I wish I had gotten into Tech earlier

Patricia Duru is an amazing business leader. Lawyer turned customer support and sales professional, Trish as she is fondly called heads one of the nerve centres of our business — Lead Management & Marketplace Sales at Cars45. Described by some of her peers and senior colleagues as a high performing leader who works well with others in deftly handling mission critical operations and buoyed by a can-do attitude. Interestingly, when the going gets tough, she is a treasure trove of knowledge around customer support, customer experience, sales operations, leadership and management. A thoroughbred with an MBA from Imperial College London, Patricia shares some insights about her career trajectory, a day in her life at the office and other issues.

Tell us about Yourself
I have over 13+ years of cumulative and diverse experience in financial services, start-ups, operations, customer support, business strategy, consulting, customer experience & engagement, partnerships, and advising different customer segments. I am known for my passion for excellence, people management, career development, value creation, women empowerment, and maximising growth opportunities within an organisation. I have worked and collaborated with teams across different geographies across the globe in the UAE, AMEA, Europe, and LATAM. I hold a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree in Law from the prestigious University of Lagos, a Barrister at Law (B.L) from the Nigeria Law School, and an MBA from Imperial College, London. I enjoy mentoring, volunteering, travelling, watching soccer, playing and watching lawn tennis, dancing, laughing, and spending time with family.

How did you begin working with Cars45
My connection with Cars45 dates back to 2017 when as an employee of OLX Nigeria then, we explored a potential collaboration with Cars45. In 2018, when OLX shut down in Nigeria, I was contacted by the former CEO who pitched the vision of the company to me, and opened a conversation about me potentially joining the team.

At the time, I had other commitments with OLX in Capetown, and returned to Nigeria to continue representing them, based on the new partnership formed between them and FCG. After this stint, Etop and I stayed in touch, with a couple more opportunities/roles discussed, to get me to join the Cars45 family, but the timing was not right. Fast-forward to late last year (2019), he reached out to me again, about a new innovation (marketplace) that had been incubated and felt I was the right person with the skills and experience to scale this project.

After listening to him, the excitement about this new marketplace idea was contagious, and I accepted to do interviews which successfully culminated into me finally joining Cars45 in January 2020. So yes, the former CEO was pivotal in getting me to join Cars45, as his resilience and constant follow up to bring me onboard was very impressive.

What experience do you bring with you to your position
I bring with me over 13+ years of vast experience across different industries and functions. The direct experience I bring with me to my current role here, stems from the fact that I led Customer Support, Operations and Sales at OLX Classifieds in Nigeria, which is a similar model to the Cars45 Marketplace, albeit with a few differentiations. I have extensive experience in business strategy leading small and large teams, working cross-functionally with local teams and partners, as well as global teams.

What does a typical day look like
A typical day for me is jumping on back to back meetings either virtually or on-site with different teams and/or team members. I am very results-oriented so I get very granular in identifying challenges and collaborating with team members to find solutions. On a daily basis too, I like to measure and track trends so that we can rein ourselves in, if things are not looking good based on expectations. I also like to randomly check in on team members to know how they are doing and if they still feel motivated to be part of my team.

What is one assumption that people make about you that is dead wrong
One assumption about me that isn’t true is that I am unapproachable. A lot of the time my demeanour suggests that I am a snob and unfriendly. This is wrong. LOL

If you could go back and give your 21-year old self a valuable piece of advice, what would you say
If I could turn back the hands of time, I would advise my 21-year old self to have ventured into the technology space a lot sooner, and be less trusting of individuals.

What do you like to do in your free time
I like to research and learn new things. As a naturally curious person, I find myself surfing the internet to get updates on new trends making the waves, be it in politics, business, economy, religion, innovation, investor funding, entertainment, sports etc.

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