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Offiong’s Four Tips for Professional Growth 

Offiong's headshot

Offiong B. | Vice President, Marketing | Massachusetts, United States 

Originally Published: April 2nd, 2024


As the Vice President of Global Business Intelligence and Central Planning, I have the privilege of leading an organization that integrates business management, data engineering, technical solutions, and analytics—core functions that enable insight and impact for the Marketing organization. It’s an exciting place to be and a great space to use the skills I’ve built throughout my multi-industry career (from music to management consulting and many others in-between). 


The following nuggets are things I’ve garnered during my time at Dell, my broader professional career, and just living life over the years. Here goes…    


Tip 1: If you want to go far, go together  


There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” I’ve found this to ring true in all aspects of my life as it speaks to the importance of sowing, reaping, and relational intentionality to drive collective progress. 


One way of being intentional is to maintain a personal “board of directors.” These folks in your corner will give you actionable feedback and help you navigate complex situations. You’ll need people within Dell that can help you see around corners and grow professionally, but also people outside of Dell that know you on a personal level and can ensure you’re following your internal compass. For example, on my own board of directors, I have the person who hired me to Dell as well as my Gen Z baby brother. In both cases, they are reflections of me that can provide me insights from their own vantage points and ask me the right questions to spur my creativity and problem solving. With a diverse “board,” not only will you be able to make informed decisions, but you will also have folks in your corner with whom you can celebrate the collective victories that can only be done through stretching, collaboration, and introspection.  


Tip 2: Iron sharpens iron 


It can sting the ego to be told that you missed a spot on an otherwise clean floor, or that you’re wearing your shoes on opposite feet. Why? Because there’s a tendency among some of us to see constructive criticism as an attack on who we are rather than a statement of the impact of our actions, words, or inactions on people or situations. By holding onto the “need to be right,” we can rob ourselves of skill-building opportunities and the ability to build deep relationships. Here, humble confidence is key – key to appreciate when someone cares enough to tell us where we’re gapped, or where we’ve made a mistake. They’re giving us a chance to pause, reflect, learn, and ultimately grow. As they say, “iron sharpens iron”. Feedback is that iron, sharpening your edges and it takes strength and humility, to yield to it in the right ways. 


Tip 3: Embrace opportunities to stretch 


My first few weeks into being a new executive in a reporting group, the team uncovered an operational error in one of our key reports. I remembered not knowing what to do and asking my leader, a close mentor of mine, for advice. He gave me a helpful lesson in owning my area, promising that he’d support me, but challenging me to figure out the issue myself: “You do your job. I have your back.” Since I knew he wouldn’t solve it for me and since I knew that he trusted that I’d figure it out, I felt activated to rally the team, work with stakeholders, and overall drive a process that not only fixed that particular reporting issue, but drove operational rigor to preempt any such problems occurring in the future. Had it not been for that trust extended, I may have overly relied on my SVP and not taken leadership ownership over the problem at hand. This experience was instrumental in helping me consolidate our multifaceted, global team into a cohesive, single organization with trusted data outputs. 


Tip 4: Keep Shining 


My name means "God's Moon" in my family's Nigerian language of Efik. As such, I try to reflect the light I've been given, every day. An important practice to giving and emanating light is to “be present” for and in each moment. In corporate spaces, folks can often let egos drive their contributions, wanting to prove ourselves, pushing to have the loudest voice, the most eloquent perspective, or the most innovative ideas – and those are all good in their place! But much can be gained by listening to understand the perspectives of our colleagues, their pain points, and their values, so we can reflect that back to them and ultimately serve the business in unique ways. Nowadays, I try to soak things in and see the value of my contributions, yes – but not submit to a feeling of scarcity that says that I must be the face and voice of every idea. 


The rise of Generative AI presents an opportunity for organizations to define who they are and how to navigate technologies and frameworks that will drastically impact our personal and professional lives. More than ever, we need experts (yes!) but we also need people who will collaborate with bold humility, think critically, remain open to constructive feedback, stretch their imaginations, and shine light on areas that are hazy and need to be refined. Beyond data ingestion and complex models, we’ll be able see our collective best emerge, so that we can go far. 


Just know that you, reader, have something unique to offer, based on your knowledge, your experience, your interests, your personality, and even the things that you currently lack. So make sure that the people you work with get a chance to see it. Make sure your light shines so that you leave every situation brighter and more vivid than it was before! 


To learn more about life at Dell, visit Our Stories. 

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