The word the New Normal has been bantered around. People and organisations have learned to go virtual. So it was, Club Still Standing, the youth project of SAMI had its flagship Zero to Hero conference, now in its 4th edition, on Saturday, 1st of August 2020. The annual conference themed ‘YOU IN THE VIRTUAL WORLD’ this year was conducted online via the ZOOM. Its aim, to underscore the role that technology, telecommunication, and the virtual space are playing in our lives today and for the future. This has further been hastened by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic this year.
The Zero to Hero 4.0 virtual edition started at 12 noon with the moderator, Zandra Nwogu welcoming all attendees and reciting the 2nd stanza of the national anthem. The President, Yomi Oyelami then briefly shared the ideals and objectives of Club Still Standing – the reason for the Zero to Hero conferences, and welcomed the speakers and attendees to the first-ever online edition of the conference.
The first speaker of the day, Oreoluwa Somolu-Lesi, discussed the topic from an academic/technology standpoint. She shared how technology is holding sway in critical fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things. Now, devices can talk to each other, e.g. phone to a fridge, computers now learn how to think by identifying patterns. At the same time, robots are set to take up routine jobs. ‘This compels humans to think beyond the routine and to offer value over routine’, the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC) founder advised. She encouraged youths to perfect simple tasks such as the use of bcc (blind control copy) for emails, WhatsApp status to promote businesses. She also shared on LinkedIn profiles being used to enhance career progression, and all of these are available for every youth. In her words, you dont have to be a techie to do all these. The multiple award winner predicted that contract jobs will increase in the virtual world as a lot more employment will be on a project basis.
Taking the topic from the career standpoint, Samuel Akinlotan declared ‘we are in uncertain times which calls for everyone to develop his/herself. Don’t develop yourself for the job, develop yourself to learn. Consciously and consistently develop yourself. Consciously – find your own career path and learn along the path. Consistently – don’t wait for your organisation to develop you. Be committed to your self-development continuously.’ He urged youths to think globally, asserting that they ‘Develop a global mindset. Develop global skills. Develop cultural diversity. Identify skills that make you globally relevant even if you leave Lagos. You are competing across Nigeria, Africa and the globe. The HR professional encouraged career persons to build a professional network more with people within their career range. This will enable them to have access to opportunities fast and not just focus on the bigwigs. He also advised building character building a career. To embrace technology and be an enabler, not an inhibitor. ‘Technology is not taking away our jobs, it is creating new ones. For every 1 job lost, it adds 3 more. So have an open mind’, he concluded.
In the business/entrepreneurship session, Henrietta Agboola commenced by urging youths to have the perspective that sees the cup as half-full rather than half-empty. She, then, elucidated five key industries that will be profitable going forward and encouraged youth to find a space therein. The sectors include e-commerce; e-learning; software engineering; website and app development; and digital marketing and traffic matching. After that, the Director of House of Henri spoke extensively on the 10-Step Roadmap to Business & Sales Automation.
The Vice President of Club Still Standing (CSS), Maureen Nwachi drew the conference to a close. Thanking the participants, she encouraged attendees to watch out for upcoming programs from the youth/young adult club.