Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
Dr. Mrs Marita Abdul is the Executive Director of Metro and Castle Ltd; a real estate and construction company, and Managing Director of Metro Supermarkets, a sister company to Metro and Castle Ltd. She is a legal practitioner with indigenous and foreign expertise in property, corporate, immigration and international law.
Mrs. Abdul has a Bachelors of Science in Psychology and International Affairs from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (USA), a Bachelors in Law from the Nigerian Law School (Lagos Campus), and a Juris Doctorate in Law from the University of Maryland Law School (USA).
She has a plethora of relevant working experience, including with RenMoney Nigeria Ltd, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs in Vienna, Austria, and the Irish Law Reform Commission in Dublin, Ireland.
She is married to Amb. Adekunle Abdul, a real estate mogul, and the Chairman and Metro Group of companies, and they are blessed with 2 children. In an exclusive interview with Zivang team Mrs Marita Abdul talks about her career, wealth of experience in managerial line, future plans.
Can you please introduce yourself ma’am?
My name is Dr. Mrs Marita Abdul, I am the Executive Director of Metro and Castle Ltd; a real estate and construction company, and Managing Director of Metro Supermarkets, a sister company to Metro and Castle Ltd. She is a legal practitioner with indigenous and foreign expertise in property, corporate, immigration and international law.
I am married to Amb. Adekunle Abdul, a real estate mogul, and the Chairman and Metro Group of companies, and they are blessed with 2 children.
From research, your mum is a successful entrepreneur in beauty and wellness business, How did this help your entrepreneurial journey?
My mom is certainly my role model; both on the home front and certainly in the career front. Even before her venture into the beauty and wellness space, I have watched her fearlessly take on a number of different businesses in different industries, of which she was very wise to include us her children, in it. As young as 5/6 years old, I remember helping her count the proceeds of the day, also helping her record it in a small ledger book she kept. It made us all very excited to count money and perform rudimentary cash flow projections. She always took us to work with her. Once we closed from school, we were mostly being dropped off at her store or shop. We all developed our own entrepreneurial spirit, thanks to her. I definitely found myself well experienced in starting and growing business in my early 20s, thanks to the skills developed since childhood.
What motivated you to go into the supermarket business?
Well, I love setting up businesses. I love to watch the business bloom, after investing time and resources and strategy into it. I’ve always wanted a business of buying and selling. In a large economy and populous state such as Lagos, it just makes sense. My mom also owned a supermarket around my same age, and I really loved going there with her. Despite being warned of the challenges of running a supermarket in Nigeria, I strongly believed in its success.
As the Executive Director of Metro Castle Real estate & Construction company, can you tell us a what the company is all about?
We are a full service real estate company, with a focus on residential real estate. We build and deliver luxurious estates that provide modern amenities like 18-24 hour power, swimming pool, gym and children’s play area. We also provide ancillary services like facility management, investment-centered building, and infrastructural development.
Did you know you were going to be an Entrepreneur all along, or did it happen by chance?
I definitely remember switching to the entrepreneurial spirit during my doctoral program. As a child I always wanted to be a lawyer or a psychologist, and I actually trained for both. But I remember that being creative and charting my own course always brought me the most joy. By my first year of law school, I was restless and I knew I needed to move to Nigeria. I remember thinking that I was going to work for myself, but at the time I didn’t know the details. Meeting and getting married to my best friend certainly helped that, because he is the best businessperson I know. He trained me and honed my skills.
What is the selling point of Metro supermarkets?.
We are neighborhood friendly, and so we like to add that personal touch to it. We give our customers exactly what brands they want. Go out of our way to stay cheaper than the bigger stores, and we deliver right to your doorstep.
Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in as a business owner?
I think the actual act of starting a business without prior experience is the toughest; you learn on the job. I think also when you have invested resources and it’s not yielding as much as you thought, or you invested wrongly; it can be very discouraging.
Metro Supermarkets is one the Leading supermarket on the Island, what do you love most about your business and your life as an Entrepreneur?
I love the supermarket business; I am very happy to own two stores. I love that we are able to provide a much needed service to the neighborhoods that we build houses in. Just watching the community come in and get what they want is very rewarding. I love that as an entrepreneur most likely you are providing solutions. I also appreciate the opportunity to be creative.
What keeps you and the Metro supermarkets team motivated?
Our structure. If you see our boardroom meetings you will laugh! I worked in corporate for a long time, so I bring that into every business I run. It helps when you are structured, because you can quickly diagnose and treat problems as they arise, set goals and achieve them quickly.
The unemployment rate has increased in Nigeria, what are your suggestions to curb unemployment in Nigeria?
My suggestions to the government are too long for this platform, but my suggestions to young unemployed people are to think outside the box and develop themselves with much needed specialized skills- hair making; social media marketing; graphic design, baking etc. You will always be needed. Also, read! Read up on current events, trends, and unusual careers. Google is everywhere now, learn how to use it!
Your favourite business quote?
Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well
How do you envision Metro Supermarkets in 5-10years from now?
We plan to open 5 new branches in emerging neighbourhoods.
What is your definition of style?
Personally, I’m all about simplicity, with a touch of “pizzazz” But honestly; style is a reflection of your personality or your alter ego.
You look amazing for a mother of two, How do you juggle motherhood and being an entrepreneur?
Thank you! It’s not easy . Also, as they say, laughter is seriously the best medicine. I don’t take myself too seriously. Put God in all things, as the leader.
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