Leading During Crisis: A Conversation with Toki Mabogunje

At the September 9th 2021 CIPE working group general meeting for chambers and associations, FEDN member Toki Mabogunje, President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), presented around her experiences leading LCCI during the COVID crisis. Toki explained that LCCI’s main goal is to conduct advocacy to create opportunities for successful business – but doing so during a time of crisis presents unique challenges and demands a strong reaction.

Toki emphasized to the working group that people must always come first. This statement includes both those working for LCCI to advance its mission as well as those LCCI serves. With this statement in mind, Toki presented three key points.

First, Toki explained that to successfully work during a crisis, there must be clarity of vision – keeping the focus on the organization’s vision will serve as a north star during turbulent challenges. To do this, organizations should have regular meetings to conduct a comprehensive strategy review and hold meetings designed to improve teamwork and to reassess practices to make sure they are aligned to the organization’s goals and capabilities.

Second, LCCI reconsidered its image, meaning its visibility and the messages that sent to its audience. LCCI updated its image so as to attract the newest generation of entrepreneurs and businesses. LCCI stakeholders are becoming younger and more diverse – and the organization’s image and message should reflect this to stay relevant.

Third, COVID-19 understandably presents a new slate of challenges. LCCI partnered with the government to make donations of medical supplies and food during lockdowns – demonstrating how public-private cooperation can serve the public and build trust. LCCI negotiated on behalf of private enterprises to secure emergency funding to retain staff, and worked with private enterprises to form new structures and processes to retain staff throughout the duration of the pandemic. The chamber helped private sector enterprises digitize, advocated deepening partner relationships between the public sector, international NGOs, trade organizations, and broadly, an all of society approach.