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7 Questions on Leadership with Joel Nana Kontchou

Name: Joel Nana Kontchou

Title: CEO/Investor/Community Leader

Organisation: Makoe Ventures

Joel Nana Kontchou is a dynamic and transformational leader who uses pragmatic strategy development, positive culture building, employee education, and data analytics.

Founder of a tech startup VC, Makoe Ventures, Joel is an impact angel investor who puts humanity at the heart of investment. He is also a board member at United Bank of Africa - Cameroon, where he chairs the Credit Committee.

Joel has 35+ years of international experience in the Energy Industry (electricity, oil & gas), having served as CEO of Energy of Cameroon and Vice President of Schlumberger Information Solutions.

Joel has completed 5 marathons and has climbed to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Joel's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Having all stakeholders share the same vision. It can be easy to get the support of many, but it is difficult to get the support of all.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was fortunate to work in a company that promotes borderless career moves. Schlumberger gave me my first professional leadership opportunities after I proved my ability to consistently achieve results. I suspect that I continued being called to leadership positions because of my socioemotional capacities and empathic listening which later became a part of my brand.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

My day starts at 5:00 AM with a 60 to 90-minute workout, followed by a nap before breakfast. Then, I head to the office. To avoid being derailed from my objectives, I work on planned tasks before opening any emails or taking meetings. After work, I return home for dinner and quality time with the family.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Effective leadership requires taking into account the nuances of the value systems in your environment.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. He wrote that as a freedom fighter, “at a point, one can only fight fire with fire.” As a leader, at some point, you have to make firm decisions.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Never stop learning.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

On my first day as CEO, I arrived at the office at 7:30 AM. The parking lot was empty and employees rolled in between 9 and 10 AM. By the end of the week, the parking lot was full before I even arrived. Leading by example!

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