a reasonable social life. I would say that to create a balance, you have to propose in your heart to make time. The truth is, if it’s important to you, you will find a way, and if it’s not, you will find an excuse.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
I have experienced many small victories over the years, and I thank God for that. When I started receiving invitations to speak at events to young women and youth I felt like I “made it”. I felt honored because I knew they called me because they recognized that I had something to share, which is very flattering. Also my company was contacted by a huge government organization to manage an event. The event was eventually cancelled, but the recognition that came from being chosen gave us a boost.
What are some of the rules you live by?
I self-motivate constantly. I read a chapter of Proverbs a day (#31Days31Proverbs). Proverbs 6 is especially helpful. It reads, “Go to the ants you sluggard and consider her ways and be wise, who having no leader gathers … "
I also avoid negative energy. I don’t compromise on excellence. I speak positively all the time. I am always game for a good laugh, and I am passionate. If I don’t feel passionate about something, whatever it is, a business deal or a relationship, I don’t bother entering into it.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
Be a risk taker.
Don’t be afraid of being told, “No.” It will come, get over it and move on to the next prospect.
Tenacity and creativity are a plus, because you have to keep coming up with ideas and reinventing to stay ahead of the competition.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
You can live without him!
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I know an answer like “running the biggest corporate events/marketing firm” is expected. Well, we hope to. But business is about embracing adaptability and flexibility because it shifts radically every year.
Road map wise, we hope to have opened our White Rabbit CAFÉ and meeting rooms, which will service the SME Community in Abuja. My first book, “Everyone Needs to Dream,” would have been published and I would be travelling around the world speaking at different forums. That’s the Plan. And before I forget, I’d love to be married with kids. That would really be nice.