Nigerian born, British educated and French resident, Dr Anino Emuwa runs international agency Avandis Consulting. Food, culture and networking are the cornerstones of her hectic travel schedule...
I love starting the day on a plane, photographing sunrise
Whenever I’m travelling – I am probably away more than half the time – I aim for the window seat so I can watch the morning begin. Whether I’m in the air, at home in either France or Nigeria or on my way to a conference in another city, I typically start the day reading international mail that’s come in overnight from clients, colleagues and family all over the world. Mornings are when I like to exercise too – it’s not particularly consistent but I don’t give myself too hard a time. The single most important part of my routine is breakfast. The French way has rubbed off on me, so it’ll usually be continental – coffee, orange juice, fruit and cereal.
My ‘office’ can be anywhere in the world
I have offices in Lyon, France and Lagos, Nigeria, where I catch up with my business manager, who looks after my diary and keeps track on me digitally to make sure I am where I’m supposed to be! But more often than not, my work is remote. I could be on a conference call with clients first thing or last thing at night. When writing I tend to be at home in France, where I focus on creating programmes for clients, or drafting speeches for upcoming events.
I choose my outfit to help women in business
For international speaking engagements I deliberately go out to wear outfits that support female entrepreneurs in Africa, like a dress by a Nigerian designer that got a lot of attention during a European event. [Pictured here]. That image ended up attracting attention on social media which she was really happy about as it helped to promote her brand.
I work with CEOs who want to develop their careers
When we’re not helping entrepreneurs across all sectors grow their businesses, we’re helping CEOs build their careers. That might sound strange, because a CEO has already reached the top. But CEOs have often been in the organisation a long time, so their professional identity is closely linked to that company. They might never have had to update their CV or had formal public speaking training. If they want to move from success to impact, and onto the global stage, they need new skills.
Everything stops at midday for lunch
Wherever I am in the world I target midday for lunch – that’s my French side coming out again. In France it’s easy; we take our mealtimes seriously and there’s always somewhere lovely nearby to stop for something healthy. It’s harder when I’m attending conferences, but I often take a packed lunch when I am on the move and have it as close to 12 as possible. I find because I’ve eaten earlier, I still have plenty of energy during long meetings when people who eat later are starting to flag.
I start networking long before the actual event
At Avandis we build communities and produce business events, so networking is very much part of my business day and fits in quite naturally. In the last two months, I have had speaking engagements in Ethiopia, Lisbon and Lagos and it’s tempting to arrive, present, then get back on a plane, but now I build in time to engage. That can start long before the event. I set up online women’s groups where attendees can talk and plan to meet up. It can be disconcerting to walk into a room of thousands of people, but if you’ve already engaged digitally, it absolutely changes everything. I’d advise anyone to look out for those groups, because they’re there. Just send a short note to someone you’d like to meet; that person may just be so happy to have someone to talk to too!
After work, culture and food beckon
We’re currently expanding the business, so there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. I find myself taking work home with me, but in the best possible way, because I love what I do and get huge satisfaction when women tell me I’ve helped transform their business. But it’s important to relax, and wherever I am in the world I try to make time to visit a gallery. I’m partial to impressionist art and love spending time at Musée d'Orsay in Paris, which uses a different part of my brain. Eating out with my family is another big part of life. If we’re not sharing mealtimes, we’re sending each other pictures of food!