Dr. Mrs. Dorathy Umoetok is a consummate professional, astute leader, young people coach, mentor, and innovation champion with over 35 years of experience in the upstream sector of the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry.
First IDSL-NNPC female Data Processing Manager, First Female seismic data acquisition professional when she joined NNPC Party X in 1984
Her greatest desire is to see young people grow to know their self-worth and become strong enough to defend Godly cause and uphold moral values, live beyond their limitations, soar to great heights and become great models in the future.
Dr Dorathy Umoetok is the Executive Director of Teenagers Support Organization, the CEO of Shaisebys Nig. Ltd, the MD LONEFA Integrated Farms Limited. She is also the Director of Akwa Ibom Progressive Assembly, a political organization committed to promoting good governance in Akwa Ibom State.
In this interview, Dr. Dorathy Umoetok shares how she rose to excellence in NNPC, holding several management positions and speaks on balancing business, career, and family. She also speaks on the 2023 election, her preferred candidate in Akwa Ibom State and more.
You seem to wear many hats. You are a pastor, a mother, a wife, entrepreneur. How are you able to manage all?
First is the grace of God, second is my family. God helped me to discover my purpose early in life. Also, God gave me a partner that is appreciative of who I am and wants me to be the best version of myself.
My husband is a major factor- helping me to manage my life and career.
He helped me develop my career to the best that i could. When i was very active in the oil and gas industry, he pushed me to go for my masters pushed as well as a Ph.D in Applied Geophysics. Even when I had other commitments, he would sit up with me to help me read, he would also help me with the necessary research. Besides God, my husband has been the best helper on my ladder to success.
My children have been very supportive. I remember so well how my son used to help with typing most of my work documents, especially when I was under pressure. His typing speed was faster than most office secretaries. God also surrounded me with good people from my siblings to to friends, colleagues and every other stayed with us.
Proper time planning and management is another major factor. I plan each day before the day commences. This helps me not to waste time on frivolities. I also cultivated good relationships with my children’s teachers when they were in school. I never had a lesson teacher because i and my husband were our children’s lesson teachers. We spent time with them and made them love education. That’s why they have always been at the top of their classes academically.
God also blessed me with good church community and house helps that treated my children like their siblings. Today, I’m proud of my amazing five children. I have a great family, my career dint suffer, my calling didn’t suffer also.
Tell us about your time at NNPC. What was responsible for your success?
I was in the technical area and I had to be smart at what I did. First, my organization have is world class training, I also made personal investments in my career development. When I started, the computer Studies was not very popular but I knew I needed skills to be a good data processor, so I went to Uniben to study computer science which helped me a lot. My bosses were fantastic. NNPC is an amazing family, always ready to encourage staff who are ready to work and grow. My bosses identified early that I was ready and willing to offer more than an average commitment, I was set on the path of growth and learnings.
I equally did my best to learn and develop myself. When I knew i was crossing to Management cadre, I went ahead to do an MBA in Project Management because I wanted to position myself to be able to lead and develop projects effectively. The acquired knowledge helped me alot. By the time I became a manger, it was easier for me to manage people, resources and projects. I had great team members and my department was always the best.
You have a foundation you have been running for over ten years now, Teenagers Support Organization (TSO). What inspired TSO and what have you achieved so far?
I didn’t really set out to start TSO but I have always been concerned about the plight of young people . I saw lots of young people missing their way because they lacked parental guidance and support. Parents often get deceived by the physical size of their teenage children and will leave them to take critical life decisions unaided. The children also tend to trust their friends more than parents. This encourages a cycle of substandard or outright wrong decisions. So I had this conviction that if someone could listen to these young people, give them directions and give them the opportunity to recalibrate if they miss it.
I was doing that one-on-one basis until I attended a n Endtime Summit program at FirstLove Assembly, Port Harcourt. During the program, God impressed on my heart that I could do more by talking to teenagers as a group. We began by gathering teenagers in small church and community groups. Eventually in 2011, we had the first camp Christened Teenagers Holiday FunCamp (THoFUN Camp) with over 80 teenagers participating.I thought it would be a one-time thing, I didn’t know it was going to happen again and again. It was after that first camp meeting that we saw the need to meet with them more often to have other engagements bothering on their academics and skills acquisition.
The needs has always been there and I have always seen those needs but it was in 2011 that God helped me to step out and to something constructive to help young people.
Lets talk about your school, El-anNEXUS Academy
Two things inspired the start of El-anNEXUS Academy. First, was the academic transformation of one of my children who was said to be a ‘special child’ at birth. Sure you know what “special child” means in Nigeria. We struggled through out his early days in nursery/primary school but couldn’t do much until an intuitive and loving inputs of his primary three teacher.
This God-sent teacher called my attention to the fact that my child may not have serious cognitive or congenital challenges but he was just dull and slow learning. He advised and recommended specific exercises to do with him. As my husband and I dutifully exposed him to those exercises, we noticed gradual improvements in his school grades and general outlook. This same child will later graduate top of his class in primary school and went on to be the best graduating student in Faculty of Engineering in one of the top universities in US.
Had my son not met this one concerned teacher, maybe his life may have panned out differently. Just one good teacher can the course of a child’s life. El-anNEXUS Academy is set to provide several teachers and caregivers to identify these challenges early
I believe that most of the children we judged as being academically may just have one specific conditions which if spotted early and dealt with, their lives will take on a different meaning.
Secondly, dealing with young people, I discovered while in the semi urban area where I worked with teenagers that exam malpractice was the order of the day. Most students will drop out of school in SS2, certain to write WASC and NECO exams the following year with assistance from their schools and parents. It was almost unthinkable that any school can succeed without serious involvement in malpractice, but to the glory of God, El-anNEXUS changed the narrative. We’ve had four streams of students who wrote the exams unaided and still passed in flying colors. Staff of state ministry of education and examiners are aware that malpractice is not permitted in our school. Some of them are very proud of us and keep referring serious minded parents to us.
The school offers scholarship assistance to brilliant and willing children if for some unfortunate situations or reasons beyond the child’s control, his or her education is threatened.
As of today, El-anNEXUX Academy offers employment to over 70 people thereby doing its little bit to reduce unemployment.
At El_an Nexus Academy, we produce students who are not just good academically but are of sound moral character. We Connect them to the World God’s Way.
You seem to focus more on education and young people, and there are adults battling issues like drugs , cultism and the likes. So why are you focusing on education and empowerment for just young people?
Well, people have different callings. I am basically called to work with children and young adults. I believe that a well trained, cultured and godly child is a blessing to future generations. One bad child can influence so many others to be bad, also one child who is living rightwill influence and affect others positively. Early child education is key. Education is not just about reading and writing but also about being able to think rationally. I train children around me to be able to take rational and godly decisions.
Education is fundamental. It guarantees success in life. If a person is not educated, he can hardly be helped. Education here involves both formal and informal. It includes developing personal skills sets.
Let’s talk Politics. Recently you have been attending political events in Akwa Ibom State. What do you have to say about the politics in Akwa Ibom State and what do you think about the general election coming up in February.
I have always been passionate about who rules us. I may not have been able to express it largely because of the environment I worked. I always prayed our leaders. If we’re led by fools and thief’s, then we’re finished. The Bible says when the righteous rules, the people rejoice. I want to see intelligent, compassionate, courageous and righteous leaders rule this country and my state in particular.
You have a farm, LONEFA Farms. Why choose Agriculture after your retirement from the oil and gassector?
I have always wanted to do Farming even when I was in active service in the oil and gas sector. Agriculture and oil and gas seems from the same source. They are both naturally from God. I decided to give attention to agric after retirement because it’s a way to fight food insecurity in the country. It’s also part of the SDG goals of zero hunger. God encouraged me to go into farming with Genesis 26:12… ‘Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.’
Lately, Food shortages is in rampant across the country. There is alarming increase in the prices of food items compared to what it used to be. Unfortunately, there are many young and able-bodied men who can do farm but are not encouraged to. Countries like Isreal prospered with their agricultural revolution. Nigeria is blessed with fertile land, all we need is to harness resources and technology to drive agriculture and make it interesting to young people. Agric is scaleable.Yes, I have a big farm now but i didn’t start big. I started small and grew it to what it is. We are still growing. We currently have farms in Gombe, Rivers and in Akwa Ibom States.
Whats the next big thing for you?
This is political season, I’m doing my best to ensure that Akwa Ibom State has a seasoned, God fearing professional as a governor. I support Pastor Umo Eno, the PDP governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State to win in 2023. I have known him for the past 15 years and I believe in his capacity to develop the state.
Pastor Umo Eno has grown his personal Royalty Empire from scratch to what it is today without any state contract. He has helped and employed a lot of Akwaibomites. He has been the highest employer of labour for the past 12 years. He is accessible and open, humble yet very firm.
Akwa Ibom State has always been blessed with good governors. We have good road networks, functional world class airline and other infrastructures put in place by past leaders. The next phase of development is industrial revolution by instilling entrepreneurial mindset in every Akwaibomite.
Connect with Dr Dorathy Umoetok on social media @Dorathyumoetok