Building bridges, breaking barriers: How MTN fosters inclusive leadership in ICT

25 April 2024

The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector thrives on innovation and fresh perspectives. At MTN, we believe a diverse and inclusive workforce is the key to unlocking these possibilities. Leaders like Titilope Fakuade, Chief Technology and Information Officer at MTN Benin, embody this philosophy.

Titilope’s journey in ICT underscores the importance of embracing diverse backgrounds. “My background in physics laid the groundwork for my career in technology,” she reflects, emphasising the transferability of skills from diverse academic backgrounds. This insight reinforces the idea that success in technology isn’t confined to a single educational path. It encourages individuals from all disciplines to see the potential for valuable contributions in the world of ICT.

Early in her career, Titilope encountered gender disparities common in the field. “In the physics class, as an undergrad, we were about 56/57 students and out of that less than 10 were females,” she recalls. Rather than dwell on these challenges, she remained steadfastly focused on building her expertise and delivering impactful work. Her drive, along with the inspiration provided by female leaders like Linda Saint-Nwafor, former CTO at MTN Nigeria, fuelled her determination to excel in technology. “Seeing women in leadership roles showed me what was possible,” she affirms.

Mentorship has played a pivotal role in Titilope’s career, a value she champions at MTN. Her advice for young women in Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) echoes her own journey: “You’re capable of achieving much more than you know. Challenge yourself and push beyond your self-imposed limitations.” She also stresses, “If you believe you can do it, then that is a great step in getting it done.” Titilope’s words are a reminder that confidence and resilience are essential for girls aspiring to careers in ICT. These challenges can be met with a growth mindset and a determination to succeed.

As a leader, Titilope advocates for practical strategies that empower women in technology. “There is a need to expose, educate, and create some level of growth for women in different positions and opportunities,” she states. Through targeted recruitment initiatives, flexible work arrangements, and programs that support professional development, MTN actively fosters an environment where women can thrive in the technology sector.

MTN’s commitment to inclusivity goes beyond internal policies; it is reflected in how we engage with and inspire the next generation of leaders in ICT and across all facets of our business . Through initiatives that elevate the visibility of female role models in ICT, we seek to affirm that leadership positions are attainable for women who set their sights on them. This is exemplified by our efforts to organise workshops and seminars, as well as creating platforms for influential women in technology, such as Titilope, to impart their experiences and perspectives. In a recent event during Women’s Month in March 2024, we initiated a focused discussion on Male Allyship led by our Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita, and our most senior leaders from across our business exploring how men can enhance their support for amplifying women’s voices within organisations and the broader community.

The focus on mentorship is particularly strong at MTN, recognising its crucial role in professional development. We motivate our leaders to proactively mentor emerging talents, aiding them in navigating the intricacies of the ICT industry. This mentorship is not only about reinforcing the importance of their contributions but also includes offering practical advice on career advancement, addressing workplace challenges, and achieving a balance between professional and personal life—key elements for building a sustainable career in technology.

Titilope’s advocacy for creating opportunities for women in technology is matched by MTN’s dedication to this cause. By implementing targeted recruitment initiatives that ensure diversity in hiring, MTN not only enriches its workforce but also strengthens the tech ecosystem as a whole. Flexible work arrangements are another area where MTN leads by example, recognising that accommodating the diverse needs of our employees promotes a healthier, more productive workplace.

MTN’s efforts to build bridges and break barriers in the ICT sector are embodied by leaders like Titilope Fakuade. Her journey and leadership not only inspire women to pursue careers in technology but also highlight the transformative impact of inclusivity in fostering innovation. At MTN, we remain committed to advancing this cause, ensuring that our workforce reflects the diversity of the communities we serve and that our leadership drives the change needed for a more inclusive future.

Next week, we will spotlight stories from our Global Graduates and highlight their journey within ICT and the STEM sector.