Oluwaseyi Margaret Okafor, is a business mogul and analyst, entrepreneur and travel consultant. She is the founder and MD/CEO of Sky With Us Group, a licensed travel company by IATA, NCAA and Nanta. Founder of SkyVox Paints and Constructions, co-Founder and Director of AirMac Recycling Planet Limited and two establishments in Dubai.
A mathematician with Honours in Statistics and Computer Science from the University of Benin. A Certified member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). A member of Commonwealth Businesswomen Network Nigeria. Also a member of the Institute of Management Consultants Nigeria.
In this interview with Oyinlola Sale,she speaks on why it is important to handle travel firms with professionalism and competence.
As the founder of Sky With Us Group, how do you carve a niche for your organisation in ensuring that you stay in business?
Sky With Us Group focuses more on our travel business; we have carved a niche by providing total travel solutions which is unique to us. We cover all aspects of travel needs, visa processing, flight bookings with our online booking engines on our website, immigration investment, residency and citizenship programs, private and group tours/vacations, study and work abroad programs. When you think of our company, you are finding a solution to your travel needs. We ensure good customer services, keeping up with the trends and most times, staying ahead. We are evolving with technology available to us too, employing smart staff and empowering them. Good adverts are also very important.
As a dynamic multi-talented travels and logistics leader, how has your experience shaped your personality into achieving your purpose and staying relevant in business?
My experience as a travel and logistics leader has taught me patience; hospitality, discipline and I have gained confidence and great knowledge travelling around the world. This has definitely enhanced my personality and my influencing contents about travels are also keeping us relevant in the travel industry.
You are a business analyst, entrepreneur and a travel consultant; tell us what your experience has been?
It has been almost two decades of being an entrepreneur. I started the journey in 2005 in my university days, it was not easy, and it was a roller coaster experience back then, moving from one business to the other just trying to find where I really belonged.
Today I am a certified travel consultant and an expert in my field, a business mogul and I recently became a business analyst. The professional intelligence/knowledge I needed to move my career to the next level in the last five years, has been amazing and the growth period for me and my companies
How deliberate are you in the area of gender inclusiveness?
I am conscious and deliberate on female inclusiveness in my establishments. The just- concluded international Women’s Day, IWD celebration on March 8, made me realise the alarming number of females we have in our organisation especially in the travel company. Our system is women- friendly, I understand what it means to be a career woman and also a mother and so, women thrive and enjoy working in our organisation.
We are mindful of the rules and boundaries of our organisation and the job must be done as women who are competent and committed to the overall goals of the organisation.
Your experience in Travels and Logistics and the motivation behind your choice of discipline.
My experience in the travel industry has been very educational and also lucrative. I have met people, helped dreams come true, made good financial returns, gained great travel experience to almost 20 countries and counting, and empowered over 40 staff members via employment and other means. Travelling actually motivated my choice of discipline. When my husband and I decided to start up a company in Dubai five years ago was when I realised I needed to be in the travel industry. My husband is also a director in almost all my companies, just so I mention but most operations are done by myself as he has his businesses too. He supports me with some decision-making, advice and emotional stability as travel business can be draining and demanding.
Your profile x-rayed your vast experience in multiple businesses- travels, recycling, paints & construction companies. How do you juggle these businesses, your managerial capacity and could you tell us those features that determine your success stories?
I use the PPT model. People, process and technology. Over the years, I had to learn and find strategic solutions to manage multiple businesses. Being in Nigeria and having a source of income is a bit difficult to be financially successful.
Like I earlier mentioned, I am a co-founder of AirMac Recycling Planet, my husband and I own this business with equal shares, percentage equity but he runs most of the tactical and operational systems of the company.
We had to build a structure and culture to enable great managerial capacity and most of my businesses run on auto pilot. I also employ a good hand to enable this end.
As the founder of SkyVox Paints, tell us your company’s operational system and the workability.
SkyVox Paint is my new establishment and I am deliberate about the success. My almost two decades of experience comes to play here. We are giving the best quality in production, varieties of colours and setting up a premium operational system, our machines and materials for production and manufacturing are not compromised. We will be maintaining this standard and process till infinity. Watch out for SkyVox paints.
What strategy is your company employing to compete with its counterparts?
Devising more and new means to render better and improved service, offering affordable deals. international partnerships, technology and building a seamless process.
How did you surmount the challenges of coping with the male counterparts especially when it comes to decision-making?
No male or female position tops mine in the company so I am not very sure there is much challenge here. I listen to good productive advice for the growth of the company from the board members. I even seek professional guidance if need be. Still, the final call is on me. So we are good.
Travel and logistics is time consuming and energy sapping, what are the deliberate efforts you are putting in place for young people to be passionate about the field?
At Sky With Us Group, we ensure to impact values to our employees’ lives. We ensure they get rewarded for excellent services, salary increases and bonuses where necessary. Training and structure for improvement, they achieve growth and knowledge working with our organisation.
What is your organisation’s five-point agenda and would you say the agenda favour all women at all levels?
We envision the following with most already in practice- Premium customer service: we are working to ensure we give our best in this sector as it is key and a very important part of our business. Secondly, on our success stories, we have gained experience in our past years, 98% success stories on our visa application is our aim. We have set up teams of visa processing agents to be thorough with our application to ensure our customers get visa approval.
On affordable flights; this is an ongoing project to ensure we have the best possible offer of flight fares in Africa. Clients complaint and resolution; customers will always reschedule, miss or have reasons to cancel their trips or whatever complaint. This unit is waxing stronger to handle all these. Immigration investment; we are building more international partnerships to help customers obtain residency and citizenship. This agenda definitely has a great impact on women at all levels.
Tell us how your organisation is wired especially when it comes to ensuring effective operation and delivery of purpose.
Our organisation is wired with three major operational systems including Structure, Culture and Technology, PPT. We deliver our purpose by diversity, equality, inclusiveness and adding belongingness. Our organisation is committed to empowering its society through offering employment opportunities to people from all walks of life. We also offer contributions and charity outreach to those in need, especially workers in our recycling company and its environment.